Almerimar (again!)

After an amazing stay on Alicante we set off for Almerimar. We weren’t too interested in going back to the other ports along the way so we thought we’d man up, buy ourselves some time and do an overnight crossing. Setting of early would mean we’d be in early the next day. Or so we thought.

We had a horrendous crossing. The wind was in our nose, the waves were big and choppy, and the tide was against us. Yep everything was against us and we made really slow progress in really uncomfortable conditions. We had to tack one way and then the other at right angles to our route which meant we we travelling double the distance or at least it felt like it. Each wave we hit slammed the front off the boat and rattled and bumped all the way down, it shuck us to our very bones. It left us scared, angry, frustrated and in bits. But in the hardest, darkest moments we had but one thought and one thought alone.

“We have to make it back to the Stumble Inn for a pie!”

We eventually round Capo de Gata as the sun rose and the dawn brought a new day. Flat seas, no wind but still an annoying current.


We motored into the marina by late afternoon, dusted ourselves off and stumbled in for a pie. It was the best!

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Like our last stay, we spent many an hour in the Stumble Inn partaking in the good food and cold beers. We met the owner, Martin, and his staff, all amazing people who made us very welcome.

In fact we met many people during our five days in Almerimar. On the waiting pontoon we met a lovely English family in Interludes big brother. Then Paddy and Carolyn (an Aussie couple) who were kind enough to lend us their Moroccan pilot. David, an Aussie solo sailor in his big red boat. Then Cam and Anne wandered by and over drinks we met their friends, Andy and Michelle, Steve (but unfortunately not his other half, Lynn) and Peter. That made up our trivia night team.


We extended our general knowledge, picked up some fantastic sailing tips and had some great laughs too boot. We will remember them fondly and will hopefully keep in touch or see them down the track somewhere. It seems we’re all headed in the same direction just at different times.

So why did we stay in Almerimar so long? Well apart from the great company and great food, the weather had held us hostage once again. However it did give us time to work on the boat and prepare for our Atlantic crossing. We put in lots of hours, spent a fortune during our twice daily visits to the chandlery but finally managed to reduce the size of our ‘to do’ list.

We finally got a good weather window and said our goodbyes, or farewells. As we set off towards Gibraltar we took in the views of the snow-topped mountains. A timely reminder that we need to keep pressing on.


Cartegena (again)

We’re trying to trek our way back West out of the Med as quickly as possible as we know there’s going to be a delay in Gibraltar while we wait for parts and some repairs.

After Alicante we decided to overnight it over to Cartegena, a place we also stayed on the way into the Med. Our original plan was to anchor in but we’ve been having problems with our battery charging again and needed to get on shore power.

The 120 mile trip wasn’t too bad actually. A mixed bag of winds, bit of motor sailing, but nothing too hard to deal with. The time passed quickly and we arrived in Cartegena the following morning and got a berth along the dockside quite sheltered from the growing winds outside the marina.

No sooner had we tied up than Andy, an Ozzy, popped over and invited us for a BBQ later in the day. Score! He was also on a Hanse called Hanse Sailor and was getting her ready for Winter. He’s going to do our trip with the ARC rally over to the Caribbean next season, or maybe a few seasons after that. Didn’t sound like he was in too much of a rush – must be such a nice way to do a trip whereas we always feel under pressure to keep moving.

Before the BBQ we stocked up on provisions, and got talking to others at the Marina who were all going their separate ways in or out of the med. Seems like a lot of sailors are heading over the pond but a lot of them don’t wish to do the ARC rally. I can understand why as the requirements are quite high but we are really enjoying the sense of security this really is offering. Lastly we’re also really looking forward to the social side of things once we get there and with 260 boats heading over there’s going to be no shortage of people to chat with!

We headed over for the BBQ around 7ish and had a lovely evening drinking wine, eating some great food, and chatting about our respective sailing stories. The wind really started to pick up when it got dark and then suddenly we saw a yacht making its way into the harbour.

