Showing posts from October, 2013

Coming home the fast way

I admit it. I really hate air travel. This was no exception. Our trip from Paris to Ireland West Knock could have been disastrous. It turned out okay, but a story nonetheless.

The time had changed overnight from GMT+1 to GMT. 'Spring ahead - Fall back' is the mnemonic I always use to know which way the clocks change.  Well, Alex's mother had different ideas. Many of which just did not correlate with being on time in the morning. Suffice it to say, we got up at 6, were at breakfast by 7 and on the road by 7:30.

Paris in the Fall

I don’t really like cities, but Paris is an exception. I don’t like how dirty it is. One feels grimy just walking around. The streets are littered. The buildings are turning black. But there’s a je sais quoi about the place that is unlike any place else.
Alex and Meike arrived Wednesday late. Thursday morning we went to the Orangerie to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. I was glad to see Frida had top billing.  We could not get in. The cue was at least 5 hours long to get tickets. But I discovered there was a shorter cue for people with tickets…less than an hour long. So we went to the Musee d’Orsay instead, bought tickets good for both exhibits and vowed to go back the next morning bright and early. Paris museum strategy. Very important.

The Church of the Holy Brand

It's about 20 degrees C ( that's room temperature) in Paris and sunny. You wouldn't know it's so warm because everyone is wearing coats and scarves and boots. That's what one wears in October in Paris. I have a meeting in the morning and then the rest of the day is mine. I have decided that shopping is in order.

I walked and walked and walked today. That's also what one does in Paris. It is somehow very reassuring to come to a foreign city and know your way around. Alex and I were here just a couple of years ago. We went everywhere on foot and by Metro. We stayed at a small boutique hotel and because we liked it we chose to stay in the same hotel again this time.

Three dimentional sailing

How very different air travel is from sailing to a destination on a cruising sailboat. Here I sit in the airport having struggled with baggage from car to train to bus to airport. My flight is 4 hours from now. At least the airport has wifi to entertain me. And I have everything in reverse to look forward to at the other end after traveling in three dimentions across thousands  of miles in few hours.
Groups of children are huddled in corners with their iPads waging their next intergallactic war. I am surrounded by tourists of various shapes, sizes, colours and tongues. There is the rather large German Zha Zha Gabor wanna be who never was. The aging American flower children stuck in the California of the 70s. The vast Canadian ordering multiple triple decker sandwiches. The African immigrants making a pilgrimmage home. And on it goes. The world is vastly multicultural and airline travel accentuates every aspect.

Piracy warning

As Pirates Attack a Super Tanker in the Indian Ocean, Naval Forces and Sailing Groups Warn Yachts to Avoid High Risk Areas
A British based group of naval and cruising organizations formed a working group called EUNAVFOR Somalia to tackle piracy and its threat to yachts transiting dangerous waters. Today, the group has issued a new warning against yachts going there.  You can read the text and view the evidence supporting the position here
The Ocean Cruising Club, one of the organizations involved and of which I am a member, is developing additional resources based on the collective experience of our members.  Check here for updates regularly.

Taking our time in Galway

Putting Aleria to bed and taking in the city In the morning, the harbourmaster's team took away the boat that was in our slip.  Then we had to maneuver Aleria from one slip into the other. No easy task for our lady of poor reverse. Usually, springing her around allows us to bring the stern around. But there just wasn't enough room without bow thrusters.  Alex managed to get her close without bumping into anything and thankfully, Brian came down to assist.  I threw him a spring then the midships line and jumped ashore with the stern line. Piece of cake. Now about a half hour of adjusting docklines until she was just right in the slip with chafe protectors in position and we were set. 

The last sail of the season

Inishbofin to Galway - the best sail of the year! When dawn broke, it was even colder. But the sunrise was glorious, even though 'red sky at morning, sailors warning' usually means bad stuff coming. We pulled anchor at first light and headed out just ahead of Brian. As we set sails, the wind was a steady 15 knots -just out of the NE instead of the forecast NW. It stayed on the beam most of the way. It was a slightly fluky day with the wind dropping down to less than 10 knots then charging up to 20+, but that made it interesting and exhilarating.

Delivery in October

Clew Bay to Inishbofin - spectacular! We'd done little sailing since returning from Scotland in August. 'Things' like weather and birthdays and business matters and novels -- the writing of one -- kept getting in the way.  When it came time to put Aleria away for the winter, we were once again confronted with a dilemma. She's a big lady for this part of the world to handle. Our options were to bring her up on shore like we did in the past or haul her out like we did in the spring. Neither option had proven entirely reliable. She just doesn't like to sit on the hard. Alex actually thought she'd be best off on her mooring, which would have given me palpitations all winter long.

Summer is back.

Fall morphs into Indian Summer? Just as we were making plans for hauling out, the weather turned. Fall morphed into summer once again and this week's blue skies yielded temperatures in the 90s F in the sun and 75F in the shade. That of course makes us want to go sailing. But is the weather god simply taunting us or are we the beneficiaries of climate change for good. Who knows? Who cares?  It's glorious!!!

So who wants to work?  This is the problem I've been dealing with in Ireland. I've always been a proponent that weekends should come when the weather is fine. In Ireland, the winter is dark and bone chilling, perfect weather for working day and night as you cannot tell which is which for much of it.