17. I’m a Live-Aboard!

So that’s it. I have actually moved aboard. And abroad. Home is in Italy for now but eventually anywhere I want to be. Once this pandemic is over. I decided to make a quick dash to Gaeta while the infection rates were somewhat lower. There are still some lose ends to tie up back in Stockholm as I have to clear out the apartment in town, decide what to do with a rented storage facility, finish up with work and a collect a few last things that I want to bring with me. Otherwise I am done.

Flying during a pandemic is an experience in itself. I turned up at Arlanda airport two hours before my Austrian Airlines flight to Rome via Vienna. A lot earlier than I have ever been for a European flight. Certainly earlier than I wanted to be in a pandemic. Three of the four passenger terminals were closed but the airport still felt almost empty with only a few scattered travellers, all wearing masks. I would guess that there were no more than a dozen international flights leaving that day. Austrian Airlines is a part of Star Alliance so staff from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) handled the ground services on their behalf. You would think that they would be able to handle checking in a total of fifty odd passengers in two hours but they managed to leave ten of us on the ground as the gate closed. There were a total of three ground staff at the desks plus another three that spent the entire time loudly discussing how unfair it was that their colleagues got to stay at home with pay while they had to work. When asked why things took so long, they just told us that management had decided to operate with skeleton staffing. It felt like we were all subject to some sort of misdirected employee rebellion which caused the level of aggression to rise to ridiculous levels. At one point, airport security seriously considered arresting a Greek woman pushing eighty, as she threatened to kill the SAS clerk that told her that they could get her to Thessaloniki in two weeks time!

The passengers looking to go to Rome were told that we should return in a week with new Covid-19 certificates. Only this time three hours before take off. At the end of a very long day though, we managed to get Lufthansa to get us via Frankfurt to Milan where we managed to get on the very last flight with Alitalia to Rome. I had no real complaints. I got to my new home in one day without quarantine restrictions or another nose job. In fact, I rather enjoyed the entertainment provided at the airport after having spent too much time locked up in my apartment.

Saoirse had been on her own at Base Nautica Flavio Gioia in Gaeta for four and a half months. Well not entirely on her own. Bob, An American live aboard from the yacht Windarra, had been kind enough to regularly check in on Saoirse and let me know that she was safely moored, dry inside and that the batteries remained charged. So comforting when hearing that they had 50+ knot winds and a meter of swell in the marina. I wanted to compensate Bob for his efforts but he said that he only wanted to give something back to the cruising community for all the help that he had received over the years as a live aboard. Sweet, but I will find out what he likes to drink and get him some of that.

The boat looks to be in great shape. Not even in need of a serious clean. The only problem that I have detected is that the lazy bag has collected a lot of rain water which in turn has generated a build up of green mould on the mainsail. Seriously annoying when I just had the sails cleaned and repaired by North Sails a few months ago. I can’t really blame anyone but myself as I knew I should have taken them down before I left Italy in September. I was just too lazy then.

As I write this, I have been in Gaeta for a week and I am still lazy. I have a lot of boat projects planned but I have decided to take it slow and get familiar with my new home. Which is in Italy. At least for now. Probably France or Spain in a few months. Pretty cool.

Base Nautica Flavio Gioia
Snow in South Italy. Unusual I am told
My youngest son thinks I have lost it already!

3 thoughts on “17. I’m a Live-Aboard!

  1. Hello Thomas. It will be nice to follow you on your blogg. I will let you know when we arrive in France. Maybe we can catch up hopefully sooner than later. Best of luck with everything. Klas


  2. Hi, Tomas! A fellow puzzle person, I see! Neat to follow the chronology of your blog posts which have brought you to this point, at last aboard Saoirse as an official liveaboard! The airport experience sounded like a real circus act, only not so much fun. Glad it had finally worked out, in the end, as all should. Fair winds, ~ Chelle


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