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Amberella goes Atlantic, Sailing adventure 2002 - part two

Monday 22 July 2002 Also today a steadily blowing west wind. We remain optimistically and prepare us for a new excursion into the old part of town.
Nina loves to go shopping for little items, or presents. Again our lunch is taken in a spanish Tapas Bar. „Cafe Bonbon“, that is Espresso with sweat condensed milk, and cakes round our meal off and later we stroll by the lanes of Tarifa.
We visit a travel agency and an InterNet cafe were I gather information about the airline connections from Seville. to Zurich, Switzerland and/or to Berlin, Germany.
The travel agency can find only favorable flights from Malaga. In the InterNet Cafe I look for EasyJet® tickets and other possibilities of the cheap airlines and play through all possibilities.
We have left our children with their grand parents in Germany. So our plan is to fly back to Germany, or at least one party of us, Nina or me, pick them up and take the already booked night train back to Zurich.


Tuesday 23 July 2002 The sky is covered and the wind remains with forecast westerly wind. Nevertheless we dare to set sail and plan to reach at least the port of Barbate. From that spot we would be in a better position to sail in one attempt through the passage near Cap Trafalgar, the so called "wave valley".
We leave Tarifa at 1000 o'clock, the time were we have now the tidal currents on our side. By the covered sky we hope in addition that the westerly wind, usually stronger in the afternoon would be somewhat lightened. We clear the anchor and round the peninsula Tarifa. We take a course of 292° , run with engines and sail with the support of main and jib against the wind turning coming in from northwest. The sea is moderate, somewhat light and we advance with the help of the current going with us. After some 5 miles we turn off the engine, and sail into the bay in front of Barbate. We are not really on course approx.. 330°, but we are tired of the engine noise. Before Barbate we decide to set more sails and change course, because according to the maps a big fishing net is laid out here.Our course is now 210°. Then the current begins to run against us and we need the engine to help keeping the speed.

Near Cap Trafalgar we must navigate precisely, since numerous rocks and wild currents have made this cap famous for ship wrecks. With sufficient distance from the Cap, we are save. 2. Knots current is against us. Andrea of SY Kilmeny is again calling on the radio and supplies us with current information to the tidal situation.

Each full hour we are calling each other on the radio. We keep our speed always a little in such a way that we remain in the proximity. Near the Cap the wind turns a little more westerly and we can set sails again. First we make only 2,5 knots good, sailing against the current . Andrea can approach us under engine but soon Amberella sails under main sail, genoa and jib with 4 knots against the countercurrent.
Long ago we have past behind our goal to reach port Barbate. If the conditions would change to the worse, we could still sail back.

But this was easy sailing, so we kept on going. Our next goal was the town Conil. From here there is only a 7 miles leg to Sankti Petri, a lagoon which we wanted to visit the next day. In order to enter that lagoon, one had to be sure to get the right tide and weather.
So Conil was a good starting point.

Before we reach the beach of the city we look for Conils port. We continue our journey somewhat uncertain, sailing close along the coast and find the breakwater of the port further north below the Cap Roche. The port seems good for us, but the jetty is occupied with fishing trawlers, connected in threesome packages . Further inside we measure only 2 meters of depth. That is not enough for Amberella.
We decide to stay outside of the port with 3 meter depth of water at let the anchors go. The anchorage is interspersed with stones, but since the wind is dropping to almost zero strength, we decide to use this place for a short stay. The beach line and it’s impressive rock massive remind me somewhat on my early trips to Australians South Coast in 1996. Especially with the sun setting now and the red glow of those cliffs.
Later in the evening we calculate the tides for the following day and go to sleep in a mirror like calm Atlantic Ocean.


Wednesday 24. July 2002 The short leg from Conil to St. Petri is only 12 miles. Before the entrance into the river mound we must pay attention to many sand banks. Andrea with Kilmeny is showing the way. She has been visiting this place a few time already.
The sand banks shift their position every year and no map can help for sure. Near the lagoon, almost passing the banks we notice active traffic in the lagoon entrance. Dozens of yachts anchor lined up to the right, wind surfer, dingis and jet skis drive cross and crosswise by the channel. After we pass the channel safely and anchor in shallow water, we get immediately ready for a little excursion.
The fishing village Sancti Petri is a completely deserted ghost village. It experienced a short boom in to 40's the 50's, when plenty of tuna fish was available. It deceased when fishing was no longer lucrative. The entire village was given up and one can walk by the empty houses and lanes and only imagine the past active life.
Now after years of neglect the tourism industry is about to arouse this village again. We hope that the place remains untouched for some time. So far only Spaniards use to come on weekend and some surfing schools come here and make use of the ideal and stable wind conditions in the lagoon. Fascinated I watch a wind surfer usinga para glider and a surf board gliding and jumping in full speed over the waves.


25 July 2002 Another day in paradise St.. Petri. We enjoy .
Just in the morning at ebb-tide we visit the close by island and its old castle. This used to be a military watch point back in the days of old. Now the island belongs to the sea gulls. The beach is covered with washed out stones of strange forms.
Nina and Andrea are busy collecting shells and I explore the Castle and its separate buildings. The northward point of the island is formed to strange shapes by the surf. A while field of cliffs and little water pools has been formed by the endless coming and going of the water.
I jump from cliff to cliff and observe the numerous crabs and fishes who have been captures by little pools of water, waiting for the sea to come back.
We spend most of the morning at this island until the first tourist arrive with rented sea canoes. The afternoon is spend at the beach bar, and later we go beach walking again until the evening is spend on board SY Kilmeny with Andrea.


