A CRACKING start, and a very sluggish finish…

Check out this link describing our perfect storm.

https://www.thelocal.es/20190812/reaction-after-storms-hit-catalan-coast-it-was-like-a-hurricane

This week started with a bang! We awoke to the deep beats of a trance club and the flashing lights of an enormous malfunctioning strobe light, all the while pitching and rolling as if on a fairground ride!! Our first thunderstorm on the boat was a real cracker, so to speak.

The trance beat of the thunder escalated to a deafening hammer as hailstones the size of cherry tomatoes pelted the boat from all sides. Our small occasional leaks became quite persistent trickles under the pressure of the torrents washing over the hatches. (note to self: buy more sikaflex) Needless to say we were fairly happy to be tied up safely in a sheltered marina – it was quite rough enough thank you very much!

This happened on the first night we welcomed our first family member to Almazul… Magnus’s youngest daughter Anna visited us for a few days this week, and upped our average photo and video footage by 1000%!

Thanks Anna!

Some new experiences this week included:

  • The crazy thunderstorm – the only damage we sustained was to the Bimini top – several seams tore apart; and to the Saab , which gained cellulite overnight (a common problem..) but in this case on the boot, roof, and bonnet.
  • Discovering several new places in Barcelona – La Boqueria food market – colours, aromas, ANYTHING you could think of to eat or cook.: El Courte Ingles – a fab department store with a skyhigh restaurant boasting incredible city views and a sumptuous buffet, and an unbelievably decadent basement food hall… and it hurts me to say that it may top DJs in Bourke St Melbourne, and even Harrods?
  • Going to a FESTA! The Catalan festival “Festa de Gracia” in Barcelona includes Catalan traditions such as the incredible spectacle of human tower building – where groups of skilled people (colles castelleres) together form tall cylinders, the record being 10 people high! We witnessed a group form a base ring, and concentric circles of people pushing inwards to reinforce the foundation of the tower, then others climbed up the sides of the tower symmetrically until the last layer; small children wearing helmets – ascended to the top!! We saw one successful construction to 6 people high, and our friend witnessed a 7 person high tower, with a tumbling unscheduled deconstruction at the final moment! Crazy stuff! This would never happen in Sweden…or Australia for that matter. Another aspect of the festival was street decorating, with many streets competing for top honours. Music and food was everywhere. Other traditions included a fire run (correfoc) and “colles de diablis “(groups of devils) chasing and dancing to the beat of drums. We knew we were not in Australia or Sweden on this evening!

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS

BEST

  • Having Anna to stay. It was very important when choosing the boat that it would welcome our families whenever they would like to visit, and Anna was the first. (And come on down Johan and Amelie, Cecilia and Marcus, Lara and Kyle, Bonnie and Craig!!) Whilst Anna was here we had some nice anchoring, with some swimming and paddleboarding from the boat, a day in Barcelona, eating out, beach days….. a nice vacay blend?
  • Finally completing the walk to Sitges! We have attempted this before, and had to abort due to difficulty locating the track at many points… we had the same difficulty, but were more stubborn this time. We walked 25 kms in 35 degrees and although beautiful, there were times when the steep inland tracks felt like “no country for old men” (or women for that matter!!)… By the time we got home, it was a fairly sluggish finish TBH

