For those of you that follow me on Instagram knows that I left Fisterre and sailed to Vigo some days ago. The sail was great, in the beginning there was wind as I left the anchorage, but as I got further away from land it calmed down, slowing me down enough so that even that it eventually got windy again I would have a hard time getting to Vigo before sunset. Since I didn’t have navigation lights on the bow it would be an issue.
I do not want to be entering a busy port city at night without any lights. To top it up the anchor lights was also out due to the accident in Fisterre which made anchoring an option I didn’t have for the same reason.
So the only reliable way I had to get out of this situation was to motor the last few hours into Vigo. And it worked just fine, I arrived to Real Club Nautico de Vigo just as the sun set and I was given an easy docking spot at the end of one of the pontoons.
Vigo is a reasonably large city and my goals were to get a GoPro camera to film the keel, get a replacement lamp for the anchor light and new navigation lights for the bow. There was also a need to get some food.
After a good nights sleep I had a slow morning while trying to figure out where to go. As I registered with the marina I asked the guy where to go to find a chandlery (that is a shop with boat things). He printed a map and pretty much confirmed where I thought I needed to go.
Next to the marina there was a mall, with a large Mediamarkt sign on it, it felt as a good bet to find a GoPro. Apparently they don’t want to sell much cameras, since they didn’t have any personnel in that aisle and no one approached me even if I was there for a considerable time. It ended with me picking the items that I wanted and then went to a station where there were some personnel. I found out that the GoPro 8 that I wanted was the last one and they wouldn’t sell it to me, under any circumstances. So I had to chose a model 7 instead. Oh, well.. It’s not like I had any experience of either and it would probably suit my needs anyway. And it was cheaper. In the mall I had a burger for the first time since I left Sweden and to be honest it was okay, but not as fantastic as I hoped for. Junk food has lost it’s attraction. Still need to have a pizza some day though.
Got back to the boat, unpacked my new toys and waited for the clock to turn 16:00. It was fiesta and the chandlery was closed. In the meantime I managed to get to a small Spar Express shop and filled up my fridge with mainly things to drink, juice, milk and Pepsi Max of course.
Grabbed a taxi to the chandlery, found someone that could speak reasonable english (that is pretty much how far my spanish works) and got the model of lights that I wanted. My focus was to get a pair that is sealed so that there is no risk that water can get in and corrode the connections inside the lights. As I was there I got some small extra bits to have as spares.
Back on the boat, it was getting late and I had said that I was only staying in the marina for one night (the look of the face of the person registering my arrival was funny, his comment was “but you have already stayed one night..?” – correct, but I will leave today unless I have to leave at noon or something? He was happy as long as I left before midnight. Great!) so I needed to hurry. Climbing the mast on my own is doable, since I did it in Fisterre, but it takes time and is rather tedious. This time I managed to ask some guys rigging a small catamaran to help me by winching me up. I guess it only took ten minutes all in all, get up, replace the lamp and get back down. But it is good to know that I can do it on my own, if I have to.
Getting out of the harbor was a bit stressful, since I had to turn the boat 180 degrees, into the wind, to get out. In a rather confined space. With pontoons with aluminum profiles sticking out without any protection. It was a near miss, and I was really relieved as I got out. To add to the complexity a boat was docking at the fuel pontoon that is located just by the narrow exit and another sailboat came in as I was halfway through the maneuver.
My plan for the evening was simple, sail to one of the anchorages at the entrance to Vigo, get some sleep and replace my navigation lights and hopefully enjoy a few hours on the white beach the next day, before I went to bed again.
So I set sail, and the wind was reasonable so I got to about 5 knots, but I would have to tack my way out of Vigo. Something I actually enjoy. But a quick check with my route planner told me that the 6 nautical miles I was about to sail would take long into the night, so I had to start the engine again to make sure to get there before sundown.
As I had Vigo behind me I wanted to snap a picture of me motoring away. Got up on the transom of the boat, pulled up my phone from my back pocket and a light tug as it snatched the pocket and I lost the grip of the phone! Tock-tock-tock-plums… Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu… I hereby present to the almighty of the sea a small token of gratitude with the wish of fair winds, calm seas and fair maidens in every port. To Neptune, Poseidon and Aquaman. May my travels always take me to port. Thank you.
