V - Benidorm & Altea, The Costa Blanca, Spain.
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IV - Moving West, The Balearics, Menorca, Mallorca & Ibiza.
To view our next log entries please use the following link:
VI - Moving East, The Balearics, Ibiza.
Log Entry Friday 29th July - A day in Altea.
We favour Altea Marina, as far as we favour any marina's, everything appears, simple, friendly and helpful. It, the "Nautica Altea" shares the harbour with the main port marina which is very restricted in depth, that is clear from the pontoons of small craft. There are two fuel pontoons, one for the commercial fishing fleet, which appears sizable. The marina only hauls out, cleans and antifouls but all of the contract services are available nearby.
Ann popped into town to pick up some supplies, I had a few jobs to keep me busy. She had found this "Dutch Cafe" called "Cafe 't Haventje" just outside of the marina. When Ann returned, we unpacked the shopping and decided to go back for a coffee.
Talking to the lady that served us, she tells us that there was a large Dutch community here, both retired and working. Her customers are "boosted" by more Dutch visiting their families, an interesting position. We are informed that they have live music on this evening, worth a look in our opinion.
We arrive back at the cafe about 2000 hours, it was packed full, we were only able to get a seat on the noisy roadside. It was interesting to see people arriving/leaving, clearly everyone knew everyone else, quite a community. We sat for a couple of hours and then walked a short way towards the centre, most of the other cafes we passed were almost empty?
We only walked a couple of hundred meters, along the waterfront and sat by the beach.
As darkness fell we watched the ongoing activity on the sand, one elderly couple had a table and chairs set up just off the waters edge?
As we returned to the marina the Dutch cafe was still rocking loudly!
Tomorrow, we are off to Ibiza, heading back east - at least we made a discission!
Log Entry Thursday 28th July - We leave the "rolly" Benidorm Bay.
We lift our anchor and look back at the bay in which we have sat for over a week, it's anchorages offers no shelter from what seems to be an ongoing easterly swell. It is just a case of how great a swell it is and your position relative to it? The land and sea breezes put you beam to the swell, which makes it very uncomfortable, last night was the worst night here no sleep at all, we will be glad to leave for that reason. Still, it has served it's purpose, it is about ten miles by road to the nearest marina, that would have been difficult to utilise with the kids here other than with car hire.
As we rounded the headland we realised why last night had been so bad, the swell was in excess of two meters, and for our coarse back to Ibiza, it was working hard against it with very light winds. We headed out for deeper water, little changed, it was clear without sleep to try this trip, 75 miles at little that 3knots/per hour because of conditions, would be ridiculous.
We headed back inland to Altea Marina, plenty of shelter, and lots of sleep!
Log Entry Tuesday 26th July - The last day of the holiday, it has gone so fast!
We made contact as normal, again split into three groups, shopping was the main agenda, either gifts or just spending what euros the kids had left?
We bumped into Kelly and her kids on the way to the indoor market where we knew for sure where Jane and Gary where. Kelly was waiting for her mum and the others to go shopping for shoes, trainers that had soles that light up as you walked! All were to get together later, have dinner in the apartment then spend the evening in the "Kids Club". We easily found Jane, Gary and the kids, Gracie had her hair platted, Lloyd was still on the prowl looking for something? As we left the market he found a loud, roaring dinosaur, it also walked and laid eggs! They seemed quite pleased that he had eventually found something, but I must confess I did hear Gary threatening to do "something" if Lloyd did not switch it off?
We were amongst the first in the group to arrive down in the entertainments room, the rest of the group gathered over the next hour or so?
As the night progressed the entertainment became more focus on the kids, both them and parents up dancing!
Everyone enjoyed the evening, quite emotional with the kids as we wished them goodbye, seeing them again in November.
Log Entry Monday 25th July - A day at the kid's apartments.
Today we were to spend the day at the apartments, the group of 14 having 3 apartments between them.
The first task was lunch for all in Jane & Gary's apartment, quite a task! I kept the younger kids occupied with guns we had bought Lloyd, the result, one dead grandad, shot to pieces!
Lunch closed with the introduction of a graduation cake, made locally, for Jane's recent achievements. The kids were then rallied to the pool while we cleared up and joined them later!
The pool saw the day out, the kids never seemed to tire?
Log Entry Friday 24th July - "The Secret Beach"and the "Old Town" of Benidorm.
We made contact with the gang, as soon as we returned to the "rolly" Benidorm bay, a couple of good nights sleep behind us. Most were on the way to the "Secret Beach", Kelly and her girls were spending the day at the pool.
The bay in question is down by the small, old, Benidorm harbour, we caught a bus down with ease.
The bay was easy to find, but not much of a secret it was packed!
The gang were still en route, we arranged to meet them in "Club Nautica" over looking the small harbour, they arrived in time.
The kids had great fun on the beach, it seemed the adults tired first, temperatures were in the mid thirties!
It was unclear as to what the large group of kids preferred to do as evening approached, it looked like a late night on the beach to us? We needed to eat so we took some direction from Jane and made for the old town. An interesting area, we could just make out Sailaway, rolling solitarily in the north end of the bay.
