30th January 2021
Portimão Marina, Portugal
The noose of Covid-19 has been strangling the world for a year now. Every time it closes in on us, we manage to escape its tenuous hold, only for it to catch us up again where we then need to make another escape. The Covid-19 noose has finally caught Ruffian, has tightened its grip, has squeezed all our options away and strangled any hope of escape. This strangulation means just one thing on Ruffian. A renewed focus on jobs, a renewed focus on (limited) fun and a new focus on the future.
In the name of fun, we struck out along the beach and we knew the noose was getting tighter and tighter. Signs covered the entrance to every footpath forbidding walking; barriers closed road after road corralling cars; and chequered tape covered everything making the intentions of the police known if the signs, barricades and loud speaker announcements went unheeded. We however had a cunning route to the beach that avoided all of the above.
The miles and miles of beach were deserted, not a single foot had disturbed a single grain of sand and with the fog, not a single sign of civilisation could be seen. It was as if we’d entered another world. We knew however that although we were hiding in a cloud, the cloud of covid-19 hung over us as did the cloud of being told off for ‘bending’ the rules.
Everything was eerily quiet on Ruffian. No pedestrians stirred on the pretty paths around the marina, no cars drove surfers to the beach and no boats disturbed the water in the harbour. Everyone was focussed on being indoors, so we focussed on Ruffian’s job list.
As Iain mounted the paddleboard and slipped his legs into the water in preparation for cleaning the hull all the other boats in the marina started their tasks. As Iain cleaned and rocked to classic tunes from the 80’s, a French boat went all sophisticated with some classical music, a Dutch boat raved to old school house, while further up the dock someone was having anger management issues as thrash metal reflected their mood. The marina was alive to this cacophony of sound and Ruffian was slowed transformed back to her shiny white.
All the music didn’t do anything to help the circulation in Iain legs which had been in the water for what felt like hours (it was) and now he had to stand up without working limbs. The scene that unfolded was akin to a new foal being born. He stumbled around trying not to fall in with legs that wouldn’t do as they were told and all on a platform that seemingly bucked and kicked under him.
The cleaning didn’t end just above the water, there was also cleaning to do below it. A job that we’d been putting off until we were in clean, clear, blue water had now made its way to the top of the to-do list, so we donned wetsuits, braved and the water and dived in*. The prop was transformed from a tangle of weed and crustaceans to a mirror with amazing reflections, the shaft was once again smooth, and anodes cleared so they could do their annoding**. The water was far from clear when we got in and was even less clear when we got out. Fingers crossed our additions to the water scared away all the critters that were waiting to infect us with their ear, nose, throat and eye infections.
As the jobs were being ticked off Fiona started on a new list; the sewing list. Everything that could be harmed by the sun now had a cover. Winches would be protected from sand, hoses protected from the sun, windlasses shielded from salt, but the harshest protection was saved for last. The chart table seat needed protecting from Iain’s bottom! With the greatest of skills she whipped up a cover that bent around corners, where the pattern matched across seams and would be easily ‘launderable’ when Iain’s posterior got the better of it.
The noose of Covid-19 has enabled us to tick off task after task and focus on the fun that we can have, our minds however are turning to the future. Right now, the future seems like a long way away so until the noose loosens, the lockdown lifts and our freedoms reinstated we’ll just focus and take joy from the moment.
* When we say dive we actually mean slide in slowly, complain like an old lady and yelp like a wimp as the water seeps inside the wetsuit.
** Anodes protect the metal parts of the boat from corrosion.
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.