Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Slow progress towards Gibraltar

One week there's too much wind, the next there's not a breath and now the wind has returned but from the wrong direction.

I left Cartagena early afternoon - later than intended after confusion with the "automatic" diesel pump; it took the marina staff three attempts to fix the pump before it would relinquish some of its fuel store.

Once full of fuel, water and food, I headed south and just before midnight anchored off a roly beach for the night. The following morning the forecast reported strong SW/W wind expected soon. I headed off before the wind whipped up the sea and arrived in good time to an anchorage off the headland of Cabo de Gata. The anchorage was so good it was almost as though it was designed to shelter those waiting to head west. As the wind shrieked through the anchorage I was thankful I suppressed my bravado and didn't try to press on to Gibraltar. We had trouble reaching Gibraltar almost 4 years ago; then we were heading east and the wind was typically blowing strongly from the east.

The next day's forecast again reported strong westerly winds but easing the following day. I stayed put and worked on the autopilot - it might just be fully functional by the time I make it back to the UK.

This morning I set off with, amazingly, an easterly wind. Once I'd poled out the genoa and set the main, the wind, typically, shifted to the west. The forecast though has been largely accurate with light westerly winds and a slight sea. I'm hoping to make the 160 mile trip to Gibraltar in one hop - saving a 40 mile detour into Malaga and back. The autopilot is steering a good course with the cockpit repeater working again, useful as I've temporarily "disabled" the chart-table controller - one step forward, two back...

Open, roly anchorage N37deg 11.8' W01deg48.4'
Playa de los Genoveses: N36deg 44.5' W02deg07.1'

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