That's a wrap!

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Wed 2 Oct 2013 07:20
Bet you've been wondering where we've been for the past week or so. Well the truth is that since we arrived in Sant Carles last Tuesday, we've been busy little Bevii's getting Alkira ready for her winter lay up.

It's a really excellent marina here at Sant Carles with good facilities and although there are a lot of Brits here, which is something we don't normally like, they're a really friendly crowd and we've actually rather enjoyed their company.

The marina itself is extremely well managed and the managers take great pride in the facilities and services they offer. Spotless showers and toilets, really nice bar and restaurant, pool and sun bathing terraces. Library, loaded with everyone's cast off's but free to anyone staying here. There are hundreds of what Charlie calls AWB's (that's average white boats to you and me), but obviously very popular here in the Mediterranean. Interestingly, almost all the boats are in excess of 40ft, and many are bigger still.

On Monday morning (30 September), we moved over to the boatyard, a full 5 minute voyage from our pontoon berth, were swiftly lifted out of the water, the hull was thoroughly jet washed, then we were transported to 'our place.' Once settled onto the steel cradles, we were well and truly strapped down. This boat will not be going anywhere even in a strong wind.

Charlie has done his engineering type chores now and we have already secured the forward half of our very swanky winter cover (we'll be the envy of millions, trust me), but you should see some of the covers other owners' have used, not worth the effort and will be in shreds before the winters out. Tomorrow, our last day in the glorious sunshine, we will fit on the aft bit of the cover. Couldn't have done it sooner or we'd have cooked!.

We plan to leave for Barcelona sometime (yet to be determined) Thursday morning and will just have a few hours there before catching the sleeper to Paris. From Paris we catch the Eurostar to Ashford in Kent. The one and only Ann, she who fell in the water at Guernsey, is meeting us and driving us home - what a star!!

Now I'm handing over to Charlie so that he can add his final say to our last blog for 2013.

I am in mourning....... not only because the odyssey for 2013 has finally come to an end, but also because the boatyard here measured us as we came out of the water and discovered our true overall length is 500 mm more than on the certificate! Our rate for the winter has gone up ( not by much, but it's the principal of the thing!).

I was very surprised at how clean we were after 5 months in the water. No weed or barnacles except in areas where the anti foul paint hadn't reached. I dived in to clean the propeller (with madam's scouring pads) on three occasions during the trip, on each time there was significant growth of light shell but the hull itself remained clean.

The marina here is very good, it's at the north end of an enclosed bay and in turn protected by sea walls, wind in the winter - probably, but no waves. Most people seem to stay in the water and come out for a scrub before the next season. It seems the warm water taxes the efficiency of the anti fouling and walking around looking at other boats it seems most stern gear becomes heavily fouled.

The absence of anchorages on the Spanish coast east of Gibraltar has been disappointing and made cruising more expensive. Costs here at the western end of the med are generally higher than Western France, with the exception of Alicante, not too bad and in line with my expectations. The best surprise was Valencia which although very modern was almost the cheapest port since we started from Falmouth. Water and power will be problems next year, the quality of the water has deteriorated since Gibraltar and 4 consecutive days at anchor leaves the battery bank gasping! Solar power and the water maker and some wind is our hope for 2014!

Now the two of us!

Particular Highlights:
Sark -magic, as ever.
Guernsey & Herm - never disappoints
Isle d'Oleron - warm and really friendly. Could stay there indefinitely, it's charming and old fashioned.
Sailing all the way from Isle d'Oleron to Hondarribia - magic!
Hondarribia - lovely town plus best restaurant and best ever steak
Bilbao - lovely city to visit and found the best Tapas ever
Dolphin displays - enthralling
Nazaré - atmospheric and totally unique, great fun.
Lagos - really friendly and organised.
Nocturnal display by dolphins - magical and memorable.
Granada - a really good tourist visit.
Villa Joyosa - comfortable, easy going and friendly little town.
Dénia primarily because of the excellent market
Valencia, beautiful city, atmospheric, especially the market. Would love to go back.
Sailing, when the wind blew from the right direction with sufficient strength to get us moving.

Low points:
La Rochelle marina - grotty and overpriced.
Plague of flies in Biscay - disgusting!!
CAPE TRAFALGAR and Tarifa (bad sailing Charlie).
Alicante Marina (mega overpriced - but watch this space for next year).
Benidorm - beer- bellies, boobs, shaven heads, tattoos, the Sun newspaper and everything that is bad about Brits abroad en masse!

And finally, we hope you've all enjoyed following us on our adventure and enjoyed our blog, complete with errors, noticed only after we'd posted!

Next year we plan on visiting the Balearics, Corsica, then onto Italy. Thoughts are that we could winter in Sicily or maybe even Malta, but you'll have to watch this space in 2014 to find out more. We'll let you know when, but as of Saturday, 6th October, we will resort to our normal email addresses, PLEASE do write and we look forward to hearing from you.

Tomorrow, if we remember, we will post some more photos, after that, it's a wrap for Alkira's 2013 season and back to reality.

So from Charlie and Maggie on Alkira ... Adios!