Grocery shopping, a bit of site-seeing, new friends, serious leaks, and feeling overwhelmed
We’ve been in Gibraltar now for 6 days and I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions. Some good and some terrible. Overall, I’m feeling amazing, scared, overwhelmed, and useless.
On the positive side…
While I was typing in my journal along the quayside I looked up, felt the sun, stared at Britican (right in front of me), and felt elation. I felt as if I was truly thriving. There in front of me was my new floating palace. The sun warmed my body and I could see my family having fun investigating new areas on the boat. I felt as if all the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place.
We were all able to take some time out for a bit of sight seeing too. The four of us put on our sunscreen on and headed for the Gibraltar cable car. It takes you up to the top of the rock. When we arrived at the cable car there was a sign saying that due to strong winds the car was closed. That’s okay! We then progressed to a botanical garden area that housed a little zoo.
Sienna ran around pointing out beautiful flowers and running away from anything that looked like a bug and the rest of us took in the amazing views. We saw a variety of colors – pinks, purples, and greens offset by the beautiful blue Straights of Gibraltar in the background. I felt so peaceful and kept thinking, ‘this is the start of our explorations!’ It was so nice just to feel warm!
We’ve also been greeted by Gibraltar’s Meteorologist Steph (shown below with Sienna) and her lovely husband Steve. Before leaving on our great adventure I met Steph over Twitter and I must say it was so very nice to put a face to a name. Steph and Steve joined us for a couple of drinks and we had a great chat. We talked about the weather (obviously), our backgrounds, and a variety of other things. It’s so interesting to discover how people end up where they are – where they live and the profession they’ve chosen. Steph even offered to drive us around Gibraltar on her day off. How kind is that?!
And speaking about Twitter, another Twitter friend put a Gibraltar pilot book in the back of our tender while we were out. So many people slate social media but if people could realize that it’s a great way to connect with others they’d see the potential in it.
On the negative side…
Last night I found myself using a screwdriver to take apart wooden panels located behind our seating area. Luckily, while my husband and I were finding and ‘exercising’ all the seacocks we came across a rather serious leak. First of all, seacocks are levers that open and close inlets and outlets in the hull – so areas where water can come into the boat. On a monthly basis you want to keep these greased up and moving easily. Our boat has 23 of these little babies and it took us hours to find them all! Simon and I had floorboards pulled up all over the place.
Back to the leak. One of the bolts that hold our rigging down is to blame. The bolt goes through the top of the boat into a cupboard area behind our table area. The rigging is attached to the mast and is under serious tension so it’s not a job that we can fix. We need a professional. Fingers crossed that someone can fix it on Monday – a day after we were planning on leaving Gibraltar.
The leak wasn’t very manageable! The water was pouring into the boat. We did our best to cover the bolt from the top and stuff towels into the leaking area. Both Simon and Loryn woke up during the night to change the soaking towels. I wasn’t too worried about water getting into the boat as the bilge pump would push it out. I was more worried about the water ruining the beautiful woodwork.
Aside from the leak, we’ve had issues with our batteries and have discovered an internal leak from our aft head (back bathroom). Simon and I have no clue about anything and overall we’ve been feeling a bit useless.
We have books on boats, boat maintenance, engines, and sailing but they’re not helping
We don’t have a master resource that we can call upon to say, ‘what do you do if this happens?’ Yes, we have access to Google, but we don’t even know what question to ask!
After buying a hydrometer (recommended by a guy we called) and testing our battery acid we discovered that our batteries are all in excellent shape. Somehow the digital reporting device is wrong and needs to be reset. First of all, I had no idea that you could use a baster type device to suck up battery acid. Second of all, I didn’t know you could buy a £5 device to test it.
Part of me feels overwhelmed but there’s another part of me that keeps reminding myself to persevere. Heck, what choice do I have? I can’t bury my head in the sand. I need to use my problem-solving skills, keep a cool head, and get on with it! Just like I’ve been doing all my life.
I don’t know. Perhaps I was thinking that everything would be perfect to start off with and problems would come up later? Perhaps I’m just living through a massive transition and I need to chill out a bit. Hehehe. That’s probably the case.
Today, as I’m writing this, I’m feeling better
We’ll get everything sorted out. In fact, that’s part of the adventure. Nothing’s more exciting than not having all the answers and trying to figure them out.
We’re forming a routine but I’m not sure how long it will last
As far as our current routine goes, we all wake up in the morning and make some coffee using our special Italian coffee maker. We then walk ¼ mile to the marina showers and enjoy a wonderfully hot shower. Thereafter, Loryn and I go to Morrisons, a grocer store, and fill up 1 to 2 shopping carts of food and water. The first few days we loaded up our backpacks but in the last two days we’ve called a taxi to help us. In the last two days I think we’ve put 50 1.5 ltr bottles of water on the boat.
Thankfully, Loryn is cooking up a storm so that we have food for our 7-day voyage to Malta. Thus far she’s made chili, curry, two pasta bakes, soup, taco pie, beef stew, and a chicken Cajun dish. I cannot imagine myself trying to sort out the boat, talk to the press, look after Sienna, and cook too. I am so thankful that she’s with us. What a blessing.
Other than cooking, cleaning, and a bit of site seeing, we’ve been trying to get to grips with the yacht. She’s so big and there are so many cabinets, floorboards, and crevices. Every day I’m finding something new. Just yesterday I was pulling up a floorboard to find the grey water tank and I found a toolbox labeled, ‘Spare Engine Parts,’ and two pairs of wellington boots that the previous owner must have left!
And before we flew down from England, I created a daily, weekly, and monthly checklist. The daily checks include things for the generator and engine in addition to things like making sure the freezer and fridge water flows are working fine. On my list, I have, ‘Check Racors.’
Well…I’ve found the Racors but I don’t know what they are or what I need to do with them. Writing this makes me feel like I’m a total idiot. The learning curve is so steep. I just don’t know what anything is and that makes me feel so vulnerable.
I know. I know. It will change. And this is what learning is all about
So, that’s it for now. My friends Ene and Skipper Mike are on a flight down from England as I type. Ene’s going to join us on our first leg and take some spectacutlar photo’s and Skipper Mike is going to help us figure out how the heck we manage this humongous boat!
Here’s to feeling amazing, scared, overwhelmed and useless!
Next Chapter: 39. Sailing Gibraltar To Malta
Previous Chapter: 37. Life aboard our new yacht with the BBC, Daily Mail and Times in tow
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’