A day in the life of a marina

Let me give you an insight into life in a marina, although it has to be said today’s not a typical day, as It’s training boat day, and whilst there will only be about three or four, which usually come in in a Wednesday or Thursday, last night 12 training boats came into the marina each with 3/4 learners plus an instructor. 0945 in the morning and they are all starting to leave, although a couple of early risers seem to have left already.
With four on board, there’s maybe a mix of some doing the competent crew course and some day skipper. If there’s a few doing day skipper on one boat they’ll take it in turns at skippering for a day.
When Craig and I did it last year it was easy, he was skippering, I was crew. On a boat with so many ‘skippers’, even though ones appointed for the day, often the others will try to take over. Watching the dynamics on the boat is very interesting. Some of them are clearly all kitted out, like I was last year – ‘all the gear and no idea’, I called it.
One girls spent the last 10 minutes adjusting her cap, high tech sailing hoodie and mirrored sunglasses. One girls got an interesting choice of crocs on her feet – that’s so wrong, in so many ways – I am not an advocate of crocs in any circumstances!
Going in and out of the marina, anyone will tell you, is the most stressful part of all sailing. They’re all different and when you get there you don’t know what the set up will be.
So three boats have gone out at once, you can see the fear etched on their faces, I remember that feeling well, and it reappears again when we get somewhere new.
A boat’s gone out and come back in practising mooring techniques. The two girls, one we will call croc girl, plus another are practising lassoing techniques, or something, but now there’s just a mass of rope, they’re all looking at the back of the boat, no ones watching the bow, now there’s a sound like pigs being slaughtered as the fenders on their boat and the one next to them get tangled and pull against each other. They’re out and now they’re back, more practice.
Croc girl clearly doesn’t have the technique, I think she just called the rope, a bitch. The other girl, she’s ok, she’s got it. The instructor (who’s a bit of a dish, I might add) is saying ‘we need to get the ropes on nice and quickly, we have nothing securing the boat in the wind’. Croc girl is grimacing – me thinks she might think she’s more skipper material than crew!
They can’t wait all day for her to get the rope around the bollard, so they’ve gone. Oh no, they’re back and she’s at the wheel, which I’m sure she thinks is her rightful place. The fourth member of that boat is a bloke, the boyfriend of non-croc girl. Now he’s one of those people who thinks he knows everything, but in fact is as much a rookie as the rest of them. But credit where credits due, him and his girlfriend have got the lassoing licked.
Across the way from us is what I think is a grandfather, son and grandson. They’re fishmongers evidently from near Manchester. They came in yesterday and are leaving today as they’re off home on Friday.  
It’s 1024h Craig’s just stirring – lazy sod!
So what else, most of the peeps who service or do the repairs seem to be British. The boat currently next door but one to us is having some sides fitted around the cockpit and one of the blokes got a really strong Liverpudlian accent. He’s the Stan Laurel to the man in charges Oliver Hardy. Young ones amongst you google them!
The Dutchman in the motorboat next to us has arrived, oh he’s decided to put some fenders on his boat, on the side next to ours. He had one, we were doing all the work. Oh no, maybe he’s not going to fender up, but he has doubled up and increased the ONE he had to TWO. I suppose we should be grateful for that at least.
1029h – I can hear movement – he’s up, at last I don’t have to tiptoe around like the parent of a newborn, fearful that if they wake the baby too early they’ll suffer the consequences for the rest of the day! No only joking, it’s alright, if he wakes too early he’ll just have an old man nap in the afternoon.
The fishmongers leave, now Craig said last night when they came in that the ‘crew’ i.e. the son, didn’t have a clue. I thought maybe he was being harsh, but no, as they bounce off the boats either side, nearly hit the boat next door but one and get a fender caught up, yes he was right, yes I said that getting in and out was the most stressful and that’s true, we hate it but yes he’s clueless.
10.45h the Brits have been working on the cover for an hour, must be time for a break. Yes, tea break time, don’t forget to include it in the hourly rate.
15 minutes are up, back to work.  
Two fender Dutchman’s family has arrived, multiple adults, teenagers and toddlers – carnage waiting to happen.  
I think the Chuckle Brothers are here, the covers not fitting, to me, to you, to me, to you. The man in charge takes a step back, looks up and stares, you can almost see the wheels turning, Liverpudlian takes a step back, crouched on the passarelle he looks from a different angle, clearly the nicotine from his cig is aiding his insight as he gives the man in charge instruction. Let’s try a different approach, if we start from the other side of the boat, by the time we get to this side it might all fit. I think it might just be the case that they’ve made one side too small. But they’ll battle on and by magic it might all work. Yeah right!
11.17h the Dutch are leaving for a few hours, Craig does the neighbourly thing and takes a line, He really is the most helpful person in the marina, always willing to help. They’re out, without a hitch. Craig’s good deed for the day done.
1130h they’ve fitted the other side, it’s too big – omg the scissors are out, the initial size must have been measured by a bloke, you know they always say things are bigger than they really are!
1200h they’re on the home straight, they will get it to fit, yes they’ve done it, no, man in charge is not happy, he takes two pieces away and leaves Liverpudlian behind.
Liverpudlian wants to know if the toilets working on the boat, omg I hope for the owners sake it is, once it’s done it cannot be undone, well you don’t need me to draw you a picture!
With man in charge gone, he uses his time productively, sits on the fly deck of the boat and has another cigarette.
1230h Liverpudlian’s back to work, with his cordless screwdriver. I’ve learned over the years that no man should leave home without one. Or in our case, two I think. Remember you must have a back up.
1256h Liverpudlians disappeared, I think he’s gone for a kip. All’s quiet, that is except for the boat 3 down. They’ve got Gibraltar radio on and the woman’s merrily singing along to It takes two, just me and you.
