Saturday 25 April 2020

Diary of a live aboard during lockdown - CV Week 5

Sunday 12 April to Saturday 18 April 2020

Week five started on a high as it was Easter Sunday and although the weather was wet and gloomy, it was a day to enjoy.  Normally I would have gone to church as the mass on Easter Sunday is usually very joyous and uplifting.  This year there was no service, except for those being broadcast on the television, but the bells did ring out at midday.

I couldn't help but reflect on the difference to last year.  We had spent the Easter weekend in Estepona and Easter Sunday had been a wonderful day. I had gone to mass at our local church and seeing all the children, parents and grandparents in their Sunday best had reminded me of when I was a child and we would do the same.  Mark had joined me for the procession from the church and we had followed it for a while.  We then had lunch in a very local restaurant surrounded by lots of families all talking and laughing and we felt a real part of the community. No wonder we love Estepona so much! 

Easter Sunday treats
We did celebrate in style though with video calls to the grandchildren (who were bouncing off the walls with the sugar rush) in the morning, followed by a full roast dinner, nice bottle of red wine, delicious rosquillas from our friend Paci and Laphroig from our friend Peter (this was Mark's treat!). All in all, a lovely day. 

With the weather forecast for the week continuing to be unsettled we looked at getting on with a project inside the boat.  There were a number that we could have chosen, but Mark decided that he would 'crack on' with the aft cabin.  

Man on a mission!
First major project was to remove the foam/glue in the storage area.  This would involve removing everything that was stored there which is mainly sails, dinghy equipment and our sailing gear and as this had to go on deck, timing with the weather was critical.  Removing the foam/glue was a long tedious job using the heatgun, scrapers and the electric multitool.  As you can imagine, it was rather a messy job but Mark managed to get it done and together we cleaned the aft cabin storage area and got everything back in place before the next band of rain came through.

Second project in the aft cabin took a bit longer and involved having to sleep on the bunks in the cabin for two nights.

Back in winter,  before Coronavirus and lockdown hit us, we had decided to insulate our side of the aft cabin (where we sleep). We had made this decision based on our experience last year in the Balearics. Mark had already bought the insulation so we were ready to go.

Before we left England for our adventure,  Mark had insulated the ceiling in the saloon cabin with reflective lining which reflects the heat off the boat and keeps the temperature cooler than otherwise could be.  In the heat of summer last year and using an infrared thermostat, he took a reading of the saloon cabin ceiling and the heads ceiling, which highlighted a difference of between 5° and 10°, a lot when it's  35°+ outside.

🤔 no words needed!
In preparation, I had previously stripped the foam and glue off the walls, so it was all primed and ready to go.  The plan was to first glue on the insulation and then cover the insulation with cork, which could then be either varnished or painted. We set about removing the mattress and covering everywhere with protective plastic.

To cut a very long story short, we only got as far as putting up the lining as we ran out of adhesive and with everywhere shut, couldn't buy anymore.  The fumes of the glue from the lining forced us to sleep in the saloon, with the aft door shut but aft cabin window open and fans on to try and expel the smell.

As with all projects we do, why do one when you can do three!  Next day, Mark decided it would be a good time to fit an extractor fan in the aft cabin above our bed and do some plumbing ready to fit a flexi tank under our bed.  Unfortunately it wasn't possible to complete both these jobs in one day and as much as I love the idea of sleeping under the stars, I didn't fancy sleeping with a hole in the roof with possible showers on the way. Hence our second night on the bunks in the saloon.

I'm glad to say though that true to his word the work was completed the next day and order was restored. And boy was that bed comfy after two nights on cushions with little foam.

The Coronavirus situation in Spain this week has, if not improved, at least plateaued and people are hopeful that the measures put in place by the Spanish Government are working with the results being fewer new cases and less deaths than last week. As of Saturday, the total number of people infected with Coronavirus stood at 99,576 and sadly  the death toll had reached 20,043. There is still a long way to go before free movement will be restored, but hopefully we are heading in the right direction.

There was a semblance of normality returning this week in the fishing port with the lifting of restrictions on non-essential workers.  It was quite reassuring to hear the sound of the fishing boat engines and the voices of the fishermen as they set off early in the morning for their days fishing.  Watching them return was a treat too and I know the Seagulls were overjoyed!

Birthday celebrations 
The highlight of the week though has to be our grandson Finlay's 6th birthday.  How do you celebrate a birthday when the family can't get together? You have a party via videoconferencing of course. It was great fun and was really special, especially when we sung happy birthday whilst he blew the candles out on his cake.  True 21st century celebration.

I think he had a good time, but after an hour of complete chaos I had to have a very large glass of wine!

Friday 17 April 2020

Diary of a live aboard during lockdown - CV Week 4

Sunday 5 April - Saturday 11 April 2020

The week started on a positive high note. The marinero informed us that the postman had tried to deliver a parcel for us but as there was no one in the office they had to take it back.  It was waiting for collection from the post office in town if one of us wanted to go and get it.

That was it, the excuse I'd been waiting for to get out and have a proper walk. I would go and collect the parcel and there was no arguing!

Hair, makeup and decent outfit on I was ready to go.  But, before I could leave, Mark insisted I wear a mask. That seriously cramped my style. Never mind, I was not to be put off.  Out I went into the big wide world, clutching the postal notification in my hand as if my life depended on it.

Walking along the streets, it wasn't as quiet as I thought it would be as people were busying around doing their shopping. Arriving at the post office, there were several people in front of me and it was one out, one in. I ended up waiting about 20 minutes for my turn, but I didn't care, it was a change of view and a bit of people watching.

