Barry and I have been on board our yacht at the Marina de las Salinas for a week and already we’re loving it!
We’ve both decided that we’ve chosen the right size: 45ft gives us enough living space and storage areas that we need - Jeanneau have packed lots of both into the Sun Odyssey model that we have. Any smaller and it would be just too confined for the two of us long term. Any larger and it would be more difficult to handle and more costly to maintain.
In my last blog I mentioned a couple of things that would need following up: whether the bedding I’d bought in Javea would fit, and deciding to buy a waterproof sailing jacket that didn’t make me look like the Michelin Man!
Did the bedding fit?
As you can see from the photo, the bedding all fits perfectly and the bottom sheets I purchased which are a cotton jersey, have stretched to just the right, snug size. The previous owners had left a set of bedding for each cabin, all washed and ironed and ready to use, so I have used their bottom sheets as under sheets for more protection of the mattresses (which although a tad too firm for Baz, I’ve found just the right firmness for me). I’ve used the original (also clean and pressed) bed covers with the anchor theme, as they are great quality and look good, and match the cream/blue theme that flows into the saloon with the cream sofas and blue/cream striped cushions. This is also followed through on deck with the deck cushions in cream/blue stripes too. I have lightened things up in the bathrooms/heads though, with lovely bright aqua towelling. My friends know how much I love aqua!
What about the foul weather jacket?
After an amazingly difficult search around the area of few chandleries with fewer who actually sold foulies (wet weather gear), Baz and I eventually drove out to Cartagena in our hire car in search of a large store that Baz had read about on noonsite.com. Noonsite.com is a go-to website for sailors as it contains information about all areas in the world that has been shared by other sailors. Apparently this store not only sold sailing gear, but also scuba diving, mountain climbing, cycling, fishing and any other type of sporting equipment and clothing you could wish for. We didn’t have a store name though, but we did know that it was in Cartagena’s industrial estate. So off we went.
I have never seen an industrial estate as vast as this one, with such an array of outlets! Barry and I drove around it for longer than it took to drive there (30 minutes) and only found one small chandlery which had a scuba diving wetsuit and a few fishing rods and lures, along with sailing maintenance stuff, but it really didn’t have a great deal of choice of anything. Disappointed, and thinking that must have been the shop we’d read about on Noonsite, we decided to head into Cartagena and see if there were any chandler’s shops near the marina.
Cartagena itself looks fascinating and is an ancient city built by the Carthaginians in 220BC with a booming population in Roman times. In fact there are 1st century BC Roman ruins of a theatre along with a villa that has mosaics and murals. It also has a large Spanish naval presence in the city port. Barry and I will definitely be returning there. We hired the car for a week in San Javier which is a 15 minute drive from our marina. By making the decision to opt out of the comprehensive add-on insurance, but to pay the excess of 1000 Euros if there is damage to the car, and only have Baz driving, we reduced the cost of car hire from 247 Euros to 30 Euros! At that price, we’re going to rent it for another week at least as there’s a lot to see in this area. As Barry said, it’s not for the faint-hearted. You have to know how to drive in a foreign country (on the other side of the road). But for someone wanting to hire cars regularly as we will, over the long term and with careful driving, that potential 1000 Euros excess will be covered after about five weeks of rental.
Anyhow, back to our foulies search. The chandlery shops in the marina were filled with everything you might need to service your boat, but neither had foulies. The nice lady in the second shop spoke English so I took a punt and asked her if she knew of anywhere we might buy a jacket. She mentioned a large store in the industrial estate! This time though, she was able to tell us where it was (and it is viewable from the motorway and near Carrefour), and is called Decathlon. We headed off for the industrial estate again.
At this point, after so many disappointments, my heart was practically in my mouth with anticipation and fear of another disappointment!
We parked the car in front of Decathlon and beheld a behemoth of a store! To say it was almost as large as the industrial estate is obviously an over-exaggeration, but you practically need a packed lunch to make your way around the whole place!