1325h man in charge is back, Liverpudlian’s been caught sitting on the fly deck. Man in charge’s wife, whose tagged along, is tucking into his lunch. She’s not happy with the choice of sandwich filling, it’s cheese, ham and jam, and evidently it’s bloody awful. You have to say she’s got a point. It’s alright Liverpudlian will have it, but excuse me, wasn’t it man in charge’s sandwich. Still Liverpudlian looks like he needs fattening up, and it won’t do man in charge and his wife any harm to miss a meal or two! Two Spaniards have just got off the boat, they’ve been working inside all this time. Wonder what they make of the Liverpudlians work ethic.  
Evidently he’s just seen a baby shark next to the boat – really??!!
They’re trying to fit the cover again, post adjustments. MIC’s wife is not happy, clearly this sale is not going to bring in a huge profit. ‘You won’t be taking many more of these on’. Clearly she’s the brains of the operation.  
1356h so whilst all this zipping and fittings been going on MIC has been inside the cockpit, he emerges, omg his head, it’s like a newborns bright pink bottom, and he is sweating profusely. Oh that Liverpudlians observant, ‘ooh is it hot in there’, now we know why he’s the assistant and not the MIC!
So I bet when they arrived this morning they didn’t envisage what a nightmare it would turn into. One bits too short, one bits too long, but let’s put some more clips on the boat and some more rings in the cover and no one will be any the wiser, it will look like it fits. To be fair, I bet making these is a nightmare, we had one made for Kuta when we were in Lymington and ours is made up of 8 panels, evidently it took about 6 fittings.  
And the Gibraltar radio peeps seem to have gone off for a wander, oh but considerately they’ve decided to leave the radio on, so at least the rest of us continue to get the benefit, (please read in the sarcastic tone in which it is intended).
So Liverpudlian, who we’ve already established is not the brains of the outfit, has put two plastic tubs of loose metal fittings on the passarelle – was that really a good idea?  
Meanwhile, around us the banana boat continues to go in and out of the marina every half an hour or so with a boatload of willing participants more than happy to get pulled along, trying to anticipate when the boats going to do a sharp turn and throw them all off, and the Dolphin Tour boat continues the steady stream of business it has throughout the day and well into the night for what it calls it’s ‘sunset cruise’. Either it’s got bloody great big floodlights on it or the dolphins here are wearing luminous jackets cos they’re blimmin hard to see at night, but I suppose the unsuspecting tourist doesn’t know that before they hand over their euros.
1512h now Craig’s studying the cockpit cover from a distance, Mr measure it once, measure again and measure again is not impressed ‘there is not one set of studs on that cover which is equidistant’. Oh it’s a good thing it’s not our boat.
Mrs MIC is still sat watching as the hours are ticking by, she can see all the profit on this one slowly going down the pan. Jobs like these won’t keep her Spanish dream alive.
1600h back from a swim at the beach. It’s funny how the cleaner the water is, the cooler it is. Is there any correlation do you think? No Juan today, thank goodness. And fortunately the, what I can only describe as oiled female Buddha wasn’t there today either. You know the little Buddha statuettes, all the rage in the 70,s – dad, you had one. Well imagine that, in human form. Not really a feast for the eyes, unless of course you’re into that sort of thing.
Laurel and Hardy have left, presumably to now put the windows in, or maybe they are the personification of bodgit and scarper.
1613h a big motorboat has come in opposite us, Craig did another good deed and helped with the lines. The lady of the boat doesn’t seem happy that the passarelle isn’t at right angles to the pontoon, and she may have to make a longer step than is acceptable. There’s 8 on board, one woman looks like she’s dressed more for St Tropez than here, with a pink sequinned number, 4 inch wedges, and a look of too many sun beds.
1645h the Dutch have returned and have managed to slot the boat in without incident. Teenage lad has got the hose pipe to clean the boat, but alas it’s not the boat the pipes aimed at and our cockpits just got a nice spray. He’s very apologetic and I’ve said it’s no problem but Craig looks less than amused. 😖 (angry face emoji).
Teenage lad is helping younger brother off the boat, why not use the passarelle that’s what it’s there for, no younger brother thinks he can step off and up onto the pontoon. Teenage lad grabs his hand and I swear younger brother made it to shore by the skin of his teeth. Lots of remonstration in Dutch followed, but some words are the same whatever the language!
A training boats come in, clearly the teenage girls have had enough today, the instructor put them under the pressure of tying the boat to the pontoon and now mums getting the brunt of it. Oh well what are mums for. Having said that Dads now trying to wash the boat down, but mums taken the hose and is cleaning the pontoon. I know I’m slightly obsessive about things being clean but that’s a bit excessive even by my standards,
The owner of the passarelle saga has come back, good job they retrieved it today! Strange thing is he’s Spanish, and evidently his boat is referred to as ‘the Spanish boat’, yet he has a Belgian ensign. Is that the reason the man who just got on board crossed himself and kissed the flag when he got on. Is it a request to the sea gods not to take offence that they’re flying the wrong flag?
1711h Roberto, the fixer of all things, has arrived. It seems one of the Dutchman’s passengers has broken the passarelle. It’s being raised and lowered via a rope pulley system and not the remote control. Ooh Roberto’s got that ‘it’s gonna be expensive look on his face’. 
1729 the Spanish boat is leaving, omg the fumes, now their dinghy has been causing problems all week. It’s been tied up to the side of their boat basically taking up a berth of its own and getting in the way of other boats trying to use that berth. The marineros are constantly moving it to the front of the boat, Now as they’re trying to get the boat out they’ve got the dinghy caught on the slimeline of the boat next door. Everyone in the pontoon is staring, three men on the boat are there trying to push it away with a boat hook. Now one mans in the dinghy trying to push it away. Oh no, this is embarrassing, they’ve got about 10 on their boat and there’s the equivalent number of people standing on the pontoon laughing. Although the 10 people on the pontoon all need gas masks cos of the fumes. The dinghy is now free after the owner took over and basically prised the dinghy away with the hook and it’s now trailing happily behind. The boat owner, well I suggest he returns under the cover of darkness.

