Sunday, 19 August 2012


The coast of Africa and laundry

Now before you all start to panic, I'm okay and Mariquita is happily sailing/motoring down towards the Gibraltar straights as I type this. Of course in real-time, and because you're reading this, we're probably already in Barcelona and with any luck, I'm sitting in a nice little bar with a cold, clinky Mojhito, a large umbrella keeping me cool and my lap-top screen visible whilst the handsome Spanish waiter brings me another of those tasty little tapas numbers.

As we left Brest

However, as I write this I am in my cabin having just finished my watch and we haven't quite reached the Gibraltar straights yet. So my tapas fantasy is still quite a few days off.

All-in-all it's not been a bad trip. It certainly beats the trip going to the UK earlier in the year. But it has most definitely had its ups and its downs. We had to sit in Brest, France for 6 days before we could really get going. Then when we did, the rocking and rolling was pretty unbearable.

Though bare it we did all the way across the bay of Biscay until the fog came in just as we reached the other side. Now boy was that some fog. It swamped over us like a cotton wool blanket and would not thin out, no matter how much we peered into it and blew on our fog horn. We had a look-out at the top of the mast as the collected fog literally rained down on us from the rigging and from our eyelashes.

It was most eerie; a silencing, swirling web of water. And then it happened, as the darkness fell and the fog became even more blinding; we ran over a bloody fishing pot.

Now bare with me whilst I have a small but I feel, legitimate little rant here; how are fishermen/people (P.C?) allowed to plant small, un-lit, fishing pots in the middle of shipping channels? How is this legal? How do they sleep at night? This particular pot wrapped itself beautifully around our prop in the middle of the night in thick fog with a ship we could see on the radar stealthily coming up behind us. No wind for sailing and nowhere to go!

And it was my Fiancé who had to jump in with scuba gear, a knife and with a rope wrapped around him for safety to cut us free - what a hero he is. But if I ever get my hands on the fisherman who put it there, ooh! he'd get a piece of my mind.

Rant over.

And now to finish; happily I am sitting in a quaint cafe here in Barcelona. The waiter is in fact a waitress, the Mojhito is a glass of fizzy water with ice and lemon and I've had way too many tapas already to contemplate having any more. I am far from cool, in fact I am absolutely boiling and am lusting over the thought of a long, cold shower at the Barcelona yacht club. After 10 days of 10 second boat-showers, I feel I can leave the tap running for a few moments over my hot head. I feel it's justified.

I shall leave you with the usual chain of photos and a quick, fantastic recipe for a line-caught fish carpaccio with hot sesame oil, lime and soy sauce. Ever so easy but ever so delectable and even better if you have only just plucked your fish from the sea like we did.

Thanks for reading!


For fish carpaccio with sesame you will need;
1 fresh fish or a largish fillet such as swordfish, we had a stripped Bass
5 tbsp of sesame oil
5 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1 lime and one lime cut into wedges as a garnish for folk to squeeze their own


  • The best way to achieve lovely thin slices of fish carpaccio if you don't happen to be a 10 year trained sushi chef is to wrap the fish fillet tightly in cling film and put it in the freezer. It is a whole lot easier to cut your thin slices with a sharp knife and a solid piece of fish! Also, if you're keen you can sprinkle some fennel seeds, fresh cut dill or saffron strands onto the cling film and then wrap the fish up with this to 'marinade' it whilst it's freezing.
  • When you are slicing the fish, lay the pieces on a lovely big flat serving platter or on individual plates as you wish. Lay the pieces so that there are no gaps, the edges of the fish very slightly over-lapped.
  • In a small pan, gently heat the sesame oil, soy sauce and lime juice and add a small pinch of salt. Don't let it come to the boil but make sure it is hot. Then just before you serve the fish, using a large spoon, drizzle the hot oil over the carpaccio.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, Norri flakes (seaweed) and lime wedges. And can I add that being presented with a large plate of this with a chilled glass of wine and some fresh bread to mop up the juices is just what life is supposed to be all about? In my book at least.

    Although that isn't how we ate it as we popped into the Med through the Gibraltar straights on a very dry boat. But it was still splendid with a jug of iced water!

      Caterina taking her watch on the fog horn.

      All excitement as we arrive in Barcelona

    Arriving in Barcelona as the sun set.