After more than a week in Fuengirola, we were very happy to leave and go sailing again. It was a pretty rough ride though. It started with rain and then a very uncomfortable swell and not enough wind! It definitely feels like it is time to leave the Med and head south in search of warmer weather. We managed about 30NM today and stopped in Estepona. We still have a bit of waiting around to do until the new sails arrive in Gibraltar, so we are not in a rush. Meanwhile the boat is slowly but surely getting ready for the big crossing.
We’re in Fuengirola, a small marina a few miles closer to Gibraltar. We decided to sit out some bad weather that was predicted for last night and today and indeed it started blowing quite hard this morning, accompanied by heavy rain. This low should be gone by tomorrow and we can be on our way again. Although we are not in a hurry as we are waiting for the new sails to be delivered to Gibraltar early next week. Once we have the sails we can head for the Canary islands. I’ve been asked by several people when we will cross the big pond but at the moment we can’t put a date on that yet. We will leave the Canaries when the weather is favourable and plan to stop over in Cape Verde on the way. There’s no advantage in going too early and in fact the weather is usually more favourable late December/ January.
We’re in Benalmadena marina, a few miles south of Malaga. Our crossing from Ibiza was smooth with some good winds at times. On the second day we were joined by a pod of dolphins who showed off their tricks in front of our boat! After a quick pit-stop in Motril to catch up on sleep we arrived here last night. The coast line is very different from anything we’ve seen so far in the Med. There’s lots of high rise buildings and it feels very touristy. We’ll be staying for a day or so before heading to Gibraltar where hopefully we can pick up our new sails!
We’re all set for our next short hop from Ibiza to Malaga. It’s about 340NM so depending on wind speed and direction it will take us up to 60 hours, hopefully less! Some friends we met in Argostoli arrived in Ibiza this morning and they are planning to sail with us to Malaga and then onwards to the Canaries and across the pond. They should have similar speeds as us but we will test that soon enough.
Skippers update, and perhaps a sign that finally my head can relax from the boat essentials and concentrate on the months sailing ahead. Rehua is finally fully handed over from her previous owner, it takes a lot of paperwork and reregistering of the safety and communications equipment on board. Life raft, harnesses, jackets, jackstays, EPIRB, HF, pactor modem, Fleetbroadband, wifi boosters, on board routers, Iridium handheld, flares, drogues, sea anchor!! sails, rigging, halyards, sheets, Oh and a few spares for the usual day to day maintenance. To date we have, I believe, completely debugged a boat that had spent too long on her laurels, Raymarine bugs have been eradicated, Spectra watermaker is now a new unit, beware Palma agents for this brand, very expensive, the solar panels now deliver as they were speced to do, all lights have been upgraded to LED lessening the night time load by a quantum measure. Engines are overhauled and running like ripe nuts, sweet! Did I mention the through hulls, we received courtesy of some well laden vistors, a complete new set of Marelon through hulls, I have opinions on the design of these that I will hold off on until I have tried and tested the new design. So far so good. Our generator has been revamped but with solar and various internal changes has become almost obsolete in the Med, she will get her turn as we cross the pond. Rehua will receive a complete new wardrobe of UK sails in the next weeks, our main is shot to hell, the screecher is no better than grannies underwear, the old Genoa and Jib we will save for heavy downwind work. We have re-stitched the symmetrical spinnaker in the hope we will get some miles in the Trades 🙂 I have maximised all measurements for the assymetric in the hope that we can generate some more pace in the light, this is also the case with the new mainsail, further reports on receipt and test. Our Raymarine was a huge problem up until Palma, I cannot recommend highly enough the Guys at Enaval in Palma, they have eradicated a problem that has haunted us through till now, one lousy corroded wire that looked perfect at both ends but was creating merry hell every few hours. All good! We had to replace our VHF radio which had just suffered one dousing too many, coupled with an upgraded 30 watt hailer, there will be no slackers on the foredeck!! Karoke could be on the cards! In summary, we are ready, we have a buddy boat to hook up with this week so fridge temperatures will be compared, I think we are looking good, almost forgot the icemaker got a complete new inside so we have crystal clear cubes for our Mojitos and Mutton birds.
We love Ibiza! We arrived here on Saturday afternoon after a very relaxing crossing from Palma and as we approached Sant Antonio we were welcomed by our friends Peter and Veronique! They have been showing us around the island and have made us feel very welcome. It’s still very hot for the time of year which makes it even more enjoyable to be here. Ibiza is such a beautiful green and lush island with little or no high rise buildings and it’s nice to be here outside the busy season. We want to stay here until Sunday before heading over to Malaga.
We’re ready to leave Palma and set sail for Ibiza tomorrow morning. We’ve had lots of good things done to the boat here in Palma. Our watermaker has been completely re-fitted and serviced and should now be ready for our Atlantic crossing. We also had some more upholstery work done (new mattress covers and a few fixes to the cockpit enclosure). It feels good to get the boat in order. We even managed to purchase some offshore life jackets for the boys (which are really hard to find!). We plan to spend a few days on Ibiza and then head to Malaga where we have rendez-vous with our friends Yotam and Eden who will be joining us for the Atlantic crossing. The weather is still absolutely gorgeous reaching 30 degrees or more during the day but it is starting to feel a bit cooler at night. Palma’s been great, it certainly has a “big city feel” to it. We were quite surprised when we stumbled across an exhibition the other day in a beautiful old building featuring Jan Fabre, who is a Belgian artist. The boys loved his sculptures and artwork of tortoises and brains!
My brother visited us this weekend and it was great to catch up after not seeing each other for a few months! We took the opportunity to visit Cabrera together, a group of islands 30 NM south of Palma which are a nature reserve and a national marine park. We had to book a permit to go there and a mooring buoy for two nights. Only 50 yachts maximum are allowed to go there at one point and you’re not allowed to anchor in order to preserve the seabed. There are no restaurants or shops and you’re not allowed to leave any rubbish behind.
Cabrera was absolutely stunning and one of the highlights of our trip so far. We all loved it and spent a special few days together on the islands. It has crystal clear water, plenty of marine life and very little light pollution. There’s also a castle dating back from the 15th century where French prisoners of war were held hostage.
Today we are back in Palma and as soon as we tied up to the pontoon the boys were begging me to do some schoolwork (even though it is Sunday and we normally have a day off). I’m not sure whether that has something to do with the fact that I’m such a fantastic teacher or whether they were hoping to earn some iPad time 😉
Tyrii also learned more about the Balearics and updated his country file with some key facts. The Balearics are an archipelago of 151 islands of which only 5 are inhabited (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera). They form an autonomous community and have their own flag and a long history of invasions! The official languages are Spanish and Catalan.
It’s still more than 30 degrees, lovely weather and we’re enjoying Palma. Tyrii and I went for a big supermarket shop today which is always a small expedition. Luckily we were able to arrange delivery to the boat tomorrow morning! Palma is quite a big city, with a beautiful old cathedral, city walls and historic buildings. Yesterday we strolled through the centre and the old town. This morning the Raymarine technician came onboard and we sailed just outside of the marina to recalibrate the compass and the instruments. But I will let Seathan comment more on that!
We’ve got a few more things to sort out here early next week before heading over to Ibiza, where hopefully we will catch up with some Belgian friends who happen to be there next week!