Monday, 3 July 2017

May, 2017 - BENALMADENA, SPAIN

We enjoy a downwind sail, using foresail only to Benalmadena.  The marina staff very very slow to arrive at our dock.  After we made several passes, we received help from our dock neighbors to do our first Med tie.  We can only do it "bow first" due to our full keel (poor control in reverse), canoe stern and wind steering off the back.  This means we have to drop to the dock off the bowsprit.







May, 2017 - FUENGIROLA ANCHORAGE

We say goodby to the "Rock" and enjoy a good sail to Marbella Yacht Harbor.  It was a very tight harbor, with no room to maneuver and a cross wind of about 15 knots.  Any increase in the wind would make it impossible to leave.  Also, it would be our first Med tie.  We decide to go to the nearby anchorage at Fuengirola.

East side of the Rock.


Sunday, 2 July 2017

May, 2017 - TRAIN TRIP TO RONDA, SPAIN

We take a train/bus trip to the historic town of Ronda.  This was by no means a fast train, but was a pleasant trip through the mountains.  The old town is built on a high plateau above the valley, cut off from the rest of the plateau by a DEEP and narrow river valley.  The only access was via a VERY high bridge.  It was considered impregnable, but was taken when the attackers cut the defenders access to the river, the only water supply.

Railway poster for Ronda.





Nosebleed inspiring view of the drop to the valley floor #1...
...#2


The bull fighting ring.

Orson Wells visited...

...as did Hemingway.


The famous bridge.






The church from the "new" side of town.


Town hall square.

Colorful souvenir shop.



Monday, 26 June 2017

May, 2017 - LA LINEA, SPAIN AND GIBRALTAR

We opt for the marina at La Linea in Spain, rather then one of the ones in Gibraltar, as it was cheaper, had side tie docks (vs Med tie) and had repair facilities on site (for the pulpit repair).  It is a very short walk to the "Rock" and we walked over several times.

Passat II and the "rock"
Night view.
The Marina, from the top of the "Rock".

We remove the pulpit.  Virtually all the welds had been broken.  We also had a "seat/step" built in to assist with access to the boat when on a Med moor.










We do a day trip to Gibraltar and take the cable car to the top and walk back down.

You start out by walking across the Airport runway.

Then up by cable car.


The town from the top.

The locals.

Siesta time.


Happy Hour 2 for 1.

May, 2017 - STRAIGHTS OF GIBRALTAR PASSAGE

May 4th, we do an overnight passage from Tangier, Morocco to La Linea, Spain (Gibraltar).  One of the busiest waterways in the world.  We seldom see less then 15 ships within 5 miles on the radar and AIS.

Only one near thing.  As we entered Gibraltar, a freighter was on a collision course.  We were unable to raise them on the VHF.  We came to a halt.  So did they.  Then we saw the Pilot Boat go alongside.  We waited, dead in the water, until they moved off then proceeded.  Other then that, lots of evasive action on our part, but no truly close calls.

The radar view.

Tthe AIS view.
Hillside writing in Arabic as you enter the Med.


April/May, 2017 - TANGIER, MOROCCO

Another country, another continent, a new culture...

The "new" marina, partially constructed, still in not open, even though our cruising guide indicated that it was to have been completed two years ago.

We are placed on a high concrete wall just inside the fishing harbor.  It is subject to Atlantic tides and is impossible to get off the boat at low tide.  During our stay we move to a vacated spot further inside to avoid the swell.  Big mistake!  The inexperienced line handlers resulted in our sustaining major damage to our Pulpit.  To add insult to injury we also had our two spring lines ruined by chafe.

Absolutely no services and access to town via an active construction site, at a cost exceeding the full service marinas in Spain.

Check in/out procedures friendly, but bureaucratic and inflexible.  We wanted to leave with the tide/current at 06:30, but were told we could not check out the night before and would have to wait until they opened at 08:30.  Based on our experience it would mean we would not get away before 10:00.  We left on the evening tide, forcing us to navigate the Gibraltar Strait at night.

The merchants are aggressive negotiators. Enjoy the experience, but stressful for those not used to haggling. 

The sights, sounds and smells are very exotic.  The people friendly and helpful.

We are glad we came, but would not bring our boat again, at least until the new marina is finished.

Our boat is across from the fish unloading dock.

Our concrete dock.

Our first location at least had a ladder.





Morocco was the first county to recognize the USA and enjoyed(s) a special relationship, outlined in the American Litigation Museum.  Well worth a visit.



Lots of documents signed by early US Presidents.

The new unfinished marina.

Unfinished marina.

Passat II in the Fishing Harbor.

The waterfront, looking toward the new mosque.


The market was an experience in unto itself.










We take a taxi to the caves of Hercules.





April, 2017 - BARBATE, SPAIN

 On-route, we pass close to Cape Trafalgar in settled weather


 Barbate is a small fishing/resort town with a nice marina, next to a large nature reserve, that includes THE Cape Trafalgar.   We hike part way to it from the marina.  Other than that and the large Tuna sculpture, not much to do as we wait for weather to cross over to Tangier, Morocco.

The town beach.

Tuna is still a part of the town economy.

View East from the nature reserve trail toward marina.

La Torre  to Vigla Del Tajo, built in 16th century to look out for Barbary Pirates.