Costa del Sol

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So we got to the Mediterranean Sea after a few hour bus ride.  On the walk to the hostel, I got lost.  No big surprise, it seems to be happening a lot lately.  Kim, I think is starting to just plan on us getting upside down at least one daily.  The weather as you can see has changed, and we are getting plenty of sunshine.

My friend, Bob and his wife Kari, flew down from Stockholm and spent three days with us.  The photo is of us at the AirBnB that we rented.  Enjoying a meal that Kari cooked, and as Bob pointed out every ten minutes, he cut up the vegetables.

 

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So the coast was fun, and seeing my old Army buddy was awesome.  Meeting Kari, clinched a visit for us to Sweden, one day soon.  Well we are off to the city of Seville, to eat at all the restaurants that our friends, Daniel and Lindsey recommended from the days when they lived here.  And meet up with our friend and neighbor Becky, from Portland.

 

 

Granada Snow, Malaga Sun

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We have been busy travelers. We left Madrid, with an arm full of vaccines, smiles and a lot of confusion. By confusion, I mean what did he say? Our Spanish skills are not what they speak in Spain. Or as I was talking with Ignaso, my bartender in my taverna, “what Spanish is it that you speak?” My reply, ” I learned my tongue in Mexico,” his reply, “that is not Spanish!” Well, I am not saying it is, but I am defiantly not saying it is at this point. So, I am going to have to give our good old community college a few euros when I return home and sign up for night school. Mostly because I do not want to ever get a big plate of I have no idea what this is, when I clearly ordered a beer and olives!
Chetco Brewing in Granada Spain

So, we had a great time in Granada, seeing the sights and Kim even was called a woodpecker by this group of women. Great story, just ask her about it some time. The best was going to a Arabic Bath. I got to soak in this cavern like place in hot mineral water, then get scrubbed down with salt, then messages with oil. Followed up with a steam, then out the door to my taverna, for beer and tapas.
Alambra

The photo was the view from our roof top. We had booked through AirBnB and you should check them out if you are traveling. So far for us, they have been working out really well.

Ok, it is time for my nap, I will give you more from the Mediterranean when I write again.

Spain update

Tomorrow we leave Granada. What, the last time you heard from us was Madrid. I know, but the truth is, we are having to much fun ruining a perfectly good language like Spanish. If it wasn’t for Kim hanging in there and doing a great job, I would of got an hernia operation in Madrid Medical Clinic. We were getting our vaccines for Senegal, and the next thing I know, is I am being prepped for surgery. Kim my hero, enclosed photo is her calling for lodging to our next town. Speaking French, because the person on the other end of the call Spanish was so heavy that, French was easier?

Kim will tell you more when she writes, the bottom line is we are having a blast, and are healthy. Heading to the south coast in the a.m., by bus. To keep cost down I have volunteered to ride on the roof, but I was informed, that I was on the wrong continent? Oh yeah today we went to an Arab bath house and soaked, got salt scrub and a message with lavender oil. This was of course after I had my Campo Cervas with Tapas. After all I am trying to keep this trip civilized.

Madrid, here we are, wanted or not.

As some of you know, Kim and I have flown to Spain in route to Africa to visit with some friends. Why Spain, because our neighbors Daniel and Lindsey told Kim about these cafés that serve drinking chocolate along with churros. We’ll Kim was all up in my face, ” Boy, you will bring me to those cafés, as much time as I sit around in taverns with you”! So, there you have it, I choose to go to Spain for three weeks, because Kim only wanted to go stop in for a few days. I showed her who is in charge.
The flight was great, on both legs we jumped into extra seats, in order to lay down. I slept like a baby, a big baby, but still a baby. The metro worked smooth and the AirBnB, that we rented is nice. We have a balcony, and are with in blocks of Plaza de Ameila.
We went walking after a nap, and I got lost. I did find a chocolate cafe so I looked like a hero. Then after our churros, as we started our stroll, we came across more of the cafés, so much for my status as hero. We found the market and bought food for the flat, and are looking forward to few more days in Madrid.

Cafe

Answers to Your Questions about living on a sailboat.

Hello all, I have enjoyed catching up with everyone since our big adventure on the sailing vessel Far Fetched, a Benneteau Oceana 38.5. I have had some wonderful chats with people and I have had many questions about life on a boat in general. I thought I would explain some of my personal experiences living on a sailboat.

