for a different world
when we are actually out in that world we intend entering, we will find so many
notable differences that it will be impossible to describe them. But in our
preparations to get going, there are a couple of things that hit us every day
(time and again!) that are notable for having been left behind in Pretoria:
space and control. Thinking back on our lives there, space was never a
consideration if we wanted to buy something (as in “shall we buy that tin of
tuna? Well, no, because… there is NO SPACE for another tin”) and we seemed, in
the main, to be in control of our lives (as in: “what shall we do tomorrow?” and
we were generally able to make it happen). How these things have
decided to prepare a plan for up to 6 months away, assuming little opportunity
to replenish many stores (but assuming… and desperately hoping for… many chances
to get fresh foods): what a challenge! While there are articles on the web where
others have given guidelines, at the end of the day it all comes down to
personal choice and needs, and other peoples’ articles give opportunity to scan
through and hit the alarms when you see an item you have forgotten about. This
is how we set about doing it… First, we listed everything in our (Pretoria)
house and used that as a base to draw up a list of home-type things required to
equip our home-on-the-sea. Next, we learned how to sail, in the process learning
from how we ate on the boat and finding out what technical stuff is required
peculiar to this industry (from extra large sponges for the bilges to electronic
chart-plotters to lists of boat spares….) then we did extensive research to find
the best type of thingie for the job and what other things sailors recommend as
recent monitoring of our consumption gave us an idea of what quantity of muesli
/ toilet rolls/ cleaning products we use monthly (which produced some scary
numbers); this was expanded to a spreadsheet for foods and another for general
consumables on a monthly basis which then provided a base for the “what to buy
for 6 months” column.
resulting list of only kitchen-type stuff is 100 plus, from aprons through
egg-boxes (when you buy eggs up north you must take your own carriers) to water
list of yacht-specific things contains another 100 plus items. Then there is
bedding, linen, towels etc.
The food / drink list has about 180 items on it (including spices,
sauces….. anything and everything else that gets consumed). The meats are only 3
items of this (different cuts grouped together)…. and no, the drinks list is NOT
the big contributor (see, we KNOW what our “friends” and family are
consumables list has 42 items, from batteries to windolene, and that excludes
meds lists look like this: 129 different meds (of which we hope to use zero….
except maybe panado for hangover…!), a 21-strong “general” list (from cervical
collar to thermometer, and including suture materials and drips and malaria
tests) and 22 types of bandage / plaster. Now to find storage space for these…
and a sensible stowage and referencing system so that if (when) all the labels
come off we know what they are, how much to use…. and what to do!
much space do we have for this?
Looking at the photo, our home (the yacht – no longer the car and
trailer!) is pretty big compared with our car, so there should be PLENTY of
space….. but although there are lots of lockers (big ones, too) there is lots
more to store…
have allocated wet lockers (for things like the second dinghy, second anchor,
dive cylinders, drogue, part of grab-bag, spare lines, fenders, foul-weather
gear, dive bags …. 25 things in total), other lockers for fishing stuff, day
packs, lifejackets, tools, spares, books, clothes, computers, games, binoculars
…. and then we must find space for the meds, food and consumables, kitchen
appliances, crockery etc.
the foodstuff has been restricted to catering for 3 months only, beer will be
purchased locally and only whiskey will be kept at 6 months (some re-classified
under ‘medical’) …. and we hope there will be space for the rest!
Reflecting on a (likely scenario for a) regular morning at anchor
somewhere…. First consider the sea state, the wind, the boat’s needs, your
health, officialdom, fishing or diving conditions and the on-shore possibilities
on offer (assuming there is some way to find out what these are)…. Now plan your
day. Not a lot of pre-planning advised, unless you have learned to cope with
plans being shot up (oops, bad wording…. Not referring to the pirates here,
ok!?) and dealing with alternatives.
My, but this is different from our previous experiences… and
something that is really going to be interesting to deal with! On the other
hand, 2009 has been preparing us for this, in that 2009 has exposed us to the
yachting industry and as a necessary consequence, the fact that absolutely
nothing goes according to plan and there is relatively little that you can do
about it except adapt!
industry anthem is along the lines of “this is yachting …. what can possibly go
wrong?” Depending on the tone used
and the _expression_ on the speaker’s face, this sentiment appears to cover most
again, we report that there is no firm launch date (long stories, many reasons,
many excuses, ho hum) so have renewed our lease on this little place… to find
that we may not renew it again after this lease expires (16 June) as the owners
are coming to stay. So … it appears we are learning some more about ‘control’
and ‘space’, or lack thereof!
However, we sit back and discuss these things and learn
to go with the flow. The mountain is wonderfully calming as are the sunsets
(this one from the water on a yacht delivery we helped with recently).
The pirates’ ongoing
operations as far south as Seychelles is interesting and at present it appears
to be a score in the ratio of Pirates 4: Authorities 1 (sailing is banned in the
Seychelles at the moment, due to the piracy). Of course these developments coincided
with Rolf having to hand in his various firearms in terms of the new gun license
laws. This loss of control of
another aspect of life caused Irene to have to endure a medium sized rant and
tirade against authorities in general, but on the other hand, playing Rambo
against a couple of boatloads of AK47 wielding pirates was never going to end
spending time getting to know passage planning software and chartplotting
software; reading all the pilot guides and books about the Indian Ocean islands,
Madagascar and Mozambique and planning where to go….. and more specifically, how
to do it in terms of the sea / wind states at that time of year (which time of
year? Not sure yet). The islands off the north-west of Madagascar (Nosy Be etc)
and the Pemba / Querimba Archipelago / St Lazarus Banks of northern Mozambique
are the current focus (and a couple of days at the Bassas da India atoll so that
Rolf can catch at least one fish!).