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April 2, 2002

Loading of Zamindar onto Super Servant3

The loading of Zamindar onto Super Servant3 went smoothly. We just motored her on and the crew tied her up. We were able to stay onboard until the ship left port, and I soon found out that I could have stayed for the entire crossing, contrary to what I had been told by the Dockwise office. We spent the evening drinking too much beer onboard 'Duva', a British yacht that was behind us on the ship, and animatedly discussing the reasons that we badly wanted to leave the USA. The following morning I was woken by the sound of bubbles, as divers positioned supports in place under Zami's hull. Chris and I had by now added ourselves to the meals list, and went off to the messroom for breakfast on the ship. By the time we returned, Zamindar was resting nicely on her stands as the water continued to be pumped out of the ship. Soon the deck was dry, and the crew began to weld the supports into place while we sorted the the boat up for her Atlantic crossing. The departure date was further delayed by a couple of days, but this meant we could stay onboard until the day of our flight, and in the evenings we drove down to Miami for dinner.

Our return flights went fairly smoothly, apart from the pilot obviously being pissed as he tried to land in Atlanta, and Chris and I having to sprint across one of America's biggest airports to catch our connection from the opposite side. Chris and I said goodbye to each other in London, and after 27 hours and 6 airports, I arrived in Copenhagen where Nina was waiting for me. It was very nice to be back.

Thirty-six hours later I began being violently ill simultaneously from every imaginable orifice, and I've spent the last three days in bed recovering from the exertion that this required. This is the first time that I can remember being ill since caughing up blood while sailing from Trinidad to Greneda a few years ago with Chris, who was being equally ill. Just when we thought that life couldn't get any worse, a US Coastguard frigate with a helicopter on the back appeared next to us and decided to give us a 'routine check' in case we were drug smuggling. We finally made it into Prickly Bay, Greneda, after much vomitting, and Chris asked me to go ashore and find him a hospital.

April 8, 2002

On Tuesday, Nina & I

On Tuesday, Nina & I are flying out to Mallorca. Well, actually we're flying out to Stansted airport & spending the night there as our flights to Mallorca aren't until the next morning. In case you're interested, Stansted is one of the better international airports to squat in, but you do have to stake your claim on the seats early.

According to Dockwise, the ship should be arriving the same day, which would be good as we have to be there to take Zamindar off, and we'd like to have somewhere to stay. Nina is just coming down for a week, but I'll be down there for a month. Her boss at Speednames, where she's working part-time, has agreed to let her tele-commute while she's away, so I expect she'll be working from the beach.

No busking near me

April 9, 2002

I got an email last

I got an email last night from Super Servant3, saying that the ship is approaching Gibraltar, though conditions on board have been quite rough. It's good to hear that Zamindar is almost back in Europe. There will be things that I'll miss about the Caribbean, mainly the amazing snorkelling and diving, but on the other hand, I'm looking forward to the Mediterranean's culture, especially being able to order a beer in McDonald's, spend euros, and use my phone to check email while I'm sailing.

It's been sunny here in Copenhagen for the last week or so, which has meant that everyone has been sitting outside at the cafs wrapped in blankets as it's still just 7c. It's very good of the cafs to supply blankets, but it does beg the question of why people are sitting outside risking frostbite when any other population would be inside with the heating up full. I'm starting to learn, however, that this is what it means to be Scandinavian. People here are so happy here just to see the sun that it doesn't matter how cold it is, and in a few weeks they'll be convinced that it's time to go swimming naked in the Baltic again, where it's still a frigid 5c and anyone not wearing an immersion suit won't survive more than 7 minutes. I will of course resist doing all of these things, at least until Nina forces me to.

A shop sign in Copenhagen

April 13, 2002

Our flights from Malmo airport

Our flights from Malmo airport were delayed for two hours, so by the time we arrived in Stansted it was after midnight. We spent a remarkably restful night sharing the only available bench we could find, then had breakfast and boarded the flight to Palma. On arrival here, the ship hadn't arrived so we booked into a hotel run by a strange Norwegian, went out for some food, then fell asleep in the comfort of our beds.

