Thursday 1st Sept.
Today marks one month since we left the mooring in the River Exe and we have been living at anchor since. We’ve only been in a marina once since arriving in A Coruña where we topped up our water tanks and did our washing, and I must say it wasn’t worth the €38 we paid for the privilege as the Wifi signal was more than useless and the ‘facilities’ consisted of two showers and three toilets per block, and one washing machine and dryer (for a 300 berth marina, which you pay to use). The main attraction, for most we presumed, was the many flashy restaurants which we didn’t go in…anyhow, it was necessary as there was no ‘short stay’ option as with some.
So, life at anchor is good. I love the feeling when we arrive at an anchorage and choose our spot; it’s like you’re own little plot of space when you’ve set your anchor and swing within the radius. Each move is like the start of a new holiday, we’ve fallen into a bit of a rhythm after we arrive when there’s a certain amount of jobs to do such as putting the sail covers on, putting the anchor ball up, tidying up any halyards on the deck etc. I usually give the inside a bit of a tidy and clean as somehow it always seems to get a bit messy with books I’ve been reading left out, pilot books and charts, washing up we’ve accumulated along the passage and things we have had to stow last minute being unpacked. Then we usually head into town and explore, maybe have a cerveza or two, and find a food shop.
We both love this feeling of being able to take your home with you and have come to acknowledge the fact that even though ‘home’ will always be where we originally put roots down and where our families and many of our friends are, it’s not necessarily where we’ll have to be to feel ‘at home’, especially if we’re able to travel within it!
Even though when you’re at sea you are constantly moving, there is an ultimate stillness about sailing, and though I haven’t grown up with it or even come into it from my own accord, it’s one of the many things I’ve come to love about it over the last year and a half of owning a boat.
If we are able to live this life we’ve built for ourselves – not a life of extravagance and possessions but simple things such as nourishing foods, places visited and treasured experiences, money is a necessary evil. We have a modest budget to try and stick to each day, and even though many days we don’t spend anything at all, we have to try and get any excess to build up into enough of a contingency that if anything major goes wrong, we have some savings to deal with it, and I keep a running total of what we’re spending. So we don’t really eat out, maybe once or twice so far, and it’s a good job a lot of places are cheap where we are at the moment however things will change as we get further down the coastline. We tend to try and find the local food markets and cook simple, cheap and healthy meals on board, catching our own fish is still the plan even though the buggers aren’t biting, accompanied by some good wine (which is really cheap also! We found a really nice local white wine called Albariño in Combarro). Our fridge space is tiny so we shop for fresh foods most days, we do have the luxury of a small freezer which is useful for off loading some of the charge from the solar panels and Spanish sunshine, but it’s mainly used for chilling down the beers quickly.
We’re getting more used to the Spanish siesta way now too. To start with we kept arriving places mid afternoon and forgetting that all the shops close until around 5pm, or losing track of the days and realising too late it’s Sunday and they don’t open at all, but now we tend to try and get to shore before they close at 1pm, and spend the afternoons getting jobs done on the boat or sailing to the next place. We sleep in much later than we’re used to as we tend to go to bed a lot later, as is the Spanish way, and being at sea seems to make you tired even if you don’t seem to be doing much! A night in a roly anchorage doesn’t help either, but we don’t mind as we can wake up when our bodies are ready. You’re sleep quality is only as good as the holding of your anchor, so to speak, so restless nights are common and even though we’ve held fine we’ve seen other boats go adrift in strong winds. I have a well founded suspicion Ben likes the “Man v The Elements” of it all (he calls it his caveman gene)…
I’ve realised how much time we spent apart when we were back in the UK, both working separately and often doing individual things in the evenings, which is normal for most couples. Here we are together 100% of the time and it’s taken a bit of time to adjust to each others routines. Don’t get me wrong we’ve been together for 11 years…long enough to know these things, but at home we’d have different work timings which made our mornings very separate so we both have our own ways and we’ve had to learn how to accommodate our differences within a small space.