Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bits n Bobs: One week to go !

We had a flopper-stopper party last week, with curious sailing friends in attendance to check out our new parahoule (at-anchor roll stabilizer). Everyone agreed that it is a very clever design and has several big advantages over other commercial systems out there. We’ll surely put it to the test in the near future. After they all left, the neighbours called over: “what’s that weird thing dangling from your upstairs window?” so we told them to come over and check it out and help us finish off the last of the rosé wine. Another bottle later, they waddled home and we proved that we could disassemble the parahoule with some roll of our own.

Our previous arrival in Gibraltar.

We installed Anchor Watch Pro on the smartphone, which sets off an alarm if your anchor starts to drag. (I really wanted the app called “drag queen” - such a great name! - but it just wasn’t as fancy.) It’s less energy hungry than our vhf / on-board gps system (I think?) so we can leave it on overnight. It also has the advantage that you can click on “anchor down” just as you start letting out the chain, marking the location of your anchor so that you always have a bearing and distance to let you know if your anchor is underneath the neighbour's boat before you plan to leave. If you have a 2nd phone with a local sim card (which we don’t), you can leave the alarm phone on the boat when you go ashore and it will send you a text message alarm if the boat moves while you’re away.

Patrick is a marvel. Last week, we were chatting with some friends who suggested that a new boat is like a new car – it loses significant value after the first year. With this in mind, he called up our insurance agent and asked if we could re-evaluate our insurance policy for the boat. He came back from the meeting with a huge grin: fees reduced by 54% saving us over 900 Euros !!!! What a man ! (and thanks, friends, for the idea.)

We’ve started packing. This is a particularly difficult exercise for me because I like things to be orderly and logical. But order and logic often take up more space than chaos does. Around the parahoule sack, I’ve got little air pockets just perfect for a pair of socks, or a small bottle, or one sandal. I’m using this as a warm-up exercise for going-with-the-flow that is so important in boat life.

We’ve printed out our boarding passes. We’ve organized our car-pool service (called blah blah car) to get to the airport, we’ve called the hotel to let them know we’ll arrive late, we’ve checked out the bus schedules to get to La Linea, and we’ve contacted the marina to have them activate our pontoon pass for the morning of our arrival (love modern marinas !).

Marina Alcaidesa, La Linea de la Concepcion, Spain.
Yesterday, I spent the day taking written and oral French language tests for my application for French citizenship. I’m very glad it’s over. I won’t get the results for another 3 weeks. Our neighbours will receive my results in the mail and let me know by email. (Note to future commuter-cruisers: always have good neighbours.)

Note to self for next year: always have lots of aperitif drinks and snacks on hand for the month before departure. The number of “bon voyage” soirées seems to get bigger every year.

The way we left her.
To relax between study sessions for my French test, I took the Meyers-Briggs personality test (thanks to a blog post by Human Resources guru Ellen at the Cynical Sailor) and discovered my spirit animal, which is very important for deciding on the tattoo I plan to get for my 50th birthday. The results: I am an ENFJ sea turtle ! What does that mean? Endless hours of fun pondering past, present, and future actions, of course. One concrete example: Meyers-Briggs defines ENFJs as “idealist organizers” and the sea turtle serenely carries his home on his back, which allows him to feel at home anywhere. Now, pray tell, how is an ENFJ sea turtle supposed to pack? There is NO ideal way to organize your home on your back (or boat) ! I’ve tried! Oh how I’ve tried! I haven’t solved my problem, but at least I now know the root of my dilemma. See? How fun was that?

Between now and take-off time: 2 doctor’s appointments; hosting one (planned) bon voyage soirée; moving the plants outside, slapping them on the backside and wishing them good luck; loading up on fresh mothballs; finishing the last bits of food in fridge, freezer and pantry (always makes for interesting meals…); printing out boarding passes, hotel reservations, bus schedules, and proof of insurance in 3 languages; charging all the cameras (2), e-readers (2) and computers (3) for an eventual inspection at the airport; and most importantly, embracing my inner sea turtle to find peace in the stress.


LittleCunningPlan.com said...

You are an 'NFJ'? A rare animal indeed! Do you use organization as a way to manage feelings? Fascinating stuff! Thanks for the tip on the anchor watch app. I, too, was attracted to Drag Queen's name, because... marketing. But I'll give a look at the one you are using. I love the 'anchor down' feature, although I suppose you can just use the MOB button on the chartplotter. Doesn't have the same 'feel' though! LOL! Crossing fingers that your application is accepted. Our daughter will some day be doing that one for the UK. At least she won't have to dust off her French for that.

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

I love your take on being an ENFJ sea turtle and how it relates to organizing your boat :-) It would be fun to look at MBTI in relation to cruisers.

All the best with your French citizenship test. It must be nerve wracking to have to wait for the results.

Sailing Mareda said...

Thanks, Ellen. I'll have to analyze our whole cruising season through an ENFJ sea turtle lens this year ! (Now I'll have to use my french skills to translate the test and trick Patrick into taking the test as well...)

Sailing Mareda said...

Hey Little Cunning Plan. I think I DO use organization to manage feelings, although I've never really thought about it before. I can't think clearly unless everything is in its place, and when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I clean / organize / straighten (but I thought everybody did that ! No, huh?). Your daughter won't have language problems but the English do require that you pass a sort of history exam. Bill Bryson has a hilarious description of the process in his latest book.

ELB said...

Greetings from your INFJ childhood BFF! I am a certified MBTI instructor now, and it surely does shed a lot of light on sooo many things! Safe travels and looking forward to vicarious thrills via your posts! Much love from ELB and the rest of the Brother clan (every time we go past your house it sets off a whole chain of reminiscences, and I will leave you with this one: it's almost strawberry season here!)

Sailing Mareda said...

No way ! ELB - you're an NFJ too? (I was borderline on the E). I'm sure the little free online test I took can't be very accurate but it is fascinating...and that gives me another reason to try to meet up with you when I'm in the states the next time (so you can give me the REAL test !). Here in France, strawberry season starts at the same time as asparagus season - what memories ! Love to the whole clan.