October 2021 – we have been living aboard the Ocean Deva for 16 months now and we kind of really like it ! The spaces are a little small and there is hardly a flat surface to stretch out on (except the beds) but with continual discipline in putting things away after use we feel comfortable, relaxed and “at home”.
Our adventures over the last 16 months have taken us for almost 4000 nautical miles and we have visited 9 different countries on this route. Our Ocean Deva has been solid in difficult weather and we have learnt a lot of the repair and maintenance required to keep trouble free sailing.
We were feeling so much at home that we decided that it was time to give up our house in Ronda, Spain where we have not lived for the last 16 months and we think that it may yet be several years before we are ready to move back onto terra firma.
Old quirky houses, (like the one we have) with old quirky owners (which we are) need only a like-minded buyer to make sure that the house is passed into good hands that will continue to look after her, love her and enjoy her beauty and comforts.
Although our house was up for sale with the usual agencies and web sites, our old quirky buyer came to us through word of mouth as an interested party. In the same way we fell in love with the house, only by seeing it from the outside, our quirky “interested party” did the same. John and Nora, citizens of California and Colombia were caught in the same web of the beauty from an ancient property with thick stone walls, wooden beams and a history that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. We could never date the house, though the local council considered us as “first occupants” as they had no floor plans for the house (?). We think the house is somewhere between 400 and 800 years old as it is on the oldest square at the entrance through the ancient city walls.
With a mixture of sadness to leave a cherished and loved house behind and the excitement of our sailing adventures to come, we needed to be realistic. The liability of a house that may remain empty for many years was really something we should pass onto people who will live there and care for her.
With a sale agreed, the next problem was deciding what to do with our personal belongings. Fortunately, after a steady process of downsizing over the last years from a 5 bedroomed villa in Oman to 3 bedroomed apartments in Abu Dhabi and then 2 bedrooms and a small house in Ronda, much excess had been removed. Though what remained was more and more personal and difficult to further downsize.
Passing on old business suits, shirts, shoes etc. was quite easy as these were clearly things that were no longer needed. However, there were many things of quality and value that had been accumulated that form a part of a house and needed for daily living. We wanted to go light, with only our most personal items and so we put many things outside our front door for anyone who would like to take them. As ever, in our experience, this is the time you meet your neighbours and many good people who we should have met much earlier. We had great fun in finding new homes for our excess items and we hope that we made a little difference to the lives of some people in our street.
The rest, well, it made up about 6-7 cubic meters of books, paintings and personal stuff that will start us off in a new house when the time comes.
We had planned Eurosenders to ship to Lagos, Portugal where a good friend and business colleague of Ingrid had a lot of unused space that we could use for long term storage. With some hiccups and delays to our planning (of mice and men) our personal stuff was sent to Lagos where we arrived beforehand to unload and store for a later chapter in our lives.
In Lagos, we also took some time to scout out the marina as this is a well known starting point for voyages to the Caribbean. The trend was started by a guy called Christopher Columbus in 1492 – you may have heard of him - and people have been heading off from Lagos ever since.
The Harbour entrance that leads to the marina is generally quite calm and safe, except for when the wind blows from the south. Today the wind was blowing from the south and it was a better day for surfing than for sailing ! To compound the weather conditions, the harbour mouth is beginning to silt up and it is recommended for larger boats to wait until the tide is half way in, to make sure the keel does not scrape the bottom. One boat waiting to come in was anchored in the bay with a swell of over 2 metres. This is a really good lesson for us in our planning for a future visit.
Staying in Lagos also gave us the opportunity to visit the west coast of Portugal where some long-term investments are waiting for building planning permissions to be granted. The plot is not so far from the beautiful beaches of the area and so with temperatures in the upper 20’s we decided to take a leisurely walk. We saw the massive breakers from the Atlantic Ocean crashing down on the long sandy beaches that had as many surfers in the water as people on the sand.
Many years ago in Lombok, Indonesia we wanted to try out some surfing but due to Ramadan and other reasons, we never managed to get sufficiently organised to do it. Here in Portugal, we had the idea; we have some time, the weather is great and the surf looks awesome – why don’t we give it a go ?
A little organisation and we were booked for 2 consecutive days of surfing lessons – had we bitten off more than we could chew at our age ??
The next days lessons were so exhausting, even though we thought we were fit ! We discovered aching muscles where we did not think we had muscles. However, we had a fantastic time playing in water of 18 deg. C. We were not cold for a moment and thoroughly exhilarated through our efforts. Our lack of technique was made up by a focussed commitment to the task in hand – Catching a Wave and then standing up on a surfboard. Style was lacking, but with dedication, we managed to stand a few times for a few seconds – sometimes even in control !
As the lesson wore on, the tiredness took over and there was a moment where we just had to stop and rest as there was insufficient strength remaining to stand up when required.
At the end of 2 days we were hooked and want to continue finding places to surf in the weeks and months ahead. All these things that we can do in, on, under and around the water ! I am not sure if we will ever want to make a life on land again, or at least not in the immediate future.
Surfing photos courtesy of Jon Barra, photographer for "Mission to Surf" in Vale de Telha, Portugal's west coast.