Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We've been sailing!

We've been blessed with fantastic weather today - blue skies, sun, and hot! Having bent the foresail on yesterday we took the opportunity to go sailing. It was very odd - sealegs completely gone, so everything felt very wobby and rather uncomfortable. Sadly after an hour or so the wind died and we headed back in. But we did get up to 4.5knots at one point, sailed from Lagos down as far as Alvor, and really we couldn't have asked for anything better.

We spent the afternoon visiting other people's boats - like an open gardens afternoon, only with yachts. They varied from a tiny 26 footer to a big Dutch 60 footer with all the room in the world. The one we liked best was a Rival 40 - quite possibly because it's more like Kalessin than any of the others. Roomy, practical, but it felt like a boat you'd enjoy sailing.

Sunday 11 February, 2007
Back to the boat – after nearly four months

Today is Guy’s 17th birthday. He’s somewhere en route to Austria for a skiing holiday with his girlfriend and her family. Meanwhile Sam, Ben and I have returned to Kalessin in Lagos for the first time for nearly four months.

Our plan was to arrive here on Thursday. However, God and easyJet had other ideas. Snow was forecast for Thursday morning, and thanks to my current contract with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) we were able to stay in an Express By Holiday Inn overnight for a grand total of £20 for all three of us, including breakfast. Sadly, the effort was wasted, because Luton was at the epicentre of the snowfall, all easyJet flights from Luton Airport before 11.30am on the 8th were cancelled, and ours was at 11.25. At least because I had my trusty laptop with me we were able to rebook as soon as we knew our flight was cancelled – otherwise I suspect we might not have been here until even later.

Anyway we finally reached here about 4pm yesterday in cool but pleasant conditions – between 17 and 19 degrees, according to the sensor in our hired Renault Clio. Kalessin looks wonderful – a little bit dusty, a few things slightly faded, and a bit of mould below decks. Most of the bedding was dry enough to sleep in straight away, the bilges were bone dry. The only downside is that what with the stuff which was delivered here by Ian and his van in December and the stuff we’ve brought down with us, plus the foresail which normally lives on the forestay but was stripped off for the winter, there’s not very much room for us in the cabin. Most of this is about stowage – it took me a whole day to stow everything efficiently on board before we set off the first time, and you can’t sort everything out again in a couple of hours.

We slept almost 12 hours last night – woke up a few times, but it really felt like being home. Today Sam has been very happy pootling around fixing things, and blethering to passing English people (you don’t hear much Portuguese spoken on the marina pontoons). At lunchtime we took the car to Praia de Luz a few miles west – what a treat, to be able to head outside town to a place where there’s no anchorage and no public transport. We had a splendid lunch at a little restaurant and Ben bravely went swimming, so he’s very happy too.I’m not sure how it feels to be here. Is this the real me, or is the person working on the contract at IHG and commuting from Hampstead to Windsor the real me? I don’t think they can both be the same person, so since a two-hour commute to a pretend job from a London location is clearly no job for a human being, this must be me. What will happen when we get home?

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