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Author: David Beck

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5th July to 11th July 2018

After a simply horrible sail straight into 20 knots of wind and a lumpy sea, we arrived at the anchorage next to Castillo San Gabriel. Having picked out a sandy patch in 4m of water not far from the harbour entrance we dumped out plenty of chain and were secure immediately. There were another 3 boats in the anchorage, with room for a couple more – we tentatively picked out a more sheltered spot closer to the castle in case swell was a problem. It wasn’t, so we stayed in place for the following days.

There is a very convenient set of steps, marked as the “muelle chico” on most maps and just to the right of the Club Nautico. They are particularly useful when the trade winds are blowing as the second set of steps is very sheltered (note: inaccessible at very low tides), even when out in the harbour is decidedly not-sheltered. From the steps it is a very short walk to large bins from which you can see a reasonable supermarket (a Spar). And a 5 minute walk around to the main beach area as well as all other city amenities.

Note that a longer-term resident of the anchorage locked his dinghy to a secure railing (with a chain), as there have been thefts of unsecured dinghys and outboards. We didn’t have a suitable lock, or a particularly valuable dinghy/outboard, so after confirming that our insurance would pay out we just tied up as normal. No problems, although a lady who was sunbathing (and imbibing) did take Arthur’s dump truck out of the dinghy, and was awaiting her son who was on his way to collect it when Dave got back to the dinghy…

While we were here, Nana B visited for a couple of days, bearing gifts (well, things we had bought but had delivered to her) as is always the case when family members visit cruisers. The new opening portlight will be particularly appreciated by me and Charlotte to improve airflow through the saloon; the fruit yoyos made the larger children delighted as always.

The beach here is excellent for new swimmers – even Theo could wade out a good distance at most states of tide to play his new favourite water game, bob. The game involves walking out to such a depth that he has to tilt his head back to breathe, then “bobbing” up and down with the waves in order to not drown. As you can imagine, its delightful to watch (we are not allowed to help).

Charlotte and Arthur got our new sewing machine out to sort out the hems on a very cheap piece of fabric we had picked up in Rabat. Planning is underway for a more substantial boom tent, made of ripstop nylon, which will save the kids wearing their ‘Octosuits’ (SPF 50) when playing water-games in the cockpit (and hopefully cut our internal temperatures down a touch on windless days).

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