We left the anchorage at Faro on the 24th June after a pleasant stay of 10 days..waiting for favourable winds to blow us down the coast… Our friends Val & Cliff off AWOL were with us for a while but we left before them as they had plans to spend time in Cadiz on the way.. after overnighting ourselves anchored outside Cadiz we eventually arrived in La Linea (Gibraltar) on the 26th after a very pleasant sail + motorsail to get there.. Sailing up the straights of Gibraltar with another 50ft Catamaran slowly catching and overhauling us and the both of us being passed by a brand new looking Motor Catamaran…despite us ourselves touching 9.5 knts was really nice in the glorious sunshine. La Linea were expecting us so arrival and berthing was stress free..
After a few days relaxation our plans for the summer changed completely !! I decided I would carry out a few routine maintenance checks on the boat, including checking the gearbox/ saildrives on the engines which all looked good until I came to the starboard engine..the oil had the first signs of going cloudy !! as any good mechanic will tell you, oil which is going cloudy means one thing…it has water in it !…This is most definitely not good..it meant that water was getting inside and the obvious cause of this was leaking seals on the propshaft. Unfortunately this can only be fixed by stripping the unit and replacing the seals…which can only be done by having the boat lifted out of the water. Cue numerous phone calls later and step forward the guys at Almerimar Marine Services who had one available slot the last two weeks of August when Friendship could be lifted.
Now we were planning on doing quite a few jobs to Friendship next spring after coming out of our winter home Cartagena…so all this would now be brought forward and would be done when we were lifted in Almerimar…more of that later.
So now as we didn’t need to be in Almerimar till later in August and its only 130 miles up the Spanish coast from La Linea we now had time to kill.
So what did we do with ourselves in La Linea for the month we were there…well we met up with our American friends Pam & Roger on Deja-Vu who were staying in Gibraltar for 3 months because of Schengen (its complicated !) and we also arranged visits from our daughter Simone and hubby Ollie who wanted a cheapy weeks holiday and also a short stay from my old work colleague Ian..Unfortunately Simone & Ollie must have brought some sickness bug with them as we all one after the other fell to 36 hours of vomiting and general sickness which was not pleasant at all… I hope it didn’t spoil their week too much…they still managed to do the touristy things like going up the rock…by taxi I might add….not like June and myself did and walked up..i think it took June 3 days to recover from that even though I physically pulled her half way up ! Ian came after the kids left and he was keen to see Gibraltar as his dad was stationed there during the War and he always wanted to see it for that reason…unfortunately though we had to leave half way through his stay so he had to spend the last couple of nights in a Hotel instead of on board. During the month we were eventually joined by Val & Cliff, plus Mike and Angela off Tuppence and then later by Lin and Bob off Drift Away all of who we knew from Lagos…we had some good nights out in La Linea with them and found a great Tapas bar which we went back to quite a few times.
It soon came time to leave and we set sail on the 3rd August and sailed through the night the 130 miles to Almerimar… I say sailed but we only managed to sail the first 85 miles and then it was mostly motoring in to what was dead calm sea’s…the water was so flat and with a pretty full moon it was really strange gliding through it in the moonlight..the one thing we could do in those conditions was spot anything that moved and we saw quite a few dolphins but also were really chuffed to be visited by a pair of Pilot wales and their calf…magical.. we arrived in Almerimar at roughly 11.00 the morning of the 4th… and the first thing we both noticed…the HEAT !