Southern Princess
John & Irene Hunt
Sat 6 Oct 2007 19:05

BACK ON BOARD: ROB, MARGARET & DAMON ARRIVE                       


July 22nd, 2007. Back on board at Valencia! And so to work again. The beautiful Ana is on holidays so I take the rental car to Real Club Nautico and find Jorge (Horgay) to follow up the technicians for the washing machine & the microwave. The microwave techo had to remove the microwave and after Jorge and he had worked at it for a while, they declared defeated and went off to call Bénéteau for an explanation! Irene and I took all the books off the top, I took out all the screws and voila the top shelf moved about 20mm and the microwave came out! Techo returned, made off with the some parts, came back the next day and we think it’s fixed although it is back to making the grinding noise as I write this.


Now the washing machine presented a different problem. On the 30 minute cycle, it would run for about 8 minutes, stop and signal that it wasn’t getting any water. Push the start button and away it would go again, maybe stop at another time slot with the same signal but generally finish the job. Irene was terrified of ending up in the Pacific, banging clothes on a rock in a creek somewhere and really wanted it looked at. Anyway for a couple of days before the techo was due she had been running the washing machine so that she could duplicate the problem and not keep the techo standing waiting when he arrived. Well the techo never arrived and the washing machine (fingers crossed) hasn’t missed a beat since, although mentioning it here will put the kibosh on it no doubt.


The next two days the Mistral blew its head off and we rocked and rolled in the berth. It blew as hard as 40 knots and seldom below 30 knots for two days and the mud and dust was unbelievable. Even the small fixing points for deck equipment moulded into the deck (say 5mm high) had mud cacked on the windward side! Where to start? Irene started in the bow, below decks, with a bucket of water and washed every surface twice!


I started at the bow, on deck, with a hose and no water pressure so had to use Gunna’s Gurney (pressure washer for those who don’t know Gunna). As far as I could reach up the mast and the mud just rained down.


July 25th, Brother Robert, wife Margaret and son Damon arrived and the lovely man offered to start at the top of the mast and wash downwards. And the mud rained down and then we washed the boat all over again!



                                                  Damon on the top spreaders with bucket.                    Damon & Bob off to explore Cartagena


Damon did a great job and Southern Princess sparkled again! And then it was time to travel again, from Valencia we overnighted in Puerto de Gandia and on the 28th we tied up in Denia at the marina where we had been in April 2005 on the way into the Med.


I visited with Jamie Miguel at Sportnautica and we took the opportunity of the good chandlery and also a fishing shop while there to stock up on gear for the Atlantic.


August 30th saw us in a small bay just north of Alicante where we anchored out after a good sail all day in a steady easterly. Damon had to go up the mast again to secure the radar reflector which was wobbling in the breeze.


The next day we sailed for Cartagena departing at 06:00 so that we could arrive early and while technically in the yacht club, we were tied up along the town wall. We had a good sail all day in the easterly left over from yesterday but poor Marg had not been feeling well all day. The town wall is a great place to view the passing parade but sometimes we get to suffer, the locals partied all night and didn’t go home until 06:00 the next morning!


We spent the next day in Cartagena; it is a nice walking town. Damon managed to get some keys cut, we had broken one and later in the day he and I fixed the two way spinnaker pole winch at the mast. Daman is a good bloke to have on a yacht but he is easily bored and wants to keep busy so he set to and cleaned all the stainless steel. Thanks mate.


The 2nd of September saw us anchor over night at Cala de San Pedro which we nicknamed ‘Feral Beach’. Nudist and various other scruffs were camped in humpies along the beach and apart from a boat the only way and out was a long walk along some hillside trails.


Feral Beach – the fellow in the middle is nude and had just been worshipping the sun as it set!



                                                             The little blobs on top are people!                                           Bob relaxes


This huge power boat must have been at least 80’ long went past gulping fuel and doing in excess of 30 knots. Phew talk about boys and their toys.


