One last leg for now…

A new cruise liner arrived quietly alongside in Cartagena around 8am on Tuesday morning, no fuss on the quayside except the usual collection of coaches and taxis. Meanwhile onboard Temptress two of the crew were packing their bags, the first mate was preparing a supper for later at sea and the others were sorting the boat for sea. With the wind still not playing ball we’d decided on Almerimar as the place to complete this voyage, not Portugal. Just a hundred or so miles further down the coast Almerimar offers a large safe marina a few hours drive from Malaga airport, so ideal as a place to leave Temptress for a month whilst we fly home.

Owen picked up a hire care from the station, he and Sue will spend a day or so driving to Malaga via Grenada doing some sight seeing, before heading to Frankfurt and their flights back to Thailand. It was sad to say goodbye again so soon but we are sure it won’t be long before we meet up again.

With Wednesday’s forecast very wet and windless, the remaining crew were determined to reach Almerimar before the rain arrived. We departed around eleven, motoring out of the yacht club marina, through the harbour entrances and turned west. We put the main up but for much of the day there was little wind. A bit of west going current did make progress faster than planned, a bonus. The rugged coastline was spectacular though eventually it moved away into a hazy cloud hung distant grey before returning as evening drew in.

After lunch we managed an hour or so’s sailing before the wind vanished again. The four of us dozed or read, taking it in turns to keep an eye out for yachts, fishing boats and the occasional ship. There was beef curry with a Middle Eastern flavour accompanied by a more South Indian style vegetable curry and coconut rice for supper. Night watches were rearranged to four three hour stints with Susie and Vicky taking the first one from 20:00. There wasn’t a lot to do. The winds remained light and Temptress continued south west under engine. The shipping lanes here are further out as the traffic separation schemes around the major headlands are quite a few miles offshore. Various potbuoys were lit by a mix of flashing devices or green lights, except the substantial unlit one we almost ran down on the way into the marina!

During the evening the light breeze turned from south west to almost east, the new moon disappeared behind banks of clouds. By two in the morning it had begun to drizzle. A yacht with an all round white at its masthead and a stern light, heading in much the same direction decided to cross our path just ahead of us, heading into the wide bay off Almeria which gave the girls something to worry about at the start of their second watch. We guessed it was motoring despite having both main and jib up as the sea was basically flat calm and it certainly wasn’t anchored, though there was no sign of a green starboard light to indicate it was underway.

The lighthouse on the last headland before our destination came into view swiftly followed by the faint south cardinal off the shallows beyond. The last few miles seemed endless in the damp. With a couple of miles to go we woke the off watch. All four of us on deck made swift work of lowering the soggy mainsail, folding it relatively neatly on the boom and headed in towards the marina, tying on fenders and lines as we went.

Almerimar had promptly answered our VHF call around four am on Wednesday morning and two mariners were waiting to help us tie up along side the marina reception quay. After a celebratory beer, Wednesday being Martin’s birthday, with the drizzle turning much heavier the crew decided it was time for bed for a few hours before checking in, refuelling and moving Temptress to a proper berth, mid morning.

Our flights home to Belfast are booked for late on Saturday night. Now all that remains for the next couple of days is to clean the boat, make a few repairs, get the laundry done, pack our bags then clear any remaining perishables out of lockers and the fridge so the boat will be in good shape for our return in a month’s time.

Ships Log: Cartagena to Almerimar – 107 nm, Messolonghi to Almerimar – 1229nm

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