I don’t want to live in a cave

The last few nights we were anchored off a remote beach on the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands. The beach was pebbly and backed by a cliff of volcanic rock. In the cliff were caves and in these caves people were living. Initially we thought that the inhabitants had no other choice but a search in the Internet suggested that people were here taking “time out” from civilisation. They come here to enjoy their life far away from every day things.

When we rowed to the shore and went for a walk we passed a few caves and also a few people camped out in the undergrowth. The standard equipment seemed to be a sleeping mat and something to cook on. Clothes were optional.

A nice cave looking out to sea

I thought that we were minimalists on our ten meter long boat but these people have taken things much further. Respect.

But I have decided, I don’t want to live in a cave. I love our mattress, our oven and our solar electricity too much. I also enjoy having a toilet and a sink. I enjoy switching the light on and checking my emails.

I also enjoying buying water and provisions in a harbour and filling the cupboards without having to carry everything along a rocky path from the neighbouring village.

But seeing how these people survive reminded me in what luxury we live, here on Artemis

Time

This morning we were listening to the Scorpions “still loving you” with its opening line “Time. It needs time”. This led to a discussion about time. In the Canaries we are an hour different to Spain and Germany but the same as Portugal and an hour off GMT. And tonight the clocks change from summer time to “normal” which changes everything (except GMT).

Sunset happens no matter what the clock says

But the great thing is that when we are at sea it all becomes irrelevant. The time is whatever we set the ships clock to. For the voyage from Spain to the Canary Islands I decided to set it to GMT just because it makes my navigation calculations easier. Manx mean time would have been as good.

Irrespective of what the clock says, we eat when we are hungry and sleep when we are tired. At night, when sailing, we have a watch rota but often we let the next person sleep longer if we are still wide awake – or the stars are so beautiful – or there are dolphins at play.

The last few months we have had a few “appointments”but mainly of the “get there a few days either side of Tuesday” or “see you in October” type. The “10:15 on Monday morning” type don’t exist and won’t work as a sailor.

At sea time is only important for log entries. Everything else is timeless. Just another example of the freedom you win when you leave “civilisation”.

Navigation. And what do I do with my new found knowledge?

After a long pause I am returning to sailing. This year I took the RYA day skipper course and exam. A part of the course was about navigation and if you believed what you were taught then you could be forgiven for thinking that it was all about understanding the charts and pilotage notes and applying them.

Then I flew to Spain for two weeks sailing and the truth turned out to be a little different. In reality everything seems to be a best guess and the only truth is what you discover when you get there. Continue reading

Why we hate hearing “But you are so lucky!”

aus

outback Australia

Probably the most annoying sentence that one has to hear is “But you are so lucky!”

My daughter spent the last summer working in Portugal and then flew on to Shanghai to work. One son is training to be a joiner and loves it. The other son is working his way across Australia and has now been doing so for nearly a year. I have a job I love and enjoy at least one adventure every year. And all because we “are so lucky”. It is not luck and the record needs to be set straight. Continue reading