the boats who'd purposely left after us from hong kong had taken a total pasting in the straits, with wind speeds some 10-20 knots higher than we'd had. it was pretty unpleasant for us, so I dread to think what it was like for those guys. horrific.
however, my mate alli (from level 2 training) who was on GB had booked the intercontinental for a few nights, until she flew back to the UK. she very kindly said I could have the spare bed as it was a twin room and I was very excited about being in a hotel. it was very cold in qingdao, although not snowing which was a relief. even though I'm scottish, I bloody hate snow. unless I'm snowboarding. which I wasn't.
the intercon was luxurious. with a huge bathroom and separate shower. and dressing area with wardrobes and that. alli had exploded out into the room, but it was more than big enough to cope with two of us and all our sailing kit! the first night we just lay in bed and watched crap telly. it was epic, as alli would say :)
we had corporate commitments to do the first two days, plus I had the rig check to complete and hand in, plus the other usual boat maintenance and general stuff to be getting on with. everyone was wanting to do laundry but everywhere seemed to be drop and collect instead of do it yourself. there was one washing machine in the sailing centre but no dryer. interesting. we also had school tours to do. a full day of them. suddenly qingdao wasn't looking like the week off we needed before the pacific...
but we had to remember, some of the boats were still sailing. and some of the boats diverted to kk had been rediverted to hong kong, so were going to be really late. PSP only arrived the day before we left but had been granted another two days in qingdao before their race start. so the race to san francisco was also going to be elapsed time. hmmmmm...
anyway the corporate stuff went ok, we split up so we didn't end up doing everything and getting a day off. qingdao was the first time I'd got involved with the victualling as well, which ended up being a late night ride to a supermarket, getting a lift back in a truck. with me and james sitting in the flat bed of the truck waving at locals, who couldn't quite believe their eyes!
we lost three of the volunteers in qingdao, as paddy decided to stay with us for the pacific. we had several new joiners here too which was good. they wouldn't be able to get off until san francisco at least! all the new guys dived in to help with the boat stuff as they were really keen to get involved and get working. they'd been waiting for us in qingdao for a few days by this point, and were maybe a little bored.
after alli left to go home, I decided to stay in the intercon until the morning we left. this is unusual for me, but it was pretty cold and I'd got used to the bed. and it wasn't too expensive, and would be (I figured) the last time I'd stay in a hotel until we got back to london in july. I managed to get my washing done in the one machine in the sailing centre, but still had to dry it. I figured I would lay it out in my (very warm) hotel room and let it do the work. derek challenged me to make people out of it and take pictures. so I did:
|fun trying to dry my laundry in the hotel...|
then it was thinking about leaving again. the pacific. we'd all been silently worried about this leg. the pacific is a massive ocean and can be really dangerous. on the last race, there had been some extremely serious injuries there. and on the race before, one of the boats had been dismasted as well. we were worried. or I was anyway. the rumours of waves the size of houses were about to be proved or disproved. we were just pleased james was with us for this leg, he's a trauma doctor. and an anaesthetist. useful...
|the postcard clipper were handing out in qingdao, about the pacific crossing. it's true, by the way...|