Vinni’s turn -She grabs the microphone

So– what’s it like to be a cruising sailor?

 

Let’s get one thing straight from the start, The Bay of Biscay is not for pansies!

 

Dear family, friends, neighbors and everyone else,

 

Starting a circumnavigation is not only a nature and cultural experience, but also, for me, a voyage of discovery into myself, discovering areas where I’m clearly outside my comfort zone and where I’m constantly seeing new sides of myself. In other words, I’ve embarked on a journey of personal development and discovery at age 57. Now how about that? I’ve heard from other cruising sailors that they return home a completely new and different person. Hopefully, I’ll return a better person, not a worse one. It will be interesting to see how I change over the next 7-8 years.

 

After the first 3 months of sailing outside the protected waters of Danish/Scandinavian waters, I can begin to tell both our sailing friends and landlubbers how I’m finding my “new” life as a cruiser. Before our Biscay crossing, I still felt I was a “harbor sailor”, even though we had many overnight sails. But as you’ve read in Carsten’s “tales of the sea from far away”, we’ve spent most nights in a harbor, as the weather has not been conducive to anchoring. Not many feel that anchoring is terribly romantic in hard weather and lots of rain – we admit it – when it’s that bad we prefer a harbor. There’s also the little detail that we, or rather, Carsten is constantly at work repairing things. Those repairs frequently require a chandlery (also known amongst male sailors as a porn shop. Porn shops of that kind invariably cost a lot of money when Carsten pays them a visit). And if an outside repairman needs to come on board – well then we do need to be in a harbor. I’ll not bore you with the details of our repairs or the terrible service we seem to get.

Capri – what’s happened to you? In the five years we’ve had her, we’ve had no real repairs at all. Now we realize that there is a world of difference between sailing on summer holidays and sailing full-time and sailing blue ocean.

Carsten has told me a number of times, before we left that being a cruiser means repairing your boat in exotic locations. The first part of that sentence we can easily recognize, the exotic locations are still ahead of us. Unbelievably, we’ve managed to bring the rain with us to Northern Spain. It even rained on my birthday – although it did clear up later in the afternoon, allowing me to celebrate it at anchor in a bay by the Isle of Ceis. I never realized that repairing things would be as big a controlling factor in our sailing plans as it has up to now. Said in the vernacular – it’s crap!

But let’s not get hung up on repairs – let’s get on to my sailing experiences and everything I need to learn.

 

From the “baby crib” and out into the wild world

 

Not to underestimate sailing in Danish waters and the Baltic – only a fool fears not the ocean – and we’ve had our share of challenges on Køge bay, Kattegat and the Baltic when they show themselves from their nasty side, and we’ve even had a knock-down because of a cumulonimbus with anvil storm right in front of Copenhagen harbor, and storming gales in Flensborgfjord when we approached Sønderborg harbor in the middle of the night, just to name a couple of examples. You can read about them in our earlier tales of the sea. I have to admit, the powers that reign out here on the ocean are much more unforeseeable than those at home and I feel like a complete novice.

I’m humble and respectful when I think about our undertaking a circumnavigation, even though Carsten always says, “don’t talk yourself down – you’re not that bad of a sailor”. Most of you know that modesty is not Carsten’s strongest point, and when I ask him if he is not just a little bit daunted by this undertaking, he always answers, “Humble sweetie? It’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every single way”. Despite this character defect – I still love him.

The night before we set off from Thyborøn to cross the North sea, I slept poorly – virtually not at all. I’ve read many times about how the North Sea can storm and give boats like Capri critical hours (or days). Fortunately, the weather gods listened to my bedtime prayers and gave us a North sea trip that was like paddling around in a swimming pool, thank you gods. I offered to take the dog watch, midnight to four in the morning, since my ancient husband gets tired faster than his young wife. Or maybe I’m just more used to having a night watch from my early days as a nurse.

When I got up to take my second dog watch, our skipper, Carsten, told me that there was nothing to see or fear. Uuuuh – what about all those oil boring rigs?, I asked. Oh, those? He replied. NO worry – we’ve passed them. Well, once I had gotten my nightvision and taken stock of the situation, Carsten already was down below, fast asleep. Then I realized that he might not be completely trustworthy. Just like when  we play bridge. Carsten always like to bid up – frequently more than the cards call for, which of course becomes my problem when I have to play the hand and am missing at least one sure trick – but I love him anyway.