WORST

  • We have had varying challenges and joys discovering differences in cultural expectations here in Spain. Magnus has torn his hair out waiting for tradesman to arrive at all, let alone on the arranged day, anywhere close to the arranged time. All of our contacts have turned out to be trustworthy and very good at their job – but we have come to understand that the appointment making/keeping is very different to Swedish expectations. …… It is good that Magnus is now learning to do some Pilates breathing, after the cursing phase has passed…or better still, regarding it as a wonderful surprise and actually rejoicing if someone comes within a couple of days of when we thought they might..!! Regarding frustraions and challenges, my biggest so far came this week, when after a long day in Barcelona, not just one bus left us behind, but two drove off, leaving us swearing in their dust…..aarrgh!! Let me tell you this sad tale., if only for my own sake. There we were, Magnus, Anna and I; suitably wilted after a long hot day in Barcelona, standing at a crowded bustop inhaling dust and diesel fumes waiting for the L94 to open its doors and welcome us into the airconditioining and whisk us home. After watching our orange chariot for about 20 minutes, we sprang into action when we heard the hiss of opening doors, only to be brushed aside as they immediately closed again and the bus slid steathily away, while we and other potential passengers chased it down, banging the sides to alert the driver of his small? oversight (Hello, the PASSENGERS?!) But all to NO AVAIL! (insert curse here) OK, so it’s now clearly time to employ some pilates breathing, slightly tight lipped, but FINE!! (not really, but what can you do.) So now we repeat: inhale diesel fumes, wait sweatily for 15 minutes, then watch the next L94 even more closely, and jostle to the front of the queue to avoid previous unfortunate situation. Made it onto the bus! Tick! Then the bus driver says we need change… COINS in fact… I was a little cranky by now, and my inner mongrel introduced itself and I thought quietly “I am NOT getting off this bus…” so I stayed put, and hoped that Magnus may have gone to the nearby Maccas for change while I held up the bus – I was prepared to feign fainting, childbirth… ANYTHING really, but no; he and Anna had disembarked for good – and so after some minutes I realised I would be travelling home without my companions. But more compellingly, I had a flashback to my last brush with the law in Spain, and decided that maybe being held in police cell at 50 yo would not seem like quite the adventure it was in 1993! (with Carolyn G, nee S!!) We got home eventually, on our third bus attempt.

FUNNIEST

  • A very unexpected meal at a local cafe – my omelette arrived con pan, but Magnus’s hamburger arrived sin pan? (bread!)
  • Anna got a taste of what caring for her elderly father might be like, reading the menu when we both forgot our glasses, ordering when we couldn’t hear the waiter… when all she really wanted was for someone to invite her out to a bar, far far away from her responsibilities!!
  • (On a side note – when we forget our glasses, we are practicing the emergency strategy of taking a photo then enlarging it to read! (thanks for the tip Per) Effective, bit not efficient, quite laborious actually!!)

FOOD AND BEVVY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Catalan street food at the Festa – small bites of absolute authenticity! We bought ours from a small stall made of card tables, like a CWA stall at a local fete. Perfect!
  • The Captain made POPCORN!! I think I am seeking salt, or that’s my current best excuse for absolutely HOOVERING up an indecent amount of popcorn on Friday evening.
  • Risotto Milanese at the very local Italian cafe, eaten to the strains of a haunting saxophone solo, in the company of a Guadalupe native. (The Milanese variety of risotto includes saffron and parmesan. Simple but perfect.) Must try this at home.
  • Discovering a strange beer called Desperado, apparently a fave of Steve’s? Not being a beer drinker, I was not aware of the slightly odd combination of flavours that this brand delivers. It is labelled as having TEQUILA??? but not the matching alcohol content. Please explain Steve?
  • Swedish Marabou chocolate, imported by Anna.
  • Discovering Japanese Mochis, in a Spanish department store, as you do! (Thanks Anna!) When I told my daughters that they MUST try these NOW because they were SO good, Lara informed me that they were old news to her, and available at our local Woolies. Whaaat??? My best description of these is: a very creamy mousse (although I think technically it is called ice cream) encased in a layer of sweet rice paste. Delish! I am glad i enjoyed these wholeheartedly before reading that 2 people died this past NYE by choking on mochis!! (Statistically most people who choke on mochis are over 65, so I am going to hoover up a few more in the next 15 ears!!) Magnus may need to hurry a little more though!

