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….❤️



  • 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!


  • 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…!!


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.



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.


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!!


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??


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.


  • 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


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.



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 !)


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


Unplanned swim off the pasarella?

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


-Inside almost sorted 

-AIS installed, not quite finished. 

-Electronic charts found

-Deck cleaning started.

-Leaking hatches identified.


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??