Back at Puerto Marina de las Salinas, while we had our new standing rigging re-tensioned, I realised how much I appreciated being so close to dry land, behind a protective sea wall, with tranquil – albeit dirty – marina water surrounding us.
Sleep and showers
For one, I am sleeping peacefully each night. Sure, there’s a relatively quiet sound of people talking in the bars not far from the yacht, but there’s no slapping and banging of water against hull, no straining of snubber against the sides of the bow, as it keeps the weight of the boat off the windlass when the yacht bounces in the waves. I don’t have to worry about the boat drifting off its position as it is firmly tied by three lines to the dock, and when I look up at the mast against the starry firmament, it doesn’t move relative to the stars! That means a very deep, sound sleep.
Waking with messy hair isn’t a problem. I take my toiletries bag and towel to the shower where I enjoy a long, hot shower, followed by hand-dryer dried hair.
Nor do I have to bother about getting wet from the waist down as I exit the dinghy to shore on the hunt for groceries. I sorted out an on-line delivery from Carrefour last week and it was delivered in several boxes by an obliging young fellow in a refrigerated van. No worries! And also no worries for us about carting a slab or two of beer back to the boat, nor juggling it over the side of the dinghy onto the transom at the back of the boat in bouncy seas! Come to think of it, we also don’t have to find the best place to leave our tender, as most beaches in Spain won’t let you do more than stop, drop, and go at designated areas. If we actually both want to wander around a town together and leave the tender, we generally need to leave it at a marina. The ones we’ve approached so far have been accommodating, but there’s always that niggle at the back of our minds that the docks may be in use by paying patrons of the yacht club.
Returning to A B Sea’s ‘home’ marina is also rather lovely in that we know people here. Jose and his crew, Marina – Jose’s English speaking assistant, Ramon – Jose’s charming dad who has taken us to a couple of places this week, once for more groceries and once to a large shopping centre at Torrevieja for the last day of the back to school sales.
Barry and I have both lost a bit of weight since we’ve been on board (I think we’re more active and also the constant movement to stay ‘upright’ with the boat’s rocking has toned our muscles), so we took advantage of excellent prices (which are generally cheaper than Australian clothes anyway), and got ourselves a few extra clothes.
Back to Ramon though, he’s a darling, he can’t speak any English, so our conversations are always interesting, but he’s shared some great stories with us. He has also brought us fresh crispy first grade capsicums (peppers) from a friend’s farm, tons of fresh sweet black figs straight from the tree, and a couple of savoury tarts that are traditional recipes of the Murcia region. That, coupled with the friendliness of Jose and his colleagues, and also the “holas” “hellos”) from the port’s Marineros who know us now, have given me anyway, a feeling of coming back to a temporary home.
We’ve also met some new friends who we’ve met via our social media and it was lovely to spend one Saturday afternoon with Alan and Marie, and their son Alan and his wife Marjorie. That is one of the blessings of social media, you get to meet some cool people and there’s never really a need to feel alone even miles away from family and old friends. We also had a great long group chat today on our son Luke, who wished his dad Happy Father’s Day.
Technology is a wonderful thing. It really bridges the gap that moving half way around the world can create. It would have been great for Baz and myself to stay in contact with our parents when we’d originally gone travelling to the South of France in the 1980s.
Water at the marina is included in the mooring rental and so we’ve been drinking gallons, washing dishes, cleaning the boat, rinsing hand laundry and taking hot showers on the yacht whenever we’ve wanted (shower block showers notwithstanding) because we’ve got unlimited water! It has come at a cost though, because while the work we’ve had done on the boat this time around has been all but free (except for 30 Euros), thanks to Jose’s generosity – the marina fees were 766 Euros / AUD1,233 ! Baz and I nearly fell off our perches when we were given the bill. So we’ve been making the most of the WIFI that’s also included in the cost!
While we were close to the chandleries in the marina, we also got ourselves a couple of extra second hand fenders (one of which managed to detach itself from the stern on our passage to Mallorca!) and also a step fender. This means that in bouncy seas we can pull dinghy up alongside of the yacht instead of at the back (where the bounce is maximised) and alight onto the side deck of the yacht using the step fender, which we will have tied up just under one of the side gates. So much easier!
So all in all, our last fortnight at the marina has been very pleasant, albeit more than a tad more costly than we would have liked.
We wish everyone at the marina well and may even see them again in a couple of years as we head south to the Straits of Gibraltar!