BOAT WORK

  • Embarrassingly little to report this week but:
  • Fixed Bimini top
  • Started writing boat safety/emergency procedures, crew induction etc
  • More requisites ordered, some arrived. (Bec’s lifejacket)
  • Learned how to fix a snubber to the anchor chain

We are really hoping to set sail for Gibraltar at the end of September – so in terms of readying the boat, and ourselves, “SH*T JUST GOT REAL” to quote a line from the New Zealand movie “Hunt for the Wilderpeople!”

Blood, sweat, and cheers! (Or salud, zivili, santé…etc..)

Well, this week unfortunately most of the bleeding was done by our “segundo” visitor; Alex from Sweden…. those Swedes🙄😮.. breaking your nose on the first day of a beach vaycay? Who does that??

And the perspiring? Well, that is our status quo…day in, day out, outside, AND in the saloon, which we fondly refer to as our “Spanish Sauna.” (mostly between 10am and 8pm, when the inside temp is often 34!!)

However, this week our personal moisture output was exacerbated by our increased efforts towards improved fitness, for which Alex is directly responsible! Although injured, he set a good example while here, and even left us with some equipment for Magnus to train his shoulder with when he left. 👏👍 (all this WITH a broken nose, as it turns out!)

And…. serendipitously, we are pleased to report that our salutations repertoire in different languages is improving weekly, due to many occasions for raised glasses in warm and varied company.

Some new experiences this week have included:

  • Making exercise a priority, we have run most mornings. Thanks Alex!! Alex demonstrated his personal commitment to keeping fit by breaking his nose doing chin-ups on his visit here, hence the BLEEDING!! This happened when we all ran to the outdoor gym on his first morning – where he proceeded, amongst other things, to do far too many chin ups on monkey bars with SUCH vengeance that he hit his head very hard on one bar, which caused his head to RICHOCHET forward into another bar – very efficiently BREAKING HIS NOSE!! 😟😧 Aaaargh!
  • Managing to buy what we actually intended to buy, in Spanish and Catalan!? We ended up with the right fabric for making fender covers from a shop where the owners and employees didn’t speak English… This involved me learning several sentences about elasticised fabric, eg for making tracksuit pants, drawing pictures, using a photo… and happily we got there in the end. Well worth it – because pantalones de chandal sounds so much more exotic than tracky daks!😆),
  • Being able to book a table at a restaurant in Spanish, I guess this will be an important phrase to remember?

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS:

BEST

  • Almost walking to Sitges, although another attempt is required, now that we know where the two ends of the track connect in Garraf – this took some time, and MORE stumbling Spanish, but well worthwhile for the view from the ruin of Garraf Castlilo
  • Sitting at Rat Penat Beach bar listening to our Brazilian neighbor play. (Rat Penat means bat, as ascertained while learning about the history of Bacardi Rum. (I know?!))
  • Learning the new way out of the car park but we’ve been circumnavigating for six weeks, saving about 2 kilometers in circles per grocery trip. Tick!
  • Finally visiting the castle after which Castelldefels is named. Currently it is closed for renovation, and to prepare the inside for a museum, however the building itself, and commanding view of the area was worth the walk anyway.
  • Eating at our most local restaurant – a super Italian, while listening to a swansong vocal performance, including a rousing rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz.” This is the first time we’ve actually had dinner there.
  • Me discovering a moment of rhythm on a box drum one evening. (My daughters will dispute this could actually happen..)

WORST

  • The fear and trepidation (not to mention nausea) that overcame Magnus as he anticipated putting a drill into this beautiful boat. Luckily the drilling was accurate and intended purpose achieved the first time.
  • Farewelling some of our boat neighbors, as they departed for various lands… The Balearic Islands, Brazil, The Canary Islands. 

