5th July 2008 - Gibraltar to Benalmadena (No wind in the Med and the frustrations of Spanish manyana)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 5 Jul 2008 23:49
After the day spent walking, yesterday evening was spent quietly in a restaurant and bar in the marina.  Everyone agreed that it had been a very pleasant day in Gibraltar.
The trip to Benalmadena was to be the last leg for this crew.  It was only 56 miles but because I was not sure what to expect I was keen to try and get there early.  Although I had called and booked, I was not entirely happy that I had actually made a reservation.  The crew, who had now become a well oiled machine, were up early, the lines were slipped and we were off in no time at all.  The Rock was very impressive in the early morning sun and we could see across to Africa just a short distance away.  It was strange to think that only a few weeks ago the boat had been in Gosport and was now within sight of Africa.
As we headed into the Med for the first time, what little wind there was disappeared completely and the sea was glassy calm.  It stayed that way throughout the day as we motored all the way to Benalmadena. 
On arrival at 2:30 the pilot book told us to stop on the fuel berth and report in reception.  This was good, as we needed to refill.  However, when we arrived we found that everything was closed for siesta.  Eventually they opened again and we checked in, a long winded process that I understand is common in the Med involving photocopying passports and all the ship's papers.  There was no urgency to get things done and it took an age - not least because was had to go over to another building to pay.  We were allocated a berth and Julian and I thought it a good idea to check it out in advance.  The marina complex is huge (1000 berths) and it was quite a trek over to our spot.  However, it was a good job we did as the space was about half the width of Bali Hai and between two enormous immovable gin palaces.   We trekked back and were allocated another berth.  Another walk (almost back to the same place) to confirm that this one was okay. We were now ready to get fuel, only to find that a Swiss boat had parked on the fuel berth right in front of the pumps to go and check-in and so we had to wait for his long winded process to complete.  Eventually we filled up and went to find our spot. 
Although our new space was larger it was still a tight stern-to mooring so I quite nervous as we approached.  Just my luck, as I was about to turn into the space the marina turned into Piccadilly Circus with three boats coming towards us and two behind us.  One was a tourist catamaran full of bikini clad babes, which completely distracted the crew.  The wind had also picked up slightly and when I stopped we were being blown onto the row of boats moored opposite. Finally all was clear and I lined up for the approach, all went well and we had the advantage that Julian's friend Dan had turned up and could help fend off as we squeezed in between the two other boats.  With Lyn already waiting on shore with the lines it all ended up going quite smoothly.  However it was now 5:30 - it had taken three hours just to get into the marina!
I had not been to any Costa before but Benalmadena is pretty much what I expected.  The English on holiday.  A couple of days ago we spent the evening eating tapas in Cadiz in an authentic bar surrounded by Spanish hams and garlic.  Last night we ate pizza next to a group on their stag night with an overweight groom dressed only in a large green nappy.