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Sailing Letter January 2015

Wave heights 8+ meters

January, 2015  Almerimar

Now January has passed. The coldest month in Almerimar, so far. Snow on the mountains surrounding us, but 14-20 degrees at the coast. We have had a couple of cold nights, +2 degrees, where the water based heating has been working perfectly. The water temperature is now, end January, down to +15 degrees, but still necessary to keep the beer in the fridge. We have also survived a major storm with 74 knots gusts (Force 12 or 38 m/s). Not nice. We calculated the number of times we have endured the same magnitude during our almost 19 years onboard and that is 4-5. 3 in the home harbor of Långedrag, Sweden. All went well but we crashed one fender and so did the neighboring boat. We are placed too close to one another in this harbor, to my opinion, but the piers makes good shelter so it is the violent gusts that are consuming fenders and mooring lines rather than waves from swell or wind.

January has also been a time for some social events, visiting and having visits from neighboring boats. In early January, the 6’th, the 3 Kings came to visit all children in Almerimar. Big hullabaloo in the harbor area since the Kings came by boat. The transport on land was arranged with horses and nice carriages with people dressed according to the Kings, spreading candies to all children (and boats) in the area.

We have made trips by car to some close by areas, among other things visiting Spain Hollywood, the place where all “spaghetti westerns” are made. Besides famous Spanish and Italian actors, Clint Eastwood has made this region famous. On the way, we passed Nijar, with a nice market, one of Spain’s biggest solar parks and the village Lucainena where the movie “3 came to town” was made.

This first month of 2015 has been spent on small and big projects on the boat. We have:

  • Installed a deck outlet for one of our toilette tanks. A heavy and difficult task which has to be done before entering some of the countries in East Med.
  • Varnishing of 2 port hole wood garnish and some other wooden parts in the galley/kitchen
  • Changed shower equipment
  • Painting of anchor chain
  • Installed wireless control to anchor windlass
  • Changing and painting of hoses/drainpipes from deck, and sea water pump
  • Replaced glycol to water heating system
  • Mending of clothes: everything is worn, especially shorts since we now use them 11 months a year instead of 2 (as in Sweden).
  • Plugging and caulking deck

During one of the exercises, the chain painting, Eva went overboard. We had taken away the ladder and the anchor to climb on, so when Eva was trying (!!) to get onboard she slipped and fell into the water (temp +16 degrees). On the way down she had a close encounter with the anchor and then jetty, resulting in huge black marks and scrape marks on one leg and the back. “Grounded” with long trousers for 2 weeks to avoid suspicion of woman abuse (smile). We are glad that all went well and now she (Eva) is up and running as usual. A bit worrying though
that the marina is almost without ladders.

Nature

  • We are still enjoying the mountain scenarios that we see when traveling from the coast to the villages inland. The closest mountains are now snowcapped, and we follow the expansion daily, having booked a ski-tour end February.
  • We start to see some new flowers, since this is regarded as the green season. One of them is a very bright yellow small 4 petal flower, found almost on every slope, like our wood anemone (Sw. Vitsippa) that we find at home in beginning May.
  • Also worth reporting is that the White Wagtails (Sw. Sädesärla) are ready to take off for Sweden. They are now so well fed that their ground clearance is at the minimum (smile).
  • Peter just reported that the amount of snow and cold weather is the coldest for the last 3 years. We are so happy to have been choosing Almerimar!

Gastronomy

  • We brought along Hans, who has been living in Spain 40+ years, originally from Stockholm, to Arroyo de Celin, a countryside restaurant, famous for its “Choto”, goat kid stews. Fantastic, tender meat.
  • Chris and Aggie, our boat neighbors’, hosted a curry dinner on their ship Driké. Great food and company!
  • We have invested in an “orange squeezer”, so every morning we enjoy fresh juice.
  • This area is called the “Mar de Plastic”, due to the many greenhouses covered with a plastic roof. The last 30-40 years this area has grown rapidly, now supporting most of Europe with vegetables. Mainly tomatoes and pepper fruits. We enjoy fresh salad, fantastic peppers in all colours and sizes, lemon not like anything you get “back home”, beans in all shapes and forms etc. This gives us the opportunity to eat good food, mostly onboard. We tend to take a tapa (a beer with some small snacks) at lunch and make our own dinner with all the nice things we find in the supermarket.

