Gone Sailing… Gibraltar to the Canary Islands

We mustn’t forget what I am doing in Gibraltar in the first place. I am sailing to the Canary Islands from Gibraltar. I am sailing with a skipper and a 1st mate, both of which are pilots on commercial airlines, so I feel I am in the best hands. We are on a 46 foot Morgan which has a wide belly and cruises at about 6 knots – that should get us to the Canary Islands in about 4 days.

The skipper and 1st mate prepping the boat

Living on a Sailboat is not as easy as I thought. First, getting on and off the sailboat proves to be a little tricky, with a ladder hanging off the stern – oh shit, I meant BOW! so confusing these boats. you have to climb over the rails to land on safely on the dock, second, there are all these things around, knobs and lines and obstacles and steps and just all this stuff to climb around. Stubbing your toe happens at least 2 times a day, and I have hit my head a few times too. A sailboat actually slows you down, I am now moving at about 50 miles an hour and not my usually 150!

There are a few things on the boat that are considered gold and we use sparingly and considerably:

Fresh Water


Gas (for cooking)

Gas (for the boats engine)


It also makes you think of things on a whole: how much garbage we make and how much toilet paper you use, HA HA HA, How longs you take a shower for… Luckily, at the Marina there is Laundry – Water  – Showers – Electricity and the like… but starting tomorrow on the water – conservation time!

Oil change in the engine room...

Our mate arrived 2 days ago which jump started our preparations for the sail. He is setting up the GPS and some kind of radar contraption that will tell us when cargo ships are within a few miles from us. He is also a whiz on everything electric and was slicing wires this morning. I have yet to find something he can’t fix or comment on, he knows boats, engines, electrics… even some plumbing. To put it candidly, if it has an on or an off switch, he can fiddle with it. The skipper knows a few things or two as well 🙂 – he has been in the engine room most of the time and a few things he is working on are important. He has fixed a small water leak, installed the rudder, installed the Auto Pilot and has successfully put together a water maker which will turn salt water into fresh water during the sail. We had a taste test this morning and it really did taste like clean spring water! Today he finished with changing the oil filters and the oil on the genny and the engine… quite impressive.

The other morning I was asked to climb the mast and grab a line. Climb the mast? What? Before I knew it and before my morning coffee I was hoisted to the top of the mast to grab a line – the joke was – “hey I have to run to the store – do you mind waiting for a moment?” HA HA HA then the picture was taken! I don’t know how high I went, but it was HIGH ENOUGH! Luckily we were docked… I am not getting up there during the sail!

Up the mast before my morning coffee...


Other things to work on is getting the laundry done, securing all things on the boat that might fly over during the sail and grocery shopping. They have a super center here that you can find everything for a pretty good price.

The list includes:

Frozen foods that are quick and easy to cook, nuts, cheeses, fruits, yogurts, cereals, pastas, and lots and lots of canned items. You can actually throw cans off the boat. They decompose in a year or two, whereas plastic doesn’t,  so I was conscious of buying most everything in paper, cans or glass. Also putting food away is a production.

The packaging alone is enough to drive you nuts, and you try to get rid of enough garbage in the marina before you set sail. Living on a boat makes you think about your place on the planet what you need to live and what waste you make… I am going to be even more conscious of my dent on the planet now that I have had this experience.

The skipper gave me a few jobs – one of which  was cleaning out and updating the first aid kit which is now complete.  Second was washing the deck. Third, polishing and cleaning the interior teak which is looking nice and shiny. Fourth, holding newspapers and paper towels

waiting for oil to spill while he is working on the engine. You can tinker on a boat, all day every day and nothing will ever be 100% done. It is a perfect place for a busy body!

The boat itself is 46+ feet of living space and there is plenty of room! There are 2 heads (bathrooms for those who don’t sail) and pretty much a full galley (kitchen) which I am trying to make my domain.  We have running water, a stove, microwave, fridge, freezer, oven and a little espresso maker that makes the most delicious coffee! All in all, NOT SO BAD!

Home Sweet Home!

We have been watching the weather – following the tides – measuring the waves and it looks like the departure is tomorrow September 2, 2011 at 8:30 AM which will take us off the coast of Africa by night fall. Waves are looking like 1-2 meters and the winds are due to come in from the north midday which is just what we need for a smooth sail.

The exit out of the Gibraltar straights proves to be one of the trickiest in the business and we are ready for it, timing it just right which is what we are doing…

I won’t be writing from the boat as we will have no internet, but there will be more to follow when landed  in the Canary Islands! Also I have a sattelite phone:

Sat Phone number is: 011-870776406462

FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY!!!! IT’S $5 bucks a minute!

Love to All!


Second Mate Stephanie!