We arrived in Almerimar on September 3rd and as they were expecting a mistral, they placed us immediately in the loading dock for a lift out at 08:00 the next morning. Not a very salubrious spot in amongst all the yard rubble. Pete and Pat Woods found us and we all had drinks on board. Later that night we decided that enough Spanish food had been consumed and we all went to the Hong Kong Restaurant.


Pete offered to drive Robert & Margaret to the airport and at 05:30 the next morning we waved them farewell. Pete took Damon later in the day.


4th to 6th we were on the hard. Lots of work done; new anodes, three coats of antifoul including and undercoat to cover the Turkey stuff which didn’t work at all well, polished hull, new bilge pump, installed new fan to help exhaust air from the aft freezer, complete engine driven bilge pump, singled up the main sheet, installed four tie down rings for the extra fuel bladder to be mounted on deck, installed security door locks for main hatch to safe guard the boat in the Caribbean, and fitted a bob stay bracket to the bow for the new bow sprit. And during this time, Irene and I lived on board (never again) and the mistral blew another ton of dust all over the boat. It was like Damon had never visited!


The next two days were spent cleaning again; Gunna’s Gurney worked hard and I washed side curtains, and everything else I could take off the boat onto the dock. The awning even got a work out. Irene worked like a Trojan below washing everything again. We will be please to leave the Med dust behind but not the Mediterranean itself.


Had drinks with Michael Lyne off Gordina whom we met three years ago and had a farewell dinner with Pete & Pat at Nauticas. Pete & Pat have been good friends and the success of the visit and work at Almerimar is down to all their hard work. Thanks guys!


Margaret I am sorry we did not get a photo of you this trip so I used one of my favourites.

Maybe Bob can send me some when you get home?


9th & 10th saw us over night in Motril and then tied up in Benalmadena to visit with friends and await our next guests.


We are getting closer to the Atlantic as the dolphin life is picking up.
These guys joined us for a play around the bow. Beautiful animals.


Great restaurant in Benalmadena, a Chinese wok buffet. Fantastic for Irene and me as we could get all these vegetables. Benalmadena to Almeria; the south coast of Spain is the food basket for Europe but you can’t get fresh veggies in a restaurant so we stocked up.


Norman & Pat Taylor off Jade, friends we made a couple of years back in the Balearics came to lunch and we had a great catch up.


Antonio & Elizabeth who made the curtains for our bimini, which have been terrific in keeping the weather out also visited and we caught up with Alfonso the Bénéteau dealer in Benalmadena who, together with his team helped us out in 2005. Alfonso introduced us to Jan & Herbert off a B57 ‘Sonoma’ that they had just launched so that they might get some ideas of what they should look at in preparation for this years Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). They will be one of now, seven Bénéteau 57’s in the rally.


To Jan I related our bilge pump story;


One of the suggestions from the ARC organisers is that we fit a manual bilge pump which can be operated from inside the yacht. Chris Molar, another friend from Almerimar had his head down in the bilge trying to decide how we might mount this pump. Chris asked "what pumps do you have now?” To which I explained that we had a wee small automatic one to drain the water which came down the mast and was the condensate from the airconditioners and then a master bilge pump operated from a switch on the switch board. Chris said “better have a look at this then, your automatic pump is rated at 76 litres per minute and your master bilge pump is branded ‘shower sump pump’ and is rated 10 litres per minute”. Bloody hell here we had been swanning around the Med with a bilge pump which could move the equivalent of 1 bucket of water every couple of minutes. Consider this, a 25mm hole in the hull 600mm feet below the water lets in 10,000 litres per hour. In such a catastrophe we would have sunk before we knew what hit us.


Needless to say we have the biggest electric pump available, 14,700 litres per hour discharging through its own dedicated skin fitting above the water line. Still don’t have the manual fitted as I am trying to figure out where to put the extra piping.


That’s all for this missive, Dorrit & Bruce our friends arrive tomorrow and I can start again.


Love to all


John & Irene