We arrived in Almerimar marina on the 4th August and were directed to our berth which has actually turned out to be an excellent spot away from the hussle and bussle and noise from the many bars and restaurants around this purpose built resort. Its also only a short 75yd walk to the Mercadona supermarket…so very convenient. Like I said this is a purpose built holiday resort not far from the large town of El-Ejido which is world famous for its miles and miles of greenhouses…as a result the fruit and veg in the supermarkets are the best I have seen anywhere in the world. Almerimar is built around the Marina and as such many berths you can step off the back of the boat and 10 yds later be sat in a bar…so in many places you get very little privacy. This is our first real stop now we are in the Med and the water is totally different to what we have been used to in Atlantic Portugal…its clear and very very warm. There are two beaches here, the one to the right of the town has a very pebbly beach and the water which is somewhat enclosed in a bay is extremely warm. the beach on the left is rough sand and a little cooler water and its this one which we preferred. During our stay here we have probably spent more time in the sea than what we are used to ..purely to cool off…its been that hot. We have now been here a little short of a month and for the first 3 weeks its been blisteringly HOT….most days up around the 40c mark and many days over that..now that would be great if you were here on holiday..but we weren’t.. we were here to get work./repairs done to our boat…
On Monday the 14th we took Friendship around to the Boat yard..first job they did was remove the mast with the help of a crane, and then she was put in the travel lift and lifted out….its always a heart in mouth moment when they do this. Then she was taken round to what was to be her home for the next 10 days in the sand blasting compound.. we were having all the old anti fouling paint blasted off the hulls and taken back to the gelcoat. With the very high temperatures this compound acted like an oven and made things even worse…I honestly never knew the human body could sweat so much..
Now I wont bore you with every detail of what we did over this time but here is a quick list…Hulls blasted clean and finished off by hand sanding back to bare gelcoat…many many small chips, holes and imperfections filled with epoxy filler…sanded again, two coats of epoxy to seal the hulls, one coat of sealer/binding Premier paints undercoat, two coats of Premier paints high copper, hard Antifoul paint. Oh and the waterline raised by 2 inches…two seacocks ground off and replaced with Tru-design plastic/marelon skin fittings and valves, Saildrives stripped, drained to repair the seals….or so I thought !! It turned out it wasn’t just the seals…the prop shafts had actually worn and had two nasty grooves in the shafts which was the cause of the seals failing…now the bad news is these shafts are over £700 EACH to replace…after searching the internet however I learnt that special steel sleeves can be purchased and fitted which actually repairs these shafts…four, two for each shaft were duly ordered from the UK and they arrived 3 days later…great service by (Simply Bearings UK) and they were given to the local engineer Frank to fit. With the drives now repaired and new seals fitted hopefully they should give another good many years service..As well as the hulls we also had complete new rigging fitted (the stainless steel wires which hold the mast up)….Insurance companies get a bit twitchy on this subject and some in the past used to insist it was changed after the boat got to around 11 or 12 years old….they tend not to insist on this now but do occasionally ask for it to be inspected yearly if over a certain age…Friendship is 14 years old now so we thought it was time to replace it anyway…didn’t find anything wrong with what we removed but it gives a bit more peace of mind…and I’m sure our insurance company will be happy. Oh and whilst the mast was down we took the opportunity to replace the VHF antenna and cabling as our radio reception has never been great…and seeing the state of the cabling we took off I can see why..
With all the work done and Friendship back in the water we are absolutely delighted with the finished results…the rigging looks great and the boat just looks so so much better sat in the water..
Now all this was certainly not cheap and our bank balance has taken a large hit but its stuff that either had to be done or needed to be done….we were planning on doing it all next spring when we come out of our winter stay at Cartagena so all we have really done is bring it all forward by six months… We have both got to say though the work and service at Almerimar has been superb…from the marina staff who do all the lifts in and out of the water to the brilliant staff at Almerimar Marine Services… Chris and his crew were just brilliant and extremely helpful…. I can wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who is thinking of getting any work done. Many many thanks guys…
Whilst we have been in Almerimar we have met up with Fred & Kay on Amazing Grace…another Broadblue Catamaran 385, and Bob & Lin on Drift Away, both couples we know from Lagos and both couples who are going to over winter in Cartagena. We enjoyed a couple of pleasant evenings with Fred and Kay on board for a drink or two and many nights out with Bob & Lin who are big football fans so any excuse to sit in a bar with free Tapas and free Footy.. we also bumped in to Brenden and Serena off Baltic Dart….also old friends from lagos….they are actually heading back up that way to have repairs carried out on their boat after an unwelcome collision caused by another boat in the Balearics. They are en-route for a spell in the Canaries for a change of scenery and we wish them well in their new adventures, and hope to see them again sometime in the future.
We are now sat back in the marina waiting for a change in the wind direction to take us the last 105 miles up to our winter home in Cartagena…we have time in hand as we want to arrive around the 10th Sept….the world famous Romans & Carthaginians festival starts on the 15th…so we have to be there by then…..all we need is for the wind to blow the other direction but the forecasts all show that aint happening anytime soon….