Tabatha and Rafael set the date for their wedding last year and we have been tailoring our wandering around the Agean to ensure we were here in Olympic Marine so we could attend.
No sooner had we said goodbye to Solange than we packed and set off for Athens Airport at 3 am, Wednesday morning for our flight via Istanbul to Malaga. That was a real saga and we have promised ourselves not to fly Turkish Airlines again. (For ‘Customer Service’ read ‘Revenue Protection’)
We had booked a hotel on the beach front a little way out of Malaga itself, close to where Rafa and Tab’s live and close enough to the centre of town for a shopping expedition for a suit, collar shirt and a tie; not part of my wardrobe now, but called for by the dress code.
So on Friday, all decked out in my nice new linen suit and Valeria in one of her long dresses, we set off for Nerja, about 40 minutes from Malaga for the wedding.
And it was a fantastic wedding. An evening beach side service at a really nice hotel, fabulous food, and so much of it. Tab’s looked radiant, Rafa looked shell shocked but recovered as the evening progressed and although there is no Best Man, and hence no speech, Michael and Jennifer ‘rapped’ a “Tabatha, this is your life” tribute – hilarious.
Tabs and Rafa are two of the loveliest people you could meet and we wish them every happiness together. It was such a pleasure to be there.
Tom and Monica set off for home by 8 on Monday morning, the 22nd. Prior to his leaving Tom helped me re organise our ropes ready for our departure. I had Windependent trussed up like a turkey while we were staying here, but to leave I needed ‘slip ropes’ all round; this means having both ends of the ropes on board so you can let go from on deck rather than from the pontoon. With our farewells said Valeria and I began preparing for sea and by 10 we slipped our mooring and waved good bye to Malaga.
Our plan was to do a 24 hour passage to Garrucha, rest for a day then push on to Altea for the Water-maker to be looked at and then head on for Valencia at the weekend.
The weather was calm to start with as we set off along the coast running on just one engine and soon the wind picked up sufficiently to make it worthwhile putting the sails up to help the engine. That lasted for about an hour when the wind died off and I dropped the sails. Gradually the wind picked up again but from directly astern and there was little point in gybing back and forth along the coast line so we settled down for a noisy night. I caught some sleep in the evening and then was awake most of the night when Valeria finally managed to sleep. One engine wasn’t giving us the speed we needed as we seemed to run into a current along the coast and so I ended up on both again. Even when the current changed and we were making 7 plus knots I left them both on just to make up time. It was surprisingly chilly and the wind spent the entire night going around the compass until at first light it was virtually calm as we motored up to Garrucha.
As soon as the sun was up the temperature rose and that Saharan sand I mentioned earlier has covered the boat in a fine red powder which gets everywhere; it is going to be fun cleaning that off!
We got into Garrucha by 10 on the 23rd, finding a brand new and virtually empty marina. We were all tied up and booked in by 10.30, had breakfast of tortilla and beer and then Valeria went to bed while I caught up on the blog and wrote up the Rough Log into the fair one. I then went to bed too.
That afternoon we went ashore and found a hard ware store which sold Camping Gas !!!! Yay !! We stopped in at Mercadona and then went back to Windependent for a delicious prawn and chorizo pasta.
I came back on the 17th and spent the afternoon unpacking, making beds and shopping. On the 18th the radar repairs were supposed to be done but it was raining the whole day and the technician rang mid morning to tell me he wasn’t coming to climb the mast and rewire things in the rain, he’d come tomorrow, weather permitting. I went shopping again, a little further afield looking for the gluten free bits I didn’t find previously.
The radar technicians arrived on Friday, 19th, just after Valeria, Monica and Tom got on board. They all went off for lunch and I stayed with the radar technicians. Prior to their arrival, and all day Thursday I had run the radar so that it would be non operational for them. Sod’s Law dictated that it ran perfectly for both days and was working when they arrived. Mercifully they had seen it not working and after a consultation with Navico, they replaced the parts anyway.
That evening we visited Tabitha and Rafael again and met Rafael’s parents, Cesar and Aracele.
On Saturday Rafael and Tabitha came back and planned to stay on board with us. Rafael offered to help me find some Camping Gas, which we have been searching for for ages, and although he located a stockist on the Camping Gas website, they didn’t stock it and nor did the petrol stations we started to on the the way back to the boat. Following that abortive excursion we went ashore with them for a wander around Malaga and had some lunch.
