Day 141 – Miss Nightmare

Day 141  5th December 2010

10.00 – 13.00

Ria De Vigo

Playa Something or other!

Arrival 42° 09’.448 N  08° 49’.838W

We dragged anchor at 3am.  Why is it always at 3am?  John said he would let out more chain and there was no need for me to get up.  I didn’t argue. The chain caught my jeans which I’d been trying to dry since the Monday night lifesaving incident and I grabbed them just in time before they were transported to the rusty chain locker.

I slept again, my slumber interrupted with the bleeping of the anchor drag alarm and the depth sounder, neither one of the alarms constant so no need for concern.

In the morning, after a hearty breakfast, we got underway.  The squalls were unforgiving and mean.  I could barely keep my eyes open to keep the boat into the wind while John raised the anchors.  There was about 200 feet of chain out and it took some time to get it in.  I had prepared my bunk earlier in anticipation of the onslaught of the chain.

We were off to a great start, 3.5knots and the short cut was coming up fast. I was in the fore deck, ready to raise the stay sail if we had to turn back without power.  As we rounded the peninsula, the wind surged with such force I almost lost my footing.  It blew at about 50knots and John shook his head and gave me the thumbs down.  I knew it was useless, there was no way we could make any progress through the gap. We motored back to the beach anchorage and I felt really discouraged.  Yesterday we worked so hard and made about 17 miles, today after 3 hours in the driving wind and rain, we were back where we started.

Once again I read the SMS from John on Chilone I received last night;-

We’re 3 hrs from Mohammedia, near Cassablanca.  It’s hot and sunny!  Canaries next week!

I have so much to learn about sailing and its contrary ways!

I asked John to pull up a grib file on the Iridium and check the weather for tomorrow.

I made us some lunch and settled myself down for a rest.  John said “I’m really tired” as he flopped down in his seat.  I wanted to give him a hug, instead, I said “Me too.”

I went to my bunk for some quiet time and to write.  Ten minutes later I said,


“Coming up” was the reply!

We didn’t have any chocolate onboard or so I thought, but out of nowhere, John produced a giant bar with the words DARK CHOCOLATE emblazoned on it. Not exactly from the chocolatiere’s, but the business!

“Thank you so much John, thank you.”

Chocolate it seemed was the cure for many things……..

The weather report showed a shift in the wind for tomorrow pretty light from the south west.

Spain has some lovely long life produce I haven’t seen on the boat before.  Individually wrapped croissants, pain au chocolats, buns (the ones that look like muffins but taste like Madeira cake) ready toasted breads, and absolutely mountains of cakes.  They seem to be a sweet toothed bunch, or maybe it’s because it’s so near Christmas the shops are stocked up on them!  Thankfully we got some when we were in Corcubión or it could have been a bleak few days.

The southerly winds have brought some warmth, which can be felt when the rain is absent – 18°C. The sun however has not shown its face.

I think of many things when I sit down in the evening.  Often just how glad I am to be resting.

Today, I will share the horrors of reading about what someone said about me.

I took the decision to write my blog with an openness that requires great courage.  There are multiple reasons for this, though mostly so that I can one day I can read the blog myself and remember the lessons, the good times, the tough times, the experiences and have a laugh and a smile.  I also hope that those who think I was brave to do this, will see that I am not brave, more, unafraid of change. Perhaps someone will feel inspired to slightly alter their course and left instead of right.  This life is not for everyone, I often even wonder if it’s for me.

The tough part, and perhaps I’m being groomed for some tough times ahead, is when you hear the truth.  They say the truth hurts! Hearing yourself described as ‘Miss Nightmare.’ Not pleasant.  Remember I told you about John’s crew gals, Miss Fuzzytop, Miss Soap, Miss Polar Bear, Miss Porky etc. well unfortunately it was my turn, and after I left Faraway, John had obviously been discussing me with an ex crew lady. Here’s how I discovered my name……

John, had asked me to try and download the grib weather files and on looking for the email with the grib attachment, I spotted one from a lady, who said, “I see you’ve allowed ‘Ms Nightmare’ back again………….”  My eyes filled with tears so big they fell in rivulets down my face, I wished I hadn’t seen the words, but I did.  I could taste the saltiness as the tears passed my lips.  The tears flowed in torrents, stinging my cheeks as they fell.  Each email had the first line of the content visible in the header.  It’s not as if I opened mail that wasn’t for me, or read someone’s diary!  I said “Am I Miss Nightmare?”  John was clearly gobsmacked by my question, so I told him I read the heading and was upset.  I knew I’d been intolerable in the last while before I left Faraway, but a Nightmare? That was harsh!

If that wasn’t enough, there was another email, from another ex crew. This lady described me as being nice to begin with but turning nasty towards the end.  She’d based this upon reading the blog!  So I’m not pretending to be all sweetness and light, in the words of Gabriella Cilmi “There’s nothing sweet about me…….”

Thinking of that song, well it reminded me of a very intimate dance I gave for someone I once loved.  Songs can conjure up unbelievably vivid memories for me, from years and years before.

I remember dancing to The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” with a man who was dangerously too old for me around 1982 or 1983.

Then of course, there’s the clichéd Our Song. I only ever had one Our Song and I think it’s a bit daft now, but at the time……….

Oh, and the soft side of me, well I keep it under wraps now………….

John tried to cover up the thing about Miss Nightmare, but it didn’t matter any more. I knew it was true.  I was ashamed I had been so horrible to John at times, but I had apologised to him and told him I didn’t show him the respect he deserved.  I had decided to start afresh when I rejoined Faraway John and he had agreed to communicate better.  Mostly my anger stemmed from……….. Oh I’m not going to make excuses; I was a bitch, with the most unenviable title “Miss Nightmare!”

One man’s Nightmare, another man’s dream! (I hope, someday!)

That’s enough of laying bare my soul for the day.

Thank you to both crew gals for writing what you did, although it hurt, it reminded me it’s as easy to be kind as to be cruel, and I had lost sight of this.

Menu today

Breakfast –Croissant and butter – real butter again! Porridge with brazil nuts

Lunch – Tuna, cheese, onion, green pepper and peppadew in chilli and jalapeno tortillas (toasted)

Dinner – Chorizo in a chilli cream sauce with penne pasta, followed by pancake stacks with strawberries and cream followed by an Irish coffee.

Snacks – Chocolate and an orange


Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a 'modest explorer'. Nothing modest about me.

Fancy sharing your thoughts