We picked up Nikki and Geoff in Lisbon. We were sad to see Daniel go but at the same time it always exciting to get new crew. Geoff is a seasoned ocean racer and owns half of Calibre a Sydney 38. It was a big change for Geoff to transition to cruising. An autopilot had been a myth in the past and self tacking was just out of this world. I must say he acclimatised very quickly to red wine, antipasto and Aussiemite while looking for fishing nets at a cruise speed of 8 kts down wind. It was a sharp contrast to his recent sail to Southport. He gave up the 20kt cruise speeds, long hours on shift, 30kt winds and cold weather for electric winches, autopilot, movie nights, fine wine, hot weather, hot showers, and gourmet food. Nikki was at home straight away looking after Gourmet meals and making sure the crew always had a smile on their face through exciting banter and looking at the Amazing photos she had taken throughout the day. We were really spoilt by Geoff and Nikki’s culinary expertise and generosity – Thanks Guys!
We flew down the coast of Portugal to Lagos with a comfortable 17kts of wind at about 140 degrees and the gennaker up. We were doing 9kts at times and averaged over 8kts throughout the trip while enjoying the fine wine and tasty cuisines of Portugal. It appeared our trip had quickly transitioned quickly from cold weather to warm sun and gourmet foods. It looks like the hard yards of beating up wind in 30kts with 7 degree temperatures were finally behind us.
We farewelled Pete in Lagos, he was a real asset to our team, excellent sailor, great story teller and good teacher. Thanks Pete we learnt a lot and really enjoyed your company.
After Lagos we sailed to Gibraltar, the crew and I were very excited to see Africa and Europe at the same time. With Adam the part time navigator and Nikki the full time negotiator we were convinced we had to step foot in Africa. As the pressure had just built to 30kts and the straight was still 4hrs away I made the decision that we would go to Morocco but after a good night’s sleep in Gibraltar.
We had an eventful night in Gibraltar, finding ourselves in a circular quay which was supposedly an anchorage but more like a super tankers turning circle we decided to find a marina. We then found ourselves at the start of our night mare right back at the stinky marina we started at. Morning broke, only to awake to the ash and the soot of the town of Gibraltar all over the deck. H2S used for cracking crude oil flooded the environment and caused us to discover a new found reflex, not to mention the new gag reflex.
We got out of that hell hole quickly to set sail for Africa and to venture into Morocco for some Tagine delights; yes we are still on the Gourmet part of this trip. As we ventured across the straight we played chicken with super tankers. We were all excited to be going to Africa and Morocco especially Diego and Nikki who both had huge smiles on their faces. Those smiles dimmed as we were informed we were in a Spanish port called Ceuta which actually turned out perfectly as we could have the boat safely moored in the Marina and walk across the border to Morocco.
Morocco was interesting to see, very busy and good markets. After a big day of getting lost in Morocco, eating Tagine, shopping in Markets, drinking mint tea and just marvelling at a different country and culture we decided it was time to head back to the boat. Crossing the border back to Ceuta was interesting as firstly we walked around in circles looking for the correct line. Then after what felt like an eternity us Australians were allowed back in to Spain but the Customs official had made a mistake on Diego who is from Mexico. They had put down that Diego was from Argentina and he was in the computer system as an Argentinean with a Mexican passport. This caused all types of Chaos for the Moroccan customs officer. After the customs officer had finished his cigarette which he smoked at his desk he then went off with Deigo’s passport only to return 20 minutes later with some other excuse and another guy with another cigarette, once they finished their second cigarette they explained what had happened and showed us that Diego was Argentinean in Morocco then rectified the problem and let us back to Ceuta.
From Morocco we sailed to Malaga in Spain where we dropped off Geoff and Nikki and picked up Josh and Alice. To break in our new crew we went out for a massive night on the town then had a comfortable but hung over 20 mile motor to Torres Del Mar. Where is the wind? The Med appears to have little to no wind so we are heading way out off Spain to try and find some. Our plan is to have an overnight sail to Las Negras or somewhere round there on our way to Ibiza for the much anticipated end of summer parties.
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