Leg 2 of Delivery - Bayona, Spain to Lagos, Portugal
The El Dorado Leg - 37.05.84N, 8.39.90W
Well, it’s the 12th October, and after 5 weeks alone in the Marina the crew have finally decided to come back to me – well two of them at least. Thank god they’ve arrived, I’ve been pushed around from pillar to post and someone’s smashed my starboard nav light on my nose. Peter Howe and Pete Lanoe set out a day before Aden and Lynne in order to get me provisioned and ready for the off. When they arrived they had to borrow a plank of wood to get onboard as the lines had pulled me forward, well Pete L crawled aboard whilst Peter H held the plank (and it was none too steady).
After assessing the boat, they realised that they had to sort out the starboard nav light and clean the fridge as the power had tripped, meaning that anything that would have been fine to leave in the fridge had now gone off, and it was totally covered in mould. Yuck! After a thorough clean they decided to try and get a nav light from the chandlery, so tried to figure out what they wanted to say in Spanish before going. Upon arriving at the chandlery, they were presented with the owner, who was from Birmingham. One nav light and two happy crew later, I was all repaired, so they headed off for lunch. I didn’t see them again until the wee hours in the morning – but at least my nose was better!
Pete and Pete met Dave and John (the delivery skippers from Wigan who were delivering one of their own boats) and Lars and his family (the guy that doesn’t pay for marinas if he’s not asked to). They all went out and had a splendid evening. At this time Lynne and Aden were living it up in Bishop Stortford eating out a Mediterranean restaurant. The food was excellent – much better then the crisps on the bar at the Hilton!
After a very early start, Lynne and Aden took a bus and a taxi to Baiona (Pete and Pete had gone the whole way in a taxi), and received a sheepish phone call from Pete L to say that there was no rush as it was a public holiday in Spain, and we couldn’t leave until after we had bought some food. The usual comments were made along the lines of “So what exactly have you been up to that stopped you from provisioning the boat as planned?” But no excuses were really supplied. They were however told that a shopping list had been written up, and that the delinquent pair would go to the supermarket first thing in the morning, which seemed to appease the aggrieved pair slightly.
Upon arriving at the boat, Lynne had to break in as Pete and Pete were nowhere to be found. After leaving their things, they wandered up to the Yacht Club to find Pete and Pete sunning themselves at a table. In the afternoon we looked at the boat and did some odd jobs and Lynne inspected the rudder, which was fine. In the evening we went out to a local tapas bar (and when we say local, we mean a proper local one – not a tourist in sight) and had some really excellent grub.
The following day we got up a bit later then expected and hit the shops. Pete’s list seemed very long but we just about managed to fit everything in the trolley. Whilst wheeling the trolley back, we lost control slightly and skinned the skipper’s ankle – oops! After a bit of hobbling and a few drops of blood later, we made it to the boat. We are now experts at cornering around chicanes on pontoons.
We unloaded the trolley and started putting the provisions away, when Lynne realised that Pete and Pete had not been aware of a stock of food from the last trip hidden in the lazarette locker. They had clearly bought way too much food. Lynne returned the trolley to the supermarket whilst the boys finished readying the boat, including filling up the water tanks. We then set sail for Lagos on Friday the 13th at 10.45. Yes, unlucky for some, but not for us.
We saw loads of dolphins on the first day and had to motor as there was no wind. The sea temperature was 20.3 degrees. We had an excellent first supper, cooked by the master chef Pete H – a hot chicken Korma. It was very nice although we do think that the grit on the mushrooms detracted from the flavour slightly! Pete and Pete decided that they should practice being together on the boat as they were going to be on the boat for the actual race, so Lynne and Aden took the first watch.
Lynne spotted a pot that passed within half a boat length of the beam, so she went forward with a torch in case there were any others laid out in a row. As she stood on the bow there was a loud splash (which made her jump) and four dolphins decided to come and play in the bow waves. Lynne kept looking for pots and in one of the sweeps caught a shoal of flying fish in the beam of the torch, so called out to Aden. After a while she realised that the dolphins were playing in the light from her torch, so played tig with them. Aden got bored of sitting in the cockpit so came forward and played with the dolphins too. You can therefore imagine Pete H’s horror on the way back from the heads when he poked his head up, to find out if they needed anything, and there was no one in the cockpit. He got a torch and flashed it forward. Fortunately they saw it and waved, so he stopped panicking.
The same night we were also joined by a red dragonfly that managed to make Lynne jump as it buzzed around the chart table – not quite what you expect when you’re trying to do a fix. The dragonfly stayed with us until the morning when it flew off into the sunrise. At this point Pete and Pete decided to take a closer look at the lifejackets and discovered to their horror that there weren’t any gas cylinders in them. Upon waking up Lynne and Aden were instructed to check their jackets, both of which had a gas cylinder. They looked at Pete and Pete’s only to discover that they’d obviously been on watch for too long as they were hallucinating because all of the lifejackets had cylinders in them.
