19th November 2015: We had a real early – 6:30am start for our 55 nautical mile passage to Benalmadena. That’s a bit of a shock to the system after 3 weeks of sleep ins!! We are trying to make some miles today as the weather forecast is not looking very favourable for the next few days and we would like to make it to Gibraltar tomorrow.

It was pitch black when we set off but a brilliant sky of bright stars and a half moon! It was an easy anchorage to leave in the dark and the radar is a huge help. Robbie gave the big spot light a quick run but we didn’t really need it. Wind gauge was reading 5 knots of wind and the sea was very calm and flat. Starlet departed just after us.

I spent the day sorting out all our hard drives and saving all Robbie’s photos from his Samsung phone which is dying a slow death. I have made labels for them also so it (technically) should be a piece of cake to find something when we are looking for it!

We had a number of “Pan Pan” messages on the radio from the Spanish marine radio station stating that there is a small rubber duck from Morocco, with 25 people aboard drifting in the area and if we see it to please report back to them. The message starts with a very loud radio alarm that certainly wakes you up it is so loud. Around 12:30 we heard a message cancelling the Pan Pan so they must have located them. Thank goodness as it would be a difficult moral dilemma what to do if you came across a boat load of refugees. Trying to look after 25 refugees on our boat which is registered for 15 persons could be very tricky indeed. I hope we don’t come across this situation as we wouldn’t be able to ignore them.

We saw lots and lots of dolphins today which is delightful, it’s been a long time between drinks! Quite a few of them came and rode our bow wave for a while, it’s just such a lovely sight. Robbie had his fishing rods out pulling lures, and we went out a bit wider from the coast. Starlet asked us if we were looking for a shortcut. No doubt they will soon get used to Southern Star’s strange manoeuvres when Robbie has his rods out.

At 1:00pm the wind gauge is reading 1.2 knots, aaaaaah we just love this Southern Star weather!! We have had the current against us for most of the day, only getting 6 knots of speed, but it has just increased to 6.6 which is much better.

We always see lots of fishing trawlers (maybe that’s why we don’t catch any fish!) but today we saw this trawler pulling in his nets, and there were Dolphins swimming around the nets. We have never seen this before and we sincerely hope that they are not swimming so close because some of their mates are caught in the nets but they are hoping for some of the catch.

We dropped anchor at 3:30pm in 4 metres of water, just outside the marina at Benalmadena. Mark and Jennifer picked us up in their Dink (we call it a Duck) and we cruised into the marina, tied up the Dink and went for a drink and a short stroll. It’s a very picturesque setting with buildings that look very Arabic, set around the marina which is full of small boats.

 We saw a shop selling mini motorbikes which we first thought they would be a great size for the boat, but as Jennifer said “where are you going to put your legs?” We don’t have bicycles on board but we often think about it and then decide the hassle of storing them somewhere is too much.

Back to Southern Star and we cooked a Thai Chicken Green Curry and watched Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe. Hope we never see seas like that on our journeys!


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