28 03 2012
We're to the Place We're Leavin'
It may be that finally we can leave Almerimar in good conscience and with safe conditions.
The Levanter, now four days long and scheduled for another three, has not subsided winds continue gusting to 30 plus. We still have three coats of Cetol to put on the toerail, but...
It is within grasping range. And so we will tie up some loose ends and answer some questions posed by readers before we set off:
How DId Quiz Night Turn Out?
It was the worst of times; it was the best of times. The quiz was a total bust. Designed to produce a perfect score of 50 the winning table of eight people managed only to provide 18 correct answers. 18/50. The low table achieved only 6 points.
British quiz contestants are not used to not doing well and they are quite vocal about whose fault it is when that happens.
Of course neither are they used to an in your face Canadian lawyer deflecting and reflecting the blame. All done in good humour of course. For some reason this gained the BC and me the approval of the room and now we seem to be known over a much larger part of the marina.
It was good fun and I hope everyone had a good time in spite of the dismal scores.
Why Haven't You Left Yet?
This question from a couple of Ontario friends has a simple answer. Two days ago we enjoyed a high temperature of 16 degrees Celsius in Almermar. In Toronto daytime temperatures topped 23. Are you sailing yet? Gee, why not?
If You Hate the Regulations, Taxes and Heat of the Mediterranean Why Don't You Go North to France, Netherlands and the UK this summer?
A darn good question. Among the answers:
1. Same reason we came to the Med in the first place: the BC wanted to and I saw no reason not to. Our sailing strategy is to never be afraid something until we have assessed it for ourselves. In many ways the sailing community is full of bitchy little school girls. Exaggeration is rife.
A lot of functionless grumpy old men fill their days trying to "lead" their accolytes to safety and freedom. Of course to do this the aging eunichs must keep the accolytes afraid.
It would be my observation that two thirds of the reports of bad conditions, violence, piracy, abuse by government and over regulation is false testimony repeated to advance the interests of the speaker in one way or another. Personal investigation is the only way to run your life. And for you boaters still holed up in Green Turtle Cay waiting for someone else to tell you that it is safe to "run the Whale" and get to the Sea of Abaco, well, I got nothing to say.
The fact that since arriving we have discovered many reasons not to stay here does not invalidate the decision to come. If we already knew everything there was to find out about Europe there would not be much adventure in this would there?
2. Northern Europe is in the Wrong Direction in Many Ways. To go North we must fight strong southbound winds and current. The steady state current in the Atlantic off Portugal's west coast is 1/2 knot southbound. Normally the wind pushes this to 1 knot or better. The Portuguese trades limit northbound travel to a few hours in the morning. If a sailor is lucky. Offshore conditons are better than coastal but weather can get very rough very fast and without warning, as we discovered last fall.
3. We cannot take the French canals. The Canal du Sud, which exits the Med and carries a boat north via connecting canals all the way to the French Atlantic coast has a control depth of 1.5 metres or 4.9 feet at mid channel, less elsewhere. Meredith draws 5.5 feet and that is in salt water. Canal water is fresh and so would our draft would be even deeper. It is a no go option.
Are You Having Fun Yet?
Wintering in Almerimar has been informative and entertaining.
We will never do it again.