Costa del Sol
01 June 2012
I’d like to recap some details since we left the Azores. The first is the weather. The first section of the crossing from St. Maarten to Horta was full of contrary winds, no wind, or too much wind. The second part to Gibraltar was much better. Either we had no wind, or light favorable winds. By far the best part of sailing this section was finally being able to use my spinnaker, which up to that point had sat in a locker unused. It was really easy to deploy and douse once we got the hang of it. The second detail is that most of the “problems” you encounter on a crossing like this had already happened, so there were no emergency repairs to McGyver. It was basically easy going and that was appreciated for a change.
As I posted before, the Azores are beautiful and the people are super to visitors. It is like crossing Hawaii with Ireland. What a combination. Gibraltar was nice for a day. Kerry and I walked from one end to the other, Europa Point. We also went on the cable car to the top and checked out the monkeys and views. Our plan of renting a car were derailed because the Spanish are still not happy that the UK has retained Gibraltar and consequently decided to not rent cars to anyone coming from Gib. So we cleared out and headed East to a Spanish port called Maliga. Rounding Europa Point on Palarran was significant as we had officially entered the Mediterranean Sea. It didn’t feel much different but a milestone none the less.
The 10 hour trip from Gibraltar to Malaga was in a complete dead calm. There is a moniker “Moterranean” because typically you either have no wind or too much wind here. We were about 8 miles off the coast most of the way so we could only enjoy the view from a distance but it was fantastic. We pulled into the port and I was initially quite disappointed as it was very industrialized. But once we tied off to the public pier it has grown on me. The pier is filled with restaurants, shops, and bars. There is a pizza joint 30 feet away that has free (but slow) wifi.
I’ll jump back to the passage. Jeanne asked me if I had any personal epiphany doing this journey. Really, I didn’t. What I gained was a closer connection to the sea and a much improved skill in sailing. When I was young and sailed on Lake Michigan on small catamarans I felt that close connection but 30 years of separation broke it. And, while I’ve owned Palarran for over two years, I wasn’t always comfortable about sailing her. There were times of too much wind or bigger swells or longer passages that made me uneasy. What if something broke, or it got worse? I don’t feel that way anymore.
As we were heading to Malaga the starboard engine started to stutter a little. When you have listened to them run as much as we have, it is easy to recognize when something is amiss. After a short look, I decided that the Racor fuel filter needed to be serviced. After an hours work the motor was back to running normal. This is an example of my comfort level with the boat. There are few, if any, repairs that I can’t make myself now, mechanical, electrical, or rigging.
Yesterday Kerry and I rented a car and drove to Granada to see Alhambra. It was a nice drive and the castle was worth the visit. We didn’t have a map so we got lost a few times but that is just part of the adventure. Today we are heading to Ronda and then down to the beach for a few hours. I would like to finally go for a swim in the Med. Dave is staying on the boat and doing some cleaning and repairs. We will leave here tonight and sail (motor) for either Valencia or Ibiza.
One last thing. Dave and Kerry are in love with Spain, or should I say lust. They have been off carousing together the last two nights. The women here are very pretty and dress sharply. These guys have got their hands full, that’s for sure.