Gibraltar,home for now......
12/15/2010, La Linea
Although we are officially in Spain we feel very much like we are in Gibraltar as the marina is situated just over the frontier. From our transom windows we overlook the 'Rock' and I have to say it's a very pleasing view. We are no strangers to the place having visited several times over the years and Gib being a yachty stop over/crew change destination has made it a place to visit in the past and so we have done several of the tourists spots before. Walking up the rock is always exhilirating as long as you have a clear view and the local levanter wind hasn't collected a massive cloud at the top! Adrian is in history heaven and is making it a personal goal to try and visit every military site/cannon/battlement on the rock!
Finn has joined a Karate club and has just achieved his red belt - he is so chuffed and he's made some new friends there too.
We like wintering here...the Gibraltarians are very nice people and we have met up with a local BSAC diving club - Noahs - and hope to join just as soon as we can earn some steady dosh. They have made us feel very welcome and we had a great time at thier 'Skanky Do' christmas bash - see the pics on facebook!
Already we have had a couple of lots of visitors, firstly my sister Sal, her fiancee Carl and her son Harry and then very shortly after Wendy, Ian & Sam came out for a few days - my liver was crucified from all the partying but it was great to see everyone.
We are now looking forward to Christmas, the tree is up and the lights and decorations are hung. Santa has had his letter and all we have to do now is the food shopping......................we are hiring a car for three days this week to explore and get some of the heavier bulkier stuff back from the supermarket, wine, drinks, loo roll etc !
Have a really great christmas everyone and a happy new year xxxx
p.s that's Finn sailing his swifgig in the pic !
Winter mailing address
10/28/2010, La Linea
I know a few of you have asked for our mailing address - its my birthday next week so all large expensive gifts gratefully received!!
Mr & Mrs Dann
S.Y Wild Alliance, Berth 12, Pontoon 12
Puerto Deportivo Alcaidesa
La Linea de la Concepcion
Oh and another thing i forgot to mention in the last blog - Adrian passed his kidney stone - at last after a three month long labour and it's available for viewing to anyone who would like to visit!
10/27/2010, la Linea
Cruising at an end for this year, we have reached the new marina in La Linea which is adjacent to Gibraltar but it is quieter, cheaper, safer and cleaner. We are settling in for the winter now although presently it's still 23 degrees outside and the shorts are still on!
After leaving Lagos we spent a week in Albufeira - where my parents flew out to stay with us and with their rental car, we spent a fabulous week with them exploring the Algarve, both inland and on the beaches where Finn spent hours in the water on his new body board! The Portuguese put us to shame with their excellent spoken English and we loved it here - made all the more special of course because mum and dad were there to enjoy it with us.
After a sad Goodbye to mum & dad in Lidl car park (well it had to be somewhere, and we thought shopping would stop us being sad...), we made an overnight passage to Rota which is in the Bay of Cadiz. This is a small tasteful Spanish tourist/fishing town near Jerez, also known as, Sherry.........now some of you may know that my husband has a passion for the oloroso dulce or sweet sherry and he is also to known to an elite few as 'the sherry monster'; therefore a necessary bus trip was taken to Jerez where a local bogeda, or sherry house was visited. We took a really interesting tour around the Tio Pepe bogeda and finished up with the essential tasting and shopping. Jerez also has the BEST market I have ever been to. It is the usual meat, fruit, and fish market but the stall holders where artists in the way they displayed their wares, and the buzz of excitement as hundreds of scary middle aged Spanish Senoras did battle to get the best produce and bargains was inspiring to watch ....I've certainly added a few of their battle manoeuvres to my repertoire for when I next go to market armed with my wicker basket and granny trolley.
We spent a lovely relaxing few days in Rota and in part were very sad to leave as the next leg of our journey would be the final trip this year. The trip itself was about 15 hours and as we entered the Bay of Algeciras towards Gibraltar we were 'shown the way' by hundreds of dolphins, we were completely surrounded as far as the eye could see and they were showing off riding in our bow wave and leaping out of the water. We were excited to get to La Linea to catch up with some good friends Michelle and Michael and their two gorgeous little girls, Charlotte who is nearly two and Evie, who we hadn't met and is just three months old and is completely scrumptious.
