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All Change (19th Oct 2015)
We have changed location, changed weather (boo) and in the process of changing our mindsets from holiday mode to working on the winter jobs list.
On Friday 9th October, we left the peaceful (and free) anchorage of Alvor to come into Lagos Marina, our home until March 2016. It was a few days earlier than planned but strong wind and rain was forecast for that weekend so we made a decision to move while the weather was still good. We had spent the last 24 hours in Alvor as the only visiting boat; everyone else had left.
It was quite sad to leave Alvor where we had spent over a month on anchor and really enjoyed the town and the anchorage. Generally peaceful, with just the fishing boats coming to and fro evening and morning to cause some swell but not too much. Plenty to look at with the tour boats coming in and out, other visiting boats, the skydivers, flamingoes ……
As soon as we arrived in the marina, Neil discovered the electric point nearest to us wasn’t working, which sent him into a stress “bloody thing, we paid for electric and it’s not working …..” As we are now in a marina I was able to pick up my bag, step off the boat and go for a shower with hot running water and leave him to his “I don’t want to be in a marina” mood (which didn’t last too long). I also used the laundry on the first day too and we quickly bought an electric kettle as the cost of electric is included in the marina charges so it saves our gas. Talking of showers, June got us both a pair of hooks and a shower curtain which we cut in half and can use to hang over the glass doors while we dry off after our shower. Glass doors, remember!!
The marina is like a holiday camp in comparison with hundreds of boats, many with folks living aboard, and a row of bars/restaurants at the top of the pontoon. If Neil was on his own he probably would of stayed in Alvor but as the weather changes and the nights start getting longer, I want to be somewhere with a bit more freedom of movement for me, electricity, laundry, hot showers and people. We are moored next to June and Garry on Catamaran Friendship and Ian and Jackie from Rivalady and Pam and Roger from Deja Vu are also here (friends we made en-route). We have met the folks on the boats immediately surrounding us too. There is a big social scene here at the marina with lots of choice of things to do, if you want. Yoga, Mexican Train Dominoes, Darts, Line Dancing, Portuguese Lessons, Bridge, Music Club, The Strollers (walking club). I don’t fancy the yoga purely because I heard that some positions make you fart and I would be so embarrassed. Maybe yoga tutors and videos should specify which moves are likely to do this so you can avoid them. Can’t see me getting Neil to Line Dancing but you never know by March…
On our first Tuesday there was a meet and greet held up at one of the bars. We went up with my plate of cheese and pineapple on sticks and cocktail onions and olives on sticks and met quite a few others all with different backgrounds and stories on why they are now here in Lagos marina. Some have been here for years, for some, like us, it is their first year and for others they head off for the summer then come back here. There is one couple with 3 kids under 12 on board who are schooled locally. Eating out regularly and going to the bars daily for coffee/beer could be an easy trap, if you can afford it and for our first week it has been a bit like that as we have also had visitors.
Neil’s daughter, Nicole and her boyfriend Simon flew in on Wednesday and spent 4 nights on board with us. On Thursday we went out for a final sail of the season. We didn’t plan to go far, just a drift (no wind forecast) along the beach to anchor and have lunch. Which is what we did although for 90% of the time we were in fog. Yup, that darned fog is still dogging us. We were lucky that it lifted while we anchored for lunch off the beach at Alvor and it was hot in the sun but Nicole and Simon didn’t get the view of the coastline that we were hoping they would see. Back in the marina, where it was bright sunshine, Nicole and Simon headed for the beach and I helped Neil remove the sails. So that’s it till jobs are done, so March next year, when the sails will go back up. Over their visit we ate out a few times and had some really nice food. Coincidentally, Simon’s parents were in Lagos for a few days and we met up with them for lunch in town on Saturday. It was great that they could come out and I know Neil loved having Nicole come visit. Our next visitors (Mum and Barbs) aren’t due till the end of January so now it is a matter of settling into a routine, curbing the spending and trying to work out how to keep this lifestyle sustainable.
Neil is working on writing/researching to earn some money and if I’m honest, I’m not sure what I can do. I have my crafting bits and pieces and have picked up some scarf wool (after giving away what I had in the UK) and some t-shirt yarn to make storage baskets. Maybe use Etsy or sell small items locally. I don’t want to go back to the UK to work over the winter as I don’t want to leave my home and Neil. We don’t need a huge amount of money certainly nothing like we needed when we lived in a house. The boat is paid for and as we have seen in Alvor, there are places where you can “park up” for free so the only overheads are food and fuel. While at Alvor we used gas for cooking, a few litres of fuel for the outboard motor and naturally needed to buy groceries but apart from that, we needed nothing else. It is probably hard for most people to imagine a lifestyle such as this where everything we need to worry about (excluding the health of our friends and families but that is a worry wherever you are) is on this boat and is paid for. Quite a few people we have met still have a ‘home’ in the UK whether it is one they rent out or they have a caravan or mobile home. They still have the worries that go with that though, are the tenants paying/treating the house right, can we get tenants, insurance, need to cover the mortgage etc. We have no such concerns and as I sold my car earlier this year, no material ties back in the UK. It’s kind of liberating mentally.
Data connectivity is still an issue. The marina advertises free wifi to berth holders but to be honest the connection is crap. My MEO data sim of 100 hours for 100 days for €15 was supposed to be an offer that you can repeat 2 more times. I went into MEO here in Lagos and basically they denied that it ever existed and is certainly not on offer now. Best they have is 10 hours for 90 days at €10. If we want a decent connection, we will have to pay one of the providers as the marina wifi is so rubbish.** All the bars/restaurants have free wifi but then naturally you are obliged to buy at least a coffee.
**since typing that paragraph, Neil has ordered a wifi booster, the same model as Friendship who says it works for them, so we should be able to improve the marina wifi on the boat. Lets hope so.
Referring back to my last post, we did get up at 3am and watch the eclipse of the full moon back in September. It was very atmospheric. We laid on deck with a cup of tea and, in my case a blanket, and watched the moon disappear and the Milky Way appear in the darker sky. It was fabulous. Neil created the following photo of the different phases.
It’s been a while since my last post. Whilst in Alvor, we did very little but chill and enjoy the fabulous weather and now we are in the marina blog posts may be few and far between. I do use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (just) to post quick images/updates so if you are into any of those:-
The Gleda Project
Twitter: @foolishneil, @Fight_Normality
Facebook: Normality Fighter
Photo Credits: some photos ‘borrowed’ from Nicole and Neil Hawkesford and thanks to Jackie from Rivalady for the ones of us heading out on our last sail of the season.