The end of a winter of work is in sight. With escape to look forward to and the weather getting warmer our spirits have shrugged, thrown up their hands and given up most of the grumbles. After supporting each other through the more testing times we seem to have plenty of evening and weekend left over for laughing and exploring. We’re comfortable, and we’re ready to be something else.
We talk a lot about what needs to be done before we leave the marina. In no particular order, we have managed to paint the galley bulkhead (only four years overdue), add a couple of winches for the staysail, tighten the rigging, check the mast wedges, replace the mainsail reef lines and ties, make a new mast boot and add a whip to the running backstays. That last one’s good for me – now there’s enough purchase that Rich isn’t be the only one who can tighten the runners in the middle of a manoeuvre. At weekends we work on separate parts of Gwen at the same time, sanding or twisting or brushing in the sunshine with the radio on full blast, and it barely feels like a hardship. Then Rich fine tunes the details while I fine tune the dinner, and we admire our handiwork from the cockpit with a beer and a long conversation about where to put what and what to do next.
Friends and family visit and we show them what we can of what we’ve discovered here. Or they show us something we never could have imagined. My mum, for example, took a holiday to Barcelona with her boyfriend and invited me over for the day (it’s only a half hour flight from Palma) so we could go and get a bit emotional at the devastating beauty of the sagrada familia. I’m still not over it. Next week we’re cramming in a couple more visitor trips and then we’ll be baseless again – those nomadic arseholes who won’t give our families so much as a forwarding address.
This weekend, however, we’ve been given time off for Jesus. Yesterday Gwen yawned and stretched her stiff, dry wings. We sailed out into a gentle sea and off around the headland to the east. Sensations of the clean, fragrant air beyond our metropolis drew up day-long grins, and a gentle sea carried us here to Cala Pi, one of the most beautiful places we’ve seen. We woke this morning to a gentle splashing wobble, the sound of birdsong and a salty scent of herb-lined cliffs. It’s a bit wonderful.
At the end of next week we’ll leave the marina for good. I have loved living in Palma, and I’ve grown used to having access to all its amenities. I’m familiar enough with street side accordion repertoires to expect a My Way or a Vie En Rose at least once a day, and my sketchpad notes the price of a coffee in every cafe at which I’ve doodled. The route to work is familiar enough that my bike seems to steer it itself down the pretty alleyways and up the smog-clogged thoroughfare. I’ll miss the city a bit, perhaps, and then I’ll forget a lot of it. I’ll miss the shore power for my laptop and the wifi access. But moving on is a much more exciting prospect than settling down. Always.
Don’t ask where we’re going – we still don’t know. Work stops at the end of May and we’ll anchor in Illetas and nearby bays until then. When that’s done we can disappear towards Barcelona or the Guadiana or the Gambia or the Canaries – money and work will decide. Everything’s daunting and exciting, and that’s all our own doing, so I guess we just get on with it and see.