I've never understood why someone would be 'sick as a dog', because in my experience, dogs are rarely sick. The same can probably be said for Turtles, since they live such a long time. But anyway, that's the best title I could think of in my current state, because, for the past four or five days, I have been couch bound. Couch bound you ask? When did you install a couch in Constellation? Well, truth be told, the installation of my purple, crushed velvet love-lounge in the forepeak is only a pipedream... I have however been rescued once again by the fantastic Portuguese. Generosity must be part of their genetic makeup, I'm certain of it. Wherever it stems from, it's amazing and I just can't believe it. Really I'm just a smelly vagabond without any money on a small bathtub with sails, yet assistance comes from all directions.
This time around it is by Pedro, but not that Pedro, another one. He will be referred to as (how original) Pedro #2 for the sake of limiting Pedro induced confusion. Pedro #2 is a friend of Paul & Lisa, who long term readers will know helped me out on numerous occassions in Holland and even in Spain. Pedro #2 has been taking me out every lunch & dinner, and providing a nice cosy house for me to live in while I have been sick, and today even took me out on an excursion to the Maritime Museum, so I could learn all about The Discoveries, and see how real navigators conducted themselves. I dearly wish I could waltz around in such a dashing outfits, sextant in my left hand, jewled sword in my right, commanding great discoveries on the bow Constellation... But alas I merely have a pair of torn jeans and a handheld GPS. And everything is mapped already.
If the Portuguese had had things their way, chances are, you my reader would be considerably more Latin than you probably are. As you probably well know, the downfall of Portuguese rule was a disappointing fall from near absolute global domination through seemingly infinite maritime discovery. It's always special to think about how little changes in history would have affected the way we are today... Unfortunately there was no information I could find in the museum on theories of prior Portuguese discovery of Australia, which is an especially interesting topic. One look at their maps and expansive routes, does lead you to easily believe that there was every chance they made our East coast before the Dutch or the English.
This bout of sickness has been a real downer on a lot of levels. First and foremost because I haven't had the slightest chance to work on Constellation. I actually have quite a bit to do before I leave continental Europe, and none of that work has really even begun. The real sailing begins from here, and things just cannot be left to chance. I have my liferaft at the service station, which I sent back after noticing that in the first service the canister wasn't closed properly. I really hope this isn't a sign of things to come, service-wise... Liferaft servicing is something you need to feel especially confident in.
As I have been sick, it also means the boat has been sitting in Cascais marina, knocking up a nice bill I'm sure. I had great plans to sit at anchor or something similarly free, but now money is going down the drain hole for the boat to just sit there. My last and final feel-sorry-for-myself-I-am-sick-boo-hoo complaint, will be that time is really of the essence. It's the peak of winter, and I should have been out of here months ago. Once I reach Madeira or the Canaries everything will be back on track, it's the bit from here to the Islands that's hairy, and I just really don't relish the idea of the whole thing. I need to be in good physical (ie. not sick) shape to do the trip, because I think it will be long and difficult. I still have every intention of leaving for the Atlantic islands for my doubters, and I know my sickness may appear to be some kind of convenient excuse to lay about on the couch, watching DVDs and surfing the Internet. Fear not, I promise I will be back at sea, getting drenched, shivering with cold and generally being miserable, as soon as I possibly can.
My down-time has not been entirely wasted though, I've been working on other things, and conversing with Australian sailing greats like Nick Moloney on sleep strategies. With great astonishment Nick sent me sleep training paper written for the Pirates of the Caribbean Volvo Ocean Racing team. I'll be up there racing Open 60's before you know it! Thank you Nick.
There really is little else to tell you... I just can't thank Pedro #2 enough for letting me be the resident vegetable on his couch. There is nothing worse than being sick, especially when you're away from home, and the best you can do is sleep on the dry side of your boat, not even having enough legspace to curl up in the foetal position and sob like a child. I'm not sure if it is men in general who fall to pieces when ill, but, I'll be honest and tell you, I do... I wish could ship my mum over for Chicken soup and a pat on the head.
Yeah I know, what a whimp.