Parcel collected (Mark's new socks!) I decided to go to the fruit and veg shop close by to pick up fresh fruit and veg that's grown locally. Again there was a queue to go in, but the wait was worth it to be able to buy carrots with their tops still on, together with freshly picked avocados and oranges.

On the way back to the marina I talk a short walk on the promenade which is technically out of bounds but I was desperate to see the beach and sea.  It was really sad to see the beach cordoned off when only a few weeks ago families had been celebrating Dia de Andalucia. It was empty, except for somebody by the waters edge with a metal detector which was really random considering a) we're in lockdown and b) the beach is out of bounds. But hey, each to their own! 

As you can imagine, trying to keep occupied and motivated during lockdown can be challenging at times so we try to vary our activity as much as possible. For me, I've set myself a goal of walking 5 miles a day, which in itself isn't hard, but can be challenging when you only have a 100 metre path to use.

Mark is continuing with his fishing and has progressed to the end of the pontoon in the hope that he'll have more luck catching them as they swim past. He really hoped that he could catch some fish for Good Friday as it's the one day of the year I refuse to eat meat day (the Catholics amongst us will get it) but unfortunately he didn't catch anything so it was off pre-bought prawns and octopus cooked up in homemade paella!

As well as fishing, he's busy on a new race on the virtual regatta. This time they are sailing from Cape Verde to Cadiz, racing 16th century 'Caravels'. It's a 2,000 mile race and by Saturday he'd covered about 1,000 miles. As it's done in real-time, it's made him realise what a long slog ocean racing is. 

In between rain showers (don't ask, the weather is awful at times) we've managed to fit in a few jobs that were on the endless 'to do' list. Of particular note is the fridge fan, fitted next to the fridge compressor so that it keeps it cool.  It has the added bonus of having a light fitting as well, so we can have a funky illuminated sink if we want! He has also been busy adding a wifi AIS set, fixing a bad connection on the vhf radio arial and an exhaust temperature alarm so that we get a warning if the engine is overheating. For my bit, I've been polishing the stainless steel, removing rust spots and generally revitalising it all.   

As we entered the fourth week of lockdown, the extension to the State of Alarm was approved by the Spanish Government, so there will be no movement until at least 25 April.  Although Spain appears to have reached the peak of infections and deaths,  there is talk of a further extension until 10 May albeit some sectors may return to work earlier.  As of Saturday, the total number of Coronavirus infections stands at 163,027 and the number of deaths due to Coronavirus is 16,606. Social distancing in Spain is still a critical part of trying to get control of the virus and to this end, the police are taking a firmer approach to people who are recklessly breaking quarantine, with reports of hefty fines and for persistent offenders, a short jail term.

It's not all doom and gloom though, there have been some positive highlights to the week.  With the closure or restaurants and bars around the marina, we have noticed Sparrows searching for food so we've sort of adopted them and make sure that they have a daily supply of fresh. In return, they chirrup us in the morning which gladdens your heart in these uncertain times. 

Monday 6 April 2020

Diary of a live aboard in lockdown - CV Week 3

Sunday 29 March - Saturday 4 April 2020

With the sun shining and another two weeks of lockdown in place, we have, for us, had quite a lazy week.  Well, when I say lazy, I mean we've been doing light work rather than hard physical jobs.

The week started with a beautiful sunny day and a 2 mile run on our pontoon. Being plugged in to Steve Wright's Sunday love songs helped me through.  I'd forgotten how much harder it is running in full sun!

At last, lunch in the sun!
It was such a lovely day that we took the canvas tent off Offbeat and had our first meal of the year in full glorious sunshine.   

Naturally it had to be accompanied by wine and beer!

The ever changing weather! 
Tuesday saw the return of the wind and rain and it's been like for most of the week.  We try and keep our spirits up with keeping busy doing project work, baking, playing card games, reading or updating the blog.  

Mark has been busy this week with his virtual race as it drew to a close on Friday night. He was leading in his group of friends and as they were only a few miles behind him and he didn't want to loose his advantage. 

Keeping the boredom at bay
So, Mr Competitive stayed up until 5am Saturday morning to make sure he came in first in their group.  Overall he came 4,080th out of 34,000 competitors which is good going considering it was his first time in a virtual race. The next one starts tomorrow from Cape Verde Islands to Cadiz, racing 16th Century 'Caravels', which will keep him busy.

We try and keep up to date with what's happening in Spain and the UK even though at times it can be hard going.

This week was a particularly difficult week for Spain, with the number of new cases and the number of deaths increasing every day.  Thursday was indeed a bleak day, when 950 deaths were reported in a 24 hour period.  This figure will most likely increase as it is currently counted by those who died in hospital. The current number of reported cases of Coronavirus are 130,759 and reported deaths stands at 12,418.  Sadly, these figures place Spain as the second highest country of recorded cases (second to th US).

Such is the strength of feeling across Spain to try and stop the virus spreading any further, the Government announced on Saturday a further extension to the State of Alarm meaning that the country will continue with its enforced lockdown until April 25.  For us that means no movement from Estepona at all, not that we would want to leave without saying goodbye to our friends. 

Speaking of which, we have made good friends with the ladies who look after the marina and clean the facilities. We tend to see them most days, either to wave and shout 'hola' or have a chat with them (observing the 2 metre rule).  It's a great way for us to practice our Spanish and for them to practice their English and we often share stories of our children and families. 

Friday morning one of them, Paci, was calling to us from the pontoon.  Mark went to see what was up, but nothing was wrong, she had just brought us a selection of homemade cakes.  Her mother is with her and loves to bake and we were the lucky recipients. 

The cakes were traditional Easter cakes that are made to celebrate Semana Santa (Easter Week) and as everyone is confined to their homes this year, what better way to celebrate than to eat lots of sugary cakes. Delicious!