FUNNIEST

  • Trialling the new bosun’s chair – Magnus hauling (winching actually) me up the mast a little.
  • Witnessing a happy Swede singing his version of a Brazillian song, and then some Brazillians taking these made up lyrics and making some meaning of them, all with fun and gusto!! (the original song was …. new lyrics were “Ahh ka bushka town..” etc )…. This refrain was heard around the jetty for a day or two!
  • Discovering vending machines that sell fishing gear (sinkers, hooks, bait – you name it) ice, and BEER!! While have slowly become accustomed to hard liquor being sold everywhere, including milk bars, supermarkets, and petrol stations – but beer from a vending machine is a new one on me!

FOOD AND BEVVY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sadly no new wine highlights, except maybe a surprisingly fresh white lambrusco.
  • But, OMG the squid ink rice with scallops that we bought ready made at our CARREFOUR supermarket, as a side dish to some magnificent bonito fish cooked by Magnus.
  • Creamy vegie curry for a change.
  • Very nice creamy Swedish style pork, complimented by a local tempranillo.

BOAT WORK

  • Final touches to the VHF installation
  • Change of MMSI registration
  • LEDs installed,
  • Danbouy installed
  • Hatch slider fixed, Hallelujah!
  • Fender covers finished, also Hallelujah!
  • Rigging assessment completed, awaiting quote
  • Solar panels decided on, frame yet to be decided.
  • Trial of current portable 100 W solar panel complete, we unplugged from shore power, and existed very happily on the solar power for a couple of days, although they were super sunny, as most have been.
  • Transom showerhead changed.
  • Anchor ordered, albeit from England, needing transportation back by hand by us when we visit Steve and Sonia at the end of August.
  • Fire extinguishers installed
  • Carbon dioxide monitor installed

We are one week closer to leaving, and now have almost completed the more fiddly jobs, and now larger installations and tasks are looming. cleaning and painting the hull are filling our thoughts ATM + so no philosophical ponderings from the Captain this week!

So many primeros…

Week four at Port Ginesta has been brimming with firsts… ”primeros” in Spanish.

Some new experiences this week included:

  • Our first departure from the jetty! Yahoo!! First motor, first sail, first anchoring… at last! A short motor/sail to Sitges and a couple of hours anchored in perfect sand really felt like we were making progress towards our goal of casting off for a long sail sometime soon.
  • First visitors! Our gorgeous friends from England; Steve and Sonia, stayed with us for the weekend, and their presence prompted us to leave the boat. Having so many first outings etc made us realise that maybe we have actually been working a little hard on the boat – and maybe should get off the boat more often!
  • First dinner out – (absolutely fabulous seafood BTW) at Santos Marisqueria in the port.
  • First Sangria prepared by the Captain.
  • First G and T; actually a delicious rhubarb and ginger gin courtesy of our English friends.
  • First jetty party! Our musician neighbour will leave this week, so several live aboarders gathered together on the jetty with food and drink and music to celebrate our different multicultural food, and our new friendships. A gaggle of Croatians, Germans, Lithuanians, Brazilians, Spaniards, a Swede, and an Aussie, oldies and toddlers alike, all eating, talking, laughing, singing…
  • First REAL rain. Of course this coincided exactly with when our visitors arrived, as we were walking to the beach. The rain was torrential tropical rain, and we had to shelter at a beach bar for some time! The canvas roof had to be emptied of water with a broomstick every couple of minutes to prevent a complete collapse. The rain and wind were such that no one could stay dry even under cover – but we all optimistically huddled together anyway! In the middle of the huddle, my rain wet hands were clasping keys, hat, phone, pen(??) and a plastic cup of shandy, and at one moment a key item slipped, resulting in an impromptu juggling performance, which ended with me tipping the shandy onto gorgeous Sonia`s new top. She was kind enough not to let this affect her “Trip Advisor” style review in our visitors book – her only constructive criticism was that the Captain may like to work on his jokes a little before unleashing them on future guests…
  • First visit to the beautiful holiday town of Sitges. The colourful beaches, lively cafes, and pretty winding streets require many further visits I think. I will never tire of the joy of arresting seaviews suddenly apparent through doorways, while wandering through undulating sandstone laneways, decorated with vibrant pots of pelargoniums.
  • First trip to the hairdresser, and leaving with some hair, after getting an arduous abdominal work out as the enthusiastic young hairdresser hauled the knots from my hair, and in the meantime, much hair from my head!!!

