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Month: July 2014

Cartagena – 26th July 2014

Cartagena – 26th July 2014

The Journey to Cartagena

Garrucha – After a morning swim in the bay, we headed off to pastures new, this time heading for the marina at Garrucha as a one-night stop over. Garrucha is a small town with a new marina, which was pretty empty. The town is low rise houses overlooking their promenade and beach on one side and shops and restaurants the other, it is a nice town. We arrived and followed the sailor’s tradition of an arrival beer, later we ventured out for a cool evening walk and a pizza.

Cartagena

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The sail to Cartagena was very different to what Linda and John had experienced so far, we were initially a bit concerned about sea sickness, but in-fact it was the opposite they were both so relaxed they dozed on deck and read their books, so we can now confirm they have their sea legs. The forecast was slight seas with a force 2-3; so originally we planned to stop on route in a bay Cala Reona and anchor up again, however the sea state was moderate and winds at this time F4. The bay did not give enough shelter and was a bit too small so we stopped for a late lunch and then continued onto Cartagena another 4 hours sailing. The winds increased but it was more the sea state as we were heading into the waves and wind, but as I said Linda and John did not batter an eye, in fact they closed them.

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We arrived at 8.30pm, mooring up right next door to Orion and Macnoon, so we all reunite again. Night one was a quite one for us, I think we were all tired from the sea air and it was a long sail. Today we awoke refreshed although boiling hot, the weather must be at least 38*c here; so with the boat cleaned we headed of to explore the town, we were all keen to see the amphitheatre right in the centre of town. Sight seeing in this heat is hard but it’s a lovely town, narrow streets, shops and lots to see. Had a great tapas lunch in town. We will be heading out tonight as they have a music concert and festival in town.

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San Jose Bay – 23rd July 2014

San Jose Bay – 23rd July 2014

We had to motor all the way to the San Jose bay from Almerimar as the sea was a millpond and no wind, not a great intro into sailing for Linda and John, but at least it’s an opportunity for them to get their sea legs. The trip was only 34 miles away so we arrived mid-afternoon.  The bay is beautiful only a beach nearby, with the boat secured we all changed and jumped off the back of the boat, the water was wonderful. Another wish ticked off the list.

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We spent a lovely evening on deck having a relaxing dinner (of amazing king prawns, Mark and John did a duo of American pie (very funny, they sing like angels) finishing the evening watching the stars, Linda claimed 3 shooting stars. We were rocked to sleep with the soothing swish of the sea.

The Jenkins’ join the sailing crew at Almerimar – 21st July 2014

The Jenkins’ join the sailing crew at Almerimar – 21st July 2014

We left the lovely marina of Este at 8.30am setting sail for Almerimar 45 miles away. As always it was a sunny day, but we had some sea swell and wind of 20-28 knts). The swell made the trip more uncomfortable. Almerimar, is a large marina with bars and restaurants set around the waterfront, it has all the facilities you could want and a beach next door. I finally went swimming the water was so refreshing. We met up with Roger and Sisca from waterfall and had a lovely Tapas dinner with them, before they left the next day. We had time to spring clean the boat so she was looking spick and span ready for Linda and John’s arrival on 22nd July. The photo below shows the new DIY design in cockpits, they were our neighbours.

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The crew arrived late afternoon, checked out the boat, unpacked and off to the pub. Then surprise surprise Jane & Greg (Orion) and Sue & Mike from (Macnoon) arrived so we all went out for dinner and lots of drinks. We headed of for an anchorage the next day, with the hope of finding a lovely bay we could jump off the back of the boat.

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Finally in the Mediterranean – Marina del Este – Friday 18th July 2014

Finally in the Mediterranean – Marina del Este – Friday 18th July 2014

IMG_9093Thursday 17th July – It was a sad farewell to Gibraltar after 10 days on land, especially saying farewell to our friends. But we were ready to leave, the open sea was calling and although Gibraltar was relaxing we had done everything we wanted to in Gibraltar, the tours, the shopping and one afternoon we finally got tot he beach we left Hudson sleeping and went to the beach; Mark went swimming and I paddled, although the water is getting warmer, so should be swimming shortly. We said our farewells to most of our friends at the quiz night and Hudson and I walked round to the other marina Wednesday evening to say goodbye to Tina and Tim, and we caught Mia and Brent also.

It is nice to be back on our travels heading for Fuengiroza (which was the original destination we planned), with the sea breeze in our hair and sun on our bodies, well that was the idea but in the morning it is more like clouds in sky and minimal breeze. As we passed around the rock, we passed Europa Point I finally saw our old house (or the area at least).

IMG_9100The sail down the coast line of Costa del Sol towards Fuengiroza was uneventful with the wind never getting strong enough to sail, so it was a motor day. The coast line is very very built up with so many high rise flats and hotels, its tourist central, no pretty Spanish villages to be spotted. As we approached Fuengiroza we decided it was not for us as so built so we went on a further 10 miles to Benalmadena and guess who we met the crew of Nikita.

