Self-sufficiency on board – Sitting out the crisis on my boat

Initially, I wanted to use the next blog post to report about the beauty of the landscape here in Algarve. However, in light of the latest news about the Corona crisis, I am instead writing a small report on the situation on board.

I am currently anchoring in the South of Portugal in the Algarve, in the lagoon of Faro and Olhão. After hearing how the situation has worsened in the last few days, I am actually quite happy with my current situation. I can still go ashore with the dinghy to do the most important errands and replenish fresh water for the tanks. And there are worse places than this to wait for the future of the crisis.

The development so far in Portugal

Just 4 days ago, when the news from Germany were already reporting empty shelves in the supermarkets, there was absolutely nothing to notice here in Portugal. People were sitting in the cafés and bars as usual and the virus seemed to be very far away.

But when Portugal first declared a state of alert the day before yesterday, and now a national emergency is likely to be imminent, the Portuguese also seem to have woken up. At least you can hardly see anyone in the restaurants. The streets of Faro and also on the Ilha Culatra are deserted, and in the supermarkets, some types of food are no longer available.

On the Ilha Culatra the “roads” (which are more like boardwalks because there are no cars here) are quite deserted

Isolated at the anchorage

In these times, when it is generally recommended to isolate yourself, a boat at anchor is probably one of the best places for sticking to the recommendation. At least as far as basic services are concerned, it is very easy to get along here without much contact with the outside world.

My electricity comes from my solar panels on deck, which keep my mobile phone, laptop, but also refrigerator and lamps up and running. So I don’t have to worry, in particular with the nice weather we currently have. But even with cloudy skies, the panels provide enough power to meet the basic needs.

Fortunately, it is also quite warm in winter here in the south of Portugal, so I rarely need the diesel heating, if at all. I prefer to use the 60 liters of diesel in the tank as a reserve for the engine anyway, in case I have to go somewhere.

I have become friends with this seagull in the meantime. It would be even better if she would learn to shit next to my dinghy…

I have my fresh water in a 60-litre tank, which I normally use for cooking, brushing my teeth, washing hands and rinsing. However, when washing my hands and rinsing, I have now switched to salt water in order not to have to refill the tank as often. And for washing my body, I use the ocean anyway. In fine weather I just jump overboard or go swimming on the beach.

For drinking, I use water in 5-litre plastic bottles, which I fill up on a faucet whenever possible. With the bottles and other cans, I will soon fill my fresh water tank, which after two weeks is slowly running out. There are water hoses at Dinghy-Dock in Faro. In case of doubt, however, I can get full bottles for 80 cents a piece in the supermarket.

Speaking of supermarkets: At the moment I don’t expect the supermarkets to close, but if necessary I have a relatively large amount of durable food on my boat anyway, so I could get by for two to three weeks without shopping.

Wait and see whats happening…

So far, the situation at the anchorage off Ilha Culatra is quite relaxed. There is a small community of sailors with whom I am in touch and from whom I think the risk of infection is quite low (because everyone lives quite isolated on their boats).

I’m in good neighborhood. When visiting my friends on board the Buona Onda I can even enjoy a short shower from time to time

Nevertheless, from now on I am increasingly staying away from other people and also stopping my beloved café and restaurant visits. My monthly expenses are definitely significantly reduced by this way of life. I estimate at less by half. After all, port fees and the luxury of eating out are removed from the bill.

On the income side, it will become clear how things are going. At the moment, fortunately, everyone is still healthy at my wholesale company and so far there have been hardly any difficulties with deliveries. Nevertheless, I expect that there will be a loss of sales in the Klabauter-Shop. But compared to other industries, I’m probably still doing pretty well…

So with my emergency fund I will probably be able to survive for quite a while here. As long as there is still food to buy. Otherwise, I would probably have to switch to a shellfish and fish diet. But I would very much like to avoid that.

Moving along not possible for the time being

But I will probably have to stay here for a while. Morocco has closed all ports, as have the Azores and Madeira. And I don’t want to go to Spain or the Canary Islands in the current situation anyway.

What’s still on my plate is moving out of my subrented apartment in Konstanz. I had planned to fly back at the end of April to get my stuff packed. Let’s see if that’s possible. Otherwise I will have to think of something else…

In any case, I can say for now: I am doing well here and I am making the best of it! Namely enjoy the weather and going out for walks on the beach.

When walking on this beach, the risk of infection is fortunately rather low…

To all friends and relatives and other readers of this text: I wish you to stay healthy! Keep your distance and watch out, so that we can get back to normal conditions soon…

All is well (at least on board)


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1 comment
Sarah French Fleming says 30. March 2020

Trulyvthe comradie of other sailors warms yoyr heart. I loved the dinghy dinner story….in lisbon the fishermen brought crab and clams and a catamaran gave us river trout and rice….

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