We are still struggling with an internet connection, it's extortionately expensive so we think we need to order a booster thingy from the UK and then we'll be able to answer your emails, Skype and catch up with everyone. For now we are looking for some work to tide us over the winter and intensifying Finns schooling. Also we have friends Wendy, Ian and their son Sam coming out to see us at the end of November and we'll be celebrating Wendy's 40th...my god our friends are getting SO old .....!! Can't wait to see you guys. As for Christmas, we're not sure yet whether we'll be coming home - it really depends on the work situation. Thank you all for the great messages that you leave us, its so good to know you are all still near in spirit, if not in body. I'll keep the updates coming on the blog as regularly as possible but in the mean time Gibraltar is just a ten minute walk away and a large bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin is only £10.50........these boots are made for walking!
Eastwards to the Med !
Just a short post from me (Vic normally writes most of the blog!).
After a week in the great town of Lagos (the marina is RIDICULOUSLY expensive though!), we left on thursday to head east along the Portuguese coast and ever closer to the Med. Its so nice to have the west coast behind us at this late time in the season - especially when the forecasts for where we've just come from show gales and 6-8 metre seas and the navtex keeps telling us that loads of harbours are closed because of it !!.....definitely glad not to be there now.
Our crew (dad) departed while we were in Lagos so we are back to just the three of us again. Finn is currently sitting below doing school work with Vic, and I'm here in the cockpit in shorts and T-shirt, enjoying the warm morning sun on my back. It really was a good idea to winter further south !
Our (loose) plan from here is to day-hop along the coast - nothing too strenuous, hopefully - aiming to arrive at or near Gibraltar by the end of the month, where we intend to spend the winter.
Vic's mum and dad are flying out on sunday to stay with us for a few days, so that will be lovely as we've all missed friends and family. It looks like Wendy, Ian and Sam are coming out too in December - we cant wait.
The boat has behaved brilliantly and although we've had to motor sail far more than we ever thought we would, we are still running on Ipswich diesel !! Having enormous tanks does help - even if its going to hurt when we do eventually fill up - but we'll try to make it to Gibraltar where diesel is much cheaper before we do.
Anyway, thats it from me for now
Love to all our friends and family
Surprise, Surprise, We're on the Algarve..!
What a difference a few degrees south makes.......well we left Bayona on Monday with intentions of short hopping every 60 - 80 miles along the coast to get down to the Algarve and although there was very little wind forecast we knew we had a 'safe weather window' of three days in which to sail - so that's just what we did. We kept going and arrived in Lagos on the Algarve(360 miles !! ) at about 8pm on Wednesday. One of the biggest problems was avoiding the pots that are set by the fisherman - even at 20 miles off the coast we had to dodge them. At night of course we couldn't see them so we tried to sail either inside or outside a contour line which is how they seem to lay their long trots of pots and nets. Even so we still managed to hit one on one of my night watches, fortunately doing us no harm (I know - bloody woman drivers!). On this same watch the water started to boil and splash all around me so I got out the big flashlight and was astonished to see the water all around me alive with mackerel jumping out of the sea in a mad frenzy. This was shortly followed by dolphins coming in to feed on the easy pickings. The last 20 miles was breathtaking, as we rounded Cape St Vincent the huge cliff faces with their impressive caves, arches and sheltered anchorages passed along our port side. There is a local land breeze that gets up in the afternoon here along this coast so we had a healthy 25-30 knot wind whizzing us along the home stretch but without the enormous swell of the Atlantic which was a very welcome change. Dolphins as always seemed to guide us into the sheltered harbour of Lagos. The town itself is really charming. We first visited this town 16 years ago when helping deliver a yacht for a friend back to the UK. The marina was then being dredged and built so we were looking forward to seeing how the town had changed in that time. We spent our first night moored on the visitor's reception pontoon before the lifting bridge which allows access to the marina berths. It was great to tie up onto terra firma. We were knackered and for now realise we prefer day sailing to passage making which can be stressful and we always feel like we are having to push on to beat the weather to get a decent distance further to our final destination - that has been our biggest problem with leaving the UK so late in the season. We would love to have spent a summer just exploring the rias of northern Spain which is somewhere anyone passing in the future must try to do.
