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|Today, 06/23/2017, the Chinese Almanac says: "Shut: Heaven and Earth, Yang and Yin, Open and Shut. This is the day of burial and concealment"|
Back in 2006 I lived in Spain and was looking for a way to find different places and people from the ones I was used to, then the idea of living in a boat while sailing from one place to other earning money on the way doing my tarot consultations took shape.
This is me shortly after buying Xebec in Plymouth (UK) in February 2008:
As typically happens with boats, things look much easier on paper than later in real world, so after paying 14700€ for a 27 feet sailing boat built in 1970, I discovered that old boats are so cheap because their maintenance costs are quite high.
So instead of beginning a life of travel and adventure in early 2008, I began to self-learn how to repair and restore a classic boat with plenty of work and little money, that stage lasted for 2 years, up to 2010, when I set sail from my home town in Spain (Gijón) to discover the world with my good old boat, just to see that I don't like sailing alone so much, it's just too dangerous and exhausting.
Here I'm in one of my first solo trips that year, as you can see in my face sailing alone is a serious business ;-)
So to tell the truth, at the beginning I wasn't very convinced with my plan of living and sailing aboard Xebec, but after staying the next winter in Vigo, just 300 miles from my home town, the Spanish crisis which began in 2008 worsened even more, and so in 2011 made all the sense to say good bye to my home country seeking for not so dark horizons overseas.
At that time I did feel lucky of living aboard a small boat that I could move from one place to other depending on external circumstances, and it wouldn't be the last time I felt that...
Even so, there were plenty of good moments also, and Vigo happened to be a very nice place, this is the marina where I stayed for the winter, it isn't at Sea but in a big estuary called "Ria de Vigo":
So because of the Spanish crisis I sought refuge in Madeira island and stayed there for one year more, up to June 2012, I liked Madeira very much, but felt really alone there, it's a very beautiful place and I recommend it to everybody as a holiday destination, but it has the downside that people is somewhat conservative, and if you live in a small sailing boat earning your money doing tarot consultations and don't go to mass on Sundays... your chances of socializing are somewhat limited :-P
Anyway the landscapes of Madeira are really impressive, for example this photo with my mother is in Câmara de Lobos, I made a new rudder for Xebec there:
But after one year in Madeira I had the idea of trying my luck in Africa, where I thought people may be somewhat more interesting, and so I set sail for Cape Verde, where I was living during one more year, up to April 2013, going from one island to the next (there are 9), getting to know the cape verdians as well as many other people from all over West Africa.
This is with some local friends in Sal island:
To tell the truth Cape Verde was a very positive and important experience in my life, even if not an easy one, there were no marinas in the islands I visited, so I had to live at anchor in my little boat, rowing ashore for everything, and once there the hard reality of the country was very obvious, just to buy drinkable water was an expensive and time consuming affair.
But what surprised me the most in Cape Verde was that it didn't matter where the people I met came from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana or Liberia, they all had more or less the same things in their heads as their European counterparts: football, television, mobile phones, cars and so... I was very naive hoping to find some kind of "traditional African culture" in today's West Africa, it may still exists somewhere, but sure is not easy to get there, even by your own boat.
So after almost one year I decided to come back to Europe, God and the Wind brought me to Flores island where I stay for more than 2 years fixing and improving Xebec.
In this photo I was already arriving there after 30 days sailing alone, it really made me very happy to see land again!
And then after that I stayed here in the Azores, going from one island to the next, actually I write these lines from Ponta Delgada, São Miguel island, I have already lived in all of the Azores islands but Santa Maria, where I hope to go shortly, and after that I'll have to decide where to go next.
The point is that living and working in a small boat isn't easy nor specially comfortable, but it has some advantages and good points, and given current circumstances it makes more sense to me than ever, that's why I keep with it.