This poor guy was singlehanded and trying to get docked up in what was now a solid 25 knot crosswind. We all rushed off the boat and went to help him in. He was having a nightmare getting pushed all over the place but did well to control his 50 foot heavy boat in really bad conditions. The owner of the boat next to the slip he was trying to get into was going white as he got pushed time and time again close to his yacht but the guy was on top of things and kept powering away. He then motored off, gave himself a load of room, and hammered it back into the slip. We all grabbed lines and helped push his boat into place without any damage being done. It was nuts though, not sure I’d have tried coming in with those conditions. 30 mins after he barely made it in the wind dropped to 8knots. Typical!

As soon as he was tied up Andy invited him over to his boat and 5mins later he had a cold beer in his (still slightly shaking) hand and a plate of stake and veggies in front of him! He couldn’t believe his luck! Turns out he was a kiwi who also had a lot of great stories to tell. Some of these old salts sure get around- he’d been out cursing for years, red sea, pirates, 65 knot gales- you name it, he’d been through it.

We left Andy’s boat around 2am after a wonderful night, got back to our yacht and slept before setting off for another overnighter the next day.

Alicante (again)

Sailing back into Alicante was bizarre. There’s no other word for it. We approached around lunch time excited to have the long crossing from the Mallorca behind us, knowing we were pulling into a great town we both loved on our way up the Spanish coast months before.

We were both a little worried about how busy the marina would be as last time we were here it was basically full and we had to stop on the waiting pontoon for three days. We should have booked but totally forgot. We were given a bit of hope when we checked a boat leaving the waiting pontoon and sail round to a berth. Guess who it was? Yep… Nurse-IT! After following her into the Med months before and then losing touch here she was again! We promised ourselves we’d pop round and introduce ourselves when (if) we got in.

Our faces dropped however when in the distance boat after boat came into view buzzing around the Marina entrance and surrounding sea like flies. There was even a ‘Red Arrows’ style fly-by overhead scaring the life out of us. What was going on? A local race? Nope. Only the bloody first leg of the Volvo round the world ocean race!



We learn’t it was this after sailing straight through the middle of the starting line about 30 mins before the race was due to start. We were tired and didn’t have a clue what was going on. A race official waving his arms at us on a support boat and yelling what I’m sure was non too welcoming words in Spanish kindly informed us after a while that it was a warm up race and we were right in the middle. We were told to get out of the way which was non-too-easy as there were boats everywhere all heading out to see the start of the race. After 30 mins of weaving we made it through the field and into the marina where luckily we got one of the very last berths (even if it was a nightmare to get into).

We crashed out pretty much straight after docking and slept for a while, then did the normal washing down of the boat and us and raced into town around sunset to our favourite tapas and beer place we found the first time visiting.

Alicante2_2 Alicante2_1We visited a great bar after that where all the Volvo crews were hanging out and had the best burger in months. Those guys (and gals) sure know how to drink! We were beat and left around 11ish just as they were really starting to get going.

The next day we got chatting to the guy next to us who gave us some great tips for restaurants in town which we’ll try and visit over the next few days. We were about to head to one of them when Bart from Nurse-IT popped over to introduce himself and invite us over for some drinks! We of course said ‘yes’ and ended up having an amazing night chatting with them about how many times we’d crossed paths sailing from France all the way into the Med. Bart and his wife Chris were amazing hosts. We had so much wine and great food and the conversation just flowed until 1.30am. So nice to finally meet them. They did have to leave early the next morning so I hope it wasn’t too much wine! 😉

We love Alicante, it was nice to have a second shot at getting to know the town a little more. It really does have everything and I have to place it high on my list of favourite places we’ve visited so far. We used our neighbours tip of a restaurant called Sento. What a place! Amazing dishes served in a tiny room about the size of our boat. People crammed into every space so tightly there’s no choice but to get chatting to everyone.

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If you’re ever in Alicante please visit this place. It’s amazing! Just watch out for getting prodded in the head.


