It’s New Years Eve and that usually means making a small retrospective, and I am no exception.
The overshadowing topic of 2020 is of course Covid-19, but I believe that we all have had enough of that so I don’t need to cover that. It has, of course, affected all my plans as everyone else so all I can say is that this year has been a year of broken plans.
But as we all know, where one plan crumbles, a different one emerges. This year got off rather hectic, selling my apartment and resigning from my job at the same time. To be honest it wasn’t that well planned, and getting all my belongings to either my boat, to my parents for safe storage, selling/giving it away or throwing it away was a bit crazy. Especially since I was the only one trying to keep it all together and executing it. I’m still trying to figure out what I still own, and where the things that I wanted to keep are.
But I feel like my year started on April 1, as I took the train to Stockholm and then the flight to Ireland. One of the last flights at the time, as I reckon, just to be met by a sign saying that the boatyard was closed until further notice when I finally arrived in Kinsale… That, in a way, symbolizes the year that has been. But, as most things tend to do, it was sorted and life could carry on.
It took me until June to get the boat into the water, as restrictions was not allowing me to go anywhere anyway and I wasn’t keen on getting her into the water where I wouldn’t have any means to heat the boat, as it was really cold during the nights, dropping down to single digits. Fortunately it only took about three weeks after arriving until I had the first parcel arriving with a duvet, which I packed mostly to fill out the boxes rather than believing that it would be a necessity to live on the boat.
The plan was to get the boat into the water in early May and to sail down to the southern coast of Spain as soon as I could. But as fate had it I got some extra time to go through the boat thoroughly and even apply some antifouling before I splashed, which was probably a good thing.
I spent the time in early July to sail her outside Kinsale, to figure out how she behaves in the water and the wind, while waiting for a good weather window to open up. Finally, on July 22, it was time to sail away from Ireland. A much anticipated and longed for journey commenced. I’m not going to reiterate the trip, as you can read all about it here on my blog, but all in all the crossing to Spain was fantastic with fair winds and no major incidents, apart from the grounding I did the very first time I anchored. Jumping down the west coast of the Iberian peninsula was great, albeit slow and frustrating at times as the wind was not as present at hoped for, but when I finally arrived at the Gibraltar sound it all was worth it. It all got noticable warmer as I got into the Mediterranean, both water and air, and I realized how good it can be, living on a boat.
As my plans had to be reconsidered, I ended up in Almerimar for the winter. Initially my plan was to get east, preferably to Turkey, to do some additions to the boat so that it can function as a liveaboard boat. All that will now happen or is happening here in Almerimar instead. But at a lower pace, as it is hard to get material and to move about due to the pandemic.
You who have followed the blog so far knows that my main focus has been to get the lithium batteries in place, and they are even if they aren’t connected yet, and to some extent find myself again. The days are deliberately slow, as I don’t want to bring stress into my new lifestyle, and in most cases it is somewhat out of my control since everything has slowed down.
I have also been investigating, learning new things and re-learning old, as I now have to know more on how to maintain and modify a boat. It was a long time since I held tools in my hands, making things. The feeling is great, but at the same time as I grasp the complexity of things I also feel overwhelmed at times. Away, as she stands today, is sailable and liveable, but there are things that I want to do to get her to feel mine, to feel as a home. Most are pure comforts – yesterday I ordered an induction hob and a convection microwave that eventually will replace my gas stove, as it is much more convenient not to have to try to find gas in every country I will sail into. In general I’m making her more independent. I’m also planning on replacing the water heater that is, and always has been, broken. When it happens I will get a bigger one as the one that I have is tiny, and I will hook it up to the inverter so that I can run it from my solar panels when I have excess energy, eventually.
I’m currently waiting to finish my last bits on the electrical systems, I got some parts from the UK that will work, but unfortunately they weren’t the ones that I was believed that I was ordering, so I’m trying to source them here in Spain instead, contacting a manufacturer here that passed along a contact that might give me a retailer that I can order from – now I just have to wait for them to respond. Worst case I can use the parts that I have, but I’m in no hurry as I’m still waiting for two bus bars that was delayed and can’t get the system online without them anyway.
All in all, 2020 has been the year of unknown unknowns and I’m just happy that I managed to get to southern Spain, the sun and the warmth before everything closed up and slowed down again. I just can’t imagine how it would have been spending a year, a full winter, in Ireland just waiting to move on. Nothing wrong with Ireland, it is a beautiful green and lush island (and ordering stuff there is for sure waaay much easier than here!) but as I don’t have a good way to heat the boat and it wasn’t inmy plan to stay it wouldn’t have been the joy I feel at the moment. I’m happy that I have met so many wonderful persons here in Almerimar, making life easier in so many ways. Having the hikes on Fridays is a watering hole for my well-being and sanity. Allowing myself to go slow is also contributing to that.
For 2021 I only wish we will see borders opening up again, making it possible for friends to come visit – and of course a lot of sailing! There are some large projects that I need to start and finish before I can say I’m prepared for sailing and living off the hook full-time, but I’m more than prepared to start exploring the Med, for sure!
Tomorrow is another day, another year, another possibility. Let 2021 come!