Popeye and Olive Oil need MUCH more spinach!!

Almazul has been on dry land this week, and therefore so have we.

She now has a super slick bottom; sanded, primed, and antifouled –  thanks not only to our own elbow grease and grit, but to some shoulders stronger than ours. We must thank Aurum Yachts, and in particular a gentleman technician (let’s call him the GT) who has led the work and physical tasks and also gently guided us with humour and goodwill through many technical areas in Spanish and French, which are not our strongest suits you understand… Luckily he and Magnus “found each other” while bonding over the cantankerous dinghy motor in the workshop the week before the boat was lifted from the water, and so all the problems that inevitably arose this week have seemed smaller with his unfailing assistance.

I have discovered that sanding machines are MUCH heavier than they appear! After day 2 of sanding Almazul’s (suddenly gigantuan) 47ft hull, my deltoids were sore to touch, like one enormous bruise… (argh…pass the spinach!!) My daughter assured me that this did not mean that I am getting old, (the obvious conclusion…hello!) but instead that I am getting strong!! (soo kind and encouraging!)  I hope she’s right – thanks Lara xxx

The Captain was also a little weary…but the GT seemed unstoppable with the sanding machine! (he eats more spinach, obviously..)

Autumn has arrived in Port Ginesta….albeit it in short bursts, but there has certainly been a distinct change from months  of fairly consistent baking hot days. The cooler temps were welcome when we had the boat up in the yard, but the fierce wind from the NE made an impact on the final  paint finish I think.

It’s hot again now though. We hadn’t been to the beach for weeks, and the water temp has reduced significantly, not to mention the crowds! Now there might be 5 others in the beach at a time, as opposed to squeezing through hundreds of people to get to the water. The colder water is not good news for a slightly woosy Aussie. But I have to say that nearly 30 degree water temp is really something else!

Some new experiences this week included:

  • Working in the varadero (boatyard) alongside the pros!
  • Getting into the car without having to open the windows for several minutes first to allow the inside temperature to reach under 50 degrees, and the added bonus of not gently searing our thighs on the leather seats, or inadvertently branding ourselves with the seat belt clip. My childhood summers in a white Holden Kingswood HG station wagon have often come to mind.
  • Wearing a long sleeved shirt, and jeans, jumper, down jacket and SCARF!! OK admittedly I was probably the only one wearing a scarf, but 17 degrees is a long way from 39!
  • Sleeping in a camper in a carpark for a week. It was very kindly loaned to us by our generous boat neighbor. (fond memories of a European jaunt long long ago in a baby blue Bedford camper emerged from the fog…)
  • Buying fishing gear! We really hope to catch some tuna – no excuses now.



  • Completing the boat work in the yard. It was hard work but satisfying, and we certainly know more now than when we started.
  • No damage to the boat during quite a severe storm while it was up on stands. Last time we had a storm our Bimini top was torn but we still felt we got off lightly, this time we were even luckier.


  • Absorbing an unhealthy amount of anti fouling paint through our skin, and sometimes our food, even from freshly scrubbed hands.


