400 days to get there 400 minutes to get back

Sand castles in Gran Tarajal

As someone once said, it’s the end of an era…but the beginning of a new one, or in fact two new ones.

Chris and I made it back to Bristol airport and once again managed to avoid the cancelled flights because of snow or erupting volcanoes, arriving back in England in time for Christmas.  The cold air hit us hard on our arrival, having been used to temperatures around 25 degrees it was a bit of a shock being reminded how cold England can be in winter.   Thank you Mat for picking us up, we had fun entertaining the masses in Bristol on our arrival before you got there.

Chris brings 'Mad World' to Bristol

We spent some time packing in the lead up to our departure and thanks to a bit of cunning, a set of scales and some very big pockets in our sailing jackets we managed to get almost everything we needed from the boat and onto the plane.

So all of this needs to go back?

But seeing as packing is quite stressful, we decided a bit of luxury was needed before we flew so we took the oportunity to stay in a lovely all inclusive hotel for a couple of days.  This was also good because it meant we didn’t spend up to the last minute packing and weighing…and then weighing some more.  Once we’d left the boat that was it…more or less.

Some luxury before leaving

Two nervous travellers before the weigh-in

Ok, I've got a plan...how many books will fit in my jacket?

A word of warning about Easy Jet (who incidentally I am generally very impressed with).  We thought we’d found a loophole in their baggage allowances.  In a way we had, though it’s not quite as magical as we thought.  We found out that you can buy sports baggage allowance for about £18 which gives you an extra 12kgs of weight as long as you travel with some sports equipment.  This enabled us to take the inflatable kayak, bodyboards and various other bits and bobs back.  We bought one lot of sports baggage each (total 24kg much cheaper than paying for excess baggage in advance) and because of the confusing nature of EasyJet’s website we thought it was possible to buy as many of these sports allowances as you need.  To cut a long story short, you can only buy an extra 12kgs worth of sports allowance per person so buying the third one didn’t get us any extra weight.  Luckily we found this out before arriving at the airport.
Anyway (mini rant over) now we’re all back and starting to get a bit more time after Christmas I thought I’d finish up with this, my final blog post (before handing it over to Pete) as a reflection on our experience.

So, it took us 400 days to get to the Canaries by boat and amazingly only about 400 minutes to return by plane.  Those 400 days have given us plenty of adventure, interesting sights and relatively few unfortunate events.  It will be strange going back to the real world where jobs and houses seem to dominate our thoughts but it is also where our family friends are so that is nice.
Below are some thoughts from Chris and I on what we’ll miss and what we won’t from our extended trip…

Chris’ Lists:

Things I’ll miss:
Seeing Caroline 10 hours a day
The nice bits of sailing, when there’s not too much wind and not too little, and the sea is calm
Arriving in places
The sun!
Not having to work 9-5
Seeing dolphins
Being on holiday
 
Things I won’t miss:
Emptying the loo (its a composting toilet for anyone who’s wondering about what that means)
Worrying about salt getting into everything and mould growing in things
Lugging of food back to the boat
Fixing the cooker
Sail changes – more annoying than I imagined they’d be when the wind increases and decreases
Filling up the water tanks by dinghy
Windy nights when the boat rocks and the ropes bang against the mast
 
Caroline’s Lists:

 Things I’ll miss
Seeing wildlife like dolphins etc
Exploring on land
Spending so much time with Chris
Being off work on a long holiday
Beach BBQs
The clear night sky
Watching a lot of Red Dwarf on DVD (Rather too much perhaps)
Reading a lot – I have read more this past year than in my life pre-boat.
Having so much time to learn mandolin 
 
Things I won’t miss:
That toilet – indescribable
Rolling boat (especially when trying to do anything like using the toilet above)
Sea sickness
Not having running water -many times I wished for a sink despite Chris’ protests that it would have been much more scary and annoying with one because it would have meant having a hole in the boat.
Walking/rowing to toilets and showers ashore
Being woken up to do night shifts
The sound of a big wave crashing against the boat waking me up with a start
Looking for and staying connected to WIFI – It feels like far far far too many hours have been spent trying to do this.  It took us a long while to work out that if you can’t get internet access at the start, you are not all that likely to have any after trying for an hour.

So as you can see we both had some similar thoughts.  Overall though we both enjoyed what we have achieved, even though it wasn’t entirely what we were expecting to have done.  All three of us have learned a lot about many things, including ourselves.

Final group shot

So it’s goodbye from me and good luck to Pete as he continues his voyage, wherever that takes him.  Thanks for following our adventures on this blog…I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I will leave you in Pete’s capable hands as he takes over writing.

"A toast to onward voyages on land and sea"

Now all we have to do is start the job hunting…

P.S. Here’s the final Bolo do Caco (Mark II, slightly more complicated but infinately better) recipe

Boil 200g of sweet potato until soft

Reserve the water from boiling and mash the potatoes

Then mix:
300g plain flour
7g yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
The mashed potato

Gradually stir in up to 130ml of the water from boiling the potatoes until you get a soft dough

Knead for 10 minutes (yes, actually 10 minutes…this is the workout bit for you so don’t cheat)Flour a frying pan then flatten dough into it.

Add a little flour to top of dough.

Leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Heat on a low heat for around 15-20 minutes until it looks golden and then flip over and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

Remove from pan and leave to cool or eat straight away with garlic butter for that authentic Madeiran taste…

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One Response to “400 days to get there 400 minutes to get back”

  1. Hello from la Gomera! L’île est superbe, c’est le paradis des randonneurs!! Nous passons ici un très beau séjour.
    Nous souhaitons à Pete une belle année 2011 de navigation, à Chris et Caroline une bonne année …. et bien d’autres voyages….
    Nous attendons une bonne météo pour traverser sur le Cap-Vert…

    Happy new year!!

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