Tuesday 23 June 2020

Diary of a liveaboard during lockdown - CV Week 13

Sunday 7 June to Saturday 13 June 2020

Monday morning and the whole of Andalucia moved in to Phase 3 of de-escalation.  For us it was a week early as the Province of Malaga had been held back a week, but as the number of new cases continued to decline over the course of the week, the Government agreed that Andalucia could move into the next phase as one.  

It would mean though, no restrictions on personal movement, restaurants could open 50% of their interiors, shops, shopping centres and cultural buildings could open to 50%.  This was it, we were reaching the end of lockdown and would soon move into the new norm, whatever that may look like!

To celebrate moving into the next phase, we took a long walk to the end of the promenade.  We hadn't done this walk since before lockdown as we were quite nervous going out to start with, but as we've progressed through the phases and we've observed how seriously people take the wearing of masks and social distancing,  our confidence has grown to venture further.  The view from the end of the promenade is one of our favourites and with a chilled glass of wine in hand, we were treated to glorious views of Gibraltar and Morocco. 

Work wise, we were in finish off job mode so we sanded and painted the galley splashback and small table for our cabin.  It's surprising how long it actually takes,  given the sanding and drying time in between coats, but at least it's done now, is in place and I'm really pleased with it. 

Another job we cracked on with was fitting our new cockpit cover. Mark had fitted one for our friends Peter and Leslie who are stuck in England and we were so impressed with it we decided it was time to ditch our worn out sunshade, curtain and piece of gazebo that made us look like sea gypsies and invest in something that would provide us with more space and look nice too.  We are really pleased with it, it's so spacious and airy, it's like have a shaded patio on board! 

Since we moved into the de-escalation phase, the weather has been glorious so Mark went out sailing with his friend Isaac for a few hours along the coast. He said it was great to be out on the sea again, under sail, a genuine feeling of freedom. He must have enjoyed it as they didn't return until after dark!

The highlight of the week for both of us was when we received a copy of an oil painting of Offbeat.  As a thank you for looking after his boat, our friend Peter had used a photo he had taken of Offbeat when we sailed to Ceuta and had painted in oils.  It looks absolutely amazing and we were so pleased with it we've made it our cover photo for our blog.

We really look forward to seeing them again soon and to hanging the painting on offbeat.

Monday 15 June 2020

Diary of a liveaboard during lockdown - CV Week 12

Sunday 31 May to Saturday 6 June 2020.

The week started with the happy announcement that the province of Malaga would move into Phase 2 on Monday.  This was great news for local businesses as it meant they could expand their available seating areas and open the interior for 50% of normal capacity.  Just as well because the weather at the start of the week was miserable, rain wind and thunderstorms. Apparently not usual weather for the Costa del Sol this time of year, but certainly becoming the 'norm' for us!

The weather improved later in the week, which was just as well as we had bought a new sun shade for the fore deck and someone was eager to get it up and fitted.  I have to say, it does an excellent job and does look a better than the various bits of curtain and gazebo we did have up.  We were so pleased with it that we splashed out and bought a matching cover for the cockpit.  

One of the restrictions lifted in Phase 2 was accessing the beach.  Walking along the promenade over the last couple of weeks with the beach cordoned off had been quite a sad sight, so with no restrictions in place,  I expected to see the beach packed.  How wrong I was.  I walked along the promenade for a couple of miles and was shocked by the lack of people on the beach, bearing in mind what we'd seen in England.  In total there was probably a couple of hundred at most.  They really are taking the advice of slowly slowly serious!

Monday saw the fish dock spring back to life.  Over the last few months there had been some activity, with smaller fish boats going in and out but now, the big boys were back in business.  We can only assume that demand has increased now that restaurants are open and whilst not at full capacity,  they are certainly able to cater for larger numbers.  It wasn't until the dock sprung back to life that we realised how much we'd missed the noise and chatter of the fishermen. Hearing them again was very reassuring. 

Meanwhile,  back on Offbeat, it was time to finish off some jobs that had been hanging around.  Mark got busy finishing the aft cabin where we sleep. As much as I love 70s disco, you can only sleep with shiny silver insulation for so long.  So, to finish the cabin off and to get rid of the cork that had been hanging around for weeks, Mark glued the cork to the wall and ceiling. It does look nice now it's finished, but we can't make up our mind whether to varnish it or paint it.  Oh well, that's a project for next winter!

For my part, I was on sewing duty again.  We had to make some adjustments to the new foredeck shade, so whilst Mark was glueing and corking, I was sewing and hemming.

The week ended on a high again, as we celebrated our granddaughter Olivia's 13th birthday.   It's hard to believe she's now a teenager,  the years have just flown by, but she's growing into a beautiful young lady and we hope to be able to celebrate her birthday with her properly when she comes to visit. 

Saturday 6 June 2020

Diary of a live aboard during lockdown - CV Week 11

Sunday 24 May to Saturday 30 May 2020

Estepona is slowly coming back to life as we ease our way through de-escalation and head into 'the new norm'. There was some disappointment by people around us that we hadn't moved into Phase 2 with the rest of the province, but as shops, restaurants, bars and cafes gradually start to open it is clear to see that the wearing of protective equipment and continued social distancing has been accepted by the majority.  

This was confirmed when I booked an appointment at the beauticians and received a message the day before my appointment stating that upon arrival I should wait outside until they were ready for me to enter.  Upon entering, I would have my shoes sanitised and my temperature taken and I was asked to wear a mask and gloves.  Hand sanitizer would be provided.  At the end of the message, it read "I will protect you, please protect me".I think that's fair enough and if it helps us all get back to 'normal' so be it.

With scorching sun and heat, we have been fairly laid back this week.  If there is work to be done, we tend to do it in the morning before it gets too hot.  Out of curiosity we took the temperature in the full one day, but the thermometer only goes up to 50°C.

The highlight of our week has to be our walk in the Cerro de la Matrona in the foothills of Sierra Bermeja. We set out early in the morning so as to comply with our time schedule and to enjoy the walk before it got too hot.  Our friend Edita was our guide and what was going to be a one hour stroll ended up being a three hour hike, but it was well worth it and the views across the hills towards Ronda and out over the Mediterranean were stunning. I can safely say that the walk was good for our souls and confirmed that walking in the hills and mountains of Andalucia this year will make up for not getting to Sardinia and Corsica. 

Mark's treat of the week was getting out on the sea.  Our neighbour Manuel, who has a beautiful Saffier 26 day boat moored opposite us on the pontoon turned up on Saturday morning to take her out for the morning and asked Mark if he would like to join him. Without hesitation and within minutes, he was changed and ready to go. As they set off, I took some video of them heading out into 20 knot winds. Mark came back after three hours damp from the sea spray, crusted with salt and a huge grin on his face. "That was fun" he said.

Hopefully if the rate of new infections and deaths continues to fall across Malaga, we will enter Phase 2 next week, which will mean more freedom for everyone: restaurants can open their interiors, markets can start up again, exercise times are less restrictive, the beaches open  and we can travel or sail across the province.