12th July 2008 - Mar Menor to Alicante (a confession)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 12 Jul 2008 16:49
Last night after we arrived we spent a peaceful evening at anchor.  It was quite attractive if you looked out to sea rather than at the corrugated iron wall.  The entrance to Mar Menor is heavily silted and it is important to follow the channel in.  At one point a British yacht ran aground and we watched as a Civil Garde motor launch tried to pull it off, they eventually succeeded by attaching a line to the top of the mast and pulling the boat over on its side so that it could motor free.
Seeing this, the crew reminded me of our arrival, something I had conveniently glossed over in yesterday's log. As we were coming in I was worried about the shallows and was keeping my eye on the depth gauge which was reading 4 metres or so.  As we got closer to the anchorage, the depth began to fall, I became nervous and slowed right down, the depth then fell dramatically, more panic, it was only when the depth went to 1.5 metres and we were still moving that I realised I had been looking at the boat speed by mistake.  The depth was still 4 metres.
This crew's last meal was going to be barbeque, to finish up some of the vast quantity of meat that had been purchased - pork, lamb, prawns, sardines, beefburgers and a selection of sausages.  Although the sardines, which had become rather smelly, were consigned to the sea and the lamb also turned out to be pork ("lomo" being Spanish for pork loin not lamb) it was to be a banquet fit for a king (a token salad was also included)
Thin Pete prepared the first batch of food, marinating and the pork cooking it to perfection on the BBQ (the kebabs were excellent and juicy), Mike then took on responsibility for adding carbon flavouring to the sausages and beefburgers.  While this was happening, Tracy took on the challenge of bettering John the "Cocktail Man"s mojitos.  She had even bought her own Brazilian rum, cane syrup and muddler (which she kindly donated to the boat).  The mojitos were excellent - although Big Pete moaned that they did not have enough rum!
Amazingly, most of the meat was eaten.  Only a small amount was left and Big Pete won the beefburger skimming contest with four bounces. 
The night was perfectly calm and it was the first good night's sleep I have had in a long time.  It was still calm in the morning when we set off but the wind soon picked up to 15-16 knots.  Following a "Blonde Moment mutiny moment" last night, Thin Pete was skippering the passage and it was probably the best sail we had all week as we were close hauled and close reached most of the time, with the boat frequently getting up to 9+ knots of boat speed.  Although the passage was only 36 miles we ended up doing 47 and this meant that we arrived in Alicante somewhat later than expected and, with a queue to get on to the fuel dock and the inevitable long winded registration process, it was not until 5:30 before we were finally tied up with a beer.  Of course, with this being the end of this crew's trip there was still the boat to clean before the new crew arrive tomorrow.
Alicante is the most expensive marina we have been in (Euros 80 per night) but it still not have internet access and so I am afraid that I am unable to post photos of this leg until we get to Barcelona or possibly Valencia on Tuesday next week.