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS:

BEST

  • Leaving the jetty!! Woop woop!
  • Jetty party
  • First visitors
  • Still having some hair!
  • A kind boat neighbour retrieving my dropped car keys with a magnet!!!! I was dreading, but prepared to go in with goggles to find them but the water is not inviting here in the marina….shower required immediately!

WORST

  • Mainsail traveller explosion… now sorted.
  • Hours over days spent removing the old registration numbers and ADHESIVE…. Designed to stick for life I think….aaarrrgghhhh!! 37 degrees and sun on deck probably not perfect conditions for this unexpectedly arduous and time consuming task.
  • Dropping car keys into the water off the pasarella…

FUNNIEST

  • Shandy juggling??
  • Being invited to put my bike inside at the hairdresser – safest place apparently! Before arriving, I was lost in Castelldefels and therefore SUPER late! But if you’re going to be late, Spain is the place. Appointment continued unimpeded – as there were no other clients at all!!

FOOD AND BEVVY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Dinner out at Santos – magnificent seafood, including prawn stuffed cod, cod in honey sauce, and chargrilled prawns, crayfish, razorfish, lobster… this was the secondo course of a very well put together meal.
  • Fresh churros made as we waited ….. what can be better than dough, fat, and sugar all together, crisp and warm!?
  • Rhubarb and ginger gin? Who knew?
  • La Mancha salsa
  • Coventry “eggy bread” – thanks Sonia!

BOAT WORK

  • VHF installment complete
  • Dinghy hunt ongoing
  • Furler servicing complete
  • Flags up
  • Registration numbers on the boat
  • Main sail up

Overall a less frantic boat work week, but friends company much enjoyed, and some local sights seen! A very nice change of pace.

Good times!!

The Man and the Mast, and Spanishifying the Saab…

This week has been hot hot hot, and even us newbies are noticing the increased rate of tourist influx. The beaches are literally packed, and the crammed writhing masses are providing very good fodder for my new addiction – parasol photography!!  

We have adopted a local summer survival tactic of avoiding the beach on the weekend. Instead we do  mundane things like grocery shopping…… but we realise that even this is a summerfied experience ATM. On Friday it was impossible to park anywhere within several kilometeres of the supermarket but undeterred, I made another attempt in the evening, complete with Swedish chauffeur. His task was to either valet park the car, or just do some laps while I got the most necessary shopping. The Swedish chauffeur took to the task with relish – even adopting a possibly Catalan? parking technique of squeezing into a very small, possibly illegal space, with the side of the Saab firmly “touch parked” against a concrete bollard. The departure from said snug parking position was not without some paint loss….. we think the Swedish registration plates were blushing with embarrassment, or at least the Swedish chauffeur was a little hot under the collar!

Some new experiences this week included:

-Walking to Garraf with a picnic. The walking track was a spectacular, steep windy path, overlooking aquamarine Mediterranean waters,with contrasting rocky bluffs above us.. The village of Garraf was also a visual feast… Gaudi buildings, whitewashed cliff top cafes, colourful beach, lively marina, and delightfully unexpected shady alcoves. We would love to visit again soon. While there, we had a rare moment of clarity…. aarghh!!! we were perfectly stereotypical tourists – (right down to the backpacks, socks, runners, and shorts!!) and LOVING it?

