October 25 – November 7, Rabat, Morocco – Canary Islands
Author’s note: My readers may have noticed a dramatic decline in the frequency of these blog postings. When the blog first launched in 2016 the old man and I were bound at the hip for the better part of the spring and summer and I was able to give him my musings on a daily basis for final editing, photo enhancement, uploading and posting. The summer of 2017 saw the posts, which initially were updated every few days, decline in frequency to maybe 2-3 per month while this year we are lucky to get an update once every two months. This is entirely due to the old man’s proclivity to procrastinate (a very human characteristic, he notes) although I fear that he is reverting to his natural position in nature; that of a world class slacker.
I read him the riot act yesterday, telling him I need more frequent posts as I’m trying to monetize this blog and I’m in the middle of negotiating a sponsorship deal with the American Kennel Club and Pet Smart. In return for advertising, they will provide me with a free lifetime supply of doggie massages and stylish groomings. Hopefully he will do the right thing and post more often (not likely).
November 6 finds the captain and crew sailing along the northeast coast of the two western-most Canary Islands, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, on their way to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria (beam reach, 10-15kn wind speed, Code Zero flying off the bowsprit and making 6-7 kn over-ground…for all you boat types). They intend to pick up Joyce (aka the Admiral) at the marina when she arrives from Annapolis on November 8.
November 8 and Joyce has joined SS3 and her crew here in Las Palmas after a three-flight air voyage from Baltimore. She powered through the afternoon and they topped off the day with a fine seafood meal served by Janet from Cuba (when Brett asked for her last name however she respectfully declined to provide it).
November 9 – My cockpit video cam shows Steve, Brett and Lori loading their bags into the dingy for a ride to shore, they plan to take a bus to the ferry bound for the neighboring island of Tenerife for some “off the boat time”. Meanwhile, it appears that the arrival of Joyce has greatly improved the old man’s spirits, so life is all good on SS3 (not that his spirits were all that bad to begin with).
His bucolic mood, however, was impinged upon by an email form a fellow L42 owner drawing his attention to a service bulletin from Yanmar altering him to a re-call on a faulty gear on the salt water pumps. The local Yanmar dealer has the part in stock (the good news) but cannot carry out the repair until November 16 (the bad news, only because the pumps could fail if the engines are run excessively). The captain and crew decided to sail to the island of Fuerteventura, 55 miles due east, for some beach time on the six-mile strand at Morro Jable. SS3 spent three nights at anchor just off the beach; morning beach walks and swims were followed by long afternoon lunches and mandatory siestas back onboard SS3.
November 16 – Las Palmas Marina, Gran CanariaSS3 has taken her slip for her final preparations for the November 25 ARC departure. The initial safety inspection triggered another round of purchases at the local chandlery.
November 21 – Las Palmas Marina, Safety inspection is now complete and my person and crew are taking on supplies for the 2,700 mile crossing to St. Lucia (water, food and somewhat minor amounts of beer, rum and wine).
He told me that if I download the YB Races app on my doggie I phone I will be able to track his progress across the ocean. The event is the 2018 ARC and the boat’s name is Starsplitter III (he will likely be easy to spot as his track will be more wobbly that the other 199 boats in the fleet). He promised a final blog update prior to Sunday’s departure; don’t hold your breath.
You may, or may not, be wondering what has occupied my person’s time during the past month, therefore what follows is a brief synopsis of his activities during his planned 10 day stay in Annapolis which commenced on September 11. (Note – I was the only one home to greet him upon his arrival from Portugal the evening of Sept 11; both Joyce and Woody were out at separate parties leaving me alone to make feel welcome home – he said I was very excited to see him after two months away but I really needed to pee and was just glad someone was home to let me out). His activities included, but were not limited to, the following:
scheduling an MRI for his prostrate (nothing serious)
Scheduling a routine colonoscopy
Scheduling an eye exam for post retina surgery vision (surgery was in May, 2018)
Attending followup appointment with retina surgeon
Having 2nd retina surgery as first one didn’t do the job
Attending followup appointment with retina surgeon to discover a 3rd surgery was necessary
Having 3rd surgery which employed different technique said to result in better outcome
Waiting for clearance from surgeon to travel back to Portugal and get on with his voyage
Other than these minor speed bumps my person is in high spirits and eager to get back to SS3 in Cascais where crew member Steve Korte is keeping watch in his absence. In keeping with the captain’s MO Steve hosted a party on board SS3 last evening and a good time was had by all. The old man hopes to return as soon as possible as Korte is capable of setting sail any day for the islands.
October 22, On board Starsplitter III, 25 miles north of Cabo de Sao Vicente, Portugal
As you can see by the heading above the old man finally gained clearance from his eye doc to return to SS3 and continue his voyage south to the Canary Islands and then on to St. Lucia. Permission to leave came none too soon as his long-time friend and crewmate, Steve Korte, had been living on board keeping an eye on things while his eye was being abused by the surgeons (unlike others, Steve doesn’t mind if his last name is used in this blog as his reputation can only be enhanced by being associated with the old man; i.e. it is already in the toilet). My adoring readers may remember Steve and his dog Sky from our adventures together in Utah and Colorado during the summer of 2016.
