Saturday, 22 March 2008
Cape Salou 3. Pork and clams
We’d sailed 22 nautical miles in eight hours and I pulled the laden Onawind Blue up the beach and bailed the water from her bilges. Seas breaking over the bows had seeped in through the mast positions. There was a deal of water in the fore locker but most of my gear was in plastic bags and unaffected. The cooking kit was drenched though and I found that I was already one lighter down before I’d even needed it. I tidied the boat’s interior and when all was shipshape opened a beer and thought about food. I'd been snacking all day on fruit and muesli bars because the butter and cheese sandwiches I’d made in the morning had got wet and become inedible.
Now I was tired and hungry but I had a treat in store—pork and clam stew which I’d decided to make to a recipe from my close friend Mark at La Grande Bouffe Catering in Ibiza.
I browned bacon and pork sausage then set them aside while I sweated onion and garlic. Then I put the meat back in the pan with white wine and reduced then added the clams and a bit more wine and cooked on a high heat, finishing off with a liberal dose of parsley. The result was a little piece of heaven enjoyed perched on the side deck of my brave little boat.
After this treat I continued to indulge myself, nibbling chocolate and sipping wine until it was too cold to continue outside. I set up the boat tent, mattress and sleeping bag and carefully de-sanded myself before climbing in. Snug as the proverbial bug I was asleep by 9 o’clock.
At midnight I was wide-awake. Wind and rain lashed at the tent and large drips quickly permeated my sleeping bag.
I’d once stored the old tent in a barn where rats had purloined some of the apex for their own bedding. Now as I tried to stem the ingress of water with plastic bags I heartily cursed those rats. I managed to divert the flow so that it dripped into the bilges but I was already wet and uncomfortable. The wind was strong from the east and through the hole in the roof I could see thick cloud chugging westward. I cursed the weather forecasters along with the rats.
It is very early in the year to embark on this sort of caper. The night was long and cold but sometime in the early hours I dropped off only to dream that the beach was crowded with excited surfers and huge swells were bashing in.
Eventually the rain stopped and the wind eased and, after a long while, the skies lightened. I made sweet black coffee and worried about the day ahead. That easterly had been unexpected and now, peering from under the boat tent, I could discern a wind line out at sea and knew that it was the Mestral.
I called home for a weather check. Variable to south-east force two to three—the same as yesterday. I decided to get going.
But first breakfast—bacon, eggs and bread, more sweet coffee and the dregs of the wine.
Then I looked out at the steely grey sea and saw that it was baring sharp white teeth.