When we return from the trip to Granada, a storm is blowing from the southwest and the waves crash into the beach and splash over the pier that protects the port of Almerimar. At the entrance to the harbor, the waves break in several meters high cascades of white foam. The only ones who seem to thrive now are the kite surfers who fly over the waves.
Sally remains and the fenders between the boats are maximally compressed. That is the disadvantage of lying with a mooring line. It is no space between the boats and many fenders are needed to take up the pressure. We and many other boats have put on knitted ”socks” on the outside of the fenders so that they will squeak and chafe less. If you don’t do that, they will make ugly marks on the hull.
The wind howls in the rigs with loose falls that hammer against the masts and create a sound mat throughout the harbor. The sailboats lie with a more or less constant slope from the wind pressure against the masts.
Now there is no possibility to continue east and we have started to think that we may not have time to sail all the way to the Balearic Islands, we need to be back in Lagos in less than a month. If the wind is OK for sailing to Cartagena within a week, we will do that.
While we wait for the wind to abate, we take a trip up to El Ejido, the largest city nearby. There is a bus at Mercadona and it takes about 15 minutes to go there. It is a young city by Spanish standards, only 60 years old. It was established in connection with the start of growing vegetables and fruit in greenhouses in the area.
I also change the bracket for the gangway. The original fitting on the boat is too large and the gangway does not sit firmly making it wobble from side to side when walking on it. At the boat accessories store in Estepona, I found a mount that fit our gangway and now I have the time to change.
I thought it would be easy, but in addition to the 3 screws, the entire bracket was fixed with sealant into the hole. It took a lot of force to get it off and there were ugly marks in the railing strip of teak. Not much to do and the ravages of time will probably make them disappear after some time.
There are problems with the bow thruster since Estepona and now I have measured the current and voltage when it runs. It seems that the bow thruster batteries lose capacity after just a few seconds, the voltage drops from over 13 V to 8 V and the current drops from over 350 A initially to 250 A and even less. You can also hear how the bow thruster slows down. So it tends that the batteries have become bad, I do not know why. The charging is always connected. We will have to do without it until we are back in Lagos and have more time to solve the problem.
En week later, storm again
It continues to blow hard for over a week and the forecast does not show favorable winds for sailing to Cartagena for the next two weeks. Slowly we start thinking about sailing back to Lagos in good time and instead visit Gibraltar and Cadiz which we have not been to yet.
At most, it blew almost 40 knots, ie almost storm. Then it whines in the masts here in Almerimar, and the sailboats heel in the gusts and pull hard on the mooring lines in the bow. There are some large sailboats on the pier where the harbor office is. Their rigs sing at a lower frequency and are heard all over the harbor.
In connection with the strong winds, the snow falls up in the Sierra Nevada. In the morning the peaks are completely white. The first week it is like this, the snow always melts away during the day and when the sun goes down there is only a little snow left on the highest peaks. But for each day, more snow remains all day, so winter is well on its way here in southern Spain as well.
These days, kite surfers seem to be having a great time, they have a container by the beach west of the inlet where they have their equipment. There are some windsurfers as well and they disappear behind the breaking waves in the inlet.
The water is colored brown by sand that is pulled up from the bottom when the big waves break in several meters high breaks. I would not want to pass with Sally on a day like this, I think there is a great risk of crashing and risk drifting on the rocks in the western part of the inlet.
The large window in the aft cabin has started to leak a little in one corner and luckily we have new windows in the boat. Before the Atlantic crossing in 2019, we discovered that the frames began to corrode under the white color and blisters appeared in the color. We informed Hallberg-Rassy that arranged for Lewmar to send us new windows when we were in the Caribbean.
There are many screws that hold the window frame together and there is one screw that is too long and probably caused the leak. Since we are going to reuse the screws, I shortened the one that is too long.
If you are going to shorten a screw, put some nuts inside the place you are going to saw on. Then it is easier to get a straight cut and when the nut is unscrewed after you have smoothed the cutting surface, it is easier to get rid of the so-called ”degrees” that are formed during sawing and filing.
For once, it was a relatively simple job. After the windows have been removed, we removed the old sealing compound.
Time to install the new windows. They fit perfectly. It was easy to seal and assemble them. For once, a boat job that go as planned.
Otherwise, the days consist of walks along the beaches, shopping, and cooking, cleaning the boat, filling the water tank from time to time, washing clothes, meeting boat neighbors, looking at the weather forecast, and reading. So we do almost the same things as at home.
After over a week of strong winds from southwest to west, the wind turns and decreases in strength and it becomes possible for us to sail west, towards Gibraltar. Now we have definitely given up the plans to go further east, we will be back in Lagos in mid-December, and now we are at the end of November. More about that in the next blog.