Thursday, 25 December 2014

Family Christmas

The only present we unwrapped this Christmas was from our electrician, with a card signed "from Marco and Julie". It was bottle-shaped, and very drinkable. At times like these you can come to think of a tradesman who is generous with his time, and saves your bacon with his superior skills and available wares, as a friend. Who's to say he isn't?

Marco figuring out what's what on Enki (and below)

The gifts which came unwrapped were the ones we loved though. Emails and phone calls from the heartland. I'd go so far as to say that the price we paid to be still in port on Christmas Day was not too high. To see Alex transfixed by the sight of his fair-haired grandson wedged into a high chair and downing mouthfuls of ricotta pancakes on Christmas morning in Sydney was to witness a man gobbling up love. We're only too aware of how short our rations are. "Next year," Alex said to Dave, "perhaps we'll be there with you" which Dave replied, "There are quite a few people who'd really like that." We know that too. We hear it in their voices.

This is our third Christmas away from our family. Three Christmases away is a lot.  Even when you are living the dream.

Breakfast on Christmas morning, and the maple syrup is good 
It's their local brew - a gift from Nova Scotians on the yacht Defiant

Waves breaking over the walkway by the anchorage (below)
For a few days the seas have been up and the sun has been blotted out by dust storms blowing in from Africa. You can manage those things when you're underway, but it's not pleasant to leave in such conditions. So we've been waiting. Marco installed a new course computer on Saturday, and on Tuesday we took the boat for a spin in the shelter of the cruise ship port to re-commission both autopilots. But there wasn't enough space to manoeuvre inside the port to "teach" the autopilot (the technical term for the procedure is auto-learn). The turbulent seas outside would have given the intelligent machine the wrong idea of what normal sea conditions are. You need a relatively calm sea to put your autopilot on the right track, so to speak.

Waves breaking over the walkway to the Castillo San Gabriel (below)

Marco will be with us again tomorrow morning - we could do the auto-learn ourselves, but he insists it is no problem for him to work on Boxing Day and we get the distinct impression he'd like to finish the job himself.  Boxing Day is not a public holiday in the Canaries. Here, Marco told us, the biggest celebration is not Christmas Day, but January 6, the Feast of the Three Kings. That's when people exchange gifts and everyone gathers with their families to eat up large. So what's Christmas Day about? He wasn't sure really. It's two years since he and his wife made a fresh start on Lanzarote (he says the level of corruption in Italy now is such that it's impossible to run an honest business). Some island customs were still strange to him, but his Canarian friends were teaching him.

One more time - tapas at a favourite of ours, La Bulla, on the Charco San Gines

The fruit and veges we're carrying on the boat are now over a week old, so we've decided to wait the extra day,  go to the Saturday produce market and then leave (again). It's a bit like pulling teeth, yes, but it's what this kind of travel demands.  Be prepared. The weather outlook, we're advised, will be much of a much-ness Friday or Saturday... improving. There will be no fanfare this time. You'll have to watch the departures board.

1 comment:

  1. all my love to you across the ocean, thinking of you.

    kind winds and brilliant night skies

    take care of each other

    xx pops