Water: What do you do for water?
well water is held in a storage tank for potable water, and this is not always enough for all water needs. We did have a water maker on board but it takes energy(electricity) to make. The water you use in the water maker is sea water not yukky marina water and it runs through a desalinization process and filter. This water does not always taste good for everyone’s taste, but it was ok for me as I bought lemon and lime juice concentrate, and Gatorade powder, and added this to my water. I drank a fair bit of water everyday. Each day I would try to fill and drink at least 2250ml or 72 oz, of water a day , more if out hiking and diving. We only used the water maker twice. Most of the time we had non potable and potable water that we hauled from water sources on shore. We had clear, collapsing water containers for potable and black collapsing for non potable. This seemed to be able to fulfill most of our water needs.
We supplemented this water with rain water we would collect in a bucket, the Crib(dingy), or in zip lock bags from the deck canopy. We also used ocean water while at anchor, to wash our dishes with, then rinse with non ocean water.

Laundry: How did you wash your clothes?
Well some islands and towns actually had laundromats and we used them when available. Everyone was in charge of their own laundry for the most part, but some occasions like when the seas came over the bow of the boat and the hatches leaked and soaked the cushion covers then it would be group laundry and one of us would do those with our own laundry.(Usually Bruce or Myself). So most of the time we would use the bucket method or in my case ziplock bags. That’s right a small plastic bag. I feel compelled to explain why I used the bag vs the bucket. When I say The Bucket, I mean we only had one bucket. This One Bucket was used for the following: holding just caught fish, fish fillets post cleaning, storing fruit, engine parts cleaning and various other uses. (I did use The Bucket also) Enter the Ziplock bag, I would hold it up to the run off from the canopy, and it was enough to launder my bikini, nickers, and tshirts. The trick was to finish the wash before the rain stopped so you could rinse as well.

Showering: How did you shower/bathe?
Far Fetched did have a large shower in the head. I only used it twice. Again it takes electricity to pump the water and it also took energy to heat it. It was HEAVEN on the 2 occasions i used it. If we had just had the motor on then the water was HOT. So for the most part we showered off the stern swim platform with a shower bag suspended from the solar panel platform. You get yourself wet, then shut valve on water bag, lather up, then open valve on bag and rinse. If we were in a harbor or crowded anchorage(more than 3 boats) we would shower in our swim wear, if not crowded then no need for swimwear. I must say having short hair made hair washing quick and easy.

Shaving: How do you shave?
Let’s revisit the ziplock bag. Fill it with water, lather up with Bert’s Bees Baby shampoo, shave with razor, rinse razor in ziplock bag, repeat over and over. Voila!! I tried to make sure I did not swim right after shaving so salt water did not sting, plus one of the most feared of all things while out swimming and sailing, Staph infections. That’s right folks I did not worry or fear things like pirates, drowning, sharks or ship wreck, but I did fear getting a staph infection while out there.

Elimination: How do you go to the bathroom on a boat?
Well if during a passage while the boat is heeled over, hold on or you could fall off the seat. I used the head for both solid and liquid, but the boys used a container like a urinal or just stand off the stern of the boat if not underway(sailing). This was a rigid, well followed, rule: no eliminating from the stern while underway! Statistically you have a 5% chance of rescue at night while underway if you fall overboard….

Sleeping.: How and where did you sleep?
We had a bed but while underway(sailing), I would sleep sideways in the bed because i am short and can do so, but otherwise i had slept in the very center line of the boat under the table, wedged between the table leg and the settee bench. Sometimes we had the bench set up with the sea cloth(straps that are hooked onto the cabinet above to hold you from rolling off) to hold yourself in. The motion of the boat would sometimes be so side to side that you would not be able to sleep because you would just roll around. Sleep was in high demand when you are on 2 -4 hour watches with only 2-3 people. When at anchor sleep was easier and often.