  • Almazul’s blue soul seeping from our pores for days….The dust from the hull was EVERYWHERE and kept coming, even after very thorough showering! Magnus WAS Pappa Smurf – the skin, even the beard!
  • Friendly kids trying to high 5 me when cycling past on the esplanade on their way to football training. What were they thinking!? There I was, cycling along, minding my own business, when some crazy 10 year old rode pretty much straight at me, holding his arm outstretched!! It was all I could do to dodge him AND stay upright!! By the time I regained my composure (well balance anyway) I saw his brother, also aiming straight at me with arm outstretched, palm out. Aaahhh!! But then FINALLY the penny dropped, and I realised they were trying to give me a high 5 on their way past!! So I obliged as far as possible. My feeble attempt drew a cheer from the boys, and I wobbled crazily away, trying to regain my, ahem, composure! OMG I laughed and laughed afterwards, mostly with joy at not falling off, but also at my initial misunderstanding. (Because really I was picturing a call to Triple 0 (or 112, 911, you get the idea) to remove a grazed and bleeding 50 year old inconveniently causing a traffic hazard in the middle of an otherwise beautiful pedestrian esplanade beside the Med.) Luckily there was a happy, not a messy ending.
  • The Yugoslavian boat painter from the next boat in the varadero talking to me wholeheartedly for big chunks of conversation in Spanish. I repeatedly told him I was very sorry but I didn’t understand (in my best Spanish) but he indicated that either I could understand with my eyes or he could tell in his eyes that I could understand… whichever… Nuances are lost, obviously. But anyway, he kept happily talking and laughing, no problems. This was several days after we had exchanged in my broken Spanish that I am from Australia, and did not speak Spanish, but like to try. He told me he was from Yugoslavia, and no doubt many other things. 🙄
  • Inadvertently beginning a deep philosophical discussion in a local chandlery (boat supplies shop) while attempting to buy possibly methylated spirits. This happened when the GT suggested a solution to a BIG priming mistake I had made. (Note to self; apparently it is best to stay on ONE side of the masking tape…. ) After some lengthy hand gesturing, brow furrowing conversation – he suggested white spirits. So off I trotted to the chandlery armed with “trusty” google translate. Some staff speak English, some none, but all are super kind. This was a “none” day. Strangely, google translate did not really serve my purpose on this occasion, but did bring some midday mirth. Tony, one of the “nones” had to explain to me that he did not in fact sell any ethereal beings, so I was out of luck with the spirits!! Thigh slapping laughter precluded further talking, but luckily an English speaking customer kindly offered some translation, and I bought some dissolvent. Job done.

Food and Bevvy highlights

Because we were boatless, we ate out a bit this week. We had to leave the boat by 8pm every night, and being homeless, had some time to kill before retiring to the camper. So more restaurant highlights than usual!

  • Dinner at La Taberna de Port Ginesta – perfect! Casual, cosy, warm and the food! Pork medallions with Roquefort sauce and squid ink noodles with mussels and scallops. Mmm! Our meal finished with a cappuccino, because there was no hot chocolate, and according to the Spanish waiter they are “almost the same” anyway. The cap had a twist though – the brown powder on top was not chocolate, but cinnamon and nutmeg! Unexpected but surprisingly pleasant. The whole meal was delish AND cheap!
  • A very nice verdejo reminiscent of a Giesen or Stoneleigh Sauvingon Blanc at a local cafe called Rosados, and it was the house white! This accompanied razor fish, among other things. I had not had razor fish before Spain – but now we are both devoted fans of this delicate shellfish.
  •  Magnus’s near best hot dog experience ever! Another local port cafe specialises in hot dogs, and also have excellent hot chips. These are served with every condiment you could wish for – which has been a rare experience here? The first time I ordered the chips (with no glasses; rookie mistake) my chips arrived in a bag, on a plate. I had ordered “bolso de papas frites” not “patatas fritas” as intended. Another chuckle.
  • A banoffie cheesecake at an American style hamburger place – again, a little unexpected, but very good!
  • Lamb chops like I would cook on the bbq on my verandah in Oz…. complete with my “famous” potato salad (my kids are too kind) and a green salad with honey mustard dressing. ( a la my cuz Melinda) I had a real hankering for those familiar tastes and smells.

Contrary to the lamb meal, our food philosophy is to try to eat what other people do here, and not try to replicate or find things that are familiar – but sometimes this happens….. tomorrow we plan to drive to Ikea to stock up on Kalles kaviar before we leave here. We can only do our best!


Boat work

  • We learned that we have markers on the side of the boat where the slings to lift the boat should go. And that we need to know where these are. I thought that the boat yard guys would know, but it is our responsibility to know where the slings should be. Now we do.
  • Cleaned and sanded the whole hull.
  • Sealed exposed metal
  • Fixed glass and gel coat in bow prop hole
  • 2 coats of primer
  • 2 coats of Anti fouling
  • Replaced through hulls and valves

Piece of cake? But NEARLY ready to go! We are currently swinging between heading straight for Valencia, or going to Ibiza. We have strong encouragement from many locals not to miss the Balearic Islands, including Ibiza since we are so close… but we have not yet made a decision.

NB – I am not sure where my desire to use “NT News” headline like blog titles comes from, but I am running with it! Shame there are no crocs anywhere nearby… (well not really a shame, but this reduces the dramatic titles!)

(For the non Aussies, The NT News is a newspaper published in Darwin; the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia – and it always seems to have wildly attention grabbing headlines, usually involving an unfortunate incident with a crocodile. These incidents almost always involve foreign tourists BTW)