SV Songbird

Cala de San Pedro to La Azohia

26 July 2014
Stu & Shar
In the morning I was the only one game for a swim to the beach, everyone else was happy to stay onboard, I then climbed up to the Moorish fort, found the source of the spring and had a look around...there was a guy washing in the spring which I saw was piped to the rest of the community down the hill, I hope they boiled it before they drank it !!! .....it definitely was a hippie commune along with a few interesting sights and smells...a joint has a distinctive smell in the morning and there were a few bleary eyed people staggering about naked.....As we left the bay, we again had an unknown destination, just to push as far as we could before sunset....It was another motor sailing day, so not much excitement on the sailing front....more wind please 'Hui' and not on the nose would really help..... this being the Costa del Sol we saw a few ugly sights including a hotel that was built illegally (see pic) which has been painted 'Hotel Legal' ??...apparently the demolition order is still being fought over in the courts......in the afternoon we avoided another yacht who didn't know what he was doing, simple give way on his part....looked like a brand new boat.....just learning I suppose....he was trawling a fishing line which was unfortunately cut in half as I dipped his stern to miss him...unlucky....later that after attempting to find an anchorage near Mazarron which was too tight, we found one 5nm further on tucked into a little bay just offshore from a town named 'La Azohia'.....again we anchored in crystal clear water which was very refreshing but not in any way cold at all (about 26 degrees)....the town was small and quaint with some good music drifting over the water from a local bar, the sun setting we had a cold beer/wine in hand and had a good feed.....you can't ask for more than this.

Adra to Cala de San Pedro

25 July 2014
Stu & Shar
I woke early as we were being blown offshore by an easterly wind with good pressure. Pushing off we sailed for about an hour before it swung onto the bow and died out, on with 'Victor' and away we go.....not happy with the motoring......Again we had no fixed destination, as the coastline drifted slowly by it changed and was absolutely spectacular in places.....we motored into an area with massive schools of baitfish, they created ripples of broken water as they scattered away from the boat, clearing a path for us to go through, then reform again astern of us . This lasted for about an hour (7nm)...how many fish were there?....I don't know but it was huge numbers, which was good too see as from all reports the Mediterranean has been fished to death....after rounding 'Cabo de Gata' one of the many capes on the south eastern corner of Spain it was around 18:00 and we were looking for a place for the night....we stumbled across a small bay on the chart known as 'Cala de San Pedro' (Bay of Saint Peter)...what an absolute gem....dropping anchor in about 5m of crystal clear water and diving in for a swim was a welcome relief after a long hot humid day.....looking across at the beach I thought I saw a number of naked people......I picked up the binoculars and took a double take...there were a lot of nude people on the beach......anyhow after a bit of reading we discovered that this was a hippy commune only accessible by foot of boat....some people live in the beach shacks they have built all year round and others walk from the town about 5nm away. Originally it was a Moorish post with a small fort (see pics), what made it very valuable is a natural spring that still runs today, which is why there is quite a bit of vegetation in the area and it allows people to stay here permanently.....a great spot...totally different to the overcrowded and ugly tourist regions not far away.

Fuengirola to Adra

24 July 2014
Stu & Shar
We woke in the morning to quite a heavy fog, which from what Paco (Ellen's husband) had said was unknown for this time of year. We sailed in the light breeze that blew away the fog but it died out just before midday, so on went the motor.....we need to keep moving, as we were a week behind where I wanted to be at this time..to be able to cover the distance in the time frame that has been set, we need to average 30nm a day, which doesn't sound much.....but when you put in lay days in port or at anchor this quickly bumps up the mileage and you need to put in some long days to go the distance. With no set destination for the day we pushed on until about 20:30 before pulling in and anchoring in the lee of the harbour wall at Adra, had a quick feed and into bed, ear plugs night again, as an all night party was happening (we think it was a wedding) in a marquee on the outer harbour wall...they played some good music early on....but some seriously bad tunes in the early hours....not the best of anchorages..

