We have now done over 1,000 nautical miles so we are more than two thirds the way to Gibraltar. It seems like only yesterday that we left Haslar Marina in Gosport for Cherbourg. We should have known that nothing would go accordingly to plan as the weather conspired against us (as well as Hampshire Traffic Police!) so that we left nearly a week later than planned. We were then delayed in Jersey for an extra day or two before setting off for Brittany. All was going well until the engine seized and then we spent 4 weeks in Brest getting the new one fitted etc. However, it has also given us a chance to reflect on the first thousand miles or so.
Weather – it was supposed to get warmer but it hasn’t as much as it should. Each time we rounded a major headland, the pilot books all said that it would be warmer and sunnier. We are now in Galicia, north western Spain and it is still only 20+ degrees. We also thought that we would not be wearing our oilies when sailing but we are and Liz is wearing her Ugg boots of an evening. The only thing that has changed since we got to Spain is that we no longer have condensation in the morning even when it has been raining. We have passed dew point.
Sailing vs. motoring – we have motored more than we wanted to as the wind has either been non existent or from the wrong direction. As we have lost a month with the engine, we feel the need to press on and ensure we catch the various weather windows.
Marinas vs. anchoring – we also thought that we would be in marinas more often than not until we reached the Med as you are having to deal with Atlantic Swell and bad weather but we have only been at anchor or on a mooring buoy for a fraction of the time (less than 10%) although the figures have been skewed with the engine problem.
Eating – we have mainly eaten on board with the occasional meal out as a treat. We have eaten well and cheaply with lots of fresh seafood from the various harbours as well having drunk good, local wine.
Maintenance – we had thought that everything was ready for when we went away but no. We repaired old but maybe we should have bought new. The fridge is playing up, the windlass needs repairing. We even had spares for our wind generator sent out. We have had to buy new blocks for the mainsheet and of course, a new engine!
Power – we have been really pleased with our solar panels and wind generator as they have provided us with more than enough power. They have worked better than expected.
Time – everything takes far longer than you would think. A trip to the supermarket takes a couple of hours as we have to walk there and then make sure we can carry all of the shopping back. We needed a new gas canister in A Coruna and that took us best part of two hours to find. Just getting up and ready for the day can take a couple of hours before we are ready to sail. We seem to get in around 8pm at night so that once we have eaten it is 10pm and we haven’t started planning for the next day. We only seem to relax when we spend a couple of days in a place. Then we have a chance to chill, read books or just explore the place.
However, through all of this, we have been to places we have never been to before, met new people and sampled new cultures and cuisines. And, we are not at work so it can’t be all bad!