Until next time – hasta luego

BR Eva, Peter

Costa del Viento


Screenshot_2015-01-30-09-05-51Apparently, this coast, before being named “Costa del Sol”, was named “Costa del Viento”, ie the coast of winds. Forecasts for this weekend is a fresh gale. Luckily, we are moored ideally for the expected wind direction, “Poniente” meaning Westerly. Here is a clip of a 2008 violent storm (courtesy Chris Southwood, our neighbour). For comfort and sound sleep we will add a couple of 38 mm Polyprop lines tomorrow before the blow.

Solar Power and Spaghetti Western

Part of the solar power plant. Ondulation of the panels  (we think) is to avoid wind damage

Our ambition with todays country side drive was to check out Nijar, a very typical Andalusian mountain village about 80 km from the Marina. By coincidence, it was the Nijar market day, with a lot of tempting produce like local wine, olive oil, homemade chorizo, etc. After some tasting, we ended up buying local wine from Lucar, Almeria. We had some vague information about Lucainena de las Torres. A mountain village further north about 40 mins drive from Nijar. The road was a bit scary with very few fences and a rather steep and narrow cliff road in places. We managed to make it all the way in one piece. On the way we came close to a very impressing solar power plant. It seems Andalusia, with Europes most optimal location re days of sunshine, is a hot spot when it comes to solar power research. We passed several plants of 10-30 MW conventional solar panels arrays and also concentrating solar power systems that demonstrates sophisticated storage of energy  in molten salt mixture. Anyway – after a lot of “wow, gosh” etc, we found our nice mountain village. Very beautiful!

Almond tree blossom

Almond flower

Today we made our regular trip to Felix, the mountain village where we get our fresh mountain water from a public well. We were joined by Ann-Sofie and Anders, Swedish marina neighbours. Last night had brought a fresh snow cap covering the mountains down to about 800 meters. We have heard about the Almond trees starting their blossom period in January and today we could see the first trees with white / pink flowers. We have been told that in a couple of weeks, whole valleys will be coated in white / pink as Andalucia is a major region of Almond production in Spain.

ISO 8099:2000

Deck fitting mounted,  finally done!

Deck fitting mounted, finally done!

Finally done. A project we didn’t look forward to. Since a number of years, in parts of the Med and from this year in Sweden, recreational boats have to be able to retain and dispose of “black water” (toilet waste) at pump out facilities. Certainly I believe this is the way to go, even though I am sceptic to the apparent lack of planning from legislators. Many marinas have in excess of 1000 moorings. Majority of boat use is concentrated to weekends and holiday periods. Imagine 100 boats waiting “in queue” Sunday afternoon. Also, authorities, at least in Baltic waters, appear to exclude cruising ferries from this law, meaning 20 cubic meters of sewage content emptied in these waters, per mega ferry per day. Please correct me if I am wrong! Anyway – project completed. About  20 hours of work, due to changing mounts, through deck fitting, welding hose outlet on top of tank, changing vent pipe, hose etc. The headline refers to the applicable ISO / EN standard. Strangely you have to pay twice to get hold of this ISO Standard, once through paying tax, secondly when you need to get hold of specific standards. Think this is deemed illegal in US, thus free sea charts covering all US waters. Here is a link (sorry in Swedish) covering this standard and different ways to implement.

Cheers

Peter&Eva

Our tiny 70 liter holding tank - now possible to empty from deck! Imagine the size of the corresponding tank of a mega cruising line ferry... Or maybe the don't have a holding tank at all?

70 liter holding tank – now possible to empty from deck!

Cabalgata (Epiphany Eve festivity)

Used to be Camels - now the Kings use a Princess motor yacht for transport

Used to be Camels – now the Kings use a Princess motor yacht

We got some hints about the festivities of January 5th but we were not fully prepared and didn’t do our homework in advance. The ”Los Reyes Magos” (The three Kings) came to our small village and the streets were filled with excited kids in anticipation of Christmas presents. In Spain, each one of the Magos is supposed to represent one different continent, Europe (Melchior), Asia (Caspar) and Africa (Balthasar).The Cabalgata caravans cruised along the marina roads with the kids throwing candy on the spectators and boat crews.

