Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Boring--sorry, uneventful--Part of the Trip

Nothing nearly as interesting as the storm and nearly running out of diesel has happened lately.  We last had internet in Mallorca in Porto Christo, three days ago.  We left there on Monday under cloudy skies, and the clouds have stayed ever since.  We've gotten some rain, but not much.  The Boring---sorry, uneventful--Part of the Trip

The only other thing was that last night we were in a very crowded anchorage and had a short but intense thunderstorm.  It was very windy and we had to anchor in water that was much deeper than we wanted to, but there wasn't any room anywhere else.  We actually almost hit another boat when the anchor didn't hold, so we had to pick up the anchor and try again.  The second time it did hold, which was a good thing because we were closer to the rocky cliffs than we wanted to be.   

Now we are heading along the coast of mainland Spain.  We follow the coast for a few days before going through Gibraltar and heading towards Portugal.  We are hoping to be there in 8-9 days.

Sunday, 15 September

Friday afternoon we stopped in Torreveija to get diesel and spend the night so that we could fill the water and shop.  We were thrilled to discover that the marina only charged €15 for the night.

The thrill stopped there, however. We were directed to a very narrow slip which Frank was going to have to back into.  This in itself is not uncommon, but the space he had to turn the boat in to get in position was much, much too small. Even I know that you can't turn a 12-meter boat in a barely 14-meter space without asking for trouble.  The marina does not, judging from what we heard later.

Frank did eventually get the boat turned around (he has gotten quite competent at this sort of thing this summer, especially when you consider that we do not have bow thrusters [those allow the boat to be steered sideways and if we ever buy another boat it will have them]) but unfortunately got caught on the anchor lines of some of the other boats.  

In case I haven't been clear about how these Mediterranean moorings work, they are designed to fit as many boats as possible in a small space, so all the boats go in either bow or stern first.  Two lines hold the boat to the dock, and then lines are attached to the bottom of the harbor and the dock. Someone has to be on shore to pass the anchor line to someone on the boat.  Then that person attaches the anchor line to the end of the boat NOT attached to the dock to keep it from trying to go forward out of the slip.  Usually there is just one anchor line per boat, but this marina had two per boat; it was the sort of marina that once you get in you might as well stay and save yourself the trauma of having to moor again if you go out. We did notice that there seemed to be a sort of community there who all knew each other, much like in Lagos, so we think they are probably staying for the winter. 

In any case, we had pretty much everyone who happened to be around trying to help us and express opinions. Frank was his usual unflustered self (but I know it was an act) and did not panic or get snippy with anyone.  After about an hour we did finally get in, although we did have a line caught around the keel.  Everyone who helped us was very sympathetic to our plight, all (according to them) of them having been in the same boat. It was a miracle that no damage was done to any boats!

We ended up having to get a diver to go down and untangle the line. I really resented having to pay for that because I think it was irresponsible of the marina to tell us to go to that slip. It seems a pretty common problem; one guy who also has a 12-meter boat said that he's been arguing with the marina about the narrowness but hasn't gotten anywhere. 

Saturday morning we got out of there as early as possible after hitting the grocery store (a very nice one, at least) and motorsailed fir most of the day until we stopped at a quiet anchorage that had mooring buoys!  

We left there at 4:45 this morning and have been battling the wind and waves ever since. Our luck may have run out as far as that's concerned.

Monday: our luck had run out. Fortunately we found a very quiet, sheltered anchorage next to a power plant. It wasn't much to look at, but the water was crystal clear and there were  very few waves. Max swam out with Frank to check the anchor and then later did it a couple if times on his own. We had a quiet afternoon swimming and playing Qwirkle.

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