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Las Gellates, dancing boats and fun with big winds in a Marina

This blog entry is mainly about parking, securing the boat safely and dealing with big winds in harbour. Las Gellates itself is barely worth writing about, the town is unremarkable and plain. The restaurants have a reputation (poor trip advisor reviews) which we found, first hand, to be true. We were pretty much ignored whilst waiting at the door of two so gave up and took a take away Pizza back to the boat. One redeeming feature of the place is a bar on the harbour wall just inside the Marina entrance – it is a fantastic location to watch the sunset. However one bar is not enough reason for us to go back, our advice is to avoid Las Gellates.

There is another problem with the harbour, the entrance to which is close to the Marina itself and not very well protected. Even in good weather there is a swell which rolls round the harbour entrance. We could tell this as soon as we were alongside the finger pontoon, it was clear we had a very mobile, dancing boat on our hands. A bit like an excited puppy, always on the go, forwards, backwards, bow out, stern out. Too avoid damaging the boat this makes tying it up extremely important, stern lines, bow line and if anyone had any doubt what spring lines do, they just needed to look at Nauticum in Las Gellates! For non sailing chums unlike bow and stern lines which attach the boat to the pontoon, forward and stern spring lines stop the boat moving backwards and forwards (not completely with a dancing boat, but at least they stop the boat hurting itself). We also needed an un orthodox additional stern line across the back of the transom (back of the boat) to the pontoon to stop the boat lurching side wards and clattering one of the large pontoon metal support poles.

The next morning on leaving, once again there wasn’t much room, the wind had increased and there was still a fair bit of dancing going on. This meant some real thought about which lines to remove first and last – even more critical when there’s only two of you and there’s not much space when driving out. To exacerbate things we were also downwind so I knew getting steerage quickly before coming a cropper would make it even more entertaining.

Anyhow all was well, though I say so myself I think we made a pretty good job of it.

After leaving the harbour we found ourselves in about 15 Knots of wind, completely down wind with a bit of a swell. I decided there was little point in putting the main sail up, we didn’t have far to go , so we un-furled the jib. We made 6 knots plus, ghosting along, just beautiful, a nice relaxing way to end the holiday – until we got to Marina San Miguel!

By the time we entered the harbour the wind was above 20 Knots. We needed Diesel and the fuel pontoon already had a boat on it. Windage on the boat alone meant I needed the engine in reverse just to stand still in the Marina entrance, where there’s barely room to swing a cat. The wind then got much stronger, gusting to 27-28 Knots, making it a very challenging piece of close quarters manoeuvring!

We turned around 180 into the wind (making standing still easier) and ascertained that the fuel man hadn’t arrived. A chap in a rib then appeared who I couldn’t understand but definitely seemed to be telling me what I couldn’t do (park on another pontoon which turned out to be for the tourist submarine which arrived 5 minutes later). However he did then helpfully suggest I raft up along side the boat already on the fuel pontoon. Then rather amusingly it turned out he was in fact the Diesel man! Anyhow all fuelled up we departed from the boat we were rafted too and parked up without drama, which given the 25 Knot + wind we were pretty pleased with.

It just goes to show how quickly things can change at sea!

Two pictures to finish, firstly Los Abrigos, which the last time we were there it rained so hard there were rivers flowing down the street. Secondly a selfie on the back of the boat.

Finishing this back in Milton Keynes, already dreaming of our next adventure. More of that in June.

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