Sailing Letter December 2014

XMas wish list sign off queue with Santa Claus

Now we have passed 2014 and entered 2015. Only local holiday left is Jan 6 which is the time all kids in Spain get their presents.  Christmas was enjoyed onboard Tina with a small Christmas table, including Janson’s temptations, gingerbread and a fire burning in the wood stove. New Year ’s Eve was also spent on board with a, for us traditional, Japanese fondue. We then took a stroll ashore and celebrated the change in year at our favourite UK bar together with a lot of Englishmen. They celebrated English new year once again at 1 o’clock to be in sync with UK. December started with nice weather and 20 degrees.  Peter has done a lot of jogging (20+ kilometer/week) and I have tried to run at least 2 times per week, also using the outdoor gym (!!) to keep my muscles and knuckles in order. Since my mum has rheumatism I try to prevent that to happen to me. We finally bought new bicycles, this time with bigger wheels, and took them for a nice ride to the Salt water lakes to look for Flamingoes. Of course accompanied by a nice bottle of white wine which we enjoyed looking out over the water. Every 10-th day we drive to Felix (mountain village at 800 meters altitude) to fetch mountain well drinking water. It is so much better than the water in the marina and we get a nice car ride at the same time. Mid December the temperature at night started to go down to +10 degrees. We have therefore had a good use of our wood burner and the water based electrical heatingsystem. Day temperature is still decent 15-20 degrees which means shorts and t-shirt. What is most rewarding for a Swedish soul, used to grey and rainy days in Göteborg,  is that the sun is shining at least 13 out of 14 days and mostly from a clear blue sky. No rain. December 13, Lucia came to visit: i.e. our Swedish neighbours AnneSophie and Anders. White clothes, singing, ginger bread and “lussebulle” (a typical Swedish bun made with saffron). Christmas Eve we listened at the new Spanish King’s speech and the speech of the Pope – at least a couple of minutes. We have used the rental car a lot to look at the surroundings:

  • El Ejido market: clothes and vegetables/fruit
  • Roquetas de Mar. Close to Almerimar with good facilities for shopping DIY’s. Down at the waterside is a nice place for tapas, overlooking the bay.
  • Cartagena: we spent two nights there, really enjoying this old city. Remains exist from all different “owners” of Spain. Especially interesting was the roman amphitheater. It was found in the 1990s under some old sheds and houses in the poorer part of the city. It is now a huge museum. Cartagena also has a very sheltered harbor. It is the home for the Spanish Mediterranean naval base as well as 2 big marinas. We will definitely moor there on our way east this spring.
  • Mojacar: on our way back to “home” we spent one night here. A very old village situated on a hilltop close to the sea. White houses and narrow streets gave a cosy feeling. We drove along the coastline down to the Cabo de Gata nature Reserve and the road took us through some very scenic places. As always we are struck by how empty Spain is. Except for the small villages here and there it is mostly deserted or farmland.
  • Celin: close to Almerimar, a couple of hundred meters up the mountains is a small village with possibilities to walk in yet another nature reserve. Here is also the famous restaurant where they serve “Choto” (baby goats dishes). The restaurant is close to one of the springs with fresh mountain water.
  • Berja: another small village close to Almerimar. Last time we visited the nature reserve outside Berja and we have also visited Villavieja, old remains from the Roman empire.

Nature

  • Our Piri-Piri, Thyme and Oregano are closing down for winter and the Rosemary finally got a “sea burial” this month
  • White-headed Duck (Sw. Kopparand)
  • Poinsettia (Sw. Julstjärna) are planted everywhere now at Christmas time
  • In the harbor we have observed. 2 parrots ( green),one grey heron, some Mallards ( sw. Gräsänder), Black-headed Gull ( sw. Skrattmås). We see few Seagulls (sw. Mås), Crows (sw. Kråkor) or Magpies ( sw. skator), therefore the dustbins are open, compared with Göteborg where those have to be closed to keep them safe from the birds.