After lunch we went for a gentle stroll up the the hill upon which Castillo de Gibralfaro is built which gave some good views of Malaga and the surrounding area.
By the time we got back to the boat the wind had picked up again and although we were looking forward to dinner o board Tabitha was feeling sick with the rocking of the boat. The combination of wind and swell making its way in around the harbour walls had us rocking and jerking on our mooring lines. Tabitha and Rafael went home and although the wind died down as soon as they got back to their flat, the rocking remained; which didn’t stop us enjoying our dinner and some wine.
There were two reasons for breaking our journey in Malaga. There is an easy flight connection from here to Southend and our friends Tabitha and Rafael now live here. And so on Saturday they both came and visited us.
They took us for a stroll along the harbour front and we had lunch before they drove us back to their new flat for the afternoon and an evening meal of home cooked tapas, courtesy of Rafael. We had an evening stroll down to the beach from their apartment and then they gave us a lift back to the marina. Tabs observed that we had been the first to visit them in Madrid and were now the first to visit them in Malaga ….. ‘Probably time to move again!’ I suggested! Lovely to see them again and will look forward to another visit in a fortnight when Monica and Tom join us on board Hotel Windependent for a weekend before Valeria and I set off for Valencia.
On the morning of the 5th John left us to catch his plane home and with Mauro’s help I repositioned Windependent to another vacant berth wide enough for us; the only free berth apparently.
Moving required reversing towards the edge of the marina and more rocks. The water is really clear and the rocks looked very close to the surface but I checked with my lead line and there was 4 metres of water, plenty for us. With little room to manoeuvre I planned the movement in detail and gave Mauro a proper RYA style briefing with little diagrams and I explained to the marina staff what I planned to make sure we sent
our ropes ashore in the right order. And so we moved to a nice wide berth, and I positioned us stern first to the pontoon enabling us to simply step from the transom onto the pontoon!
Valeria arrived by mid-afternoon the three of us went for a wander around Malaga. Valeria chose us a locally famous restaurant for a late lunch, the Bodega Bar El Pimpi, and after that we had a stroll around the streets of old Malaga starting off at the Roman Amphitheatre
Without having more time to explore we made our way back towards the Marina, discovering the restaurants the three of us had missed on the previous night when we dined in the Yacht Club.
We had to spend the following morning, the 4th, in Fuengirola waiting for parts although needing to be in Malaga that evening I planned to leave by 4 pm at the latest, with or without the parts. It is only 30 miles or so to Malaga and as this is a warranty job they can follow me. The parts hadn’t arrived by 2 pm, siesta time, and so nothing would happen until after 4 pm, if then, so we slipped at 2 pm and set off for Malaga.
It was windy! 15 to 20 knots and although it made getting off the pontoon a bit of a challenge and there were decent sized breakers outside the harbour as soon as we were away we raised the sails and shut down the engines. The wind was from the east which meant we had to sail directly out to sea, and slightly away from Malaga for 45 minutes before we could tack and head north east along the coast to our destination. The sea was quite lumpy and confused and made the passage less than comfortable but we were sailing!.
The wind was gusting to 20 knots which dictates we take the first reef in the Main Sail but we were still making about 5 knots ‘close hauled’, sailing as close to the wind as we could. As we passed Benelmadena the wind started dropping so we took the reef out of the main sail and continued on towards Malaga, arriving at 6.30.
The entry to the Real Club Mediterraneo is behind a substantial harbour wall and is protected from the sea swells but is very close to the very rocky shore.
It was almost dark by the time we got into the marina and were directed to the first available berth they had which had an enormous post in the middle of it, meaning I couldn’t go in stern first because of Windy on the davits and could only fit half the boat in forwards. The finger pontoons are about 7 metres long but as we couldn’t use the last 2 meters of them it was very difficult to secure the stern and prevent it from waving around in the breeze. That wind we had enjoyed on the way along the coast gave us a very uncomfortable night on the half of the berth we could use.
But with Windependent secured we went in search of dinner and with the marina bar closed we found the Real Club Mediteraneo Yacht Club bar and restaurant right at the foot of the light house.