Once there I saw three other sailboats anchored in a row and I just added my self to the line. There was almost no where wind, so I hoped for a good nights sleep again, but there was a swell that kept rocking the boat and there was a ferry arriving way too often for my taste that also made the boat rock hard. So the sleep was less than ideal, but I survive.
I started my day with breakfast in cockpit in the sun. It was a calm day an perfect for getting the navigation lights replaced. It took some time, it actually took such a long time that I wasn’t even going to go to the beach. But my focus was to get Away fit to sail day or night. And there were more boats there as I was done with people everywhere (slightly exaggerated) with kids screaming, so I enjoyed my solitude on my boat instead.
This was the point where my day turned kafkaesque.
As I arrived to the anchorage the day before I made sure to secure my bitcoin wallet on my iPad. It took some time to get my passphrases but eventually I had it up and running, no problems.
At this point I realized that I had to check so that my Bank-ID worked on my iPad as well. For you unfamiliar with Bank-ID it’s a system in Sweden that is broadly adopted for identification online and the banks are the ones that is handling this system, even if it is a private firm making the system behind it all. I realized that it hadn’t been updated for a long time and it was invalid. Bummer. “Please login to your internet bank and get a new one” was the solution.
Well, there are two ways to identify myself when logging into the bank, either via Bank-ID or via a physical code generator. I had neither.
So naturally I turn to the bank to ask how I should do. First I contacted them on Facebook and after some discussions he said the only way to fix this was to get a code generator to me, for instance by sending it to the Swedish ambassador in Lisbon. But he couldn’t do it but if I called the bank and identified me with my pin code they should be able to help me. But since I don’t have a phone… Then he sent me a message saying that I could use Skype Out and call them that way, smart guy! Obviously he was a rather tech savvy bank support, I approve.
So I called the bank. This is where things becomes surreal.
I had a long talk with a, what I suspect, was a younger woman not that long at the job. I began to explain my situation and that I needed her to send me a new code generator. Remember, I had authenticated myself with a five digit code to be able to talk to her. She said that it had to wait until I got back to Sweden. I replied that it can be years until that happens. Then she started to ask questions about my finance situation, I replied that I sold my apartment and is living off that money, there isn’t much else to speak about. Then she commented that I have had a lot of Swish payments, it is a Swedish system for sending money digitally both between individuals as well as to stores, and some large were to my bitcoin broker. So I told her that it was when I bought crypto currencies and it was from when I sold my apartment, some was even saved up as I worked. Everything looked very suspicious to her and it all ended with her denying me a code generator and instead seem to have launched an investigation to find out where I have gotten my money from. I needed to send her proof of where the money was coming from, the irony is that as long as I don’t have a Bank-ID I just can’t access any records. Because my stock broker requires it when I log in, as well as most other systems. It’s a classic catch 22. I told her this obvious issue, and all she said then was that I had to go to a bank office and they could give me a new Bank-ID and then I could access the information that they are requesting. So, what information do they want? I can’t tell since she said that it will be sent to me and I can read it on my internet bank. Which is behind a Bank-ID login… she just couldn’t get it. I asked if she could send that information in an email to me. – No.
So, what can I do at the moment? Well, first of all I have to secure the funds I have [note: it is done] and ask my parents, that is currently on a trip, to look for the code generator that I hopefully put in one of the boxes I sent them before I moved to the boat. It is a 50/50 chance I threw it away, since I haven’t used it for 5 or 6 years and it was out of batteries. But we’ll see.
The last option is to fly to Sweden and get there physically. Of course I do not have any intention on staying with Swedbank, not after the support call ended with her hanging up on me with the comment that “this conversation is not going anywhere, good bye”. Unfortunately all the banks I tried all have one way or another a requirement of me to being in Sweden, mostly by requiring me to identify myself at the post office as they send the contract to me. Sending it abroad was no option in any case, not even to an embassy.
I will start a new account with some other bank, after I have explained my living situation that they can accept, tell them to move my accounts to them and kick-drop Swedbank to… well, I don’t care really.
So lets hope my parents has it, otherwise I will have to fly to Sweden. I just didn’t want to expose myself to airports or flights as long as there is a pandemic going on…
To be continued…