1815h. BREAKING NEWSFLASH ****** Donna Dawkins made conversation with a stranger ***** BREAKING NEWSFLASH

1940h the Spanish boat must be coming back, the marineros are waiting to tie them on. Gas masks at the ready against the diesel fumes. At least they’ve tied the dinghy to the side of the boat, and are not going to try and go in stern to with dinghy still at the back, so there’s some common sense at least.

No, strike that, whoever is in the control of the boat is not in control of the boat, he has a boat wide gap either side of his berth and yet he still manages to reverse into the boat next door but one, both sides

Three are on the side deck with poles fending him off the boat, shouting, no strike that, screaming at him to go forward. Finally he’s in, but only because the marineros threw him a line to bring the stern round. He’s tied and at the back of the boat asking the marinero to do the slime line. Clearly the reason he wasn’t in control of the boat is he’s a little worse for wear!

This is once they’ve docked and are secure but it shows how much space he had, of course maybe he was intending to berth side on!


The Spanish are all starting to disembark, the trouble is with 10 people on board and all this double kissing it takes ages to actually get away.  

And as the sun sets on another day, Lucas from Astinor and Chloe from Mornin’ Gorgeous are using a huge net to grab the crabs off the pontoon wall, the training boat are practising their knots, and there’s lots of chit chat between boats.

If we were at the end of this adventure, not right at the beginning, we would very happily call this home.

3 thoughts on “A day in the life of a marina

    1. Wow, you’re really living a crazy life, the excitement must have been overwhelming, did you then watch the paint dry? I’m in my element people watching, but you’re right it’s exhausting!

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