Is it fair to take her with us knowing all the challenges she’ll have to face? Or is there some kind soul out there willing to look after her till we get back?
the big trip
Getting ready for the big trip, there are so many things to do its difficult to get your brain in gear. There are so many things competing with each other for your time.
Obviously there is a ton of work to do to the boat to get her ‘Ship Shape’ for the trip. All the systems need to be serviced; engine, generator, self- steering, water maker, winches, pumps etc. Our SSB has to be set up and reconfigured to talk to a new computer, as the old one blew up. The Dinghy needs to be patched and a new cover made, and the list goes on….
In a few days’ time we are off to the boatyard to scrape back the hull to zero and apply Copper Coat. We know that won’t stop the dreaded beasties altogether but it will mean that we can at least clean the hull without rubbing off all the antifoul. We need to take the mast down and replace some of the 12 year old rigging. Our boat has very sophisticated B&R rigging with no backstay so those wires have been under a lot of tension for a long time and have probably earned their retirement, but we will see when we get the mast down.
We are in the fortunate position that we have been here many times before, we know what we are up against and we have a few t-shirts in the bag for getting ready for the off. We are not first timers, sailing out into the complete unknown. This may prove to be a ‘swan song’ trip for us as the boat now has to compete with a Motor Cycle tours business and a rural property.
Yet in spite of knowing what we are up against, the list is long and daunting and at times confusing. Not only is there the boat to get ready, but the house needs to be put in a state that we can leave it; or we need to find someone to rent it. We have had to find someone to keep the garden under control when we are gone so we don’t get a massive fine from the fire department. Wild fires are a huge issue here in Portugal and letting your plot go, puts all your neighbours at risk.
Then there is all the paperwork to sort before heading off the grid again. Everything needs to be sorted while we still have a proper address that people can reach us at. Here in Portugal all your bills have to be set up to be paid by direct debit or in person by a friend as its impossible to pay when the ‘system’ knows you are outside the country. Everything has a built in GPS these days and ‘Big Brother’ knows your if you are not home.
Then there are all the Visas which need to be applied for, while you are still in your home country, inoculations to get up to date and health and dental checks to take care of. A big stash of your usual medication needs to be ordered and the emergency drugs you might need if something bad happens on the trip, far from any doctor. The checks are not just for you though, what about the cat?
We never wanted to have a pet because we knew that sooner or later we would want to get wet feet again. But two years ago this little scraggly bag of skin and bones appeared on our doorstep looking for food. She was so weak and thin she could barely stand up. We felt so sorry for her we gave her some food, and the rest as they say, is history. Now we have the choice to either find some nice person to look after her while we are gone or turn her into a boat cat, but for that she needs to be got ready too.
She also needs the once over from the vet, the inoculations, the chip and the pet passport before we can go. It would be a big wrench for us to leave her, as she has got very attached to us, and we to her, but she’s a campo/country cat used to running about, chasing crickets and climbing trees. We’re worried she will find life aboard too sedentary and will miss her local feline friends. Also we took her on a little trial trip for a month last summer, she did very well adjusting to a different life. Although she wasn’t actually seasick though, she got so wobbly her legs wouldn’t hold her up and looked awful green about the gills when the weather got a bit lively.
We are running out of time now to find another good home for her and she and the ever lengthening list of jobs are starting to keep me awake at night. Ever notice how the lists only get longer? At least two jobs go on before one comes off. But…
If you wait until everything is done, you will never leave.
So we have checked the tides, which for our deep draft boat, is crucial and set the date. Hell and high water, ready or not, first week in September if the weather will play we are off!