Ferdinand Magellan and me (53)

Tenerife boat harbour

Magellan and me in Tenerife.

How it began

    following Magellan to Tenerife

    Getting laid in a yacht is not as easy as you might think. Since there are only two of you and one has to be keeping a lookout at all times the opportunities are fairly restricted. Fortunately, Helen did not suffer from seasickness but she was usually too tired for it, especially after a bit of heavy weather. The honeymoon was definitely over. My advances were often met with indifference as she buried her nose in a thriller, romance novel or cryptic crossword, of which we had a fair stock. To add to my frustration she had a habit of getting around the boat wearing nothing but her knickers and a hat. The hat was quite sensible but I wondered why she bothered with the knickers.

    On arrival in Tenerife we anchored in the boat harbour and, after a wash and a meal retired to the aft cabin for rest and recreation. It had the comfortable double bunk and I thought my luck had changed when she climbed in beside me. Matters proceeded quite well for a while until Wathara suddenly lurched with grinding, scraping noises. Scrambling into a pair of shorts I rushed on deck to see a big sailing ship looming over us, her bowsprit above my head like a javelin and her martingale locked in battle with our pulpit rail. Curious tourists lined her deck, appreciating this entertainment laid on by the tour company.

    “Back off, you stupid bastards” I shouted in cultured tones, and the tourists clapped in delight.

    So then we got involved in wrangling with their insurance company and mine. A week later, workmen came aboard and removed the pulpit rail for repairs, promising to bring it back pronto.

    We made the acquaintance of an Australian couple, Chris and Sylvia in their yacht Half Pint. They spoke good Spanish, having lived in Barcelona for several years, and offered to help in the saga of the pulpit rail. We went to the office of the tourist company and Sylvia ripped into them. She informed the manager that our insurance company had instructed us to make a denunciation to the police and treat the pulpit rail as having been stolen. It was installed, fully repaired, next day. It pays to have local contacts in these places.

    Magellan had similar problems in Tenerife. He was badly cheated by the local traders selling fruit, vegetables and livestock as well as a villainous cactus wine.


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Sailor from wayback with a Master's degree in Technology Management. Prefer classical music to rap and chicken curry to steak.

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