Gibraltar to Fuengirola

21 July 2014
Stu & Shar
Gibraltar is the stepping off point in and out of the Mediterranean, we set off for Fuengirola where we were picking up Ole & Annie who are joining us for the long haul to Kefallinia in Greece. This section of the holiday over the next 4-5 weeks is mainly a 'delivery' sector to push us across to Greece and Turkey where we will spend the rest of the season. We will come back through this way again when we leave the Mediterranean to cross the Atlantic. This section of coast from Gibraltar through to the Balearic Islands, from what I have previously seen, is a 'Little Britain' in the sun. Long sections of coastline packed with hotels, bars and nightclubs and a big change from what we have experienced so far of Spain...I think this will be pushed through quickly. As we left Gibraltar we went around and motored up the eastern side of the rock before bearing away to set a course for Fuengirola sailing for a couple of hours on a close hauled beat in light winds before is swung to the NE right on the nose, this is becoming a very familiar !!. On went the engine and we motor sailed the rest of the way. We tied up contacted Annie and Ole to let them know we had arrived and organised to catch up the following morning, so we could head off to a large shopping centre and reprovision for the next couple of legs along the coast. Later in the day they brought their bags down to the boat and I nearly had a heart attack as they walked up the pontoon with their bags. I didn't think they would have this amount of gear with them, being seasoned cruisers....where the hell was I going to put it I thought...anyhow we shoved it in all the holes we could find, including the pipes area behind the rear bulkhead and got it stored away. We spent an extra day in Fuengirola as it was Ole's birthday and he wasn't sure when he would see his sister Ellen again, it was a special day for Ole and Ellen.

La Linea to Gibraltar

19 July 2014
Stu & Shar
Had a sleep in and a lazy Saturday morning, the trip to Gibraltar took less than an hour and we were tied up before lunch time in Queensway Quay Marina 'Mediterranean style'....this is a different style of mooring which we hadn't done before, so it was going to be interesting. We scored the pen next to Mike and Sue (on Macnoon), Mike was at hand to fend off as I told him I hadn't done this style of mooring before...and....didn't have a bow thruster. We got in without any problems.....I'm not convinced on this style of mooring, but it certainly has its merits as we can jump off/on of Songbird via the rear platform....I think it will get easier ......After we tied up we spent the next two days exploring Gibraltar (and got the service done on the engine).. It's a unique blend of English and Spanish and the local Gibraltarians have mixed both cultures together well and fiercely want to remain independent of Spain (the Spanish are trying to reclaim it back at the moment). It is totally geared up for tourists but still has an air of mystic about it and is not over the top. The history is rich and there's too much to summarise in the blog, but the main thrust of it was when the British took control over 300 years ago....it was originally an island until the Second World War, when the section of water between the mainland was reclaimed for the airport..... If you haven't been to 'The Rock' it is definitely worth a visit.

Tarifa to La Linea

18 July 2014
Stu & Shar
The wind dropped in the early hours of the morning, I must have relaxed a little and dropped into a deep sleep......waking with a start at 4am as I thought I felt a bump, I went on deck to see the wind had swung to the west and was blowing us gently towards shore. We were anchored far enough out to give us about a metre of clearance on the low tide, but a bit of swell had started to come in with the wind change, so time to move on towards Gibraltar. It was a damp but warm morning, with a heavy mist in the air, not quite fog but enough to enhance the glow of lights from town and highlight the beam of light from the lighthouse on the headland at Tarifa. On went 'Victor' (our Volvo engine) and we motored the 12nm through the Gibraltar Straights to La Linea in Spanish waters. It was Shar's first bit of a night passage, with conditions not quite ideal but visibility was good enough to not present any problems. We motored close to shore to stay well away from the shipping lanes and watched several ships pass us by. We marvelled at the fact Africa was literally an hours sail away with the lights of coastal villages on both sides of the straights lighting the way through. It was amazing to think there is only seven miles between to totally different continents....As first light approached we saw the imposing monolith that is Gibraltar, capped in cloud, as we came around the last headland and turned north into the in the 'Bahia de Algeciras', we negotiated many ships anchored and underway before pulling into La Linea Marina just before 8am. We spent the day tidying up Songbird and trying to sort out a service that was required on the engine. Emails I had sent to the local Volvo dealer were in vain, it all became too hard to negotiate with our original contact on 'holidays'...leave it until we get to Gibraltar. We walked across the border into Gibraltar to check out the Queensway Quay Marina and ran into some friends (fellow Australians) we meet last year in Guernsey...what a bonus.
Vessel Name: Songbird
Vessel Make/Model: Dufour 40E
Hailing Port: Fremantle - Australia
Crew: Stuart & Sharanne
Songbird's Photos - Gibraltar to Fuengirola
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Songbird

Who: Stuart & Sharanne
Port: Fremantle - Australia