three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Mediterranean Sea – here we come!

Slowly, our helm enclosure was ready.

We had to stay longer than planned in Portimão, but on the upside we got to meet other sailors as the harbour became busier again in the spring. We spent some nice evenings with the “multihull group”: 2 catamarans, the SAN and another Neel 51.

The other Neel (Trinity One) was to be taken out of the water. They had an accident at a buoy near Faro. The current and wind were so unfavourable that the boat kept hitting the buoy with one of the outer hulls, creating a hole. The hole had only been provisionally sealed so far. The date for lifting the boat out of the water was postponed several times, but we were still able to help when the time came. The travel lift in Portimão is barely wider than a Neel trimaran. The Trinity One is younger than the SAN and has a working bow thruster as well as a stern thruster, but the extra helpers on board were still useful. The haul-out went well. Now the two owners have a lot of work to do ashore.

We bought Ultimate Diesel in canisters again (to avoid diesel pest), the tank is now full. The day-tank refuelling pump repaired. Further trips to Lidl and the new Continente filled our larders. Who knows when we’ll be able to go shopping again and what the prices will be then.

On Friday we met up with the other crews again for a meal, and on Saturday we (finally) set off. On the first day we only went as far as Faro, where we anchored just behind the breakwater. We made our way along the coast in day trips. We anchored at night so that we could get a good night’s sleep. The route took us through the area where the orcas actively attack ships. They ram the boats, move them or bite into the rudder blades. This can cause damage that renders the boat unable to manoeuvre. Boats that have been attacked have also sunk. It is recommended to stay as close to the coast as possible so that the water depth does not exceed 20 metres. The orcas do not like to stay there. Probably because they cannot attack from the bottom up. However, this area is also where most of the fish farms and nets are located, which were set out again from the beginning of April. This is another reason why we preferred to sail only during the day.

Here are pictures from the trip:

At Barbate, we travelled very close to the shore. At Zahara de los Atunes one has to go round the outside of a marked fishing area and into deeper water again for a while. We were a little nervous, but there were no orcas in sight. About 9 days after we passed that area was another attack on a boat and sightings of orcas in the area. We left Portimão just in time!

The orcas follow the tuna migrations and are therefore not in the waters off Portugal all year round, at least not in large numbers. It is not known why they started “playing” with sailing boats, but there are various theories. Recommendations on how to behave with your boat also change over time. There is a Telegram group in which sightings and attacks are announced. So you can keep yourself informed, if you have to sail through these waters:

A place steeped in history: Cap Trafalgar. This is where Lord Nelson fought 219 years ago.

A milestone for us: the Strait of Gibraltar!

We leave the Atlantic behind us and are now exploring the Mediterranean. The plan is to sail to Greece and spend a few weeks there in the summer.

Six days in Almerimar. Originally we wanted to leave the SAN here and fly to Germany together for a few weeks, but Mathias was invited to give a lecture in Munich at the beginning of June, so we postponed our stay in Germany. We didn’t want to stay here for that long, as we’ve only just got going again and the SAN is once again a sailing boat and not an island. In Almerimar, we had to park backwards with the stern facing the jetty, which wasn’t easy in the prevailing wind. It also blew quite hard for two days and we had to be careful that the stern wouldn’t be pushed against or under the concrete jetty.

The weather forecast was ok-ish when we set off. First anchorage Carboneras, then Cartagena and off Alicante.

On the way to Carboneras, we came across the Blue Clipper. We had met her for the first time on our outward journey on the Spanish north coast and shared the anchor bays there for a while, then we saw each other again in Portimão and now we saw her on the way back from the Balearic Islands. The Blue Clipper will continue back into the Atlantic and sail up to Scotland.

The anchorages near Cartagena were very rocky and didn’t look very inviting. We didn’t want to leave our boat alone here, so we decided not to visit the city. 

We went ashore in Alicante because the Carry On is moored there. James isn’t there, but we wanted to have a look because we’ve travelled a lot of nautical miles together with the Carry On. The area we saw from Alicante wasn’t particularly pretty. In general, the coastal strips here are often frighteningly densely crammed with high-rise buildings. Sometimes you wonder what kind of architects come up with these designs.

From Alicante, we stayed close to the coast for a while, this time because of the internet reception, before turning off towards the Balearic Islands. The route over to the islands is a bit too far for a day trip, so we had to do night time cruising again. Night time cruising is not only exhausting, it also provides a battleground for the best snacks. Only biscuits don’t always appeal. I was therefore looking forward to a leftover potato salad in the middle of the night. After rummaging through the fridge several times, I spotted the empty container in the washing up – the earlier night shift had beaten me to it! But, “selbst ist die Frau”, I warmed up beans with pears, the previous night shift can’t do that 😉 .

The Balearic Islands themselves offer hardly any anchoring possibilities and I had previously written to various marinas, all of which had replied that they had no space for us. The marinas there are too small for wide trimarans. Mathias was not happy, but by now he had his sea legs back and decided to simply sail through to Sardinia. Although we sailed past Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca (Internet), we didn’t stop. There are numerous anchorages in the north-east of Sardinia and also an airport with direct flights to Hamburg. So we will split up. Mathias will fly to Germany first and I’ll stay on the SAN, then I’ll fly at a later date while he looks after the boat.

Arrival in Sardinia at Alghero:

We will be staying in Sardinia for a while. Next blog: The journey to and exploration of the new anchorage.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Annette Wallace

    I’m still really enjoying your voyage of discovery. I wonder if there going to be a book after all this?
    We are finally having some better weather here in the UK, though all the gardens are behind. I can’t believe it is already June.
    Take care of yourselves.

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