April 15, 2015
It’s been over a week since the last report here, but not because we have been relaxing in the tropical sun… Getting ready for the passage across the Atlantic involves, first of all, lots of shopping. Yes, there’s food to consider, but most all of it has to be capable of being stored for six or eight weeks, so even that shopping is not at all straightforward.
We’ve found a few freeze-dried camping-type meals that seem edible (with, of course, the addition of habañero sauce). But then there’s the other stuff – a spare alternator, spare fresh water pump, extra line to replace chafed halyards, lots of safety gear (some useful and some just because it is required by the rally management), some replacements for clothes that gave up after six months at sea, oil and filters, replacements for boat parts that gave up the ghost, and flags.
This week we’ll be making a switch in our satellite phone service, since Globalstar was not a reliable source for weather information. We have high hopes that Iridium will be better. We’ll see.
The flags are kind of exciting: places that we want to visit, or places that, because of weather or breakdowns, we might have to visit. So far the list includes Bermuda, the Azores, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Ukraine, Malta, Montenegro, Albania, Tunisia, Morocco, Rumania, Cyprus and Germany. Oh, and add to that the essential “Q” signal flag (Quarantine – a yellow rectangle) which is hoisted on entry to a new port and taken down when you have finished clearing in.
Then there’s the scraping, varnishing and painting, taking advantage of the dry weather here. Birgit has a stiff neck from lying on her back and scraping old varnish off the underside of the teak “eyebrow” that runs around the outside of the “house.”
Part of the process of getting ready has also involved removing things from the boat, like the flags and books that were needed for our travels from Seattle to Miami. Our friends Pete and Nancy are storing the stuff for us, to be picked up on our way back to Seattle, if that’s where life and time lead us.
We’ve been fortunate in finding a cluster of marine supply places in Fort Lauderdale, and a boatyard who will haul Serafina for a bottom cleaning and a coat of fresh bottom paint next week. Then Sarah will arrive for a visit, and Hannah will join the crew a couple days later.
Ok, we are getting in a bit of reading, catching up on sleep, and thinking about going to see a movie! That’s something we haven’t done since leaving Seattle, and it’s an aspect of our normal life that we miss more than we anticipated. We’ve rented a car to get our chores done, and traffic is something we didn’t miss at all!