We managed to get half an hour’s sailing in before the wind died again and was bang on the nose. There were lots of fishing pots around and not all of them had poles on them. A few just looked like polystyrene boxes floating in the sea – we have no idea how the fishermen managed to find them again. Aden noticed that the top batten was missing, which we puzzled over for a while. In retrospect we think it came out at night during our watch as we did hear an unexplained noise. Despite being bombarded with flies, we’d had a lovely day in the sun and were lucky to watch a gorgeous sunset with swirling clouds – we even got a pic. That evening we had chicken and pasta in a tomato sauce, which (although the chicken didn’t resemble any chicken that I’d ever come across) seemed to go down ok.
Sunset on a Glassy Sea
On Saturday night the wind returned with a vengeance. It all started off so innocently. We were heading straight into the wind, motoring along quite happily. We had worked out that our average fuel consumption was working out at 4.5 litres per hour. We’d changed course and speed to avoid a ship and resumed it etc, all very normal. When Aden and Lynne came on watch they realised that the starboard nav light (the one that had been replaced) wasn’t working anymore, so the tricolour had to be put on. But then the wind managed to pick up but it remained on the nose. Although we were still motoring, we ended up having to change our course as the short chop made for a very uncomfortable ride and the boat was slamming down the waves, so no one could sleep when they were off watch. The boat consumes a lot more fuel when it’s on a choppy sea so we had to fuel up quite early in the morning as we had managed to use up 100 litres of fuel in 17 hours. We also discovered a slight leak around the forward hatch, which meant that if anyone slept in the port bunk they’d have to sleep on a wet patch – nice! A very tired crew watched a beautiful sunrise and tried not to growl at each other.
The port water tank was empty so we switched to the starboard tank. We even managed to sail for three minutes before the wind died again. We reached Lagos at 1600 on Sunday 15th October. We ran out of water later on that day – apparently when the starboard tank had been filled an airlock must have been created so it was never full. This isn’t too bad as there was a water maker onboard, but it still made us laugh – never get the skipper to do anything!
Upon arriving in Lagos we stopped on the pontoon outside the marina and went into the reception. When the paperwork was done, we ended up on a hammerhead, supposedly on a temporary basis, although we ended up staying there the whole time. We did a quick recce of the place and weren’t particularly impressed. It was like a milder form of Benidorm in Spain – full of tourists and all of the locals spoke English. All of the Liveaboards were like Del Boy – there was even a pub called Fools and Horses! You were hard-pressed to find anyone speaking Portuguese. That night we went out to a restaurant in the old quarter and it was awful. By this point we were wondering what kind of El Dorado we’d managed to get ourselves into. We managed to find a nice café near the boat, which soon became our local. Unfortunately our next door live on board neighbour wasn’t too happy about us returning to our boat after midnight – we weren’t the quietest of crew – oops!
We managed to get the boat scrubbed and sorted and then we decided to sort out the race provisions. At this point Aden went for a “wander” and we didn’t see him until we’d finished. The crew’s food is now sorted by week, and they are not allowed in the starboard snack locker until they are at least halfway through the race! Pete H has managed to lose his torch down a hole in one of the lockers in his aft cabin. We shall never see its guiding light shine again, may it rest in peace.
On Pete L’s last night we decided that we wanted to go out for a proper Chicken Piri-Piri, so we asked at our local pub where was good to go (he didn’t do Piri-Piri so we were safe to ask). He pointed out some green neon lights and told us to go there. Off we trotted like a good little crew and came across what looked like a cross between a Munich style beer hall and a school canteen. Three of us had the “tourist menu” (oh the shame) and Pete H just ordered the chicken. We had the most superb three course meal which, including drink came to €8.75 each! It was the best Chicken Piri-Piri that we’d ever had and a fun night was had by all. When we came to leave, it was raining outside, so we popped back in for a few more bevvies before returning to our local café. Understandably our neighbour was again slightly annoyed at our late arrival time. Pete L hardly slept that night as he had to pack, which meant that Lynne hardly slept either as he was banging around the saloon.
The Wonderful, Experienced, Reliable, Friendly Delivery Crew sample Piri-Piri Chicken
L to R : Lynne Hamilton, Pete Lanoe, Aden Clark and Pete Howe
Unfortunately Pete L managed to set his alarm 2 hours earlier then intended. Even worse, he didn’t wake up when it went off so he had to be woken up by the crew. Having reset his alarm he stumbled off and made it to the airport and home safely. The next morning half a can of Tanglefoot and a half-smoked cigar was found at the end of the pontoon – what a waste! On the last day the three of us went to the beach and went to our local’s sister café. We had a stroll along the beach whilst Pete H did some work, and debated going for a swim, but decided against it. After a gentle last day the three of us were homeward bound, enjoying the best of the airport lounges on our way.
And so I am left all alone again, although this time it is only for a week, and then the next stage of my adventure will begin. I’m really looking forward to it. The next-door neighbour has said he’ll keep an eye on me until they return because Pete H apologised for our behaviour. It’ll be nice to have someone keep an eye on me – especially with all of these storms that are around. I’m a bit scared that the lightning might strike. Still, I like to say a little poem to myself to keep my mind occupied…
While the toiling sea crashes
The wild wind howls,
And the lightning flashes
When the sun’s gone down,
But I am not frightened
I know it won’t last
There’s nothing to fear
Unless it hits my mast!
Ed : Total nautical miles 346. Nights at sea 2. Fuel used 260 litres.