Gregor – co-cook and deckhand writes : We have just had our second night moored alongside the refuelling dock in Torreveija’s marina. Our current personal best for wind speed across the deck is 43.4 knots, and this is in the shelter of the marina. The sea outside the wall is wild and choppy. These industrial-strength gales are pinning us here, unable to move towards Gibraltar and the open Atlantic. The rum punches may be lined up for us in Antigua, but we are stuck here with Rioja and Johnny Walker Black Label.
Torrevieja is a fairly nondescript place, and signs of economic recession are everywhere – beggars, 70% reductions in sales, cladding peeling off breezeblock towers. It is essentially a Spanish town, but not far away are the endless urbanisations of the Costa Blanca, apparently peopled by impoverished shell-suited Northern Europeans, unable to sell up because there are countless apartments and villas on the market at the price of a dog kennel in Crouch End. The same applies here in the marina, where every other boat seems to be for sale.
But the sun is shining above the howling gales, and in his little office the marina manager is thinking up ways to persuade us to move from the refuelling dock, even though the diesel pumps have not yet been troubled by another boat. His name is Rodney Chinchilla, and he gave us a glossy brochure which looks like it is written in English, but in fact is pure Gibberish. An example – “Among the salt lakes, in a great flatness, is Torrevieja, a destination with great projection” and “The current town grew next to a tower, the old one, who gave it the name and with natural characteristics that have marked its history and its life daily.”
Our earlier stop a few days ago was at Cartagena, which is an elegant and impressive city. The Carthaginians started the place in 227BC but then the Romans turfed them off a few years later, and built a monster amphitheatre, most of which is still there. The world’s first submarine was built here a bit later, in 1888, and was said to be on show but when I went to have a butcher’s it wasn’t there, just an outline on the dock – like a crime scene in Taggart “Surr, some lowlife has nicked the Sub”. But there is lots of other stuff to look at in Cartagena.
Time now for some 45 degree walking, a beverage and tapas followed by a siesta, then back to the galley. Pip ho!