Aiming to arrive in Mallorca by the end of April to meet up with friends from Yorkshire we began our journey of some 600 miles by setting out from Ceuta.
We waved goodbye to new friends, Peter and Annelies on Skadi and Elio and Maria on Sela and headed back out across the traffic separation zone towards the East coast of Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean proper. The wind was strong so we reefed in the mainsail and veritably whizzed across. No dolphins this time.
We were overtaken by Skadi who were trying out their new ‘laminated’ sails. Very fast.
We arrived in Estepona and since Peter and Annalies were anchoring, we figured we should try that too! So we dropped the pointy heavy thing off the bow and spent a night bobbing around on the swell in the bay. Ian had his new App working which tracks your movements on the anchor during the night and sets off an alarm if you start to move away from the anchor. The App is wittily called “Drag Queen” and in her capable arms we had a fairly peaceful, if rolly, night.
Next day, we set off to Marbella and found a nice marina to the Eastern side of the town where we encountered a Harrier hawk in town to scare off seagulls reducing bird poo on the sails. After a circuit of the marina she perched on our boom, and left a present.
We were able to enjoy a long walk down the promenade, people watching and then wandered up into the delightful historic centre to make our way through narrow and attractive lanes to find The Farm Restaurant which is owned and run by the people we had met in Ceuta.
Elio and Maria were most welcoming considering we had only met up briefly on the pontoon a couple of days before. We shared a bottle of wine and had a platter of delicious cheeses and meat for our supper. The restaurant was simply beautiful, with a secret garden at the side and tables set on the pavement square out front, as well as a lovely room inside. If you are ever in Marbella, I can recommend it.
The following morning we were up early to take Keira to the bus station to catch a bus to Malaga airport for her flight home. We shall miss having her aboard.
Determined to try and find some wifi for weather reports and other vital communications we set off to a little restaurant we’d used the day before. Somehow, between us, we managed to leave our wallet on the wall outside. On returning there ten minutes later, it, and all its contents, had disappeared. So, the next hour was spent phoning round to cancel cards. Not only was there our credit card and cash card there were our newly arrived EHIC cards and Cruising Association membership cards! Very annoying.
So we were even more down in the dumps after that.
We decided to set off to Benalmadena for a change of scene and a change in fortune. After a few hairy moments when currents and wind were pushing us towards the huge concrete pontoon we set off relatively smoothly. By the time we rounded the renowned Cabo Pino at the half way point the winds were quite ferocious. Gusting up to 30 knots. The direction of the wind (NE) would mean an uncomfortable beat into the wind for the last leg. Fuengirola, the nearest post of call, is more difficult to enter on a strong NE wind. Not being sure really sure how the weather was going to develop we decided to turn back. We zoomed into Marbella for a second time on strong winds.
This time we parked bows to to make getting on and off easier. We have also learnt that it is important to prepare strong lines for whatever the weather might throw at you. Everything tidy and sorted BEFORE the beers come out! And that there are simple preparations to do in port prior to leaving that make things a lot less hairy than trying to do them in 30 knots of wind!
Lots of lessons learnt.