Anyway back to Lagos. In the morning after our night on the reception pontoon Aid and Phil went into the marina office to sort out booking in and to complete the boring customs paperwork shuffle that is expected of you when you at every port of call - even if you are anchoring ! We were allocated a berth that is really too small for us but generally we don't have to quote our length that includes the bowsprit(sticky-out pointy bit at the front) or our davits(sticky-out bits that hold the dingy at the back). All they are interested in is our registered length that is on our Brtitsh registry document. Consequently, although safely moored up our bowsprit beheads all passer bys making our pontoon fairly quiet. The marina has everything you could wish for after a few days at sea - swanky bars and restaurants around the new marina with lots of beautiful trendy suntanned people. The town itself although touristy still retains its fishing roots and the local restaurants provide good value food. We went to the supermarket and bought 16 large sardines for 2 Euros which Aid cooked for supper. The beaches are glorious, clean and empty apart from a handful of tourists so we have been swimming every evening. The temperature during the day is about 25 degrees although nights are cool enough to need your cardie !
Anyway we've decided to spend October taking our time to reach La Linea which is on the Spanish side opposite Gibraltar. We'll be spending the winter there with our good friends Michelle, Michael and their two babies. They've lived aboard their yacht there for three years. Hopefully many of you will be able to come out and visit us for a holiday. (If you come please bring teabags - I like the posh ones Aldi make!). We're looking forward to being able to sail now at a leisurely pace and explore the anchorages along the way. Mum and dad should be coming out soon - so bloody well hurry up and book your flight - we are missing you loads!!
At anchor in Bayona
09/26/2010, Bayona, Spain
At anchor here in Bayona gives us time to reflect - we do absolutely miss home, miss parents, miss friends, miss Rosie (mum & dads dog) and miss the sometimes dull un-exciting hum drum of everyday life. We had one night in the most expensive marina we have visited on our travels, the staff were also pretty unhelpful and the swell put enormous strain on the boat, its warps and the fenders. We were extremely glad to get out onto the anchorage where we have great holding and slept a much quieter night than we would have done in the marina.
So what do you do on an anchorage when the wind is blowing 25knots and going ashore in the dingy seems just too much trouble? Well you make flapjacks of course, and lots of them, then I stuffed peppers, cleaned cupboards, plucked my eyebrows and generally trimmed up the other bits and pieces!
Finn has had a very busy day, re-making his bionicles (foreign word to most of you I'm sure!), he then finished his masterpiece of a birthday card for Grandad Roger which we will post tomorrow (prepare to be amazed Dad!), he is now fully educated on the workings of the Water Cycle - his home schooling project today but still wants to go back to the day when we did science and made Hydrogen gas and nearly blew the boat up! Oh what fun.....apparently? He has also been writing up his diary. We also watched the dolphins together this morning that seem to visit the marina at breakfast time to have a quick show off to all who are watching - nice way to eat your muesli and drink your coffee first thing in the morning....
Adrian dozed, then got up to pace, checked and re-checked the anchor, got the binoculars out and perved for a while - couple of nice looking gals on boat next door were sanding their wooden dingy mast and he just had to 'keep an eye' on the job !!!
Internet is very intermittent here so we just try to do the bare minimum which makes the blog all the more important. Our plan from here is to make our way to Leixoes which is about 60 miles away - this will hopefully happen on Monday after the strong wind and heavy swell have died down a little. From there to Caiscais near Lisbon where Phil will get off and be on his way after helping us get this far.
Tomorrow we hope to go ashore, visit the castle and do a last minute stock up on food.......it is certainly cheaper to eat here than in France which we found very expensive. I also love the Spanish food - squid, chorizo sausage, garlic, enormous peppers, tomatoes, yummy cheeses and ham. Mmmm late evening snack coming up I think.......