Gastronomy

  • Lamb neck with savoy cabbage: we get better and better at explaining for the butcher what we want. Slow food is still our thing and with the pressure cooker it goes quicker.
  • Jansson’s temptation ( Sw. Janssons frestelse) a must at Christmas. Unfortunately the most important ingredient anchovy Swedish style is not to be found in Spain, but we came close with a “anjo picante” somewhat hotter but good enough.
  • For tapas Eva is now experimenting with all sorts of beans: you can get white beans, brown beans ( similar to Swedish bruna bönor) or green beans. All with bacon and/or chorizo, slow cooked.
  • We have found a Russian shop here in Almerimar, so now we can try pickled cucumber, Swedish style, as well as Kimshi ( sour cabbage Korean style)

Until next time – hasta luego BR Eva, Peter

Blog stats 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Julbrev 2014

022

God Jul till er alla

Sedan ett antal år har vi fått personligt skrivna ”Jul brev”. Detta har glatt oss och gjort oss sugna på att göra något liknande. Detta är vårt första försök med ett Julbrev, dvs en personlig sammanfattning av året som gått. ”Vi pröver” som norrmännen säger.

Året startade med att vi bägge tog beslutet att bryta med det invanda och sade upp oss, respektive ansökte om frivillig avgång från våra respektive arbeten. Jag tror alla förstår att detta var ett svårt beslut, vi hade bägge bra tjänster med intressanta arbetsuppgifter och fantastiska kollegor.  Samtidigt gnagde i bakhuvudet möjligheten att göra vad vi innerst inne hade hade haft som mål i cirka 10 år, att kasta loss, utan begränsningar i tid, utan ett fixt mål. Vi tog chansen.

Jag, Peter, hamnade först ut i det nya. Den  1 Mars fick jag möjligheten att ”jobba på varv”. Vår båt, Tina Princess, var sedan oktober 2013 i Långedrags Teknik’s vårdnad för osmosbehandling och motorbyte.  Under ca 2 månader fick jag en fantastisk möjlighet att jobba med båten, under tak, i värme, och lära mig massor av mycket kunninga proffs på LTAB.  I april anslöt Eva och bidrog med avveckling av våra sista landburna ägodelar samt förberedelse av en vernissage av sin hobby, silversmidet. Försäljningen blev en succé med många besökare och slutsålt. Vad gäller prylar, trodde vi att vi hade gjort oss av med det mesta,men det blev många resor till tippen, annonser på blocket och 2 helgers sittande framför diabilder för att rensa.

Några av våra seglarvänner som tidigare lämnat Långedrag för långseglig tipsade oss om att inte ”smyga iväg” när dagen för avsegling kom. Alltså fick vi ca 25 av våra vinterboende kompisar i GKSS att tränga ihop sig i Tina en regning kväll i maj. Jätteroligt och känslomässigt tufft. Vi har bott ganska exakt 18 år i olika båtar i GKSS, året runt, med många minnen av underbara solnedgångar, orkan, bastukvällar, långbord på seglarkrogen osv. Vi saknar denna gemenskap. Ett par dagar senare, den 11:e maj hade vi  ”öppen båt” med arbetskamrater, familj, vänner. Jättetrevligt igen med fler trevliga människor. På väg ut ur hamnen blev vi ”påsprutade” av räddningstjänstens brandbåt och avtutade av Muckle Fluggas antika ”foghorn” , fantastiskt minne! Vi gick endast några sjömil första kvallen, för att pusta ut. 12:e maj lämnade vi Vrångö och Sverige, exakt 18 år efter att vi flyttat in i båt 1996.

Seglingen därefter har varit ungefär så underbar som vi räknat med, vädret har varit behagligt under de ca 2700 sjömilen vi seglat. Det tog några dagar tills vi fick fint väder, men sedan har vi haft en bekväm tur ner genom europa.  Strålande varmt i Danmark, lite mer blandväder i Tyskland och Holland. Vi hade under planeringen haft ett antal platser vi ville se innan vi lämnade ”kända vatten”, bla a Helgoland och alla Havssulor. Här fick vi till ett fint minne i form av en liten film som ligger på nätet.

Eva hade tidigare önskat säga hej då till kompisar i Belgien, så en tur till Oostende  var inplanerad. Vi lyckades fixa detta med en trevlig eftermiddag i glada vänner lag, som resultat. Segling består mycket av att träffa nya människor och senare säga adjö till dessa, för att eventuellt se dem någon annan stans, tid och plats obestämd.

