9th to 13th March 2018

We checked-in while Arthur spent 20 minutes asking endless questions of the lovely marina staff – “which one is our berth”, “are there any other catamarans”, “I saw a jellyfish. What type was it”, “how does the photocopier work”, “what’s that” and so on. That set the tone for the day, too. Arthur did not stop talking or thinking for a moment. I think he viewed the previous day as a wasted one, so wanted to cram in some extra learning. Theo also seemed 100% fine, and was his usual active and somewhat truculent self, while Charlotte was for the first time a bit land-sick and I (Dave) was, to put it mildly, sleepy.

Overall Rota has been a wonderful surprise. I love accidental destinations. The marina is quiet, relatively cheap (29 Euro a night for us during the winter season), has all the usual amenities including a proper (laundrette-style) washer and dryer. I won’t go into too much detail, but given the seasickness on our passage that ended here, handwashing would not have been pleasant, so yay laundry.

The town itself is lovely out of season – I get the feeling it would be very different in Summer. The Atlantic facing waterfront is huge and good for jellyfish spotting when the waves are crashing – they get washed up so the kids got a close-up look at a Portuguese Man of War or two (close enough for a local to wander over to check we knew what they were). There’s also a more sheltered beach facing the US Naval Yard (a double win for the kids). We could have spent much longer wandering around the town, as well – lots of historical buildings, narrow alleys and a nice “feel” to the place.

We also got some more boat jobs done and checked up on how a few things are working:

  • We now have a galvanic isolator fitted (a device that separates the shore-power Earth connection from the “boat” Earth connection, except in the case of an AC fault) to try and reduce our anode wastage. When in marinas if anyone (e.g. another boat or the dock) has a problem with their electrics, it can ruin your anodes in extra-quick time and if you don’t replace them quickly enough then go on to ruin more important things: propellors, seacocks and such. That was prompted as we noticed while on Culatra beach that the propeller anodes are in a bad way and need replacement – we will get these done soon after arriving in Rabat if we can either find a local diver, an air tank for Dave, or a slipway to dry out on.
  • The fridge is mostly-built, and the freezer is working fantastically well.
  • Having removed another dead Lead-Acid battery, we now have four 110Ah batteries which seem to be working OK. They are obviously nearing the end of their lives, so when another one goes I think we’ll look towards replacing them with a second Lithium-Ion bank.
  • Our chafe-tape stood up to the gusty winds experienced in the marina. We are trying out some UHWMDPE tape that, as long as you can get it to stick where it is needed, seems virtually immune to chafe. Given the winds and swell in the marina, and the state of a warp which we forgot to tape after one night, I’m glad to see this working so well.
  • The solar panels, which we fitted in a “temporary” fashion, have stood up well to 30kt winds on the beam (which put much more pressure on them than the bow-on winds experienced at Culatra). One of the stanchions seems a little loose, but the others and the dyneema connections to the guard rails are holding securely. So, all good until we work something up properly.

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