All change again!

We’ve reached a fortnight in Marine del Este, the days have reduced by a few degrees to a mere 26/27 C and the nights have cooled somewhat – the duvets gone back on the bed and Monday I had to put a cardi on!

Sunday night was interesting.  Imagine you’re sitting in your front room, and you hear your garden gate open and close,  you investigate and someone has decided to sit in your garden and have their photo taken.  I mean the cheek of it, it’s your home, it’s your space.  Well that basically happened to us, minus the back garden of course.

Down the side of the quay are sets of wooden steps and we were fortunate to be berthed in front of a set.  You go down two steps to a raisable platform and then step onto the back of the boat.  Now our steps had a very distinctive clang when you stepped on them.

We were both down in the saloon and heard the distinctive clang, Craig went to investigate like you would and there’s a stranger sitting on the back of OUR boat having his photo taken.  Sorry, sorry, they both said as they quickly scarpered.

The gusts in the afternoon really picked upon Monday and a new Brit boat came in with two couples on it. Well i knew there’d be trouble when I saw the women were in dresses!  They came in bows to (front first), two slots away from us.  They got the bow lines on no probs, but before they could get the slimeline on a gust blew and the stern of their boat is now crossing an empty berth towards the bow of our boat.  Bring a gender, bring a fender the skipper was shouting and the three just stood there looking at each other at the front of the boat.  Bring a fender now, one of the women grabbed a fender and promptly dropped it overboard.  Craig meanwhile is now at the bow of Kuta fending off the other boat, and the Skipper is apologising to him profusely.  One of the women barks at me. Get our fender.  Yes I will, I’m getting the boat hook.  I mean what did she think, was I supposed to dive in and retrieve it?

Eventually they got the slimeline on with both blokes pulling it and normality was restored.  And there was lots of ‘you did very well darling’, ‘oh so did you darling’.  Give over.

We also found out yesterday morning (Tuesday) that a Spanish guy, on his 3 month old boat had come in at a rate of knots in the wind and basically hit everyone near him, damaging not only his, but several other boats.  I know the gusts were strong but there is a speed limit in the marina for a reason!

On Monday we took the decision to leave for Cartagena on Tuesday, there was a good weather window and as beautiful as Marine del Este is there’s really nothing there, you can’t provision properly and well tedium had set in,

Personally I’m looking forward to getting to Cartagena.  This is where real life sets in, none of this 8 week holiday lark!  It will be nice to be in a big city with lots going on and shops and a proper supermarket will be a bonus- evidently there’s a Lidl here!

I have lots I’m planning to get done over the winter months, and of course we now have the perfect base for visitors, the first of which are due in a few weeks.  You know where we are now and we’re here for 6 months,so if anyone wants to visit you’re more than welcome!

Anyway, we left Marine del Este at about 1130 on Tuesday- this is our first 24 hour non stop journey without Gerald on board.

So I suppose the crux of it is if this blog gets posted then all is well and we made it, if not well it doesn’t matter you will never know anyway!

I was keen to do this journey in one hit, none of the marinas en route really appealed, but there are stop off points if we need them.

So I’m writing this blog as we go longhand on paper to be typed up later.  Whilst we have numerous means of navigation – charts, a nav station and almanacs, Craig also likes to use the Navionics app on my IPad, so it’s been commandeered for the journey.

An hour in and there’s a bit of a swell – here look


​1300: we’re passing Motril, one of our emergency stop offs.  Everyone has said how the scenery now changes and you can see that Motril is very industrial.  Although the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains is still quite stunning,  On the hillside we’re starting to see evidence of the plastic sheeting under which they grow the fruit and veg.  Once we go around the headland, Cabo Sacratif, the swell should be in our favour, unfortunately the wind is not, whilst it’s strong enough it’s blowing in the wrong direction!

Bleak isn’t it

1415: we’ve seen one boat and one catamaran so far going in the other direction.  Currently there’s a 95 ft unidentified boat which to me looks like it’s heading straight for us, but skipper seems unconcerned – maybe he’s up for a game of chicken.  Me I say change course so there’s no doubt.  It’s okay there will be no collision it’s a fishing boat moving very slowly.

As yet I have seen no wildlife – no seagulls, no dolphins, no flying fish, absolutely nothing.  As you look at the coastline it seems almost desolate, and then you’ll spot a roadway between two ridges in the mountain and realise there is life out there.

Oh, wildlife spotted, there’s a fly on the boat and I see seagulls around the fishing boat – we are not alone after all.

