Languishing in Lagos 37:06.8N 8:40.1W

Sat 28 Jun 2014 14:23
You may remember we have two rather important matters to sort out while here in Lagos. By mid morning on Wednesday, the day after our arrival, we had opened an account at the Nautical Centre Sopromar and their top engineer was on board playing with the chartplotter. Very quickly he found the problem with the touch screen not liking to be touched but the GPS fix being more lost than found took a little longer. He worked for three hours coming and going to the yard for his converter etc. Our converter was working and so was our old aerial but something was blocking the signal to the Chartplotter.
A software upgrade and restoration of factory settings and reconfiguration later and all was well. We left it on for 24 hours and it kept signal and didn’t squeak once. Also we are findings all sorts of new screens we have never seen before. We have learned that with the fitting of a chip we can take photos of our bow area (dolphins and reefs) from our camera mounted half way up the mast and even take photos from  the chart insets and nautical atlases and put them onto the chartplotter! Rob is delighted with his new toy.
Now as for the other digestive matter! Late afternoon another engineer came aboard and rummaged around in the forepeak. After a few minutes of topping up the tube from the tank to the mascerator pump he then emptied the lot into the marina. The problem appears to have been an air lock caused when the tank shifted forward during the Biscay Gales. We will not use it again until we can put a harness around it to hold it in position. Total cost of those two essential jobs at 38 euros per hour was 189 euros, and we have heard from others in the marina that they always do a thorough job. I like it.
The Rally officially came to an end on the Wednesday evening with a lovely meal and prize-giving and nightcaps on eachothers’ boats. We won the first overall in our class for the last leg and Rob won the smiley miley competition by estimating the distance taken by Andrew, Joel and Johnny on their way to Lagos to within one mile. The next morning Andrew and Joel came by to say goodbye and present us with a memory stick of the slide show that played the night before at the dinner. They were on their way to the next rally, the ARC Baltic starting in a week.
Later in the day we went to pay at Sopromar and wandered along the aisles of shinny bits amazed to see actual diesel engines sitting ready on the shelves and a greater choice of anodes than at many of the chandleries at home. Above one aisle was a black and white photo of Largos 30 years ago. A little fishing village unlike the bustling market town it is today. A delightful haunt for visitors especially many British both on yachts and by plane which ensures the supermarkets are full of what we are used to, corn flakes, Ribena and Countrylife Butter, am I sad?
Walking back from our first visit to town, feeling a little sorry the rally is over and soon all the familiar faces will have moved on and all we see will be strangers. Back on board we started chatting with the charming couple on the Malo 46 next door and after a few moments I pondered that the concept of strangers is just a matter of time and talk.
A number of us decided on a Cobb BBQ that evening. Infinity, Shiraz and Zoonie all have Cobb BBQs which are round and domed and can cook all sorts of food, including whole chickens on a variety of different plates over a central ignited coconut-fibre brick. They will cook for in excess of two hours and because they are insulated you can sit them on deck and no harm is done to the deck surface. We took them to an out of the way corner of the marina esplanade. Salads of many types were brought along and with the addition of plenty of drink we had a memorable last evening, most of us still together until the trundling of wheeled suitcases started up the pontoons as crew made their way home.
Yesterday, Friday, was wash day and Zoonie was festooned, not only with her overall flags but clothes all along the rails and specially rigged lines, drying in the sunshine and strong winds that characteristically blow down the river valley and across the marina. While nature’s own tumble dryer was at work we went to explore the older area of Lagos behind the canal/river front. It was a photographers delight and I will let them speak for themselves.
Naturally such a journey on a hot day needs refreshment and as we supped cold Super Bock lager I noticed an off licence. Well we were out of Courvoisier which is serious enough but when we spied the 7 star Metaxa we were swayed by the reasonable prices and included a litre bottle of Jameson Whisky as well. Need to have something to offer our friends at nightcap time.
This morning we went shopping at the farmers’ market for fresh fruit and veg. Seeing local ladies arrange their produce you could imagine what sort of small holding they had. One elderly lady sat on the floor and her produce included dried bunched herbs, fresh and dried figs, olives and walnuts all of which like hot, dry and maybe an arid environment. I just hoped she made enough to live on. Back on board, having managed to stow everything, the kind lady on the Malo next door presented us with a bag of spuds, “I don’t know why I bought them, we’re flying home tomorrow.” Their two daughters have presented them with six grandchildren, 3 girls and triplet boys within the last two years, so they spend time between home near Falmouth and here.
Tomorrow I must do a big cook-up and divide it between plastic punnets and refridgerate them for daily main meals on passage, its easy then to cook rice, pasta or potatoes to go with them.
The weather is all fair for a departure to Santa Maria in the Azores on Monday. Northerlies force 4/5 for the first 3 days and nights will get us well on our way across the 820 miles. The ARC Europe called in there recently so we’ll keep our rally flag flying.