Friday, December 02, 2005

Leaving Tenerife

Friday 2nd December and we had planned to leave for the Caribbean today. We've been here for two weeks now, the longest stretch in one place, and though we like it and we've achieved a lot, it really feels like time's up. So, Kika's bottom has been scrubbed clean in preparation for a smooth, speedy voyage, the water and deisel tanks are full with extra jerry cans stowed.
About to clean the bottom
Preparing to clean the bottom

We completed a fresh food shop yesterday to add to our stores, and today we made a final trip to the supermarket to buy a whole cured ham, complete with trotter. It should provide us with meat every day until next christmas! We filled the forecabin (bedroom) with sails and made up the off-watch bunk. I have never been so prepared for a passage as I was earlier today, we've even turned off the water pressure and moved our toothbrushes to the galley to use the fresh water hand pump. Bring it on! So, we were both standing in the cockpit ready to fire up the engine with smiles of anticipation and excitement at the prospect of the voyage. Nick turned the key and we heard a sound which can only be described as wrong! Neither of us spoke, we just waited the 20 long seconds the glow plugs need, and tried again....same thing. It was clear from the screeching sound that once again it was the starter motor (see La Coruña), only this time the problem was more serious than a loose bolt. Some of you reading this may already have realised why this has happened and for those of you who haven't, I have a warning for you; if you do decide to go on a voyage of any length, you should never, ever embark on a Friday. This superstition is really ingrained and taken very seriously to the extent that most cruisers will not even entertain the idea and look at you like you're crazy when you suggest it (can be tricky when you struggle to keep track of the days - you know how it is, you took your watch off back in Falmouth to avoid the tan lines and now the weeks just turn into a nebulous, if pleasant, blob of days!) If you think this is a load of stuff and nonsense , you may be right, but even the least superstitious person (such as Nick) is usually so affected by the strength of feeling this arouses that they compromise by leaving as planned BUT dropping anchor somewhere before the day is out, and then leaving the anchorage after midnight! Anyway, it's now 6 in the evening and the boat looks like a workshop. I'm snuggling up to the sails in the bow, the saloon is a no-go area, full of tools and wood panels from the engine compartment, and Nick is up to his pits in metal and oil. The spare starter motor (thank heaven for the spare starter motor) was in the stern cabin under the off-watch bunk right at the very back so things in the stern are pretty upsidedown too, and leaving seems a long way off. I'm quite frustrated - what are you supposed to do with all that excess adrenaline? - but it is yet another step on the steep learning curve I'm currently experiencing. Life, in general is pretty unpredictable but this sailing lark is ridiculous! One day you can't leave because tropical storm Delta is fast approaching, next day you can't leave because the swell's too big, the day after there's no wind at all, and the day after that is Friday and you can't leave because...... Like we NEED another reason not to leave!

Nick seems to be taking this set-back much better than I, in fact I think he may be enjoying this period of intimacy with the engine - I'm sure I just heard him whistling!!

Sounds like the new starter motor shall soon be installed and ready for trials. We are shortly going out into town with some fellow cruisers, Ed and Ellen. They have been living this crazy life for many years now and are full of words of wisdom, but as I sit squashed in the bow, a prisoner of the detritus of an engine repair, the BEST and most pertinent advice they have given us is this: (adopt New York accent now) 'It takes two people to do a job, one to do the job and the other to keep out the goddam way!' Guess which is my role?

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

HI there! Congratulations on making it to Martinique! Its wonderful news to know you are there safe and sound. And what a crossing! Well done. Looking forward to hearing of the next leg of the trip. Lots of love from Suzanne and Bill - 2 Jan 06