IMG_9112Benalmadena is also a tourist centre (we were told the better of the two), it was not our cup of tea, but if your are young and want bars, restaurants (tourist style & expensive) and clubs it would be great. We did not really explore, a quick walk around the marina complex was enough, so we just found a local bar with internet access then back to the boat.

Friday 18th July – The plan for Friday and the weekend was to find a couple of anchorages, however we had to tweak our plans as Saturday night is due to have gusting Force 8’s so not ideal anchorage conditions. The new plan to cover possible weather conditions is Marina del Este (Puerto de la Mona); it’s a small yacht harbour in a new housing area but its supposed to be a beautiful area and the pictures show greenery and look pretty so here’s hoping and Hudson should get a nice walk. We arrived here at 4.30pm and it is the prettiest place we have stayed for a while, not a lot here, but enough a few restaurants by the marina and a beach, the plan for tomorrow afternoon. Its the 1st marina i have stayed at that gave me a bottle of wine to welcome us, although the price is not cheap so probably paid for it anyway, but saying that it is a man made area but done into the mountains with taste. We had a wonderful fish dinner tonight at a local restaurant, with enormous prawns for starter and lovely grilled fish for main (sorry can’t remember its name). Home now ready for bed and a fresh new day.

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Relaxing in Gibraltar – Saturday 12th July 2014

Relaxing in Gibraltar – Saturday 12th July 2014

IMG_9076We have been in Gibraltar 5 days now and still plan to spend a few more as we are enjoying ourselves, its a nice relaxing place, friendly and our ARC friends are also here. We have spent our time fixing up the yacht; Mark has completed his list of jobs, although it can be never ending. Other jobs have been done like re-stocking the boat, I have visited the local Morrison store with items not easy to find in Spain or brand specific items such as Peanut butter and Branson Pickle for Mark and boring things like comfort. I have even tried out the local bus service and cycled there this afternoon in the full afternoon sun (hard work). Mia and I have had a girly shopping afternoon, I needed some retail therapy and a dress and pair of shorts later felt much better.

Yesterday afternoon we went on the Gibraltar Rock Tour, we joined an American family in the mini bus. You can do a  DIY version via the cable car and walk but it is a long walk in the heat and we had left Hudson on the boat. The tour covered the main 6 points of interest, plus the general good view:–

The 100 Ton Gun – IMG_9015Europa Point –

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IMG_9061Siege Tunnels & Moorish Castle (no photo’s) but look at the view – IMG_9026

I was excited to go to Europa point as I was hoping to see my old house but unfortunately you can not see it or get to it as its part of the Army base. My favourite part was St Michael’s Cave, it was amazing to see how the water over hundreds of thousands of years has created such impressive stalagmites, and the site has now been turned into an auditorium.

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The Apes were cute, they have 250 here now divided into 6 groups, and they are fed by the Government each morning at designated areas. Although the tour guides feed them for tricks. They do sneak down to the edges of town at times.

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The Gateway to the Mediterranean – Gibraltar Tuesday 8th July 2014

The Gateway to the Mediterranean – Gibraltar Tuesday 8th July 2014

We woke early In Barbate, with the aim of leaving at 8am to black clouds (not expected), which concerned me as we would be passing through Tarif, which is famous for its “strong winds”; it has a reputation for having at least 30 knots of winds 300 days a year. Lucky for us the clouds lightened and the forecast was Force 5 and 6 but westerly so behind us, a perfect to sail to Gibraltar. The photo below shows Tarifa point.

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The pilot books all talk about the strong winds at Tarifa, so I was a little nervous as we sailed to the point of Tarifa and the wind was still very mild, we had 2 reefs in the mainsail ready, so as we passed Tarifa point we thought that was easy as no wind, but in fact the strong winds start after Tarifa and they build very quickly so the Force 6 was upon us and we started to surf our way to Gibraltar. As the winds built we dropped the main and surfed on the foresail at one point we had only a handkerchief of foresail out and we were still surfing at 9.8 knots. The trip time shortened and we arrived in Gib ready for lunch.

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Gibraltar is a busy area of sea, with ferries and lots of large tanker. As we arrived it was great as Mia and Brent (from Porcellum) were waiting for us to welcome us in, then we all went out for a great lunch. It was so nice to see the guys again they are a lovely couple. That evening they took us to a lovely old hotel on the rock I think its the oldest in the area with a great view, I actually remember it from my child hood and they filled us in on the markets, and the area its great as they used to live here. I lived here when i was about 7, so a long long time ago and much has changed. We had a few tasks planned to do at Gibraltar a few fixes on the boat but also key was our hair, we both need work. So yesterday Mia took me to the best shop in town and I now feel happy again as no roots, Mark is booked in for tomorrow. Last night Mia and Brent came over for dinner, we had a lovely evening, sitting on deck, eating, drinking and catching up.

