7th July 2008 - Benalmedina to Marina del Este (A massive sperm count!)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Mon 7 Jul 2008 16:16
An excellent day.  We awoke this morning to find a good wind that conveniently died away just as we were leaving, then came back for the rest of the day at around 20 knots and then died away again as we reached our anchorage.
Despite the vast quantity of alcohol consumed last night the crew were up and about at a reasonable hour - Thin Pete even going for a run.  Our departure was also made easier because one of the boats we were parked next to left before us so we were able to move our tender round and get it on the davits before leaving the berth. 
It turned out that Thin Pete, Mike and Big Pete are all pretty proficient sailors and so even though we were heading downwind in a fairly strong wind everything went pretty smoothly as we put in reefs, shook them out again, gybed and constantly trimmed the sails.  However, while this crew might be good sailors their culinary offerings leave something to be desired.  Lunch comprised several plastic bags of bread rolls a plastic bag of lettuce and a large quantity of sliced meats.  Where are the gourmet sandwiches made by Lyn, Andrew and John...?
We also saw more dolphins on this trip than at any time on the Rally Portugal, a huge pod including mothers and babies.  Then, towards the end of the sail we were manoeuvring to avoid a cargo ship that was bearing down on us when this enormous whale appeared right next to the boat, much larger than the minky we had seen in the Biscay, it was huge, easily as wide as the boat.  It was so close that we had to take avoiding action but then it surfaced again behind us.  On reading the whale guide it seems likely that it was a sperm whale as it looked very like the picture and these are the only large whales found in the Med.
We arrived at Marina del Este at about four in the afternoon and dropped anchor off a nearby beach.  The plan is to stay here the night but even though the wind has dropped there is quite a swell hitting us side on and so it may not be that comfortable.