Questioning

After travelling 8 weeks in Morocco, I finally received a text from my skipper. She was leaving France soon and would arrive in Gibraltar (our meeting point) in more or less 2 weeks. From there we would sail together to the Canaries islands and then the Caribbean. However, I still have to wait 2 to 3 weeks before she gets there.
I decided that I would find a volunteering in Spain and wait until the boat arrives.
I packed my backpack, left my dear cousin and his wife and took the ferry to Spain.

It’s incredible how travelling alone allows you to meet people. Only one hour after leaving my cousin, I met a very nice Australian teacher while I was waiting in the port.

DSC_4735

She was renewing her visa and had to leave the country for a day. We got in touch pretty well because our boat faced 6 hours delay.
When we finally took the ferry, she realized that arriving this late in Spain meant there would be no more boat to return to Morocco.
As I was going to sleep at the house of my very nice friend Ovidiu, I took her with me and decided to show her a bit of Gibraltar.
DSC_4738

In the morning, we had the traditional breakfast together in La linea.

20170313_114729

 I brought her to the top of the mountain to get the best view. Being here in April was much more beautiful. The nature was fully awake now.

DSC_4746

Seems that was also the case for all monkeys. They were just everywhere.

DSC_4751
Ass on the sea… beautifully taken one second too late.

DSC_4756

DSC_4767

In the morning, I went back to the roots and started to hitchhike back. I was heading to Zahara, where I was going to volunteer, a lost village 200 km of Gibraltar.
Hitchhiking here was so different from Morocco. No more crazy driver, tea/prayer stops or invitation to family house. I missed it. That was too normal.

DSC_4782

There, I met Gonzalo, my host who had a beautiful guest house. The plan was to help him 5 hours a day weekly in exchange for food and shelter.

DSC_4784

I had to dig a trench to water the garden. It was great to do some manual work.

DSC_4789

Whereas I was digging, I heard my phone rigging in the house. I was wondering who could call me at this time. I picked up the phone, put it in my right ear and almost passed out when I heard the news.
The sailing boat that was supposed to take me in a couple of days just crashed into the port of la grande Motte. The skipper, when exiting the port, tried to avoid another boat coming in and went straight into a wall and destroyed her mast.

IMG-20170315-WA0004

The boat had to be repaired. The transatlantic was over. I could not fucking believed it. I was screwed!

Indeed the right time to find a sailing boat from Europe to South America is between October and February. Best place to meet captains are in the Canaries islands. My initial plan was to go there from Morocco by sail boat.
However, because this skipper told me that “whatever happens” we would go together, I had not been looking for other boats and decided to come back to Gibraltar to respect my engagement and met her there.
It was even harder to accept this because 2 months ago I was in Agadir and it was the perfect time to find a boat to the Canaries and then South America.

Now, I was lost in Spain digging some trench, 2 months late and thousands kilometers away from my dream.

DSC_4792

This was very hard for me to digest. I decided to finish my day as if nothing happened (except I was digging much harder to release my anger) and had a tea with Hans, a German friend who I had met a couple hours ago.

DSC_4787

He was the neighbor next door. He and his friends hosted me so well and offered me great wine and one thing I truly needed at that point, German beer.
Sharing this great time with them allowed me to cool down and reconsider my options.

I had four :

  • Staying in Spain six months and wait until October to catch a new boat.
  • Hitchhiking to Asia and doing my trip on the other side of the world.
  • Taking a plane to South America (original destination).
  • Taking a plane to the Canaries and trying at all cost to catch a boat to South America.

I easily decided not to choose the first two options. I was left with the 2 remaining. Going straight to South America without trying to take a boat made no sense either. Too easy.
Therefore I decided to take the first plane to the Canaries and go to the main marina in order to find late sailors on their way to America. It would be extremely hard and would cost me a lot of energy but I had to try it.
I came back to the house and explained I had to go.

DSC_4793

I spent my last night in Hans’ house ! That time, he organized (that’s the word) a beautiful dinner. They were all waiting for my decision and were happy to see that I was not giving up.

DSC_4806

I really think that was the best dinner I have had in 3 months. They had tons of German pale ale that they brought from Germany… It took twice longer (and a lot of laugh) to walk back to my host house.