We picked one of the many street cafes, and had our dinner, and were able to "people watch" at the same time!
It was then a short trip through the more modern, commercial area back to Sailaway.
Log Entry Friday 22nd July - Today we celebrate Lloyds 5th Birthday.
Today we travel a few miles north of Benidorm to Altea to meet up with James, the eldest grandson, his girl friend, Mollie and her parents and friends on two power boats. They are passing us on the way to Ibiza, to hold a prearranged party on Lloyd's, the youngest grandson's birthday - what a mouthful?
Our trip, all six miles of it was interesting, a very dramatic coastline, the other 14 were travelling by bus and taxi.
We were early, we had about an hour to kill so we dropped anchor in the great bay, a very pleasant environment, but a constant swell, fully exposed just like Benidorm. We had previously discussed taking all and the three vessels to an anchorage, this did not seem practical, so all opted for the marina, the swimming pool would provide good entertainment for the kids!
The two power boats arrived in time and entered the marina, we followed them in but unfortunately lost our steering right in the entrance of the harbour on the way in and had to be towed to our berth. Once secured we joined all on the power boat for Lloyds party, I in time, returned to Sailaway to investigate the problem. The problem was easily identified, the cause a little more difficult to determine, at one point we thought a lift out was going to be required? The problem was over come without a lift out, bits and pieces we required, sourced locally but it would see us stay here for a couple of nights.
The party went great, the heat clearly getting to the kids and some of the adults - off to the pool!
As the day progressed, we split into three groups, one returning back to Benidorm early evening on the last bus, the second, Kelly, Maddie and Lola remaining on the Tom & Andrea's vessel until late evening before returning to Benidorm by taxi.
Jane, Gary, Lloyd and Gracie went to a local, nearby restaurant for dinner, the food and service was great. The kids remained on board with us, Gary & Jane returning in the early hours to Benidorm by taxi. Gary and Jane returned the next day to collect them, Ann was waiting at the pool for them, I worked on our steering issue for most of the day.
Log Entry Thursday 21st July - The week unfolds, pictures paint a thousand words!
Log Entry Tuesday 19th July - We arrive at Benidorm, Spain.
Today we leave for mainland Spain, we have a forecast of light, to very light winds from the east, reasonable, but we do expect a fair degree of motoring in those conditions. We began to lift our anchored around 1100 hours, the objective being to arrive in daylight. Anchoring is not expected to be easy around Benidorm, so the daylight will be helpful. Just as we motored out of the anchorage the wind changed significantly, came from the north and was blowing at 20 knots plus, a few moments ago we were thinking too little wind, great stuff?
"Make hay as the sun shines", a British saying meaning, "make the most of it!" That we did, we reefed down and headed west, leaving Ibiza behind us. The wind stayed with us for a number of hours, then it began to fall off. We raised more canvas, but the resulting swell was annoying, little wind and sea swell is not a good combination. We eventually sailed on with mainsail only, even our whisper pole holding out own genoa failed miserably in this annoying swell, which by now we could no longer blame on the recent winds? At around 1800 hours we started our engine and motor sailed, our mainsail taking a real pounding as a result of the swell but it helped us stop rolling as much.
As we settled down for the evening we could just make out the mountainous coastline of Ibiza behind and, ahead of us "Cabo de la Nao" and it's mountains of mainland Spain. As we approached the traffic separation zone of the "Cabo" we were surprised at the amount of commercial ships, we must have had to monitor 12 - 15 of them around us through the zone. We could not recall passing through this volume of commercial traffic for as long as we could remember?
Sunset was, as sunsets are, Ann always likes a picture, mainland Spain ahead of us! We motored on and settle down for the hours of darkness, the sea swell still making the the journey uncomfortable. We set the engine speed to get us there around daybreak. As I had been watching the mainsail, pounding backwards and forwards, with darkness approaching I decided to drop it for fear of the sail batterns punching through the battern pockets. Bring down the sail increased the rolling, but we knew then that the sail would last us a little longer.
As we came under the "Cabo de la Nao" around 0100 hours, wind re-joined us, coming from the north, we rolled out our headsail and put the engine to sleep. We were able to continue on at 3 to 4 knots, the sail also bringing stability, less rolling, so a few positives. Passing the Port of Altea, just to the north east of Benidorm our timing was perfect for the fishing fleet, I counted eight vessels crossing us, passing to our bow and stern.
We arrived in the bay of Benidorm just a daylight was beginning to break, our favoured anchorage in the north east of the bay in our recently purchased pilotage (@ £33.00) was no longer there, some form of recreational area than could not be clearly identified in this light? We dropped anchor to the south of the area in 15 meters, the annoying swell some what further reduced as we were tucked under "Pta de la Cueva del Barbero".
The area looked completely different in better light and a little sunshine, everything more clearly identified.
The recreational area, occupying the old anchorage was what looked like an adapted mountain system for pulling skiers up the snow slopes, converted and speeded up now pulling water skiers. The system seemed popular, but it would not work in the UK, "Health & Safety". The amount of near misses, between skiers and those that had fallen in front of them would not work in the UK. Still who is right, we saw no one hurt, and it did look great fun, they even had ski jump ramps!