Sat 1 Aug 2009 14:43
01 August 2009

Volare is tied up in Cartagena, on the south east coast of Spain, where
the climate and local architecture have become noticeably ‘Mediterranean’.
Cartagena is at the top of a natural harbour, protected from the elements
by steep hills. Part of the harbour is used by the Spanish Navy and
another part by cargo ships. We are moored right in front of the town and
only have to step onto the harbour wall to be amongst the bars and
restaurants. The marina is fringed with palm trees and the temperature is
on its way to the eighties. Life’s not so bad!

Yesterday we motor sailed from Aguadulce, a distance of about 100 miles,
departing Aguadulce at 3.45am. We encountered several fishing boats in the
early morning darkness and some are a real menace. Many fishing boat
skippers will think nothing of cutting straight across in front of you, so
it pays to have the radar switched so that you can keep a close eye on
their Closest Points of Approach. It wasn’t unusual to have five targets
tagged at the same time, which at four in the morning was a good way to
get the brain working! If someone cuts you up or creates a collision risk,
there’s no point in playing chicken or getting annoyed, you just have to
slow down or change course till they’re safely out of the way.
Aguadulce was a nice marina and the staff could not have been more
helpful. I was sorry we couldn’t stay another day to have a look around.
Whilst Volare was tied up, I took the opportunity to dive down and look at
the prop shaft, because it seemed to be making an unusual rattling noise
at ‘slow ahead’. Everything looked normal, including all the anodes, so
still not sure whether I imagined the noise. The engine ran all day
yesterday really smoothly. I am not keen on being under water beneath the
boat-the propeller is quite a long way down!

Prior to Aguadulce, we called at Adra and Benalmadena (noisy, expensive
and not particularly friendly...don’t bother).

Recently, we had to motor all day as there was no wind. To pass the time,
I started thumbing through the almanac for some improving reading. In a
section where they translated some common nautical terms, I discovered
that the German expression for ‘captain’ is ‘schiffsfuhrer’. Discipline on
the yacht has been a bit lax recently, so this gave me an idea for
improving efficiency. Henceforth, when slipping our moorings, instead of
me starting the engine and saying “would you mind awfully untying the
mooring lines?” I would bark the command,”YOU WILL LET SLIP THE LINES
NOW!” to which the correct response would be, “JAWOHL, MEIN
SCHIFFSFUHRER!” Unfortunately the crew mutinously rejected this plan out
of hand, unreasonably in my view.

Next stop the inland sea of Mar Menor, about 35 miles from here, hopefully
spending a peaceful night on the hook, away from bureaucracy and marinas.