Goodbye Med, hello Atlantic

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Sat 11 Sep 2010 10:14
34:25.9N 11:48.6W

Saturday 11th September 2010

The Satphone finally arrived and was fitted, up and running in a few days, with most of the time taken waiting for the stainless steel guy to adjust the pole the antenna sits on. He is pretty useless as we discovered when we were last here, but seems to have a monopoly in Gib so we had to use him. He brought the pole back minus the drain holes and with the foot buckled from the heat of the welding. So we told him to take it back and finish the job properly. That being on Saturday, we didn't get it back again until Monday. However, the new Satphone is now working and this blog entry will be mailed via Satellite as we are currently on voyage to Porto Santo, just north of Madeira.

The autopilot drive arrived before the Satphone, but brought with it further problems because the factory had allowed it to pass quality control when in fact a part that was meant to be flush with the casing was sticking out. This prevented the drive from fitting, and Steve had to take it to the local Lewmar agents to get the bearing pushed in. Once this was done, the drive fitted without problem and we have been using the autopilot since leaving Gib two days ago. Fingers crossed.

The plan was to leave on Thursday with the tide - the first time we have had to think about tide for two years! As this meant leaving at 0600 and we couldn't get out of the marina until they moved the entrance boom at 0830, it meant we had to leave the marina on Wednesday, fuel up and then anchor in the bay at La Linea overnight.

Because Tuesday evening was our last night in Gib, we went out for a meal at the posher restaurant with Rob & Sarah of Serafina, who would also be leaving at the same time and heading the same way as us. We enjoyed a tasty meal in good company and it would have been a perfect end to our two year sojourn in the Med had I not managed to bite down hard on a cherry stone and break a large molar. No pain fortunately, just a large chunk of tooth hanging off and no time to see a dentist.

Next morning I was on the phone early trying to get an appointment at a dentists, and managed to get one for 2 p.m. This was lucky, but we had to speak to the marina whose rule it is that you must leave by midday or pay for another night. Jackie, the marina manager, was very understanding and kindly said we could stay the few extra hours, as long as we definitely did leave!

Bad news re the tooth, which is broken right up into the root and will have to come out as it is completely shot. Not wanting to nurse a bloody gum during the next trip though, I asked them to patch it up and they were very good. Having ascertained that the tooth has no nerve anyway, they cut off the broken piece at the gum and put a temporary filling on, saying they didn't know how long it would last. It's still there but the tooth will need to come out as soon as we are somewhere suitable, not something I am looking forward to. The pavlova dessert was lovely, but I would have happily given it a miss if I had known the trouble it would cause!

Anyway, we left the anchorage at 0600 on Thursday as planned and are now about halfway to Porto Santo. We have good winds and are making fast progress, although the seas are rather lumpy. After two years of the Med, we now have to get used to the Atlantic again. We hope to arrive on Monday morning, but that will of course depend on the wind.