26 September 2013

Day 10 - Roger that. Over.

September 23, 2013

We woke up, hoisted the anchor, and started to make our way across the bay towards the Yacht Club of Espirito Santo in Vitoria. The city of Vitoria is nested in granite rocks and the waters around it are dangerously shallow and full of submerged rocks. I am glad we anchored where we did last night.

As we were getting closed to the pier the Captain asked me to get in touch with the club for directions to a slip to dock. I felt very important making radio communication. I have never talked on one before and it was not very complicated -- must press button, talk, say over and depress button -- the catch was the Portuguese part of it. First, I had no idea how to say “over” in Portuguese until the master on the dock responded “cambio”. Ah, OK, cambio. Second, I had no idea how to say in Portuguese “ we need to dock and not moor”, and I had no idea what the “o calado” of the boat was.

The Captain was nervous because we were supposed to cut very, very close to the entry pier, about 6-8ft, otherwise, we would go aground. After the pier, we should go around the heliport, where a blue and white boat was anchored, and somehow dock. We had nobody helping us and I was making things more difficult because the dock master had lost his patience with my Portuguese, and understandably, the Captain had lost his patience with my English.

Finally, we were docked. Plankton, a really cool aluminum boat was docked next to us. Fabio, it’s captain, was very helpful with setting of the lines and the docking. Contrary to Salvador, where Fiona was tied side-to a dock, here only the bow was tied to the dock, and not very close to it. There was no water hookup, and no electricity. All I could think of was: shower!!! Not so fast.

To get onto the pier, we had to go all the way to the front of the boat, to the bow sprit, step over and jump onto the pier. I am so glad my parents were not there to see me doing this. After doing it once, all three of us agreed that there must be a better way to get on and off the boat. At least a safer way if Fiona would like to continue it’s journey with a crew with all it’s limbs.

So John and Eric started to devise plans... “Maybe we should move the boat backwards, maybe we should move closer, maybe we should get someone to bring us to and fro, maybe we should inflate the dingy, maybe we should get the rigid dingy down, etc, etc, ....” Oh come on! Shower!!!!!

They finally set up what we called the Fiona Ferry. A long line from the dock to Fiona with the dingy traveling along it by pulling, again, just like in the movies. Ok, an Oscar for both of you.. can we go onshore now??

And so we did, and I did take that shower.

I haven’t looked in the mirror for 10 days. I was expecting to see golden tanned skin, a muscular body, naturally blond highlights in my hair bleached by the sun. Ok, my turn to get an Oscar for special effects, because the reality was sooo far from it. I didn’t loose an ounce -- probably gain some because of all that beer and rum consumption, I wouldn't say I am tanned -- more like baked and covered with black and blues, and my hair is frizzed up by the wind and the salt. Oh well.

John on the other hand looks really good -- I guess having to work while I watched paid off. Maybe I should volunteer for some duties. Hmm, no, never mind, I will hit the gym when I go home.

Upon disembarking, we had some business to take care of. John needed glasses to replace the ones that had flown overboard, Fiona had to be cleared by the Port officials, Eric needed to replenish the rum supply, and I needed a laundromat. We headed to the commercial center and after going from optician to optician, we finally found one that would have the glasses ready next day. Mission #1 accomplished. We then ordered 2 cases of rum at the next door supermarket and Mission #2 was done. Next checking in with the Port Captain -- done. Laundry was dropped off to be picked up at the end of the day. We had a nice lunch, walked around, and later that night went out for pizza. I had my favorite Portuguese style pizza:  ham, cheese, onions, green olives. Mmmm.

Back at the dock we took the Fiona Ferry and went to bed.

Next Episode:  Change of Wind

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