While the old man is recovering from eye surgery, Hurricane Leslie is bearing down on Portugal.
While in Cascais the old man and Steve were able to meet many wonderful and fun people of various nationalities (mostly American and British with a smattering of Australians, Kiwis, Romanians, Dutch, Belgians and Russians) who had discovered this gem of a town on the Atlantic coast 20 miles west of Lisbon. Many parties where attended by Steve and my person – in bars, at local homes and on SS3 during her two-month layover (most of the boat parties were hosted by Steve and many of his new friends thought he was the captain and owner; it was definitely time for the old man to return).
I addition to Steve, the current crew now includes Clyde and Penny (Australia) and Brett and Lori (Colorado). Joyce and Clent will be joining the boat in the Canary Islands in early and mid-November, assuming favorable treatment of the vessel by King Neptune.
You will notice that since our adventures in Wyoming last summer there are no selfies to be seen of the old man on The Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp or Tinder. Apparently a study conducted by a reputable Wall Street brokerage house (Dewy, Cheatem & How) analyzed the relationship between the hourly stock price of these firms vs the posting of the old man’s selfies. The study found a 90% correlation between the time of his selfie posts and a decline in the share value of these firms. These social media sites have now blocked his ability to upload selfies unless, of course, I am included. Apparently my cute and lovable face is able to neutralize his aging puss. The old man isn’t taking this lying down as he recently petitioned the Trump Administration and Congress to overturn this blatant form of censorship “Putin can still post selfies, Congress needs to look into this” says he.
October 23, Lagos, Portugal
After an uneventful 11-hour sail from Sines averaging 4-5 kn with light and variable winds they were seen rounding Capo De Sao Vicente at 15:35 under power as the winds came into the nose after the rounding. The plan was to anchor in a bay protected in three directions but exposed to the southeast. It was a good plan as the winds were very light out of the east and there was little to no swell. Things got exciting as the captain rounded the western terminus of the bay and came upon a light marking a fish contraption. He incorrectly assumed that the contraption ran from the lighted buoy to the nearest shoreline, of course he was wrong, and the night was saved when Clyde yelled as loud has he could “STOP, STOP”. Although the old guy is visually challenged, his hearing remains substantially unchanged since childhood so he immediately rammed the boat into reverse and skidded to a stop less than one meter from the fish net stretched out before SS3. All crew breathed a sigh of relief, happy to have avoided disaster, or at best two fouled props.
The celebration was short-lived however, as the captain asked Steve if the fishing line was still deployed – of course it was because the captain failed to have it secured before anchoring, resulting in the line being wound around either the port prop or rudder. They all hoped it was fouled on the rudder as that would not be a big problem. Because SS3 has two engines they decided to continue to another anchorage running only on the starboard engine in case the prop was fouled by the line. Steve went for a swim in the 65 degree water the next day and found that the prop was clean; the voyage continued without further mishap.
October 24, Lagos Portugal
It appears they have hoisted anchor and are motoring-sailing due east along the southern coast of Portugal bound for Lagos, known for its limestone cliffs peppered with arches, sea caves and pocket beaches – not to mention the numerous bars and restaurants that are continuously and relentlessly depleting Woody’s inheritance.
October 26, Leaving Lagos for Rabat, Morocco
Due to visa issues the captain and crew abandoned plans to sail to Maderia and are now heading south to the Atlantic coast of Morocco where they will stay for at least five days at the King’s Marina in Rabat. US citizens cannot remain in the EU for longer than 90 days during a six month period; after he did the math the captain decided that Morocco would be an interesting place to spend some time while waiting out his exile period.
October 27, Rabat, Morocco
October 28, In Route to Marrakesh via train
Although the captain and his crew (minus Clyde, who decided to stay on the boat) are taking a three-day trip to Marrakesh and are out of video coverage, I still have the audio feed from the old man’s eye phone that will allow me to follow their adventures. Before I get into their inland activities I should let you know that last night Penny reclaimed her title as the queen of catamaran pole dancers as she was writhing to the tune of “Living in America” by James Brown, a title she first won five years ago while anchored off the west coast of Culebra, PR on Batubara. Although the pole on SS3 is square and located inside the salon area it didn’t show Penny down. As luck would have it, her husband Clyde had just retired to his cabin for the evening and was not able to witness Penny’s frenzied pole routine. The fact that Clyde was not present seemed to spur Penny on to new heights on the pole (unfortunately the video feed for this event did not record so I am not able to share with my readers).
I’m pleased to report that my person and his crew (less Clyde) are enjoying the exotic charms of Marrakesh. Brett and Lorie purchased a beautiful Berber rug this morning while Steve, Penny and the old man looked on from the comfort of a cushy sofa in a nearby carpet emporium. They bargained well and put only a moderate dent in their kid’s inheritance; they are not looking forward to their next red wine party.