Slogging West 2 Almerimar to Gibraltar
36 09.5N 005 21.4W
On return to Chili III we knew the next leg would continue to be against the prevailing winds and so it turned out to be. With strong westerlies blowing through the Straits and across the Alboran sea east of Gibraltar we found ourselves stuck in Almerimar. This was a chance to catch up on maintenance of which there is always plenty to do especially as it’s now over a year since we left Lymington. Belinda complemented me on how good I am at servicing the heads and so no choice about who did that job! We fixed broken door catches, washed salt encrusted running rigging, fixed a leaking wash basin, labelled rope jammers for visitors benefit and…attempted to fix the radar. I won’t go on about this other than to say that the radar is the most exasperating piece of equipment on the boat.
Almerimar is a purpose built marina and town west of Almeria. Famous of kite surfing (spectacular in strong winds) it is not the most inspiring place to spend time. There is a live aboard community of yachties, it’s a very secure harbour, everything works and the staff are great but I would find it pretty depressing to spend any length of time here if I’m honest. It looks as if it was built 40 years ago and the build quality is now beginning to show. Peeling paintwork, crumbling tarmac; an estate that no one seems to care for anymore and with a large public realm this really shows (surveyor’s eye). Villages that have developed organically over many decades or even centuries don’t experience these problems. At the first viable forecast we were off, heading for Gibraltar.
Winds had eased to W3-4 but the wave motion still carried the legacy of the last few days’ stronger blows. In short this was a very uncomfortable ride made worse from 2 weeks on land and no stugeron to keep motion sickness at bay, (we didn’t think we’d need it). We left at 0900 and by 2000, as it started to go dark, we passed Marina del Este which we had down as a bail out. We thought about spending a night there but knew, if we did, we’d struggle to make Gibraltar before the next westerly blow set in. So we reefed, bore away 10 degrees to ease the motion (which made a big difference) and bashed on through the night. We can handle all manor of winds but an uncomfortable sea does take the edge off things! Dinner was one of our emergency chicken tika’s – neither of us felt much like cooking. These instant long-life dinners designed for DofE teenagers are surprisingly good!
We kept on a more northerly route hoping for calmer seas and less headwind inshore and at dawn, with the rock of Gibraltar illuminated in the morning sun things were indeed much more comfortable. We rounded Europa point in a SW6 and threaded our way through the many tankers anchored in Gibraltar Bay to La Linea (just outside Gib) where we tied up and had a much-needed snooze.
Sailing Yacht Chili III