Apparently Carsten thinks he has passed an oil platform when he has spotted them on the chart and thinks we will be a reasonable distance from them. We hadn’t actually passed them when I took over the watch – we had only just reached them. I was deathly afraid of having to navigate by them alone at night and thought it would be shameful if we got too close and they either called us on the VHF and bawled us out or worse – they sent their “terrier” (security boat) out to chase us away, like they had done when Carsten sailed own the English channel.

Well. I managed it, even though I has to tack (by myself) a couple of times. Christ – tacking single-handed in the darkness. We only had the genua up, which made it easier, but moving around a black cockpit with a lifeline on is just plain difficult. Now I understand what Scotty went through. OK – it’s my own fault. I’m the safety officer on board and I’ve mandated lifelines at all times in the dark. It is forbidden to fall overboard.

 

The trip over the North Sea was actually easy-peasy, but all that had changed by the time I helmed Capri out of Petershead Bay several days later. 2-3(4) meter high waves and the new teak on a bow platform just disappeared. We needed to get out of the harbor and I tried to “take” the waves a best I could, since we had to sail directly up against the waves to avoid the huge rocks by the entrance while avoiding the lobster traps and fishing nets. This all left no time to be seasick. 45 minutes later, we were clear of everything and we could set sails. I damned myself for not asking the harbour authorities for permission to hoist sails inside the harbor. Having the mainsail up would have made everything much easier.

 

Live and learn.

 

My next learning experience was when we were entering the sea-lock at Inverness. 2.5 knots tidal stream from the side. I had no idea how we were going to do this. I couldn’t even see the lock gates until we were right in front of them. Jesus! I thought. We’re going to lay in in that tiny “box”? And tiny it looked. A narrow lock with 4 meters up to the edge. We got in without any scratches and then I tried to throw our dockline up to the lockkeeper. I’ve never tried casting a heavy dockline 4 meters upward and of course, I didn’t make it – the line landed in the water. I got bawled out by the lockkeeper and told that my lines were too long( it turned out later that they weren’t) and my loops too big.

DSCF1123 - Kopi

Clachnaharry -sea lock opening – we’re in the caledonia canal!

Welcome to the Calendonia Canal (later, when we had gotten the paperwork done, he did come out and say he was sorry).

Right – now we were going to be raised 3 meters. Imagine Capri in a big Jacuzzi with all the jets going full blast and Capri being tossed around while Carsten and I tried to hold her steady with lines rigged 4 meters up to the edge. We were constantly juggling keeping the docklines tight, the fenders between Capri and the stone walls of the lock. Busy, busy, busy. I can reveal here that it is much easier to be lowered in a lock than it is to be raised. Luckily, we were two on the boat, but that wouldn’t continue. I was speechless the first time we were going up 5 locks and they asked Carsten to get off the boat after the first lock to help them with the lines from ashore – leaving me alone on the boat to pilot her out of one lock and into the next lock and lay her alongside the jetty!

I was proud as a peacock when I heard the lockkeeper tell Carsten that his wife was a good helmsman and had done an excellent job.

Not all good things last, however and the next day I caused a “lock show”. Happily, there were no other boats in the lock, because when I tried to dock in the next lock, Capri just wouldn’t answer the helm. Carsten yelled at me to tell me what to do, but no matter what I did Capri just did her own thing and finally ended up almost sideways in the lock. Shit, shit, shit. But finally, I discovered that I had accidentally turned on the autopilot when I was using the bow thruster, so when I thought I had the helm hard over – it was locked.  As soon as I discovered this and turned off the autopilot – I got Capri back in line and docked safely against the lock wall

. Fortunately there was no damage to Capri – only to my pride and, of course, not least my self-confidence.

Live and learn (sigh)

It becomes even more of a challenge when 2 boats, say 1 40 footer and 1 46 footer have to squeeze into  small lock – and I do mean squeeze – the locks weren’t long enough that we could lie end to end nor were they wide enough so we could lie alongside each other. We had to lie catty-corner and right up against the lock gates, there where the water surges are the greatest. It was horrible but we managed to get through without damaging either of the boats. I can understand now why the sailing directions say that you need at least 6 fenders and you’ll be happy if you have more when you are going to pass the Caledonia or the Crinan Canal.

Carsten had heard from a friend that if we were going to go through the Crinan Canal, that it would be a good idea to find another boat to go through with. We would learn why almost immediately. The locks in the Crinan Canal are self-service. Jesus. We did go through with another boat, but unfortunately we weren’t very lucky with our choice of boat the first day. Carsten and the other skipper got into a heated discussion when he started talking in his mobile phone when he should have been paying attention to getting his boat into the lock without ramming Capri. The next day we had company of Alisdair and his crew – who know exactly how to get in and out of locks. Great company and we got to know them better over a few, well more than a few, gin and tonics. We passed through 45 locks in these two canals – so we should be ready for the Gota canal in Sweden when we eventually get home.

