Monday, 5 May 2008

No progress but great sailing


Despite my best intentions to accelerate the work on OB’s decks and spars, an opportunity to sail to Formentera, on board my friend JM’s boat Kpitain Ulysse, arose and I had to jump at it.

JM, crew Aurore and myself had a beautiful trip with unusually constant winds of 15 to 20 knots abaft the beam and an even, though decided, swell. Leaving late, always late, meant that we sailed through two nights and one day. It was cold but the skies were clear, be-splattered with stars by night, a flawless blue dome by day.
Dolphins gambolled about our bow wave, I saw my first storm petrel and, at night, our wake was green with phosphorescence—the Mediterranean as enchanting as ever. We steered a course of 180º for the island is 150 nautical miles due south and glided to anchor in Formentera’s impossibly turquoise waters in the early morning light just 40 odd hours after leaving Torredembarra.

A day at anchor followed with drinking and a cold swim then into the marina at sundown and dinner at a familiar favourite restaurant. A party on another boat, rum and coke, guitars, laughter and voices raised in song, though some not so harmonious. Then my bunk, disappointingly calm and steady. A bleary start, fond goodbyes to shipmates JM and Aurore, a ferry ride, big, throbbing and diesel fumed. A brief afternoon with a close friend, a flight—the 40-hour journey completed in 40 minutes. And then work on Monday morning, the land still agreeably dipping under my feet but the experience so distant as to belong to another age.