We had some electrical issues and decided to address them first before continuing.
Aug 27, 0835h
Our plan today, was sailing to Bizerte, Tunisia. Tunisia categorized Spain, effectively today, as high risk (red) country. This means no landing is allowed for anyone coming from Spain.
We are sailing now to Ragusa, Italy. This is in the south of Sicily. Always wanted to go there anyway. Our eta is Sept 1 in the morning.
In Ragusa we might have to take a PCR test. After 14 days in Italy we could go to Tunisia.
Gibraltar to Almerimar (Aug 22).
(posted Aug 27)
We left Gibraltar with a bit of sadness. Due to Covid-19 we didn’t dare to go down-town and mingle with all the other tourists.
Motoring south the Bahia de Algeciras, the rock showed itself from the best side. A small cloud shrouded the rock.
The distance from Gibraltar to Almerimar is 136nm. Our sailed distance through water was only 109nm. The difference was the current pushing us with 2knots for most of the trip. Coming from Gibraltar we initially headed SE some miles to pick-up the current and then drifted a la Crush NE to Almerimar. The PredictWind current projection was spot on.
Crush the turtle and Squirt riding the East Australian Current in ‘Finding Nemo’.
Soon after leaving the Straits of Gibraltar the wind calmed down towards 0-wind in the evening.
26 hours after leaving Gibraltar we arrived in Almerimar. We had star lit skies with no moon. Fish jumping at night. A magical ride again.
Our first real trip this year and as usual the preparations kept us busy over the last weeks. We had some unwanted surprises, but that’s actual life.
For our galley we designed a custom made white tempered glass plate. This plate was supposed to function as a base for the new induction plate we had temporarily installed. When we fitted the glass plate, we noticed that it was bending up at the corners, rendering the piece unusable.
We improvised making a plywood frame and painted it with white bilge paint
We improved the main sheeting system, which broke last year on our way to Madeira. We strengthened the hardware and modified the sheeting system.
We had hoped for one night rest on the service dock after the fuel exchange.
Early afternoon we were told to leave. Going direct to Gibraltar instead of anchoring again was a quick decision. Needed to fuel and got going 1600h. We passed our anchorage in Farragudo/Portimao and said good-bye to our friends on Lir.
1700h we were out of Portimao and settled into sealife. Wind was good from behind and we sailed only with the Genoa doing around 5.5kts. Lazy and relaxed sailing.
Night fell and our stowaway (do I have to report him/her to immigration?) climbed up its net back to safety.
Stowaway. Onboard for some weeks already.
During my watch around midnight, I shone a flashlight aft and saw 1000s of small fish jumping in our wake. Their eyes reflected the light in a reddish color and left trails on the picture. The scene went on for half an hour.
We headed to Gibraltar on the northern side of the Straits, squeezing close by Tarifa. We were a little late for the optimal tidal window. As we came over shallower water, the current picked up several knots until we stood still over ground – against us naturally 🙁
Turning into deeper water solved the issue.
After nightfall and short before entering the Bay of Algeciras, the Gibraltar anchorage for large vessels, dense fog rolled in. Considering the ship traffic in the Straits, we thought it would be safer to continue the last 6nm to Alcaidesa Marina. Motoring at 2kts speed, with the help of Radar, AIS and other devices we inched up the bay in total darkness and 50m visibility. We entered the marina without seeing the seawall and continued to the fuel dock. On the last 4 or 5 boat length from the dock, the fog lifted, and we docked with the help of two marineros at 0400h.
We slept for two hours, checked in the marina office and continued to our final dock and went to bed again. This time we will not do any sightseeing, even so the ice-age museum is so tempting for me.
Tomorrow morning (August 22) we continue to Almerimar.
300L diesel in our starboard tank were contaminated with dirt and water. After two years of refueling while adding anti Diesel bug additives, we had the choice to fuel polish (which is a filtering and water separation process) or pump out all fuel, clean the tank and replace it with fresh diesel.
‘Slick Hull’ pumped the tank out (company in Portimao) and cleaned it. We had 3 hour express service.
Afterwards we filled with initial 60L of fresh diesel and completed the rest at the boat gas station. Interesting the tank gauge showed still empty even when you could see 60L of Diesel swapping around of the tank bottom 🙂
We love her too much.
While servicing our engines, the technician found our starboard diesel filter seriously contaminated with gum and dirt. Upon further inspection, the starboard diesel tank has a lot of water! 🙁
The wise decision is to postpone our departure for one more day and address the issue. Hence, our docking on the service dock in Portimao. To me this docks looks more like a boat graveyard.
Tomorrow (Aug 18) technicians will pump out the starboard tank. Open it and clean the inside. After that, pumping fresh diesel through the fuel line system will clean the fuel lines. That diesel too will be removed and garbage 🙁
We knew for a while we had a diesel bug problem, since fueling 50L in Tangiers, Morocco in 2018 (only the starboard tank – thank god)
But, today we had to realize, that despite all the chemical additives the tank needs a more solid cleaning. We are loosing 300L Diesel because of contamination. Need 20L to clean and flush fuel lines and then fill the tanks with fresh (hopefully) 300L new diesel.
Wednesday morning we’ll leave – fingers crossed. That’s our current planning, if weather and tidal times in the Straits of Gibraltar make this a sensible departure. We probably have to catch up on the time lost by sailing straight to Sicily.