The rest of our time was spent lazing on the beach, visiting museums, shopping and getting to know Alicante more and more. We also visited the Volvo event in town which was amazing. Those maxi yachts might be fast but I think we’ll stick with our little Interlude in terms of comfort after crawling around in one.

I didn’t want to leave Alicante but there was a good break in the weather and we needed to push West. What an amazing few days. Even sailing out of Alicante was a treat as the Volvo SCA team of girls flew past us on the way out of the marina to practise. Go girls!


Alicante to Calpe

One thing I’m coming to realise on this trip is that while sailing, time is not linear.

You can have a thirty mile passage that is over in the blink of an eye. Or a short ten mile hop that seems to take sixteen hours. Or any mixture of the two.

Today was one such example of the later.

The first half of the passage flew by. 5 miles, 10, 15.. “We’ll be in by five!” rang out across the deck.

Then the sailing temporal displacement field hit (as we passed by Benedorm, coincidence? I think not). Minutes turned until hours, hours turned into days. “We won’t be in before dark at this rate!!”.


Benedorm- Busy tourist resort or small rip in the fabric of space-time?

Wind doesn’t seem to be a factor, nor do currents, Einstein forgot to include the effect in his theory of relativity but the sailing temporal time field is real and can strike without warning – so be on your guard.

We made it to Calpe around sunset and after trying a few anchoring stops got tucked in near the harbour just before dark. The extra hours inserted into our day were well worth it once we finally arrived. Amazing anchorage with breathtaking views in every direction.


During dinner I kept sculpting my mash potatoes for some reason and had this weird five note melody in my head on loop.



After a wonderful three weeks with my parents onboard we finally reached Alicante and had to say our goodbyes. Very impressed with how they took to coastal passages so quickly. I hope they enjoyed their time onboard Interlude as much as we did having them with us. The boat feels very empty now.

Their adventure continues also though. They are heading over to Sydney shortly so if anyone needs some crew… 😉

Alicante has really surprised us. I’m not sure what we expected, maybe as it’s so close to the Benedorm’s of the world we weren’t hoping for much, but it’s a place I could spend a lot of time. There are some fantastic places if you drop back from the main drag and have the time to find them.Alicante1 Alicante0

The people are very friendly, great food and a very upbeat vibe to the place you can really feel wandering around. I wish we could stay longer here and really dig into this place but the marina prices (which are constantly creeping higher as we head East) will soon put a stop to that.

We also caught our best World Cup match yet. Looking for a place to watch the game we found a place selling the best tapas we’ve had yet..


Then found a street where pretty much every football fan was getting ready to watch the game:

On one corner the Dutch supporters…


On the other Argentina fans..


It was going crazy and hats off to the Argentinean supporters who drowned out the Dutch quite convincingly. Was a great night, although my head is aching and my ears ringing this morning.

It was also a very good place to restock the boat ready for our trip over to Ibiza and the Balearics. As we’ll be hopefully anchoring most of the time (some of the reports of marina prices out there are turning our stomachs – 670 euros for a night in Ibiza Town anyone?!) so this was the last big stop before we head to Calpe tomorrow and then take the 55 mile passage over to Ibiza when weather permits.

As we’ll be staying on anchor more it’s also brought up questions of possibly getting a water-maker installed on Interlude. We have so much spare electric from the solar, so water will be the only thing we will need to head into marinas for – it seems like a no-brainer. However water-makers seem to be shrouded in voodoo. As with a lot of marine topics opinions settle into two clearly defined camps:

a). “I’ve never had any issues with mine. I produce 5000 gallons per hour, wash the boat down with fresh water at sunrise and sunset and take 20 showers per day!”

b). “They are a total waste of money! Mine never worked, and when it did it only produced a cup of water which tasted like a toilet bowl and drained the batteries doing so! I wash with salt water only now and get my drinking water from a plastic sheet when it rains.”

Humm.. they are expensive pieces of kit so a lot of homework is being done.