28:03.02N 16:43.50W - The final countdown

Hamble Warrior
Jamie Hickman
Sat 1 Jan 2022 11:09

30th December


We had quite a rolly night but both slept beautifully in our bunks - again the sea berths work just as well in a rolling anchorage as they do in a sea-way as the lee clothes keep us pinned in and stop us rolling about too much. I do wonder when the next time we will sleep in the big v-berth in our forward cabin will be! It's currently storage space for surplus provisions and various items that we wanted stowed below-decks for the Atlantic passage. I'm sure when we are cruising in the tropics we will appreciate a big bed again but for now the sea berths are working nicely!

We went ashore and had a very efficient couple of hours; replenishing our empty gas bottle, printing out vaccination certificates and a few other documents that we might need on arrival in the Caribbean... and finally tracking down some insect repellent with deet - an item which had been lingering on our provisions list for an annoyingly long time now! We also did a last (is it last? Surely now it is last..!) trolley dash of just a few final stores for our crossing!

We took fresh bread back to Hamble Warrior and had a lovely lunch on-board before an afternoon of organising ourselves and our ship. We topped up all of our galley "working stores" from the main stores under our forward berth and in our bilges. We keep large dry stores of things like spices, rice, pasta, sugar, flour etc. in the big; but largely tricky to access, lockers on-board and every so often we use these to top up the jars in the galley. As we are anticipating being at sea for about 3 weeks we wanted our galley to be well stocked with everything easily to hand to make cooking under way as comfortable as possible. We inspected and turned our stores of fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs which are kept in large plastic fruit crates under our saloon table. We will have to do this daily on passage and meals for the next few weeks will be largely dictated by what looks like it needs eating most urgently. So far we are pleased with the produce we bought from the farmers market on boxing day as it appears to be lasting well. A good indicator is always carrots.... those which have been refrigerated like you buy in most supermarkets will begin to deteriorate rapidly whereas the ones we bought from the market seem to be lasting well. Hopefully we can care for all of our fresh produce well enough to still be eating fresh food a couple of weeks into our crossing.. otherwise we have tinned and jarred versions of most things.

After we had got our galley and stores in order I then had a couple of hours of batch-cooking chilli; hard boiling eggs and generally trying to ensure we had some easy food for the first few days of our trip incase conditions were a bit rough or I was too seasick to spend much time in the galley.

While I did this Jamie set about fitting his newly-assembled "trolling reel" that I'd found in the bins in Las Palmas. He had welded himself a bracket for it whilst he'd had his welding gear out in the marina and now we have the reel securely mounted on our stern rail ready for its first Tuna!!

It had been a hot day with the southeasterlies bringing warm winds from Africa and as the afternoon wore on the conditions outside flattened off a bit so shortly after 5 o'clock we decided it was time to cool down and clean ourselves up so we jumped overboard for a swim and a wash. Normally at this time we'd get out after a swim and it would soon start to feel chilly but the warm breeze remained comfortable late into the evening and we sat in the cockpit and watched as the sun slid lazily into the horizon.

That night we took the dinghy ashore once again for a few drinks and dinner. As we loaded ourselves into our little wooden tender I ran through the usual litany; had we got the rubbish and recycling? Had we turned the anchor light on? Got the purse.. masks.. torch? We climbed in and were nearly at the beach when Jamie asked.... did you put shoes in? .....SHOES!!!!!!!!!! Honestly I can't believe we still do this! We have now decided we need to keep two spare pairs of flip flops and two facemasks in the little storage locker of the dinghy - and make a similar arrangement for the kayak - we'd save so many miles paddled if we did! As we were nearly ashore Jamie decided to drop me off so I could sort our recycling whilst he paddled back ashore. As we approached the beach some far off ferry wash surged in creating a decent surf which crashed over our transom and soaked me from my a*se to my ankles. Fortunately I was prepared and wearing my swimming costume under my dress... which would have been excellent preparation if I had taken my dress off before the incident. As it was I dragged my soggy self off up the beach to tackle the recycling while Jamie paddled back for our flip flops and fortunately it remained a warm and barmy night so I dried quickly (or stopped caring after a glass of wine perhaps).

We treated ourselves to our old favourite "Popeye" bar and then ate our dinner listening to the Louis Armstrong singer once again. It was so perfect. By the time we'd finished our dinner things were winding up and we made our way back to the beach where we pushed our feet deep into the sand and held our breath just for a moment while we dared to dream where we might be the next time we stood on land.