When we started we needed to revisit everything about tides and tidal streams – we’d simply forgotten most of it. I took my project from my Yachtmaster course with me so we could read up on tides and see the calculations I had made then. In the Baltic, we can relax over morning coffee before sailing out – no tides. Here we set the alarm for 3 a.m. so we can leave harbor at 4 a.m. We need to have enough water under the keel and we also want to avoid the worst of the tidal streams along the way. We spent a lot of time on calculating the tidal infamous tidal streams. We don’t have tidal streams in Denmark – certainly not anything like the ones here in Scotland. In the Scottish archipelago on the way to the Crinan Canal it wasn’t possible to avoid all the tidal streams because of the distance involved, so it was a question of deciding did we want 8 against or 5 knots with us?  Easy choice. We chose the 5 knots.

 

So what’s it like to sail out into a tidal stream that hard?  Difficult to believe your own eyes as you near it. The water looks like a pot where the water is just coming to a boil. The stream, 5 knots, continually tries to control the boat so up with all sails and the engine going full blast. All the while, the cliffs are only 50 meters away. Sheeeet!.  It was with our hearts all the way up in our throats that we sailed through that tidal stream. One of us has his eyes on the chartplotter and the other was looking at the depthsounder to ensure we had enough water under the keel (there were lots of underwater rocks there).

I also made the acquaintance of the Scottish Katabatic winds (gale force) that fall down the sides of the mountains as you pass close by the cliffs. They were one of the reasons we mostly sailed with only our genua up – otherwise the winds would have flattened us. I noticed that in Scotland and Ireland almost no one sails with a spinnaker or a gennaker – not because the sailors lack courage, but simply because the katabatic winds would tip them over if they were flying those big sails. But the Scottish racing sailors love them – they steer in close to the cliffs and accelerate wildly in the winds.

And I got my first experience with a real squall and it was at a very unlucky time. We had just come out of the Crinan Canal and were heading for Tarbert. This 30nm stretch of water was the only part of Scotland that we didn’t have paper charts of because we simply didn’t think we were coming this way. We had a chart on our chartplotter and we had decided that we could probably just use that for this one time. We trusted our chartplotter since it had never let us down, but of course, since we didn’t have any paper charts here – it went down. Actually, it was our autopilot that went down, but when that went it took the GPS and the chartplotter with it. Sooooo – no chartplotter, no position, no paper charts. Carsten tried to get the plotter working while I steered. I just managed to see the heavy gray clouds before we were hit by a violent squall with rain blowing sideways, hail and winds from all directions. Visibility was -0- and I could just barely see Carsten standing alongside me.  If you ask how hard the wind was blowing, I can’t answer – because I could see the aerometer through the rain. It only lasted 10-15 minutes, but not knowing how long it wasas going to last did cause some concern aboard Capri.

Sailing down across the Irish sea presented few new challenges – perhaps aside from getting into Poolbeg marina.  Poolbeg lies deep in the middle of Dublin and you have to sail up the Levy river which is also a big commercial port. The harbor authorities told us on the VHF that we should stay outside the main channel and not to worry – there was plenty of water.  Like hell there was. At one point our depth sounder was showing 2.4 meters (we’re 2.2 deep all loaded) and we turned immediately into the main channel.  We inched our way back out and it happened again, whereafter we ignored the harbourmaster and sailed in the channel, albeit right at the edge.

A big learning point for me was communicating with the harbor authorities on the radio. In the Baltic you don’t do this – you just sail right in.  Everywhere else – you need to call the harbor first before entering. Ok – OK – I admit it, I have the theoretical knowledge since I do have an LRC (long range certificate) and learned how to use both a VHF and a shortwave radio – but I’ve tried it in practice. Christ it is difficult to understand the Scottish and irish accents when it is coming over a radio (and it hasn’t gotten any easier when they are Portuguese or Spanish J ).

Scotlands archipelago and canals have be a true learning experience and I’ve developed a lot as a sea(wo)man. It feels good and I’ve still got much to learn. Still, I nervous and have a certain lack of confidence when I think of our next big challenge – the bay of Biscay.