– Meeting an English couple and a Frenchman, who are newer than us as boat owners and live aboards in Port Ginesta. It has been nice to extend the warm welcome and small bits of helpful information to others as they have been extended to us. 💜💕💜😃

Parasol photography… I have a new addiction… Trying to take nice photographs of parasols on the beach. I take gazillions daily, in bright sunlight with no glasses, and subsequently delete a gazillion minus one…. Sometimes the camera sees what I see, but more often it doesn’t….🙁💜 but I am really enjoying the visual juxtaposition of the bright, almost florescent reds and pinks against the azure sea and cobalt sky, and the neutral sand … a perfect foil. I think I am enjoying the visual beauty in the same way one enjoys the gustatory pleasure experienced when combining a triple cream brie with a perfectly ripe pear and a lively Sav Blanc… or a heavy Shiraz with tender beef or a really rich dark chocolate….❤️

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS:

BEST

  • Bikes!! We finally bought the foldable bikes that have been occupying most of my waking thoughts for months! In 2 days I have clocked up at least 50 km – I hope our budget purchases are up to our requirements!! I have really loved walking, and we have the car if we need it, but the current parking situation will be avoided completely with bikes, and doing the laundry will not be a half day excursion.
  • Cooking class with our boat neighbour. After giving us some tortilla to eat last week, this week Gema taught us how to make our own. Of course our “primero” attempt has some room for improvement, but it was fun to learn how to make them, and then eat with a very generous and kind friend from La Mancha.
  • Watching a beautiful thunderstorm from under the spray hood, exchanging gasps with our neighbors over the THREE almost vertical rainbows!

WORST

  • A sick Captain, although the Barry White voice was fun for a day or two. (now I have the Barry White voice – not quite so funny.)
  • Having to admit, after much TLC , coaxing, and patching, that the dinghy must now RIP. TBH the poor dinghy had several VERY large holes  – first repair unsuccessful, second one good, but new holes appeared repeatedly as inflated pressure increased. Humble dinghy has been in all sorts of yoga poses- and levels of inflation over the past couple of days, but sadly needs to retire from active duty – because if it were human, it would surely request a DNR…!!

FUNNIEST

  • Aforementioned Spanishising of the Saab, via very snug touch parking.
  • Dropped washing, and subsequent hot pursuit on SUP. This is funny now, but not so much at the time, as is often the way!. As usual, I was doing a few different jobs at the same time, and somehow, the bag of washing fell from the jetty into the water and by the time I noticed, its contents were rapidly sinking and/or floating away before my very eyes!! All I could do was clamber onto the nearby SUP, and paddle in hot pursuit of the fast disappearing clothes. Fortunately Magnus´s “Ocean Racing Club” shirt from the Melbourne boat “Rogue” was saved, but a couple of favorites went to Neptune`s wardrobe.
The pursuit vehicle

FOOD AND BEVVY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tortilla made in aforementioned cooking class
  • Fresh Gazpacho – drank icy cold in the cockpit on a really hot morning, after Gema passed it to us over the side of the boat to try – yum!! Fresh, zingy, perfect!
  • Admitting to ourselves and our boat neigbours that we quite like the “homeless people” wine – and it fits into our budget.
  • Trying to be a little efficient with shopping, we have eaten many pantry meals this week even though we are in a jetty. This has meant that my usual Australian mint based potato salad was replaced by mustard based one but I can’t say I’m unhappy with that. This was accompanied by some very crisp tuna patties…..oh my goodness what CAN’T you do with a tin of tuna !! 💜💜
The tetra Rosasdo

BOAT WORK

  • Sprayhood complete!! Super work by the multi talented (occasionally grumpy) Captain – taking the old one apart, and wrangling an uncharacteristically cantankerous sewing machine for THREE days! The result is well worth the effort (says me… I am not the one who sweated in the cabin to finish this important job…)
  • We have now entered a live link in our “where are we now?” page of this blog…. So we are visible on Marine Traffic, and our location is updated as (when?) we move along.
  • Logbook made and updated
  • Rusty part of anchor chain cut off, ready for new extension.
  • Investigation underway re constructing frame for solar panels  – tradesmen and other boat people consulted. WIP.
  • Sails removed, “cabos” washing and inspection started, and some new halyards purchased. The Captain has spent some time on and around the mast this week, learning his way around the furling mechanism.
  • VIP!! We have developed a good working relationship with a local chandlery.
  • Dinghy… well, after some positive preliminary testing last week, we think a new dingy is required…. as per sad story above….