It’s funny the things you notice, or rather the things that you wouldn’t normally notice. There’s not a cloud in the sky as I look out to sea, but in the other direction they’re perched on mountain tops like balls of fluff.  Having said that I suppose it’s only natural I wouldn’t have noticed such a thing before, you don’t get many mountains in Cambridgeshire!

We’re now passing plastic sheet land, still I suppose all those tomatoes have to come from somewhere.  We’re still going along the Costa del Sol but it’s a world apart, no high rise apartments and hotels, no jet skis or parasailors – no other boats!

I say to Craig as we go passed places, where’s that? I mean he does have numerous nav aids at his disposal.  He seems to think it’s funny to say, Spain!  They’re navigational aids for the sea, not road maps!

1500:  now bear in mind we’ve been going for 3.5 hours and craig now decides to ask me if I have confidence in him getting us there.  Actually I have no hesitation in saying yes, because I know he spent two hours doing a passsage plan the old fashioned way yesterday, with paper charts, a pencil and a plotter working out the way points.

1600: Skippers having a break, the crew is now in charge!, keeping watch I mean and I would rather it was dull, I don’t want dramas, not on my watch.

The swell has eased, we’re back to rocking gently like a boat should.

So I’m watching the screen for other boats, watching the wind speed – yeah there’s wind, watching the speed over the ground – yeah we’re definitely moving and watching in front of the boat – yeah there’s still water in front of us.  So all is well.

I can actually see two other sailing boats but they’re miles away, there is something else though up ahead not showing on the screen and I can’t tell if it’s on land or sea.

I think the thing is on land, still too far away to tell.  I don’t think skippers actually asleep you know, he’s pretending, letting me think I’m in charge.

The white things a boat – it’s ok he’s going in the opposite direction.

1800:  all is calm, that is except my face, scalp and shoulders which are throbbing.  You’d think that after 6 weeks in the sun I’d acclimatised.  Maybe it’s just us ginger nuts but word to the wise, just because you’ve got a tan don’t think that means you don’t need suncream.  If I wear all beige tomorrow I really will resemble a Swan Vesta which is what they used to call me at school.

Almerimar is up ahead, this marina has a liveaboard community during the winter and is cheaper than Cartagena but this morning we heard some not so good reports, so glad we’ve avoided that one.

I can see other boats now, more in one stretch of water than I’ve seen since we left the Spanish rias.

2000: the suns going down behind us and it’s simply stunning.

There’s dolphins on the starboard, a line of them in the distance, come closer I want a photo.

10 minutes later and we’re literally surrounded by dolphins, could I get a picture – no.  Well I did get one but it’s just a shadow in the water like one of those dodgy Loch Ness monster ones.

2030: for those of you wondering what we eat on an overnight passage, tonight’s delectation is tinned beans and sausages with tinned new potatoes – yum

2100: nav lights are now on and life jackets on.  I’m now barred from going anywhere on the boat other than down below or remaining seated in the cockpit.  I am no longer allowed to bounce up and down the deck even if we spot a UFO!

2230:  were just passing Cabo de Gata lighthouse.  This is basically the bottom right hand corner of Spain.  Craig’s not happy, he’s had to change course to avoid a boat overtaking us coming within yards of us,.  He says if he sees ‘Song of the sea’ in Cartagena he will be going and having words.  I can’t tell you which particular word but it’s banned by the BBC!

0100: Im on watch, I’m knackered, but needing a sugar boost is a good excuse for a mars bar at this time of the morning.  I haven’t been a night owl for over 20 year, I don’t do well past 1130 at night!

There’s a gazillion stars in the sky, and I can see shooting stars.  Wish for a good final leg of the journey.

0700:  Craig has not and will not sleep, he’s been awake all night surviving on coffee and nicotine.  I slept in fits and starts under a blanket in the cockpit.  Every time I told him to rest he wouldn’t

The stars have now left us and the orange hue from the sun is just becoming visible over the horizon

0900: we’re passing under some ominous looking cloud it’s low and in some places quite dark.  The winds picked up but at the moment nothing too concerning

1030: we’re here in one piece, and look they even sent a cruise liner to meet us

We did it, all by ourselves, and now we’re in our berth,  no dramas with lines, we looked almost professional.  I’ve sent Craig off to bed for some well earned rest.

Then back to normality – clean the boat, do the laundry, or yeah and have a shower.

So I’ll fill you in on the marina later, there are some stunning boats here, one I need to investigate further as I suspect it could be owned by someone well known

For tomorrow’s blog it will be something a little different, it skippers birthday so there will be an exclusive interview where we will uncover the man behind the myth!

Laters xx

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