Today we went for a walk over the boarder via the runway to the Spanish side to visit their beach, but we did not like it over there so we crossed back via the marina to check in on some friends. It is so weird as you actually walk across the runway. Gibraltar is a mini English town, as when you walk down the high street it is England, with Next, M&S, BHS and others, its full of shops selling duty free booze and cigarettes and so many bars and restaurants, but it has a lovely feel.

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Today we met up with the yachts Orion, Shiraz and Spirit 3, it’s so nice to see them all again. We had a welcome drink together but are meeting properly tomorrow evening. This evening is just a quiet night on the boat for a change catching up with tasks and blogging.

 

On Route from Cadiz to Gibraltar – Barbate Saturday 5th July 2014

On Route from Cadiz to Gibraltar – Barbate Saturday 5th July 2014

We debated last night whether to leave today or stay in Cadiz one more day, as it’s an easy place to stay with so much to see and we were hoping to catch up with some of our ARC friends. But had we stayed I would have only gone shopping so felt it might save us a fortune if we left. We set sail at 8.30am arriving in Barbate a very empty marina at 4.30pm. On route we doffed our caps to Nelson at Cabo Trafalgar as per sailors’ tradition.

Barbate was only to be a stop over point, so we did not explore far. However, right next door to the marina was a great beach, which allowed dogs. So Mark went swimming and Hudson and I paddled our feet. It was nice to cool down. We then headed over to the local marina bar as only place nearby with internat. The little marina bar I have to say had the best olives we have had so far and the drinks were cheap.

 

Cadiz and Sevilla – 2nd – 4th July 2014

Cadiz and Sevilla – 2nd – 4th July 2014

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After spending a few days exploring Cadiz and hiring a car to drive to Sevilla, we have really enjoyed our time here. Both towns are full of great architecture, very old and sculptural trees, beautiful houses hidden away and cafe culture.

Cadiz

Is an ancient town founded over 3000 years ago; to me it feels much more of a Spanish town with strong Moorish influences, with limited English and other tourists, adding to its charm. In the old town it is rows of narrow quaint streets with hidden shops, bars and restaurants, then you come across garden squares with the most wonderful old trees and then in the evening the families with their children come out to play. The old town is still surrounded by the old original wall.

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Then side by side is the new part of town mixed with the old, but with the more modern shops, more bars and restaurants. We found the town market full of great fish stalls and vast amounts of prawns and tuna; plus a few nice clothes shops. However, I would never find the same street again because it’s a labyrinth of close knit streets, it’s easy to get lost. You end up walking for hours just exploring, so Hudson has had lots of walks.

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Sevilla

We hired a car for the day and headed inland for a change to Sevilla, just 1 ½ hours away. What a beautiful city, with wow architecture, but it was very hot at 36*c. We only had limited time so visited the Giralda Catherdral, this was amazing its size and the detail. It was difficult with Hudson as we can not go in the buildings as all seemed to be 1–2 hour tours, but never mind.

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We then visited Real Alcazar and the Jardins Del Alcazar, Plaza De Wspana and Santa Cruz, the usual sites. We crossed over the river to Triana for lunch by the river and I finally had my first Paella.

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Sevilla is lovely and when you get off the main tourist track you find numerous Tapas houses hidden away, we walked for hours in the heat. The city is full of tourists following their tour guides; you hear all languages and the prices reflect the tourism trade. We were glad we went, but 1-day was enough, we arrived back at the boat exhausted. But we have been to two of the most interesting places along this coast line.  Now we head for the Mediterranean.

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Port Hopping Rota & Puerto Americo – Wednesday 2nd July 2014

Port Hopping Rota & Puerto Americo – Wednesday 2nd July 2014

We left Vila Real de Santo Antonio on Tuesday 1st July heading for the Spanish port of Rota, bright and early at 6.30am as the trip was expected to take about 10 hours.  The wind got up as per schedule at 11am and increased throughout the afternoon, to the point we had 2 reefs in the main and still got to 9.2 knots as we surfed down the Atlantic rollers (unfortunately the photo only shows us at 9.1knots) . As we left the port it was Crab pot central then we had to dodge the fishing boats out trawling in mass.

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The highlight of the sail was –  Dolphins (big suckers). The seas were choppy especially as we got closer to shore, not ideal but we have seen worse. As we got to Rota, we had to squeeze in next to a motor boat with strong winds blowing us onto it, so not one of our best moorings as we damaged the guard rail. We headed into town for a walk and early supper, its a busy modern Spanish town with bars and shops and a new marina, however they are behind the time as no WIFI at the marina. We decided to leave today and headed the 6 miles to Puerto Americo, which is 10 minutes walk to the old town of Cadiz. We plan to spend 3 or 4 days here exploring Cadiz and hiring a car to drive to Seville.

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