We did our usual ‘left-hand rule’ exploration of the store i.e. starting in the left aisle and working our way around. Baz got himself a pair of wellies (gum boots), and thick socks from the army section so his feet fit snugly. Then we turned into another aisle and there were the sailing things!
On first inspection none of the jackets were coastal cruising quality, but more day sailing. In other words, a lot of them were waterproof with hoods, but an ideal jacket for coastal sailing is a warm, waterproof, windproof jacket. It should have a hood that folds away in the collar, but when used, the hood should have a Velcro patch that allows for the hood brim to be brought back for good visibility, and also the drawstring to keep water out. There should be double cuffs: an inner rubberised, adjustable cuff that prevents water from entering the sleeves. There should also be lots of sealable pockets.
After much rummaging, I found one. It had all of the above features and it had a nice neck warmer and extra fleecy lined pockets for warming hands. It fits really well, is bright red, so if I happen to fall overboard (hopefully never), I’ll be spotted. And I don’t look like the Michelin Man in it. And almost best of all, instead of costing an anticipated 182Euros/AUD250/UKP160 or more, this price-reduced unbranded offshore jacket only cost 62Euros/UKP54/AUD100! Bargain. I also got a pair of waterproof bibs for 28.99Euros/UKP25/AUD47, so I now have a fantastic set of coastal foulies.
As I said to Barry, as much as I hate the other, yellow jacket which you can see in my previous blog, I LOVE this one. As you can see from the grin on my face in this pic.
Features I love about the boat so far …
The dining table is lovely and large enough that Baz and I can sit opposite each other while we work with plenty of space on either side. Here’s a photo I took at work this morning. Those of you who replied to my poll on facebook about which keyboard colour to have, this is my current favourite – deep blue! But you can see Baz is opposite me with his laptop (looking) as if his head is attached to the laptop!
It is lovely and bright down below, even on rainy days (like today).
The master cabin is huge and I feel like a princess when I go to bed! There are also ample hatches and portholes so it is also bright and airy.
The cream curtains are lovely and new and won’t need replacing. As are the cushion covers, bimini, dodger and privacy covers on deck.
The large chest fridge/freezer works well! So well, that everything froze, and the first morning I had to chip out some milk to go in my coffee lol! Check out me shaking the milk here! We have bought a fridge thermometer and are monitoring different temperatures at different depths, and on the ledge, and by the cooling element as we change the settings each day, and are pretty nearly at the right all-round temperature now. We still have a few things freezing depending on where we put them, but I’d rather that than have frozen things defrost. I think once we get more baskets and fill it up, the temperature will be fine. Until then, I won’t buy large amounts of salad greens, as they’re not good once they’ve snap frozen and defrosted! I am also wondering if storing fridge items in containers will also keep them from defrosting. If you have any expertise in this, I’d very much value your advice.
The set of bamboo plates and bowls we purchased in the local Carrefour supermarket. They are biodegradable, strong wearing, feel and look great, are light-weight like plastic but won’t damage the environment, and they were reduced!
Falling asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat is lovely; it’s like being rocked in a cradle. Slopping sounds of waves hitting the bow, clinking of halyards against metal poles, and soft howls of wind when it gusts actually become a familiar sound background which oddly I’m finding pleasant.
Things that still need to be done/purchased
We don’t just have one list. We have them sorted into:
To do on boat
To buy General
To buy Scuba
To order online
To buy from marine chandlery
It is taking a while to get through them, but as we have several weeks while we wait for the stainless steel arch (davits) to be made and put on the back of the boat to support the tender and solar panels – also to be installed, and then have the mast standing rigging replaced, we aren’t going anywhere soon.
Every day is interesting and fun as we work our way through our lists. Yesterday we went through all the storage lockers/lazarettes to discover their contents, clean them out and throw away what we didn’t need. We were then able to refine our shopping lists for more needed items. If we don’t worry about the cost, shopping is fun and kitting our boat out with all we need is turning out to be quite an adventure in itself.
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Thank you for reading this far, it is great to have your support. I’m loving writing these blogs and it is great that you are enjoying reading them. So until next time, fair winds and calm seas, as they say!