We went back to the Metro with James’ wife in tow.  Sophia had decided that she had worked in the morning, and was far too tired to come shopping with us.  James, who is joining us for the next two legs, was in Qingdao with his wife before the race.  They used to live in China, and Sarah is an excellent mandarin speaker.  In fact, she was a lot better than Sophia would have ever been.  She helped with the shopping, she knew what we would be able to get and what we wouldn’t, and what may be replaced with what.  The only problem was we weren’t the only boat crew shopping that day, and a lot of what we needed had already sold out.  Another trip needed I feel!
We took our five trolleys through the check out, and the delivery driver was waiting to go to the marina.  Result.  We loaded it up ready to go.  Just as we were leaving Caroline from Qingdao boat had an issue with her boat credit card – it wouldn’t work!  So, Danang paid for Qingdao’s groceries.  Bizarre.  Qingdao credit card wouldn’t work in Qingdao.  She repaid the favour by giving a couple of us a lift back to the marina as she had the father of one of her local crew helping with her victualling, and he had his car handy.  The other two went with the delivery driver.  Then we had to carry it down the marina to a big tent where the security guys hang out to get out of the cold – we would be able to pack it in there as well.  At least we could leave it in boxes and not have to do all the packing on the same day as we usually do.  Especially as we have so many things missing!  Another busy day from early to late – a quick dinner in the Exec Lounge and a Campari or two before bed.

Thursday – put together a new shopping list for what we didn’t get.  I put out a message on What’s App for some help going to the Carrefour, as it is a lot closer than the Metro.  But you need to carry the goods home, so I couldn’t do it on my own.  Sophia was not available to help, but Garmin lent me their liaison Lucy – I think they got the better deal.  She was much more switched on.  Good old Craig pitched up to help again, even though it was his day off.  We managed to get some things we needed, but not everything.  So that meant that another trip to the Metro was needed – but not today.  I needed to put together a packing list for when we started the packing tomorrow.  Worked until about 9.30pm doing that – in the Executive Lounge with the odd Campari or two.
Not all work though – Chloe and Darren joined me for the evening, so work was interspersed with chat.  Nice to have a little diversion from shopping and spreadsheets.

Friday – and another visit to the Metro.  Sophia was available today, so she and I set off in the morning.  We bought all (or so I thought) on my list, together with all the fruit and vegetables and bread.  The driver was ready to deliver again, so we all went back to the marina together.  Luckily there were a couple of people there to help unload and take to the boat or the tent.  Then came the big job of packing.  And the realisation that I had forgotten to get the tinned tomatoes.  Which is a big part of quite a few of the meals.  Oh no!
Tomorrow is the last day before we leave.  We have crew briefs in the afternoon, and I have to go shopping again in the morning.  That means that I have victualled every single day on this stopover without a day off.  What did I say at the beginning?  The two days we were late arriving in were the two days I would have had off.  How right I was, and I thought I was joking.  I am going to have to get a better system than this – everyone else has had at least one if not two or three days off.  Now we are leaving the day after tomorrow, and I haven’t even had a chance to use the pool or the spa.  Or just have a lazy day.  I have started to get the flu like symptoms again – I think my body is just run down.  It needs a break.  Not sure that it can last another four and a half months without some sort of rest and relaxation.

At about 1.30am I awoke with thoughts of food in my head, so got up and started typing up the menu plans to make the booklet for the next leg.  Might as well rather than not sleep.
I put a couple of messages out on What’s App about the packing of the tuck, that was happening in the morning.  I expect those messages caught a few that hadn’t made it to bed yet!  At least I got some of the booklet done.

I was still awake early, at about 6am, so decided to ask if Sarah could possibly come shopping again this morning.  She said she could give me an hour, so an early start to get the last few things.  It seems we have “lost” quite a few tea towels.  I feel that they may have gone over the side when the pegs can’t quite handle the velocity of wind, but who knows.  Tea towels were added to my list, along with lemons and bread tins.  The bread flour we got was in bags double the quantity we needed for one days baking, so it was decided that we would bake bread every other day.  So we needed double the amount of tins to put it in.  I feel the Chinese don’t make much bread, or wipe up.  From the early start we had, we got back to the boat at about 1pm.  But with virtually everything on the list.  Hooray!

For the race start day, I was having a problem finding a bakery or somewhere that would do food that I could have for lunch and dinner.  I spoke to the chef in the Executive Lounge, and he said he would do me lunch, dinner and pastries for breakfast the next morning.  And a few loaves of beautiful homemade bread.  Result.  I could get the man with the trolley to take it to the boat along with my luggage.

All our gear was meant to be on the boat today, so I quickly made a bit of an effort to pack some stuff.  The sleeping bag was folded up, the foulies taken out of the wardrobe, and a few of the dry bags filled.  The bulk of the stuff was put on a luggage trolley, and a very nice young man wheeled it down to the boat for me.  Take the luxury when you can is my philosophy.  I then had to go and put in all the expenses to the accounts department before the crew brief for the next leg.

No surprises there.  It is going to be a long, hard leg.  Twenty seven metre waves (not sure how they can be so specific) possibly snow, but if not still extremely cold, and pretty rubbish weather.  Remind me, why am I paying to do this? We then had the boat brief, and the rest of the day off.  Or to finish getting the menu booklet done.  Oh well, I can do that in the Executive Lounge with a Campari.  Small mercy.
cam pari

I bumped into Shona in the reception, and she said she probably wasn’t coming with us tomorrow.  She had issues with her hands and feet that started a couple of days previous, and the doctors had advised her not to go.  The Clipper insurance were getting back to her, but the decision would probably be taken out of her hands.  The crew are going down like flies.

We will leave for the Mighty Pacific tomorrow, with however many of the crew turn up.  It will be a long hard leg, we will cross the international date line, so will have one day twice to make it even worse.

Apparently, not only can I now qualify to have a turtle tattoo for crossing the equator, but I will be able to have a golden dragon for crossing the date line.  Along with a few swallows, each one for 5,000 miles sailed.  Whoppee!

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I nickname this “The Campari Blog – who needs time off!”

Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul Keevil!
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