November 5, 2019
You may wonder what is happening with Home Free, and the simple answer is . . . nothing. The schedule is kind of blown to bits at this point and so I am killing a bit of time and thought I would provide a quick update.
A lot has happened recently and I may come back to a longer post, or fill in more here later, but here are the highlights.
Jinhee arrived in Barcelona about 10 days ago and we did some tourist like things in the vicinity (The Barcelona Aquarium, Empuries, Tarragona and Sitges, lots of food, the beach and local strolls through neighbourhoods). The highlight however was the addition of a second scooter to the boat’s equipment list and then scooting through Barcelona, the beaches and so forth. Jinhee LOVES the scooters which will, undoubtedly mean less cycling. But they are fantastic for getting around locally, shopping, or sight seeing.
We also had the opportunity to enjoy a nice dinner with Daniel and his son Danny (a father and son legal team) who take care of various business issues for Lundin here in Spain. Really nice meal and great conversation. Part of the conversation was different opinions on the Catalan separatist issues (Father-against independence; Son-for independence). Great perspectives.
Then it was off to Palma. The area is getting into the season for bad weather so we took our window and crossed the 120 nm on Thursday (Happy Halloween). The water was pretty flat, but I was seasick for a while just the same. The gloomy day was made a bit brighter when we were visited by a number of Dolphins along the route.
Near the end of the day, the sun descended into the Mediterranean Sea, and I couldn’t help but take a picture as perhaps the last sunset I will see while navigating the Mediterranean . . . at least for a long time, if not forever.
When we arrived offshore Majorca it was well past dark and so we dropped anchor in a bay, but the water was not settled and sleeping was not easy. So very early in the morning we started along the route for the last 20 nm or so to Palma.
Normally in winter finding a berth is not at all difficult. Certainly on my way to Barcelona, Alcudia had plenty of room, but Palma is a bit of a boat magnet apparently. We were not so lucky here. There was no room anywhere on a Friday for a boat of our size for 10-12 days. We anchored out and it was a wonderful evening.
The featured photo is just a modest indication of what was coming though, and knowing this we did find a (ridiculously expensive) spot to put the boat for a few days to avoid the storm. We are glad we did. It is now Tuesday and the storm has subsided this morning finally (after 4+ days). Even tied to a dock it has been less than fun.
Docked at Ca’n Pastilla (right beside the airport) has been quite nice actually. There are bike/scooter paths everywhere and we are zipping around when we can get out, the restaurants are non-stop (it’s really touristy), and shopping is close by.
In a stroke of pure luck, the boat is about 500m from a Pearl Izumi factory outlet. For the non-cyclists reading this, they make cycling clothes. By another stroke of luck, Shimano (who makes cycling parts) just purchased Pearl Izumi, and so are trying to kick off this new combination with some awesome deals.
Wouldn’t you guess it . . . I am a total cheapskate when it comes to cycling clothes and have not bought many of the things that I need over the past few years because clothes have become ridiculously expensive. Not so much yesterday.
Normally I pay $500+ for my cycling shoes. (Don’t judge, I sometimes wear them for 15-20 hours at a time, and often for 20+ hours a week, under harsh conditions . . . and they last for many years. These are not fashion shoes!). This cycling store had top of the line shoes, different from my normal brand for about $300. My current shoes are about seven years old and not looking so great. What a deal!
Cycling socks are a big deal to me. The fit, the quality are generally substantially better than any other sock (it’s the lycra), but cycling socks in Toronto are always long now (cycling stores seemed to have stopped carrying ankle socks?!) and they want $24/pair and while I love cycling socks, I don’t think they are worth that much. I bought every pair of ankle socks available at Pearl Izumi for €4 each. What a deal!
Finally, I did a small review of my cycling jerseys on the boat, and the average age of my jerseys is about 11 years old (and keep in mind I ride 4-5 days a week). Not so much now. I now have five new jerseys, two new high tech, lightweight cycling jackets and four pairs of bib shorts, two helmets and a few other bits for the equivalent of about C$1,000.
In Canada, all of these items would have run me about $2,500 or $3,000. In Europe possibly more, this is a factory outlet and some of the prices are amazing and only available because of the recent acquisition of Pearl Izumi, but I feel like a thief. Jinhee will be happy to see some of my tattered cycling stuff go into the garbage too.
This morning Jinhee is heading back to Toronto. I will be cycling and waiting for a loading date for the boat.
On Friday I will need to move my boat to a new location (my current spot has to be freed), but I will take another berth as the winds will be ferocious over the weekend again. Best to be tied up.
For now, I will also be doing final prep on the boat before it is loaded onto the ship for transport to Florida. The dates have already moved out by three days over the past week (all weather related) and I expect more, so I am happy that I haven’t purchased a ticket to Toronto yet. I am now doubtful that I will be able to make a flight on Saturday the 16th. Given plans just last week, I thought a ticket on the 16th would be ample, giving me five days of cushion based on a loading date of the 11th. Unfortunately with weather coming in, I am not so sure now.
Now to try out some of those new cycling clothes . . . the winds are down below 15 knots and the sun is shining.