Planning for Christmas and New Year 2010/11

Our guests are due to arrive shortly, and Velvet Lady is now back together again gleaming with her newly varnished floors and painted heads.  Whilst we were painting and varnishing we stayed in an aparthotel ashore and had to get used to strange things like putting the plug in the sink before washing up.  Luxury was to come back at the end of a hard days work and relax in the bath with a G and T and a book.  Fortunately the hotel had loads of hot water.

Whilst we were busy during the day, Richard and I had plenty of time in the evenings to start thinking about next year (2011) when the boat will need to come out of the water for antifouling again.  Planning the dates to do this meant we had to decide what we were doing for Christmas and New Year with the boat and when.

We will again spend the winter in Lanzarote and run 7 night Xmas and New Year trips aboard.  These will be similar to this year and the details are now posted on our website and available for booking.  We cannot guarantee the weather, but I think we can safely say it will not snow!  And talking of snow – we quite like a bit of snow in the right place and so are  also planning a trip to the slopes for January 2011

Seems a long way away, but

Auld Years Night


Many people call the last day of the year New Years Eve, and look forward to the celebrations at midnight for the start of a New Year.  My dad has always referred to it as Auld Years night, and in the past we have celebrated the end of a successful year as much as the start of a new one.  For our last trip of 2009 we were joined by a family group and prepared to celebrate both!

Our Auld Years night was special and a fitting tribute to 2009.  We spent the day sailing in the sunshine from the tiny fishing village of Playa Quemada to Arrecife.  With a north westerly wind we were reaching along at 8 knots with Laura, a beginner, at the helm in a flat sea.  Lunch was cheese toasties and home made chicken soup on deck, and just as we were clearing up and washing the dishes an eagle eyed Rebecca spotted a whale about 100 metres away on the starboard beam.  As with all whale sightings you have to be in the right place at the right time and we were lucky, Rebecca had seen him on his first surface.  We watched ‘him’ spout, surface and dive 3 more times before he disappeared!  Just great.  The next hours were spent with the Whales and Dolphins identification book and we finally decided it was a Sei whale.  Rich reckoned it was at least 18 metres long which fitted with the description in the book.

From Arrecife we had a clear horizon to watch the sun, and as it set for the last time in 2009, we lit the barbeque.  An hour later we ate on deck under a nearly full moon and a sky full of stars.  After filling our selves with dates wrapped in bacon, beef kebabs, coleslaw and traditional canary potatoes with Mojo sauce we pondered how to spend the last few hours until midnight. A game in the cockpit seemed like a good idea.  The interesting thing about group bookings is learning the many ways families entertain themselves. Emma had brought many popular board games and Richard and I were introduced to Complete Balderdash, Chain Reaction and the game we played on New Years Eve – Articulate.  You work in pairs, and have to describe to your partner whatever is written on the question card with no actions!  The better you know the person you are playing with the easier it becomes as you know their way of thinking.  Emma and Rebecca are twins, and needless to say playing together they soon outsmarted the rest of us!

As it approached midnight, Joe prepared the champagne glasses and Richard found a count down to Big Ben on the local radio station.  The Spanish enjoy their fireworks at New Year the same as the rest of us but their timing is not as precise.  It wasn’t until 5 past 12 that the fireworks started.  From our anchorage in Arrecife we could see all the way up and down the coast and randomly the fireworks carried on until 12.30, plenty of time for a second bottle of champagne before bed.  We thought about the Scottish tradition of first footing and were tempted to take a lump of coal off the barbeque to the boat on the next mooring.  We realised in time that there were no lights on and no movement on deck and it seemed wise not to wake them.  As they were flying a Belgian flag they might not have appreciated the whole coal gesture thing.

2010, the start of another year and another decade.  We’ve just finished the noughties, an expression I only heard in the middle of 2009, I wonder what we will think of to call the next 10 years.

Whilst we were basking in the sunshine on New Years Day, the only news we had from the UK was how cold it has been and how the snow is still lying.  We have had temperatures here in the 20’s every day since we arrived, and although some days have been overcast and a bit windy it has never been cold.  Rich and I are about to set to on 3 weeks of varnishing but after that we will be sailing again in the sunshine of the Canary Islands with trips right up until the end of March.  If you want to escape the winter blues why not check out our website and take a quick flight to the sun!