Resumption Returning

course, my friend doesn't miss this event. I can't recognize what he can see. "Is it a Phillips or a slotted screw?" is the only thing I can think of - beside his opinion of the potential thread we are in. "As the engine covers it, I don't think it can be this bad" he says. So we call the stewardess to ask for a tool case and stairs. She seems to be more uncomfortable than we are. Five minutes later she returns from the captain to give the all-clear. "The captain says it's ok… we check it at Düsseldorf." She thanks us for informing, as she would be in a bad position in case of emergency, too. Not even in the air yet, the first screw already leaves . . .

Transporting the boat to the slipway

Our flight connection from Düsseldorf to Bilbao provides a considerably smaller machine, and we are delayed as the machine we originally would have gotten seems to have snagged something. Leif and I think of a backup plan for the second flight in case both of our pilots fail and we decide to stay cool under all circumstances. If anybody should ask "can someone fly a plane?" we would both raise our hands immediately. Me - as I could smoke in the cockpit and Leif - as he is in the mood of a quick training and his own expectations concerning his first landing are extremely high. He would be disappointed about any squeaking. I would bet my ass that after five minutes flight experience in 15000 meters at latest he would fill a glass of water to the edge, place it in front of the altimeter and never let waste the smallest sip. Just kidding.

A little break

Against all expectations, we nevertheless landed with Lufthansa's own staff in Bilbao and spent the rest of the flight unspectacular ordinary, like all the other passengers did: we commented every cloud formation "That's fantastic", ate from plastic boxes and checked out the stewardess every time she passed. Laredo's streets are familiar and I enjoy looking back on my last time here. It's freezing cold when we walk towards the harbor, but it's thawing. Close to the harbor our bus waits for us and it's easy to find the hostel again that I had stayed in last year - a Santiago de Compostella hostel where harbor manager Antonio had placed me. The hostel warden Esther kindly welcomes us - for two nights for a start. She doesn't know at this time, she will not only wash my sleeping bag but even scrub it.

Leif's first check in the hall

The Irish pub I visited with Antonio last year is open: Molly Doolan. My smartphone remembers the login key for the wireless network, so I can check my mails and facebook messages while a cold beer runs down my throat. Irene has left a message on facebook and she also has left a key in Silvino's restaurant at the harbor. The key is for the big hall, so that Leif and I can start our work at the weekend. She also suggests meeting on Monday when the impressive harbor tower is open again. Silvino grabs for the envelope as we enter. Until now, everything sticks to the plan. Everything I've left is still waiting in the hall. Untouched, as it seems, my canvas and sails cover my maritime adventure package of the last two years. My boat!!!
Maybe you laugh about my feeling - but the boat knows I'm here. The sea knows I'm here. They all know I will continue.

Harbor manager Antonio (right) and a local reporter

Back to the plan - and now find the fault J This is the part of the story where everybody waits for Schimanski to catch the bad guy - and the anticlimax: Lifting the canvas, we soon notice that my boat has had some guests. Only at the next day, we can see the guests are still here.
My waterproof coat, wetsuit, wet shoes, cagdeck, and a lot more I put on the boat for drying purpose is corroded by mice.
My departure eight months ago was very quick. Like a runaway. I had no option. Should I better have left all the equipment wet in the boat and just close everything? In this case, it would be rotten now. So I have to deal with this now. My offshore clothing and a neo short are still alive - this must be enough for now.

Corroded by mice

The next day I clean up the boat, while Leif gets a 12 volt battery. One of my camping mats is wet, the other one must have been the mouse's sleeping place. I can see soft holes of neoprene and sailing canvas and suddenly this bait appears in front of my feet and tries to hide underneath the faultless cagdeck. I start to jump and dance on it like a hot Spanish guy. To all animal rights activists: it survived… though I don't know how.

I've never had to speak Spanish before

After two days of hard work, most stuff is ready for the trash. Leif checked the solar system and I repaired the bow side hull. I tell Antonio about Leif's departure on Tuesday and my resulting return to poverty. It's enough for me to keep the keys of the hall until my own departure. I can build up my tent in there. "You won't sleep in the hall" he says. "Next week is going to be cold and stormy. I'll think of something for you." Monday morning we are at the slipway with the boat when a woman heads towards me. She carries a camera…

Ready to go

Wednesday, May 29th 2013, Laredo / North of Spain
Leif is home again. Tomorrow, I'm gonna speak in the community center and on Friday I'll be the guest in a local radio station. Well and now wait for the highlight (it's kind of embarrassing): Tinuca, the woman with the camera, organized a double-room-apartment for me to stay. It's on 4th of floor in front row and has a great harbor view. Living and sleeping room have a glass-front I only know from Miami Vice or Dallas. Additionally, her Mom provides me with two hot meals a day. Laredo - what's going on???

It's not as romantic as it seems. It's less than 15° degrees

The weather is going to be better at the weekend. Then my sails will open and I'm coming home.

Take care!