The “marina”ing of Life, and of Almazul…

Week 2 of marina life at Port Ginesta, and we now know what “Almazul” really means! Lots of hard work of course, but the actual meaning of our boat name was revealed when we we met a Spanish speaking German couple (of course!) who gave us the translation….It means blue soul 💙! (Alma-soul; and Azul-blue) This was a very pleasant surprise and completely serendipitous! Our own research into the name stopped at discovering Almazul is a municipality in northern Spain (The name of which is derived from the Arabic “al Mahsul”;. referring to the vertical movement of water due to the birth of the river Henar in this county…. who knew?) We were satisfied with that, but were warmed to learn the true meaning of the name “Almazul”.

We have had some rain, thunderstorms and wind this week. The sound of wind singing soulfully through the masts, and the change in temperature and skyscape have created some welcome interludes amidst the enduring clear, hot sunny weather that is Catalonia in summer.

Some new experiences this week included:

  • A hot evening walk up a shaly cliff path from the beach – the panoramic view of Port Ginesta and Garraff completely distracted us from our rapidly soaring core body temperature! Making some recreational plans is just as important as boat work, surely?
  • Using the “lavadora” in the “lavanderia” – which happily housed a book exchange, complete with some Australian authors!
  • Several shopping trips for various boat/human requisites. These trips are worth a mention because we have discovered that Spanish supermarkets are really something extra!! Apart from the lush and varied fresh food, my mind was officially blown when, on a shampoo search, I found 19 types of televisons, washing machines, several foldable bike options, clothes, real Nike runners, etc etc ad infinitum! (Mind you I should have been alerted to the magnitude of this behemoth shop when I had to go to the SECOND FLOOR….. a two story supermarket?!)
  • A car expedition to Vilanova to buy spray hood window plastic, and a beach visit. The coastal road atop sandstone cliffs was truly spectacular. While in Vilanova we were also on a foldable bike mission , at Alcampo, another of the behemoth supermarkets. By happenstance ….no foldable bikes -but HALLELUJAH!!!! we found coasters!!! The joy I felt was possibly a little out of proportion in relation to these humble household items…. but they seemed not to exist here, and so of course we found ourselves in DESPERATE need of them suddenly…and have had great trouble finding them. In fact we had almost decided to buy a pack of six for €22… so you know we must’ve been desperate… but now we have budget friendly coasters.

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS

BEST

Visiting the local Italian cafe to listen to our boat neighbors playing fantastic music, and meeting other boat and local people. This included a 2 German couples, some very friendly Croatians, some lovely young Estonians, some happy Italians, and almost an Australian/English couple.

WORST

Poor M losing 20 minutes of his life, never to be recovered, in a mammoth Chinese two dollar shop…… he needed a warm beer in the car on the way home. This meant me driving – an option he would normally avoid, especially on Spanish motorways!!

FUNNIEST

Watching a couple of super cute toddlers dancing with their families on the boardwalk at midnight, to music from a huge beatbox they had brought along.

On a similar note, seeing a large line dancing group on a soccer pitch?? After midnight, all in hats, boots, big belt buckles etc – why not??

FOOD AND BEVVY HIGHLIGHTS

Fresh tuna pan fried expertly by Magnus – mmm…

Finding a two for one “Verdejo” special at €3.20 that is reminiscent of a Geisen or a Stoneleigh Sav Blanc – winning!! Must try it with tuna?

Eating still sun warm tomatoes and chillis, grown by our boat neighbors in Zaragoza. “They have taste” (tienen gusto) she said – she was right!

Zaragoza tomato and chillis.