Most sailors fear the Biscay (rightfully so) and many of the cruisers who have written books have described their Biscay crossing as the worst part of their trip, so I guess it wasn’t unusual that I didn’t sleep much the night before we left. We had a good weather window and then we were away on our first real atlantic ocean sail.

I suggested that we sail from Cork westerly in order to get out beyond the continental shelf as fast as possible – within the first 2 days. This was the shortest route out to the Atlantics 4.5 kilometer depths, where the waves, while high, are long and wide, not the sharp steep waves that are typically generated in the bay.  Carsten suggested that we skip La Coruna in Spain and sail directly to Bayona, thereby also skipping having to round Cape Finnesterre (another place sailors generally hate). With all that decided, it also meant we were taking the longest route across the Biscay that we could – and we had 4-5 days sail ahead of us.

I was very quiet and felt small and insignificant when we left Cork, wondering what the next 5 days would be like – whew!

We didn’t manage to sail with the tide because we were still mounting our new traveler which meant that we would encounter overfalls, a wave phenomena caused by the wind blowing one way and the tide going the other – this forces the waves up into sharp peaks and very confused seas – generally terrible sailing. Carsten must have felt my nervousness, because he immediately offered to take the first dog watch (thank you Carsten!). As we cleared the Irish coast the waves were steep and sharp, 2 meters and hitting Capri form the side, rolling her along as if she was in a Jacuzzi with all the jets going full blast. Despite having taken my seasick pills, I got seasick and went below to lie in the sea bunk, where I rolled back and forth along with Capri. The seabunk is a learning experience. You quickly pick up on having to wedge yourself in with your back hard against one side and your knees pressed hard up on the other so you can lie still even when you are asleep.

4 hours later, Carsten woke to take the watch, but I was better off being horizontal than vertical and I begged for another hour.  My sweet husband gave me 2 extra hours, whereupon I crawled up in the cockpit. I had to ask Carsten to stay another ½ hour with me while I got my stomach under control (I felt like I going to throw up the whole time). I stood at the helm and tried to decide if I should just lean over the rail and get it over with, but I can’t stand to throw up so I gritted my teeth and concentrated on anything but my stomach. After a while the fresh sea air and my getting my night vision helped and I could send Carsten to bed.

The night was blacker than the proverbial Earl of Hell’s waistcoat and it was cold – very cold. Despite the steep seas, at least I could console myself with the fact that the Biscay had shown itself from its mild side up to now, with only 1 ½ – 2 meter high waves and 15-18 knot winds. I thought to myself – good thing I’m not in a gale out here – but that experience was one we would get later in our crossing.

But first let me explain my total lack of sympathy or empathy for fishing vessels and trawlers.  If I had a hand grenade, I’d have tossed it aboard the trawlers – they are god damned irritating (that is saying it mildly). If you’re lucky – they are using their AIS – but not all of them do. Here we are in the middle of the ocean, with thousands of miles of empty water – why the hell do they have to trawl right across my course? The Collision Regulations state that I have to give way for them, but that’s easier said than done, because they are constantly changing course and zig-zagging in front of me. And you have to pass them in front because they are trailing miles of net behind them which you absolutely do not want to get caught in. You can watch and maneuver for an hour, finally decide – yes, I’ve passed him, when he makes a course change and now you can start all over again.  ASSHOLE! Christ they’ve gotten my pulse racing all the way many times during the night, when it also is difficult to tack (by yourself), especially if you have to hurry and are clipped in with your lifeline. I end up sweating like a pig when it is all over with and then 2 more trawlers show up on the AIS screen. Shit – 2 more assholes I have to fight it out with.

By the second day I had overcome my seasickness and was ready to eat some licorice again (that  helped my frame of mind). The clouds disappeared and we got some sun and later that night the most beautiful starry sky unfolded over my head. What do you do on a dog watch? Well, every 10 minutes or so you get up and do a 360 degree check of the horizon, check all the instruments to make sure there is nothing dangerous lurking around out there. Maybe get the flashlight and check the sails to see if they need trimming. Then drink some tea, eat some bread (or licorice) or a banana. Sit and enjoy the sounds of Capri slicing through the water, look at the stars and contemplate life. When the dolphins come by you immediately are in a great mood – they’re wonderful and I can watch them all day. If you’re going to take the dog watches alone – you need to be comfortable with yourself. The first 15-20 minutes alone can be a little scary and certainly it can feel eerie to be alone in the cockpit of a boat bobbing along on the sea. When you’re standing in the cockpit at midnight – you can’t see a damned thing, which is not exactly confidence-building, but after about 20 minutes you get your night vision.

