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Meander
Our adventures on the high seas and other places
Gale force winds -worst we've seen
Hideous
24 September 2008, South of Cabo de Palos, Costa Blanca, Spain

As we travelled up the coast the winds increased throughout the day. Ray decided to hand over the helm to me while he took a little kip. Well, within minutes, a thunderstorm hit and the wind increased from 17 knots (no problem) to 45 knots. It was unbelievable. We have never been in winds that strong. Fortunately, we had already dropped all sails and were travelling at three quarter power. The seas had been really calm so we didn't have a lot of swell to worry about but it did become rougher as the day wore on. Thank goodness the wind came off the land which meant the swells didn't grow to any great heights. So we sat inside the saloon with the autohelm on and just waited it out. By the time it passed it was around 6pm and we were looking on the map for the next safe anchorage. The choppy conditions were no fun. We'd had enough. By 8pm we were tied up at the fuel wharf in Cabo de Palos, a sleepy little fishing town. They had no Capitania or harbour master so we managed to stay for free...what a pleasant surprise.

Heart stopping moments
Prop trouble
Fine and warm
23 September 2008, Aquilas, Costa Branca, Spain

We've travelled over 200 nautical miles (overnight previous night and yesterday) and had winds up to 27 knots when only 3 knots was predicted, and some rain. We arrived here around midnight last night - just couldn't be sleep deprived another night - and just as we entered the harbour the port engine snuffed. Thought we'd hit something but as it turned out we'd left the screecher rope (screecher is a form of spinnaker) hanging over the side and it made it's way loose and wrapped the propellor picked it up. We were just too tired to deal with it last night so it was a morning swim for Ray as he dislodged the rope from around the prop. Here's hoping there's no damage or leaks. The wind's with us again today so we're heading off further north.

Heart stopping moments
What a day!
5 September 2008, Road trip to Malaga via Gibraltar

We headed off early this morning because we were keen to visit Gibraltar on the way to Malaga. Stopped at a roadside cafe for a quick brekkie and bumbled our way through our order. Tostadas (toast) con queso (with cheese) and cafe con leche (coffee with milk). Then we spotted these spreads on the bar that everyone apparently uses in these parts for their morning toast. Reading the label (yes, challenging) it was based mostly on pork fat but what the heck...we tried them all anyway. Very nice. Veola really enjoyed it as well. We had some interesting moments vigorously discussing which highways we should have been on and missed several turn offs so the trip to Gibraltar took a little longer than expected. No problem however, getting through the border to Gibraltar. We took the chairlift to the top of the rock and checked out the monkeys. We were cutting it a little fine timewise and then disaster struck....the cable car stopped and no one knew why. So, the operator of the cable car phoned down to the ticket office and someone went outside to let Ray know he needed to collect us from the mid station. We've now lost half an hour of time and need to get Veola to the Malaga airport for her flight. We think we're ok though until a doomsday prophet on the cable car informs us that it can take hours to get back through the border to Spain....tension suddenly rose exponentially for both Veola and I. It took us about an hour to get through the checkpoint and Ray put the pedal to the metal and I think we might have been air born. After getting to the airport, frantically trying to find the check in counter that was a terminal and several floors down, we bumped into the Jet2 staff who were just heading home. They were fantastic and agreed to check her in and informed us the plane had...fortunately been delayed by an hour...so I kissed her goodbye, shoved her through the security gate. Haven't heard from Veola since...maybe the stress got the better of her. We then had a two hour drive home and a starving boy to feed. I think we got back to Puerto Gelves at about 1.30am....who said life wasn't exciting.

Heart stopping moments

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Bringing her home
Who: Ray Jack, Julie Fullerton (First Mate) & Sam Jack (Crew)
Port: Mooloolaba, Australia
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