The following morning we awoke and took a walk down to the water to see Super Servant3 across the harbour with Zami' on board. We quickly grabbed some breakfast then caught a taxi over to the ship. Zamindar seemed to be fine after the crossing, and we wanted to do some painting on her hull, so we quickly changed and started working on it. The ship had already begun to submerge, so we only had about 30 mins as the water poured across the deck towards us. We cleaned the hull, taped it, and gave the bootstripe two coats of paint while we stood in water as the ship's deck flooded. Then we climbed back up onto Zami', and motored her off. She was now in the Mediterranean.

We motored across Palma's harbour and docked in Real Club Nautico, which is right in the centre of town. Palma is much lovelier than I'd imagined, and we've been spending lots of time walking around and drinking in the bars and cafes here. It really feels as if we've returned to civilisation after being in the USA.

April 18, 2002

Nina left for Copenhagen yesterday,

Nina left for Copenhagen yesterday, and I'm going to meet her there in a few weeks. I'm still on Zami' in the Real Club Nautico of Palma de Mallorca, but we rented a car at the weekend and drove around some of the island, checking out anchorages on the way. Portocolom looks like the most sheltered one on the island so I plan to head there soon. Mallorca really is a beautiful island and surprisingly little of it is spoiled by tourist developments. We drove all the way along the north west coast on winding mountain roads cut into the cliffs and hardly saw any red people in football tops at all.

Palma is a big base for superyachts, and there's a row of multi-million dollar boats moored next to us running their generators all the time to keep me awake at night. They tend to spend winter in the Caribbean then cross over to the Mediterranean for summer, so you often see the same boats over and over again. One of them was on the same shipping as us from Port Everglades, up for sale for a cool $16m, and her owner has twenty Ferraris and three planes.

April 20, 2002

I've been fairly hungover today

I've been fairly hungover today after dinner onboard another boat called Duva last night followed by too much wine. I was then woken up at 0700 as workmen decided to dig up part of the marina right next to the boat and earplugs and pillows over my head failed to keep the noise out.

April 22, 2002

Yesterday I woke up and

Yesterday I woke up and looked in the mirror to discover that I had grown an afro overnight, realised that I needed a haircut, and so off I set through Palma to find somewhere that I could entrust the job to. After much walking around, as it's never easy to choose a barber you've never been to before, I found the place, and sat down wondering if I'd be wearing a hat for the next two weeks. Instinctively, however, I had chosen the only hairdresser on the island which literally did not own a pair of scissors, seemed to specialise in sheep shearing, and so proceeded to shave my head at varying degrees of horror. As I looked around I saw that they were cutting women's hair with clippers too, and like topiary, they were able to create almost any shape out of it. In the end it turned out not too badly, and I feel much better after losing those extra kilos, though I did feel sorry for the woman with the chicken on her head.

April 30, 2002

As you may have guessed,

As you may have guessed, I'm still in Palma, but I do plan to leave and sail on within the next few days. I've spent most of the last week taking advantage of the fact that I'm in a marina and getting some work done on the boat. When I haven't been working, and I wouldn't try to persuade you that I've been working all the time, I've been enjoying Palma's lovely cafes. It's really a luxury after being in the USA to be able to walk into almost any cafe and know that you'll get a proper coffee and not brown water. Unless of course you look American, however, in which case, aiming to please, the Spanish will give you a cup of brown water. It is for this and many other reasons, that I have therefore been trying to blend into the local community. This is not too difficult as I don't seem to fit into any of the stereotypes of tourist that seem to be in Mallorca right now.

A strange type of tourist appears to holiday here at this time of year. From my studies there seems to be three distinct types. One is families with very young children, who insist, as always, on sitting next to me, screaming into my ear, then being sick. The second are old people, who not only feel the need to wear socks with their shorts and sandals, but like knee length socks in an identical matching colour to their shorts. The idea behind this seems to be that the casual onlooker will at first assume that the man, as it tends to be men, is wearing trousers, but will then see a provocative flash of elderly knee as he walks down the street. To add to this bizarre mix, the third type look like sixty year old, retired, German porn stars. So as long as I don't wear my long socks, then maybe I can fit in.