We spent 2 weeks on the hard stand at Almerimar doing jobs to Joy, the main one being replacing the Aquadrive which meant removing the rudder so that we could remove the prop shaft completely and we replaced the cutlass bearing at the same time. Chris at Almerimar boat yard was so helpful to us giving us advice and tools, we hired his forklift to hold the rudder whilst we did the work which took longer than hoped because we had to wait for a special tool to arrive from the UK. I took the opportunity to clean and repaint the bow locker and various other places which needed attention, which resulted in a bit of DIY haircutting when the Cruella Deville look occurred – I do have a terrible habit of dipping my head in the paint pot!
Whilst on the hard, we met a lovely Aussie couple, Steve and Ange, with their yacht Pannikin. They had done a great job stripping back the old antifoul and epoxy, and repainting. Pannikin looked lovely when they got back in the water before us. We had a couple of great nights with them, BBQ chook on the menu and Ange introduced me to the delights of Don Simone Rose! Steve and Ange are also doing the ARC so we agreed to keep in touch as they headed off for Gibraltar a few days before us.
Once back in the water, Jez’s parents joined us for the trip to Gib, and with them came more boat parts (thems the rules) and the sad news that Elvis my cockerel had passed away, pining for his mate who had died a few weeks before. Elvis was a very special chook, as King he kept order in the hen house and his girls were happy. He lived a long and, well, not productive life as he didn’t lay me any eggs, but he was a character and I loved him.
We motored unfortunately due to lack of wind with a flat calm sea to Gibraltar with Jane and Geoff on board, our overnight passage went smoothly with dolphins visiting much to Jane’s delight. The following day as we had made such good progress, we anchored off Soto Grande on the Spanish coast with Gibraltar in sight and had a swim. Very cold water in comparison to what we have been used to, it certainly took your breath away, lots of fish – infact the water was teaming with life so we then got the rods out. With edam cheese as bait (recommended to us by a successful fisherman!) the fish were soon swarming around the hook, and the second I dipped my line in I got a bite and caught a fish! Into the cool box he went and the block of edam slowly got smaller as the fish got craftier and were nibbling around the hook! We eventually caught three more and so lit the BBQ, fish for starter followed by spatchcock chicken. Yum!
After a very quiet night on the hook we motored on to Gib, and were amazed to see hundreds of dolphins, everywhere you looked, we were surrounded by them, feeding and having fun. Jane and I stood up at the bow and watched a dolphin chase a flying fish, speeding along at rocket speed. The display was amazing.
Shortly after arriving at Marina Bay, Gibraltar, we watched our Aussie pals Steve and Ange leave! We had just missed them unfortunately, they are off to Cadiz before heading south so we may catch up another time.
Jane and Geoff flew back home and we played the usual Gib waiting game, waiting for deliveries and our 5 day weather window for the next leg to the Canaries. Our snuffer for the Big Fella turned up eventually, an overnight delivery turned in to 4 days and then we had to pay extra to collect it on Saturday because this was out of hours! We have decided to ditch the torsion rope furler for the asymmetric as it just doesn’t work on such a big sail, and have replaced it with a simple snuffer to make life easier for us and kinder on the sail.
Our weather window arrived on Sunday 6th Oct so had an early start to catch the west going stream through the Gib straits, it was great to be sailing again after nearly a month. Dolphins rode our bow wave for a while, and we headed across the strait in between the two traffic separation schemes, avoiding the stream of tankers making their way into the Med, and set our course for the Canaries.