Two days to go.

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Sat 21 Nov 2015 08:33
ARC | Day -2

Two days to go.

Chris was elected (as the lightest) to go up the mast to pad the spreaders. Skipper did the honours on the winch. (Electric. Did we mention this boat has everything?) Mark rounded up all the smelly t-shirts and headed to the laundry. Time to close the loop on provisions not yet on board: Peter and Frank headed back to the Hiperdino.

Since we're a Moist boat, one beer per day per man is allowed by the skipper for morale purposes. So that's 10 slabs. All loaded and ready to go. We add some Cava for celebrating the half way point. Now it's just details: what do the Spanish use for kidney beans, for our chili con carne? Alubia Negrita, now you know.

Back on board, Chris's ingenuity in stringing nets around the saloon will soon bear fruit (literally). Our delivery of veg and fruit arrives; Mark and Frank prepare buckets with a mild solution of Milton, washing each individual item. Peter's on stowage detail. The advice is to leave all cardboard ashore because boxes are potential nests for cockroach eggs. As we get busy on the pontoon rinsing everything, we realise that it might have been better to spec by the kilo rather than the item. 40 tomatoes? Great, but they're HUGE. Likewise the apples: pontoon passers-by wonder if we are a crew of twelve.

This all takes longer than expected: now the saloon is strewn with nets holding bananas, carrots, tomatoes, apples, onions, garlic and celery. Wrap the carrots in tin foil, goes the advice, it saves them from drying up. Don't put onions with spuds. Every available corner below is now packed with tins, bottles, jars and packets. We've put 60 litres of bottled water aboard, as backup in case the water maker fails. 60 litres of long-life milk. As evening falls, we take a view on bringing so many apples: seeing the excess still on the dock, the charming young lady two boats down comes by and chats to Steve. "Make us an offer," skipper says. Thirty quid, or a homemade chocolate cake, comes the reply. That's the elevenses sorted so.

Basically we're sorted now with food. Much banter about consuming your regulation 250 mls of milk on cornflakes, eating your daily apple so that we get through everything evenly. Chris (racer) grumbling at the thought that the galley might ask the helm to come up to wind for a sec so that we can weigh stew ingredients! Nobody will starve, that's for sure.

As evening falls, the big news is the arrival of our final crewmate Mike, one of Frank's partners on La Chacharoona. He's just finished moving house, so is ready for the trip in more ways than one. After omelettes for dinner (thanks Frank) it's time for swift showers and a smarten-up. Crew shirts are donned for the farewell party in the posh Club Nautica, where the tourist board has sponsored a live band and free bar.

As fireworks round off the evening, we stroll back in high spirits. Today was productive: much teamwork in evidence. Male bonding? No doubt about it - and vital for the passage ahead, as Steve knows.

Tomorrow is our final full day before the off, and Steve is happy that we're ready. We need to get over to the fuel dock, maybe get a short sail in, do the safety briefing, pick up the final fresh provisions. Then a big tidy-up and storage prep for putting to sea on this superb Nordship. Stay tuned!