I have to admit – that when you can’t see anything, have no night vision and Capri is barreling along at 7.5 knots with the waves tossing her around – well you end up feeling very alone. The loneliness is exacerbated when there is nothing on the plotter screen – so that means there are no ships within shouting range on the VHF – so no help out there if everything goes south.  In other words – Holy Shit – we’re out here all by ourselves!!! I really feel like I’m the only living thing in the world. Down below I can hear Carsten snoring – That’s a big god damned help.  I feel like waking him to have him come and keep me company, but don’t do it because it is important that we both get all the rest we can. If the situation is critical – we wake each other (and that works both ways).

In quiet periods here on the Biscay, we get to be together and enjoy each others company, read a little, take a shower on the bathing platform. Our bathing platform shower works fine and our watermaker produces all the water we need and solar panels allow us to use or hot water heater so we can actually take hot showers whenever we want. We stand in the middle of the Wind vane bars, which means we don’t have to worry about man overboard. I enjoy taking a shower outside and as an extra we don’t have to clean the bathroom afterwards. Carsten has described what going to the toilet aboard a boat in heavy seas involves so I’ll skip it here. Hot food is necessary to keep the crew’s energy (and not least their humor) up. I have to admit, I’m full of admiration for Carsten and his ability to go below and make a hot dinner – even in heavy seas. I can’t do that. But occasionally even he has had to come up for a breath of fresh air.

Many of you asked me, before we left, if Carsten and I could stand each other and get along when we only have so few square meters to live on. When we are in a harbor, we can always go for a walk, and if we feel the need to be alone when we are sailing – well it is watch on watch so you get 4 hours alone in the cockpit and then 4 hours in the seabunk. That means we really don’t see each other that much on passages, because when one comes up to take the watch – the other is fairly quick to get below to catch some sleep. Actually you end up feeling lonely – especially at night.

Somewhere up there I said I wouldn’t want to experience the Biscay in a gale. Gee – lucky me – I did get to experience the Biscay in a gale. During my dog watch on the third day, the winds started climbing and soon were at 24-25 knots. The waves rose up and look like dark shadows coming over the rails and Capri started rolling. We blasted along at 7.5 to 8 knots even with the mainsail reefed to the second reef. Capri was still a “happy boat” and taking the waves well, so I didn’t feel the need to wake Carsten. But during Carsten’s watch, I woke after 3 hours. Capri was being tossed around like a rubber duck on the waves and heeling hard over on her side. The winds were coming from the east at 28-30 knots and the waves had grown to 3-4 meters. All the waves had whitecaps and some of the biggest ones were beginning to break at the top. Strange to be able to see into the waves where the fish were swimming around as if it was an aquarium.

I asked Carsten to try to get a GRIB file (weather report) on our shortwave. After an hour of trying he still hadn’t gotten one and I suggested that we call our friend Tonni on the sat phone and ask him to check the weather for the next 24 hours out here on the Biscay. Thank you tonni.

I wasn’t happy about the waves, even though Carsten didn’t think the situation was critical yet. But I certainly didn’t need to experience a “broach” or a knockdown on my first ocean sail, so we changed course and headed out to sea. This brought the wind to our backs and Capri once again became a “happy boat”, meaning she was quite happy to be taking the wind and waves. For the next 6 hours we sailed westwards until the winds fell to 15 knots and the waves calmed to 2 meters. Then we were able to get back on our course even though it meant we had to sail against the waves.

I wondered that 28-30 knots could raise such high and steep waves when we had 4.5  kilometers of water under the keel, until I discovered that during Carsten watch we had passed over an area where the depth shoaled from 4.5 kilometers to 1.5 kilometer – that would explain the unpleasant waves. Here was a learning point – don’t zoom so far in on the chartplotter that you can’t see the forest for the trees. That’s happened, even to professional circumnavigators – just ask the Dutch navigator on the Vestas boat in the Volvo round the world race that rammed a reef in the middle of the pacific.

Well – that meant we had also tried a gale in the Biscay (aren’t we just getting experienced?), which had not been forecasted. The forecasts also didn’t say anything about heavy fog. Now I understand my examiner at my yachtmaster exam, asking just what I intended to do when I was rounding Cape Finnesterre in heavy fog and my instruments gave out? Fortunately, our instruments kept working and we’re very, very happy we have both AIS and radar. There is a traffic separation system around the Cape for all the big ship – shit it is big! 40 nautical miles across. The freighters some blasting along at 18-20 knots. We decided to sail down along the outside of the separation system and cross it when it ended. But the freighters starting lining up to enter the system from 30 nm out. We asked the coast guard for permission to cross at the entrance to the system and they said Ok since we have both radar and AIS.