DSC_4811

The next day, I left and hitchhiked to Seville where I would catch my plane.

DSC_4819DSC_4820

I arrived in my favorite Spanish city at the end of the day.

DSC_4822

I was a little pissed to take a plane to go to Canaries while I could have hitchhiked there so easily 2 months ago when I was in Agadir but sometimes, you can’t always get what you want.

DSC_4842

In the end of the afternoon, I could see Gran Canaria island over the horizon.
Watching it from the sky really put things in perspectives. I do not know anything, anyone here and have no clue about how to get a boat. Guess I’ll figure all this out in the following days.

DSC_4848

Once again, I do not know any better way than hitchhiking to start a trip. I had even not left the airport when I met Carla, a local who took me straight to the marinas and invited me at a party with her friends !

DSC_4851

But I had to focus on my first goal… find a damn boat.

DSC_4852

The marina of Gran Canaria is known for several reasons.
First of all, it’s the meeting point of every sailing ship that intends to realize a transatlantic.
Second, it’s the cheapest marina around where most sailors go.
Third, it is by far the biggest marina of all Canaries islands.
In other words, it’s the place to be.

I started to randomly ask people if they might know anyone who was going to cross the Atlantic. All of them replied the same thing… Go to Sailor’s bay.

DSC_4859

Sailor’s bay… I would remind of that name. This is the bar where every sailor goes to have a drink.
This place truly has a soul. Just being inside makes you feel like travelling.
Hundreds of sailor’s cap were hanging on the ceiling while numerous ads filled most of walls. Looking at all of those was at the same time amazing and a bit hopeless. I was clearly not alone looking for a ship.

DSC_4860

I had a beer, relaxed, spoke with all waitresses and created my own ad as well. Later in the night, I went to my couchsurfing host and met the very welcoming Yurena.

DSC_4861

She was a couchsurfing legend who had hosted people from all over the world. She was also located to one of the best surfing place in Gran Canaria, the playa de las Canteras.

DSC_4862

Anyway, next day I came back to the Sailor’s bar and drunk all day long with every man who would sit here.
Everytime I explained my project I got the same answer:
” Too late, you should have come here one month ago. No one is leaving now”.
I knew it very well but decided to keep on trying as hard as I could until I would find my lucky boat. I took every possible advice and started to understand how the whole place was working.

Las-Palmas-plan.jpg
For example, every boat on the left side of the port (close to the entrance) was about to leave whereas boats on the right side were local with higher tendency to stay. It is therefore more interesting for me to focus my energy asking people from the left side.

At the end of the day, I came back to my host house and offered her a couple of spices I brought from Morocco.

DSC_4872

She was already planning to go out in the following days to integrate me to the local life…

photo.jpg.

I came back the next morning and kept asking everyone. Every day, I was speaking at least with 40-50 different sailors in English, French or Spanish and every time I had the same answer, “too late, come back in October”.
However, I did not give up, always smiled and offered them to grab a beer if they had time. After 2 days, I had friends who were already inviting me over to have a drink on their boat whenever I was passing by.

DSC_5923

Few days later, one of the best encounter was about to happen.
One day, I came back from my routine and went to have a beer in Sailor’s bay. I noticed one guy who did not look from here. Indeed, he had Eastern Europe traits and was wearing a Caribbean shirt while everyone else was cold. I felt I had to speak with him. I then met Lucas from Poland.

DSC_4874

He was also looking for a boat but was doing his research in the most relaxing way ever. Whereas I could feel some competition from other boat hitchhikers, with Lucas I only felt sympathy. We got along together and I decided to show him everything I learnt from the sailors over the last few days.

IMG-20170325-WA0012

We divided our research and shared every detail we could find together.

DSC_4883

Sometimes we slept on the beach with other travelers….

IMG-20170322-WA0001

Whereas some other nights, we went out with our friends !

IMG-20170325-WA0010

And after one week of intense research, we finally met the legendary Francois.

IMG-20170325-WA0002

François was not going to cross the Atlantic but he could show us the basics of sailing and give us a cabin in exchange for work.
I felt I had to live this with Lucas so we both said yes (and clearly had no idea of what was about to happen), went on board and discovered this old boat that had been sailing around the world for years.

