Salvador, still here, still waiting, two months and how long to go?
When I wrote last time it seemed that we were on our way, that we just had a few more days to go before continuing our route south, to Albrolhos where the whales are spending their winter. I was very exited to spend a few days with them and couldn't wait to feel their hugeness and share their water, but things have turned out very differently and our whole plan has been thrown overboard.
In Itaparica someone offered to clean the hull for us, we accepted and went for lunch, when we came back the guy had done such a thorough job that all the antifouling had been scrubbed of. Antifouling is a paint that is supposed to keep the shellfish off the hull, it doesn't work very well but without it you have to scrub the boat's belly every week or so, and it's a very disgusting job, with it you can leave your boat unscrubbed a little longer. Now the belly being naked we thought that maybe we should haul out Mardek here and paint her, fix her up and prepare her thoroughly for the south, we had the idea of doing that in Uruguay but saw this as a sign that we should do it now, after all we had to wait a few days for a packet to arrive.
We hauled her out in Aratu a little yacht club where for the first time we were the biggest boat instead of the smallest, nice change... they put Mardek on a trolley and pulled her out, I was still on board and it was the scariest thing I experienced on Mardek! 5 tons on a little steel wheeled structure being pulled by a cable on an uneven slope is truly terrifying. Did the boat loose balance and tip over I was to be crushed and surely die, I looked for an escape in case of disaster but could come up with nothing satisfying, how I wished to be spiderwoman, I was getting sick and had to escape, I lowered myself from the side of the boat and Hakan caught me by the feet and helped me back on land. The boat didn't tip over and I painted her while Hakan was doing things with the rudder and the motor, the packet had still not arrived.
Then we were ready to sail her back to downtown Salvador where we expected the packet to arrive any moment now. But days passed and no packet to be seen on the horizon, it is blocked in Sao Paulo customs, they have a new law about international mail and they seem to be struggling to understand how to apply it, and days pass and still they don't get around the new law. We decide to have the anchor winch checked, oil is dripping from it, which is definitely not a good sign, and as we still have a few days before the arriving of the packet... we let a specialist on board, it should only take a few hours to take the winch out and then a few more to fix it. by the time that is done we expect the packet to be here and sail off, still in time to see the whales.
It took 4 men 4 days to extract the anchor winch! It was stuck, well stuck! Salt water had corroded the whole system and nothing they tried worked, they even asked us if they could make a hole in the deck! Destroy the main structure of what is going to bring us around the world in unfriendly territory? How desperate they were to make such an impossible suggestion? My morale hit bottom, my head too heavy to keep straight up, I crawled like a worm trough the days, trying to accept that this was the end of our trip, accept that they were to sink or burn Mardek. I could do nothing but sigh hard and feel heavy and desperate. Because I have faith in life and in myself I knew it would turn around at some point and I would feel light again, but was it to turn around before Mardek's annihilation?
They fixed it, ruined us and still no packet. Whales are heading south already, and we're here, to counter my spirit to drop again I start to work like a madwoman, changing the whole interior space of Mardek, transforming her every day a little more to some agreeable living area. After 5 days of throwing things out, scrubbing every inch, moving things around, changing the whole concept I am amazed by what I see, and very proud of what has happened. Every thing has it's designated place now, no more shifting one cubic meter of stuff from one place when on land to another when at sea. We will try now to keep it this way, both of us being compulsive mess makers, we'll have to change our behavior drastically. Theoretically it is a very easy thing, put back in place what you have just used, practically it is a totally different story. But anyhow, even if the mess reappears, when we'll clean up at least we'll know where goes what. It's a very good feeling, as soon we won't be able to spend all our time outside, soon we'll be wearing shoes, boots, trousers, jackets, hats and scarves. Soon the inside of the boat will be the place where we'll have to retreat when outside hell brakes loose. And still, no packet.
Hakan is losing energy, he falls asleep all the time, I see him stare for ¾ of an hour motionless at the boat while I play white tornado inside. His mind is elsewhere, he misses Turkey and his family, his spirits are dropping, his appetite as well, he drags himself about as desperation eases in. And the packet is still stuck in Sao Paulo. I try to show him what this damn packet has made me do, and he agrees, delighted at the new surroundings, but energy is still far away, the feeling of being stuck here is very heavy, we're supposed to be on the move, all the time, and we are not moving one inch. Time has its own ways, and it has stood still for what seems forever now. But the boat is in such good shape now, every problem seems to have been solved, the "to do list" is no more, except for the packet we're free to go, ready like never.
The wind has shifted, favorable for us, the packet has been liberated, it should arrive this afternoon, yesterday we did some groceries, I just need to buy the fresh fruit and vegetables and we can move out of here, out of this gridlock, pump new energy in Hakan, miles in Mardek. All that needs to be done now is the Brazilian administrative nightmare to check out of this town. Hakan has just come back from his first unsuccessful attempt at policia federal, a new typical Brazilian story is being unfolded, I try to stay calm, sure I can still find one or two things to be done, keep active not to let the venom attack my spirit, only one at a time can be down, or we won’t be able to face what awaits us.