We had just begun to cross when we saw Evelyn Maersk coming down the pipe at 18 knots. Our AIS showed we were on a collision course (we would pass 150 meters from each other). “Big Mamma” was only 5 nm from Capri. I felt very insecure and Carsten called them on the VHF. Evelyn Maersk answered immediately and said we should just continue our course and speed, he would avoid us. And wonder of wonders – as soon as he exited the separation system, he changed course and passed 1.5nm behind us. On carstens photo you can see how foggy it is – you can barely make him out.

Carsten went below for a snooze while I crossed the other 3 tracks of the system. At one point Capri was amid 18 freighters within 10nm. I never saw any of them because the fog had just gotten thicker and thicker. Visibility was below 0.5nm, My blood pressure climbed as the visibility declined and I definitely needed some sleep, when Carsten got up. The fog continued to thicken, Carsten said at one point he could barely make out the front end of Capri, the rest of the time it was under 100 meters. Here Carsten showed himself to be a true skipper. He not only took his watch but my dog watch afterward, because he knew I’d be really insecure sailing in that soup alone. My sweet husband let me sleep until I woke by myself at 2 a.m. when I jumped out of the bunk – thinking Carsten had fallen asleep since he hadn’t woken me. But no, I looked and saw him standing in the middle of the cockpit, keeping sharp watch. He had stood there upright, keeping sharp watch for over 6 hours. He suggested I back below and sleep some more, but my conscience just wouldn’t let me do that. I got up, made some strong coffee  and took over the watch while he drank coffe and got a well-deserved break.

Finally, at 5 a.m. Sunday morning we reached Bayona, naturally in thick fog with less than a couple of hundred meters of visibility. We had discussed if we should wait out in the bay for daylight, but there was no sign that the fog would let up, so we might as well just sail in and get it over with. Fortunately, the bay and marina are well plotted on the  chartplotter, but both of us were stressed by sailing into this bay in heavy fog. Carsten manned the helm while I kept a sharp eye on the depth sounder and we inched along. I heard Carsten whisper  at one point “Christ – I hate fog”.

Rarely have we been so happy to see a harbor. When Capri finally was tied up, we stood on the pier and gave each other a “high-five” and kisses while we told each other – we did it – we made it over the Biscay.

A really big moment for both of us – standing here in Spain – a bit surrealistic.  WOW  YUPPIEEE!

We had a bottle of champagne in the fridge (this needed to be celebrated), but 5:30 in the morning – we weren’t worthy of the champagne, so it waited until evening. But a bottle of red wine managed to disappear and then it was bunk time for some heavy sleeping.

So let me say it again – The Biscay is not for pansies!

So how’s my new life?

Fantastic to live with all the freedom and no obligations. You should all think about that-  live a life of freedom without obligation either on land or at sea. Think about – how long do I want to continue the career and work etc that fills our days.  Now Carsten and I only have obligations to each other.

But there are also things I have to get used to – things that irritated me at the start. I think that repairs and waiting for spare parts have taken way too much of our time and energy. Experienced circumnavigators say this is typical of the start of a long sail – when you start using your boat full time 24/7 and it gets more usage in a week than it normally does in a whole summer.

I’ve begun to accept that even small practical things can take a whole day. For example – washing clothes typically takes 3 hours + 1.5 hours in the dryer and when you have 2 or more washes and only one machine – well there goes that day.  Shopping for food also takes a lot of time. The supermarket generally isn’t on the harbour so you have to walk to it.  Good thing we’ve invested in two trollies. Now shopping takes even longer since everything has to be unpacked and washed in chlorine (cockroaches).

I freely admit that I’ve been a bit of a workaholic, with a work week that frequently was 70 hours and every minute of the day was planned down to the most minute detail, because otherwise there was no way I could manage to do everything. I guess you can say it is a career change to become at “boat bum”. But I’m developing in the right direction, learning to take things as they come and accept that today I managed – uhhh just what was it I did today?  I don’t know but it took me all day. I’m not bored and I’m enjoying life and enjoying Carsten.

Most of you wouldn’t know me now

Grey hair – air-dried, not set – no hairspray

No make-up, no nail-polish – no artificial nails

My clothes aren’t ironed – the wind does that

I’ve begun to knit

I brought along a little easel and my paintset

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