Eating tortilla cooked by our boat neighbor- perfect!! The kind offerings delivered over the side of the boat make us feel very welcome here. Our turn to share some national food now….

This week will be hard to beat in Food and Bevvy highlights I think.

BOAT PROGRESS

  • This week was planning week, and we have made 3 priority levels, with maybe over 100 tasks to complete. This has enabled us to structure our work, time, and supplies in order to hopefully meet our planned departure date for the Canary Islands in mid October.
  • Deck cleaning complete
  • Sides of boat cleaned, from SUP!!
  • Rig inspection complete
  • Dingy inflated and tested. (M thinks too small ATM)
  • Nav table in order
  • AIS installed
  • Locker order emerging?
  • Saggy ceiling fixed
  • Windlass service complete
  • Leaking hatches fixed

AND SO THE “MARINA ING” OF LIFE THEN…?

This week it must be “Happy Captain = Happy Life/Crew/Boat…”

Will work on a more catchy phrase !!

Getting to Almazul – Road Trip from Sweden to Spain

Our express no frills road trip traversing Western Europe from north to south in the jam packed but trusty Saab is complete!

The car was completely jammed with boat requisites, and the tightly packed contents caused a few unexpected moments with the electric seat and window controls… (I was NOT crushed against the dashboard as it turns out, but it did feel that way for a moment!! And we didn’t lose TOO much stuff out of an accidentally opened window…)😂

We are now happily installed on the boat, and have almost transferred the contents of the car – a surprisingly tight fit 😮and our already long “to do” list, is growing by the minute!!

It is super hot and will be hot for the foreseeable future – 35 degrees IN the boat. 🥵However the Med provides welcome respite from the heat when we really need to escape the boat work for a moment. 

Magnus has suffered sunburn, had an unexpected swim from the passarella, written off an iPhone, otherwise is healthy and well.

I am also well, and adjusting to the daily routine dictated by the climate.

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS

BEST

Meeting other boat owners, tradespeople and fellow live aboards in the port.

On invitation,sitting on a boat talking and making music with four Brazilians, (two of whom live in Germany) and two Spaniards, speaking in four languages and sharing our worlds.

When Gerard from Aurum yachts found and gave me a mid 2000’s Blue Dufour mug! I have been searching and searching for one of these to replace one I accidentally tossed overboard from our dear friends Anki and Janne’s boat “Lazy 🐸” most sincere thanks Gerard!!

Swimming in the Med when it is super hot.

Learning a few new Spanish words; tide, like, ok, laundry, bleach, toilet. (cleaning has obviously been a focus this week !)

WORST

Car aircon malfunction-but no biggie, we are sweating all the time anyway!

FUNNIEST

Unplanned swim off the pasarella?

Completing at least 5 laps of a roundabout trying to get home from IKEA

BOAT PROGRESS 

-Inside almost sorted 

-AIS installed, not quite finished. 

-Electronic charts found

-Deck cleaning started.

-Leaking hatches identified.

FOOD AND BEVVY HIGHLIGHTS

Spanish marinated chicken! SO tender and tasty!

Trying a Spanish red wine “Vina Albali”

Discovering that we CAN put ice creams in the tiny freezer.

Learning from our boat neighbor that a tetra pack of wine that we bought because it was a novelty is actually known as being only for homeless people!

Start of the adventure…

Well the boat is bought …..Almazul is a Beneteau Oceanis 473, currently in Catalonia.
Now the work begins!!
We are looking forward to the road trip from Stockholm to Barcelona……really!! The car will be jam packed with everything we can possibly fit to fix and live aboard a boat.
Now tongue firmly in cheek here but….
I am secretly hoping for an experience similar to the film “The Trip to Italy” but inland😂…. no Mini convertible but a trusty 2007 Saab 95!! 😮

PS. we are studiously ignoring an engine warning light….but I am travelling with an engineer….what could possibly go wrong??