Riders on the storm
POS 36:9.487N 5:21.979W
Sunday 1st August
At I was woken by crashing and banging as things began escaping from lockers and shelves due to the height of the waves throwing us around. Paul said the wind had got too strong for it to be safe so he’d turned the boat around and we were headed for a port called Barbate to wait for things to calm down. I went up to see how things were and was surprised that it was still quite warm despite the wind, rain and rough sea. Getting into the harbour was quite a smooth affair despite their green light being out of action. Picking the correct lights out in the dark can be tricky when so many around are twinkling and flashing. Once berthed on the visitors’ pontoon it all felt quite surreal. At 4 30 in the morning the marina was deserted. We were surrounded by what looked like huge empty warehouses and there was one man in one of these – he looked like a silhouette or a shadow in the dim light and the distance and was walking up and down aimlessly. Very loud house music was booming out from somewhere nearby but we couldn’t see anyone and then two officials appeared on the wall above and asked the length of the boat. Paul explained we just needed to stay a couple of hours until conditions at sea improved. They said we’d need to pay them three euros - then disappeared and never came back. We had a couple of brandies after this and sat listening to the house music (which was great) and watching the solitary man waving his arms around. It felt a bit like watching and being part of a Chemical Brothers video. We set off again at 10 30 after a couple of hours sleep and discovered that the warehouses were canning factories and that the solitary man had probably been fishing after spotting others fishing there as we passed it.
The waves were still quite high and there was a fair bit of wind – which
steadily increased to 25 knots.
Paul said we’d have to go back to Barbate if it reached 28 knots. Simon couldn’t cope with the steering so
we had to hand steer in half hour turns. Progress was very slow due to going
against the current and into the wind. Sometimes speed dropped to less than one
knot so that we veered off course - it was one step forward and two back but I
was keen to keep going. Despite the difficulty I was quite enjoying battling
against the elements and we were hugging the coast so weren’t as at risk as in
an open sea. The coast towards
Tarifa has a rich history of sea battles, Roman, Greek and Phoenician journeys
and pirates. It was beautiful, too
– lovely sandy beaches and pretty houses with lots of elegant wind turbines
turning behind them. It was also
very exciting to see the North African coast appear and the ferry for Tangier
pass by us. We got to Tarifa at
and had lunch once safely anchored
(no mean feat in 26 knots of wind).
The anchor came out after a while and we were drifting backwards so
rather than re-anchor we decided to head on for
We anchored on the Spanish side in a place called