the sleeping place

Food: What did you eat?:
Well we provisioned at stores when we had them. Other times while sailing underway we would have at least one hand line out and we almost always brought in a catch, Wahoo, tuna and others.. So the other way to have fish is through spearfishing. Bruce was very adept at this and he even taught Skyler how to “hunt” under water.. We also were able to shop at the local open air markets on many of the Tongan Islands. Sometimes we would barter for food while on smaller islands. We found many times that our barter power would have increased if we had had an cigarettes and more liquor. We did have canned food items that were sought after. I can not speak for Bruce, or Travis, but while under way on passages I was not very hungry, so I did not eat as much. It was nice to be at anchor because then I felt like eating, and we would sometimes have other folks from other boats join us for dinner or join others on their boats. We even held a music recording session in the cockpit one night, I called it “Behind the Helm Studio”, and ALec sang and played the ukalele for us, while I recorded the session(with his permission).
Recreation/downtime: How do you entertain yourselves on a boat? Well we had solar panels that charged our batteries, so on good solar days(most days), we would finish dinner and clean up then sit in the salon at the table and watch movies on my computer screen. We had a great time watching the Fire FLy series. We also read lots of books. We were not big card players, but it would be a great thing to do in the salon of the boat.

So my experience on a sailing vessel was just amazing, I love to camp and do not mind rations of water or electricity, so it was just easy going. If you can just relax when you are done with chores, and know what tasks need to be done and do them when they need to be done, then it is the best adventure ever.
Well Until I think of other questions people have asked, or more stories that I recall, I will sign off for now.

Breakfast Eggs and Spaceships

So this morning Kim was fixing leftovers for her breakfast, and I though ” hum, a good idea”, so I pulled out my leftovers from last night dinner from the frig. As I cooked the eggs, and heated up the black beans and rice from Isabel, (Flanders & NW 10th, Portland) I asked Kim if she thought I could flip the eggs without a spatula. She said “sure, but do it over the sink, Ace!” Ace is Kim’s nick name for me when she knows things are not going to go well. I grab the pan, move over to the sink, start moving, my hand and pan, back and forth. Kim then states, ” Hey, Ace, those are the last two eggs, and Daniel and Lindsay might not have any.” (For the readers who do not know, Daniel and Lindsay are our neighbors in the building we live in. We raid each other’s pantry for items we need. Often, the items are never to be replaced. Needless to say our building is a tight group of people. P.S. check out Daniel Stark Photography, just one of the best photographers on the west coast.) Moving on, I decide that I can not waste my two eggs, and start to look for the damn spatula, (which I misspelled so bad, that the spell check only idea was spaceship) Kim took the pan from me and flipped the eggs. WOW!! All of past years working in the restaurant industry paid off. I always liked it when she was in that line of work, I got free drinks where she worked and our cats got pate’ and salmon for dinner. So I had a great egg and leftover breakfast. Yeah Kim, Isabel and the chickens from Wes & Randy’s backyard that laid the two eggs.

But I am not really writing about breakfast as much as I want to mention last night Happy Hour, which turned into dinner night out, etc.,. So, after contacting the usual suspects about a non-scheduled H.H., we met up at Caps & Corks, (Lovejoy & NW 10th) to have a few drinks. Caps & Corks is great because 1. in our neighborhood 2. beer, wine, cocktails and food 3. staff is always nice 4. you can watch the Portland Streetcar roll past, while having a drink. After a few drinks, we decided to move on to Olympic Provisions, (Thurman & NW 16th) to get a bite to eat. We show up, need a table for three, INSTEAD of allowing us to seat at a four-top, which we asked for, the hostess seats us at a bench facing the window. This seating arrangement is fine for one or two, but not three. We asked to take the other table and were told ” We are saving it in case four people might come in. We decide that her answer is just too lame, and leave. I have eaten at Olympic Provisions a few times and hosted a private party for 13, (I know unlucky number) there in the past. Not that I think I should get special treatment, but really who holds a table for 4 maybes, when 3 are there standing in front of you. Where do we go now?

I suggest the restaurant named after a women that has great food in the Pearl. We could not remember the name, but we have eaten there before and liked it. OK, the restaurant is the one that is in that little concrete building with the weird looking pillar in the courtyard. You know the one with all of the windows, and has the great Sangria. Isabel, (Flanders & NW 10th) that is the place. I thought it was Sara’s, sorry Isabel. Right when we walk in, checking out the specials’ chalkboard, the staff greet us and start chatting. We have a great dinner, great service, great Sangria, and a great leftover breakfast. All this because Olympic Provisions, hostess was to snobby to seat us where we could talk and eat. Thanks Isabel’s for a great dinner, thanks Kim and Isabel’s for a great breakfast, thank Caps & Corks for getting it started and thank you for reading my blog, Travis.