DSC_4961

We had our own cabin and started to enjoy life on board…

DSC_4884

We spent a couple of days in the port cleaning everything from toilets to the basement without forgetting the engine or the propeller. Haha François did not loose a second of our time.

DSC_4888

As I was comfortable swimming I also did a couple of underwater job cleaning.

DSC_4950

In exchange for this, we were sharing food/shelter with our captain.
He was a good chef but after 3 months without cooking, I really started to miss it and decided to take care of meals.
Soon enough I became the official chef on board and cooked every day.

DSC_5071

IMG-20170325-WA0005

Now, we were fully settled in the marina. Wherever we were going, we had friends to drink and speak with. François’s boat was like our house and we were taking great care of it.

DSC_4974

After a whole week of work we were finally ready to leave. Our last night was blessed by this beautiful sunset. I could not wait until I would see it from the ocean…

DSC_4968

We woke up super early and left before the sun rose. Barely awake,
we took the boat on his way out.

IMG-20170401-WA0000
This could be the most dangerous thing you guys have ever seen.

Driving the boat inside that landscape could not be a better start for my sailing life.

DSC_4986

We sailed for a couple of hours. François was teaching (yelling^^) us how to operate the boat.

DSC_5021

I realized that I was lucky and did not suffer at all seasick. The bigger the wave, the hungrier I became. That, unfortunately, was not the case of Lucas. The poor man threw up all day long.

DSC_5014

I tried to play music for him but it was pointless.

DSC_5016

We kept sailing and I cooked some easy meal for him.

DSC_4970

The first night away of the coast … was beautifully enjoyed. I stayed with Francois and listened to his stories all night long.

DSC_5039

We navigated the whole day.

DSC_5001

Under François supervision… ce vieux loup de mer !

DSC_5010

To make it to the very south of the island.

DSC_5052

It was way warmer than the north. We felt so well that we spent the whole day here.

DSC_5056

and enjoyed the most basic pleasure of life… swimming.

DSC_5055

DSC_5064

and eating !

DSC_4959

DSC_5091

The next morning we kept our trip around the island.

DSC_5098

DSC_5053.JPG

Unfortunately, the wind rose and we had to come back as a storm was coming.

Error
This video doesn’t exist

We came back and stopped in the first shelter. We met some local fishers, spoke a bit with them and shared fish they had just caught earlier.

DSC_5109

We left in the morning and came back to Las Palmas.

DSC_5116DSC_5119
We lost Lukas one more time ! I was really impressed by him since he never complained even if he was suffering from hard seasick…

DSC_5121

Back in the port, François explained he had to go to France for 2 weeks. I could stay on his boat and take care of it in the meantime. Since I had no other plans, I accepted. It would help me to figure out what I would do next.

DSC_5127.JPG
Fiouu, I was finally alone after 3 weeks. I turned on the radio and listened to Massive Attack. I felt that life had been challenging recently but damn, what an adventure!
In the end, those three weeks in Las Palmas taught me that I had more resources than I had expected.
Now I’m having a whole 42 feet boat for myself… Next days are going to be epic !

DSC_5136

Welcome in, mates… the captain is pleased to have you on board!

Sans titre.png

Advertisement

5 thoughts on “Questioning

  1. Quelles aventures !!!! En tous les cas tu es bien le digne arrière petit fils de ton arrière grand père : un vrai marin , pas malade en mer , il doit être bien fier de toi !!!
    mille bises Arthur & take care

    Like

  2. Salut Arthur
    Un vrai plaisir de suivre ton aventure☺! Merci de nous faire partager avec autant d’authenticité cette belle expérience👍
    Prends soin de toi et continue à nous faire rêver
    Michel

    Like

  3. Les choses ne se passent pas toujours comme prévues mais tu as des capacités d’adaptation étonnantes et comme disait ton papy :
    “Me omnia mel”
    “De tout, je fais mon miel”
    Tu as fait de sa devise la tienne
    🙂

    Like

  4. Artur, it is realy good fun to read your Blog. This will be the adventure of your life, which you Will Never forget. I will eagerly follow the next chapters of your story.
    Take care and good luck!
    Un abrazo
    Hans

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s