Editors note: As mentioned earlier in this blog the Captain is responsible for correcting Coach’s spelling and grammar mistakes. As I can’t spell my way out of a paper bag please don’t waste your time pointing out any mistakes to Coach, he doesn’t care.
Well it’s been two weeks since the old man landed in Paris so it’s about time to update his progress with preparing Starsplitter III (SS3) for his up-coming voyage to the new world (although there have been reports from La Rochelle that he is finding enjoyment in the old world and may delay his departure indefinitely).
My scheme to have video cameras and live Wi-Fi (or wee-fee as they say in France) installed on SS3 by the Lagoon commissioning team (being a Brittany, I have a French Connection) has allowed me to keep an eye on the captain during his time aboard. However, because he escapades ashore are often more entertaining due to his somewhat juvenile behavior I have succeeded in getting Joyce to program his new eye phone to transmit a live audio feed whenever the phone is on (we tried video but the only thing we saw besides the inside of his pants pocket were his obsessive google searches for news on the 2018 Jets draft class – he’s such a looser).
Today finds our captain and his crack crew of Joyce, Maury and Jim (last names withheld at the request of the crew) located half way between La Rochelle, France and A Coruna, Spain, steaming at 9kn for an arrival time of noon tomorrow. The wind is non-existent today but is forecast to pick up later this evening. They left LR yesterday at 12:29 and have motor-sailed the entire trip to date.
Based on my boat-cam observations, the Captain was born for life at sea. He stays busy with the following activities: eating; sleeping; keeping a watch (when he can’t talk someone into taking over for him); staring at the stars (thus the boat name); jumping into the icy waters of the Bay of Biscay while SS III was stopped for oil level inspection; and more sleeping. He’s living the life while I’m taking care of his house and Woody, and that’s a handful of responsibility.
The captain and Joyce completed another successful passage from Vigo, Spain to Viana do Castelo, Portugal. 43 miles under motor for 85% of the voyage due to lack of wind. Spain and Portugal are experiencing a stultifying heat wave with temps well over 100 degrees F in Lisbon extending north well into Spain. The AC units on SS III are cranking out the cool breezes so the old man will stave off heat stroke as long as his generator works. He and Joyce had no problem handling the boat for this passage.
My life in Annapolis is still pretty good considering I’ve been abandoned by my master for most of a six-month period. Woody and a cadre of dog walkers (hats off to Hanna) have kept me fed and happy and I even snagged a bird the other day when Mark from “Time to Pet” was walking me in Eastport. All I manage to catch when my person walks me are discarded chicken bones from the Royal Farms chicken outlet just a block from my house (what a great location; eight great places to eat and drink plus a fried chicken outlet within three blocks of our house) – life is good, if not short.
Back in Portugal, I see the old man working on our blog while Joyce is shopping in the old town. According to Wikipedia, they sailed past the town where C. Columbus first made landfall upon his return from the Caribbean – so that must be true.
As you know my last entry was almost two weeks ago, clearly my person is way too busy to share his daily activities with my fans (he apparently turned off the boat cam) although I really don’t know why anybody would waste their time reading about some senior citizen’s daily activities which include going to the bathroom 18 times and monitoring his position on the waitlist for the “Golden Years” assisted living facility in Key West.
He and Joyce, with the great help of Ann and Warren, successfully navigated the coasts of Spain and Portugal from A Coruna to Cascais, just 20 miles from Lisbon. This voyage included a passage around Spain’s infamous Cabo Finisterre (aka “The Cape of Death” due to the many ship wrecks off its headland). He made Joyce keep watch for the rounding as he was huddled in his cabin making sure he had plenty of rest for the remainder of the voyage.
I see that he just deposited his last crew members (Ann and Warren) at the fuel dock at the Cascais Marina and he is now alone on SS3 with absolutely no excuse for not updating his activities. Joyce extended her stay an extra week at the request of the captain as well as Ann and Warren – they all realized life on board without Joyce would be rather chaotic and unpredictable. Worth a mention – Warren ordered sardines for dinner one night and had the entire wait-staff laughing at his poorly executed de-boning technique (sorry Warren, Ann reported this to me and promised to buy me a fresh chicken breast if I included it in my blog).
Cascais is unlike most seaside towns in Portugal, 20 miles from Lisbon, it incorporates the best elements of Monte Carlo, Palm Beach and Key West without the attitude of superiority characteristic of their citizens. The architecture, beaches, great seafood restaurants and low-cost, high-end wine have combined to cause the old man to book a slip at the marina for the next 35 days. Visitors are welcome!
Day three (or is it four) alone, and at anchor; I can hear the old man mumbling about how much he enjoys the solitude of life on the hook with no one around to point out his many missteps (it’s a good thing he is still not aware of the boat cam’s all-telling eye).
I saw him attempt some exercise activity yesterday as he donned his bathing suit (he thought about skinny dipping but there were too many women and children on the nearby beach and he wanted to avoid another incarceration – see last year’s Canada blog post). There is no gulf stream flowing off the Portuguese coast, so the Atlantic’s temperature here makes Ocean City water seem like the tropics. His intention was to swim three laps around the boat and then drink some wine…he missed the swiming mark by 2.95 laps although he still drank the wine. Swimming in ice water was how he described the experience.
As there are no public dingy docks in the area he is forced to pay the marina $10 for six hours of dingy-docking-time, including the use of the showers and laundry, although since his crew left I don’t think he has used either of these amenities. This may explain why, when dining on shore, his table for one always seems to in a breezy location.
Bill and Kay from Annapolis arrived in Lisbon yesterday and my person took the train into Lisbon to have dinner with them and check out their very spacious hotel digs. As you know I only have audio capabilities when he is ashore so my reporting on his trip will not be the whole truth; because he mumbles to himself with increasing frequency it’s difficult for me to discern whether he is having a genuine human interaction or merely talking to himself.
I do know this, because he is alone at anchor he is required to remain fairly sober while ashore in order to successfully execute the following late night tasks: 1) find, board and untie the dingy, 2) start the motor, 3) identify SS3’s anchor light, 4) navigate to SS3 without hitting another boat or sea buoy, 5) secure the dingy to the retrieval system on SS3 and finally, 6) remember where he hid the door key. Believe me, these may seem like simple tasks to most people but the old man is no spring chicken, so he feels a real sense of accomplishment when he is safely on board.
I remember when he told me about his good friend Andy (last names again withheld to protect the innocent) – who has a ton of boating experience and know-how – once boarded the wrong catamaran in a BVI mooring field after returning from a shore-side gig which included free drinks…“all cats look alike in the dark” was his excuse.
Photos from Cascais, Portugal