När vi passerat alla kända vatten och angjorde Camaret Sur Mer i Frankrike, kände vi för första gången att vi var  ”på väg”. En plats som såg ut som alla andra vi sett på våra resor där vi muttrat – tänk att få angöra med egen båt här – och nu var det sant.

Norra Spanien bev första stället vi tillbringade längre tid i (fantastiskt), Portugals kust passerade vi ganska snabbt och snart var vi i närheten av medelhavet. Vi planerade för vädret (försökte undvika 40 grader i medelhavet) och fick en fin segling till vår tilltänkta vinterplats.

Vi har nu under ca 3 månader bott in oss i Almerimar, en solsäker by i sydöstra Costa del Sol, Andalusien, Spanien.  Här anväder vi bil för att bese vårt närområde, Andalusien, vilket är fantastiskt. Vi inser att det är bättre att se ett mindre område ordentligt än att ”bredspackla” så mycket som möjligt. Det kommer förmodligen att bli vårt sätt att resa.

Vad har vi funnit hittills:

  • Vi uppskattar att inte behöva använda en massa kläder (det är fortfarande shorts som gäller dagtid)
  • Vi träffar en massa roliga människor
  • Vi klarar av att lösa problem på språk vi inte kan
  • Vi lär oss om natur och länder, något som har varit en av drivkrafterna för detta projekt
  • Stopptiden i Almerimar har gett oss tid att växla ner från 5:ans växel till 4:an. Man behöver inte göra saker hela tiden……
  • VI kliver upp med solen, vilket betyder 8.30 här nere J

Vår plan för 2015 är att efter lite båtunderhåll i Februari, Mars,  segla via Balearerna, Korsika/Sardinien, Italien, Grekland till Turkiet, som förmodligen blir vår nästa vinterbas. Vi kommer att använda lärdomen att stanna längre på en plats och hoppa andra.

Ni som är i medehavet i närheten av var vi befinner oss, hör av er så kanske vi kan träffas. Vi vill gärna hålla kontakten, om det går.

Vi önskar er alla en riktigt god Jul och ett Gott Nytt År

Feliz Navidad y Prospero año Nuevo

Peter & Eva

New category – Our Boat – a summary of key systems in use on Tina Princess

When ALL heating systems were in use!

A day when ALL heating systems were in use!

Our yacht is a Hallberg-Rassy 49 built 1987, no 45.

Designer Olle Enderlein / Christoph Rassy
Length overall 14.96 m
Beam 4.42 m
Draught 2.2 m
Displacement , net 18.000 kg
Kiel weight 8.000 kg
Height of  mast above waterline 21.5 m

Sail area, Main+Jib  118 sqm
Gennaker 180 sqm

Engine Yanmar 4LHA, 160 hp
Bowprop Vetus, 2x4kw
Anchor Windlass Lewmar V4
Bow Anchor, Lewmar 40 kg Delta SS Duplex
Diesel tank 765 l

Water tank 1400 l
Watermaker Blue Wave (currently not in use)

Raymarine plotter E95 & C125
Raymarine instruments  i70 & p70
Raymarine radar RD424D 4KW RADOME
Raymarine Autopilot ST7000
AIS True Heading CTRX Transceiver

Victron 3 x 100W Solarpanels
Sunbeam SP100,  2 x 100W Solarpanels
SW Exergon 2 x 50W Solarpanels
Silent Wind generator 400W
Whisper Power  3500, 3kw aux generator
Mastervolt 24V60A, 2kw Charger/Inverter
Mastervolt  12V25Ax3 Charger

Eberspächer 5 kw diesel heater (air)
Nibe 3x1kw electrical heater (water radiators)
Viking 82 stove, ~ 3 kw (solid fuel)

Wirie, integrated wifi antenna, accesspoint and router, omnidirectional
Ubiquitous + TPlink router, directional
TPlink MiFi router, AP + EuroSim roaming 3G service
Inmarsat Isatphone Pro + Mailsail service satellite phone
Yaesu SSB Receiver
Sailor Compact RT2047 VHF

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