11/14/2010, Las Palmas, Spain
As of today, we only have 7 more days until the start of the ARC. We got a lot of big boat projects done yesterday, including repacking the forward locker, moving the anchor & chain, and cleaning and packing the dinghy. That pretty much took up our entire day.
A couple days ago there was a big welcome party in town. I didn't much enjoy it, but my dad, Elise, and Andy did. Oh, by the way, Andy arrived two days ago. For some reason, we thought that he would be arriving on the 11th, but we were a bit surprised when it got to be 8:00 and he hadn't dropped by.
Today Pedro is having his legendary dinghy race. It promises to be a hot day, so the racers should have plenty of excuses to get wet. Our dock is 'little Norway' (about half a dozen of the boats are Norwegian), and many of them are in it. I'm not.
11/11/2010, Las Palmas, Spain
We made it to the long awaited destination two or three days ago. We'd stopped at Isla Graciosa for a few hours, but soon left on another overnighter to Las Palmas. Now we're here, and awaiting the arrival of Andy, one of our crew-members for the ARC.
If I don't get a chance to post another blog before we leave, then you will want to visit my dad's blog for info. I can't post to my blog from the middle of the ocean, but my dad can.
10/29/2010, Marina Bay, Gibraltar
Our crew are coming in in about half an hour to an hour and so our morning was spent in chaos as we frantically cleaned up the filth (:-)) we've been living in. But it wasn't so bad because when mom was here (I forgot to mention, my mom left yesterday for St. Petersburg, FL) we had started to clean up.
But enough about cleaning up. We toured the Rock two days ago and nearly walked our feet off going up and down. It really isn't as easy as it may look like on Google Earth! We took the Mediterranean steps up to St. Michael's cave and then visited the apes and took al look at the WWII tunnels on our way down.
The apes (really tail-less monkeys) are really intelligent and know how to burgle tourists. I saw one monkey eating an ice cream cone! Luckily we were not burgled (probably because we didn't have any food), but I saw one guy actually feeding the monkeys (£500 maximum fine).
We didn't actually tour the WWII tunnels because: a) there we over 30 miles of them (not all of them are open), and; b) we didn't want to wait for the mandatory guided tour. But there we some cool photos that had been taken of life in the tunnels, and so we got a good idea of what they were like. We saw the end of some of the tunnels as we waited for the bus on the steep side of the rock. If you use Google Earth and zoom in on the cliff face of the Northern-most point on the rock, about 3/4 of the way down the cliff face there are some tunnels.
Anyway, I've written too long. Cheerio!
10/18/2010, Smir, Morocco
Tomorrow we head back to Gibraltar. We've stayed here in Smir for I don't know how long, and it has been a wonderful time. This marina is probably the least rocky of all the marinas we've been in (and I don't mean to say we've been in a lot of marinas), and it is very quiet.
But, tomorrow we leave here for Gibraltar (technically La Linea), which isn't known for it's protection. However, we will be able to find English books in a few days (we'll be spending the first few days in La Linea), and our crew for the ARC will be coming in in a week. So we've got our excitement and our cleaning cut out for us.
In case you want to know, we had a minor accident on our return trip from Chefchaouen. Instead of getting off at the right bus stop, we got off
at the wrong bus stop; or rather, I meant to say that we got off at the small marina Smir and had to walk a ways (maybe 2 miles) before we got here. Luckily it was a nice day for a walk and we noticed a bunch of things we never would have in a vehicle.
10/16/2010, Chefchaouen, Morocco
Sorry it's been so long since I last blogged. To keep you up to date (I'm sure you are because you've read my dad's blog, but I'll continue anyway), we let Torre del Mar and had a relatively uneventful trip down to Gibraltar. We had one eventful passage when we arrived in Gibraltar in a heavy fog -- and I mean heavy! We almost ran over a freighter (or rather made an unidentifiable ping on the side of the boat as we ran into it).
But since Gibraltar we've mad it to Smir and here. Smir is a nice and very remote. The downside to the remoteness is the lack of supplies. The closest big town is Tetouan which is an hour's bus ride away. But, the marina is clean and cheap compared to the Italian marinas (but literally it isn't that expensive). Our boat is side tied up to a Spaniard living in Smir and a German, both of which we've made friends with.
Now, about Chefchaouen... So far our stay here has been very enjoyable and full of unique experiences. The medina is very like the old European cities with winding and narrow cobblestone streets. In fact the city was occupied by the Spaniards in Morocco's recent history (I don't know when).
We're staying at Casa La Palma, which is owned by Carlos and Ana. They are really nice people and Ana took us shopping today. Since we would probably pay 2 or more times the regular price if the shopkeepers knew we spoke only English, she agreed to go with us to buy a blanket. We found a handmade one for 100 MAD (dirham). 100 dirham equals about $12.50, which is a very good deal, considering the quality.
Ok, well gotta go now. My dad want's me to post a photo on his blog.
10/01/2010, Torre del Mar, Spain
I am posting this post from La Linea because I haven't gotten the chance to report on our trip to the Alhambra. In case you're wondering, we've gone to Almerimar, Torre del Mar, and Marbella before coming here.
Our trip to the Alhambra proved to be much more eventful than the eventful trip we had planned. We had intended to take a bus to Granada (the city where the Alhambra is) directly from Torre del Mar in the morning and take a bus back to Torre del Mar via Malaga in the afternoon/evening. It didn't go like that.
We started the day off with a bang by missing the bus that took us to the main bus station. It was a risky enterprise anyway, because we probably wouldn't have made the bus to Grenada anyway. Luckily there was a bus that came right after the first going to Granada that was going to Malaga! So we took that one and luckily (again) made it to Malaga in time for a bus going to Granada (they run every hour on the hour) and we were able to make it to Granada by 11 a.m.
Then we had to catch a bus that met up with another bus that went to the Alhambra. That took us a while, and it was one o'clock before we were actually outside the gates of the Alhambra. Our ticket was for 2:30. So we had a cheap lunch for an expensive price and got in line to get into the building (you have to enter at the time specified on the ticket).
The Alhambra was pretty nice. I mean, we've seen fortresses and palaces before, but to see them all rolled up in one place was unique. But it wasn't just fortresses and palaces. There were many gardens (which we'd never toured before), piazzas, and many other assorted buildings that didn't go with fortresses or palaces, but rather with both combined. I've attached a photo of my parents standing in front of the Alcazaba (fortress). There is an Alcazaba in Almeria which we toured, and was rather like this one, though without all the gardens.
The return trip was equally eventful, if not more so. We caught the bus back to Malaga OK, but had a really tough time figuring out how to get to Torre del Mar. Eventually we got one to "Torrox", which is supposedly where we came from. We found out that Torrox is a town further down the coast for Torre del Mar, but the bus stops at many small stops from Torre del Mar to Torrox. We needed those small stops because that marina we were at was out of town a ways. Nothing like walking two kilometers at 10:00 p.m., right!? We didn't have to walk, because there was a nice man on board the bus that told us where to get off. We made it back to our boat very uneventfully and spent a very restful night there
Anyway, I've blogged long enough. My dad wants to check his e-mail. I'll post another blog tomorrow about how we got here.