Friday 26. July 2002 a short sail to Cadiz, with ideal weather. First we have little wind and help Amberella with the engine, but as the sea is picking up later in the morning we have a perfect sail into the large bay of Cadiz. The port is enormous is size. We find a little free hiding place at the north mole of the yacht harbor. Free parking.!
We anchor and set a second anchor to counter any wind changes and to be sure to leave for a walk into town.
Then Cadiz is explored. With an age more than 3000 years this old city has his own charm. Small lanes, but 3-4 store building in colonial style with many multicolored balconies form the old part of town. Numerous churches and surprising places round off the fantastic picture.
We visit the small town tower named Tavira and watch its famous „camera obscura“, the roofs of the city and all objects of interest. The „camera“. consists of a mirror attached to the roof of the tower and a parabolic reflector as projector screen. One can observe the roofs of the entire city.
In the afternoon Andrea shows us her favorite tapas bar and we sit there almost 2 hours having a feast.


Later we get a call from Sergio from Seville. He, his girl friend Gogi (Begonia) and daughter Candela will join us on our sailing tour up the river Rio Guadalquivir. They arrive later in the evening and we have much to discuss.


Saturday 27. July 2002 After quick morning shopping trip in Cadiz we say good-bye to Andrea, who is planning to sail to St. Maria a port town opposite of the Cadiz Bay.
In the meantime some strong wind had developed and we had to maneuver more than 1 hour to lift our second anchor on deck. Kilmeny. took up the anchor first, but we kept her tied up to Amberella, because the wind was pushing strong into the little bay and there was little space to navigate. Afterwards we took up our main anchor and kept holding on to the tail anchor, because wind and waves pressed us toward the rocky pier. By means of engine and the strength of Sergio we managed to lift the 28 kg and its 10mm chain anchor piece by piece the chain to catch up. After this act we set sail and had perfect conditions for the rest of the day
The entrance to the Rio Guadalquivir is passed with a reef in the main and a small working jib. Amberella is cutting its line in the water. We reached the river at a perfect timing, sailing with the outgoing tide inside. Later we will experience the water flowing back in.
First there is some traffic of freighters, but after we passed the little fishing village Bonanza, the river belongs to us. The sudden silence was just beautiful. With more than 2 knots current with us Amberella is making good speed under sail.
I had imagined a river cruise to and industrial city to be a boring stretch running under engine, but that was a total different experience. We were sailing, yes using only sails, on this river just fine.
The landscape changed its sight again and again. Olive trees seam the river sides and change to orange orchards, later eucalyptus trees
We saw dozens of storken nests in the treetops near the river bank. Crab boats are anchoring with their outstretched nets and look from the distance like sleeping dragoons.
We sailed right into the country, half way to Seville. without passing any other ship, except thos fishing trawlers at rest.

Bees houses, salt works, horses; always something to see. After every little curve a new natural experience. The silence was the best. Practically no sound was heard , except anow and than an up-frightened fish or the sound of Amberella gliding smoothly through the water. With the sun setting the cloudy water changes to bronze colors. Each mile closer to Seville. the air temperature is rising. Still we have some wind and the cool reflections of the water. In Seville. air temperatures of up to 48 degrees celsius are common After sunset we decide to anchor close to the red mark/ton number 28 and outside from the main channel and enjoyed a pasta wine and our friends. Nina, me and Sergio, Begonia and Candela are really impressed of the beauty of this day.


Sunday 28. July 2002 The night was quite not so as expected. An invasion of mosquitoes tortured us almost all night. We have not been accustomed to these tormenting insects for quite some time, but now we are reminded. Despite the peace on the river we sure had a rather jerkily sleep.
We break off in the morning almost to late for the right tide. The tide seems already to tilt, but we drive up the river the a last 15 miles under engine and the support of our sails.
Now the landscape changes even more rapidly. We pass 2 fishing villages and see far ahead in the flat country already the bridges of the city Seville. Near to Seville. the river divides.

Some thousand years ago a man made navigable channel to Seville. was built. Today the large freighters from all of the world sail up here, passing a huge water-lock and a lifting bridge and make fast at the docks in the middle of the city.
But we turn to the left, toward Guelves, the natural run of the river. and plan to stay in the small yachting port there.
Navigation within that small harbor basin with wild currents is quite difficult, but we manage to park Amberella in one of the empty boxes. After some lost adrenalin we are save and tied to the jetty.


We receive a warm welcome from Maria, one of 13!! Sisters of Begonia. Maria runs the harbor restaurant and bar. Its always good to be friend with a bar owner J and we must admit we have earned our beer and the Spanish tinto Verano fairly.
Reaching this port was far of our dreams when we were still working on Amberella 2 weeks ago. But the luck with the weather was on our side and we had a fantastic journey leaving the Mediterranean Sea, entering Atlantic Ocean and as another experience sailing up the river Guadalquivir.


Sergio had already organized the date for the Travel lift. We would haul out the very next day. So that meant we had to make Amberella ready for it.
All linen and sails were washed and drawn up for drying. The engine had its fresh water flushing and needed no further attention.
Once again I realized what a fantastic job our small diesel engine with its 30 HP did to our 15 tons sailing yacht. Despite the usually diesel filter issues, we had no trouble at all running in all kinds of conditions.
The port of Guelves is already known to us from a short visit last year. We have been visiting Sergio and Gogi.
This time we made friends with the crews of the yacht "Sansibar". Anita and Michael, the only yacht we passed on our journey up the river. Also a Dutch sailing couple with their yacht “Dutch Brandy” was still mooring in this port.
We have met them first time a year ago, when they were tying up beside Amberella in Roquetas de Mar.
A late dinner with our friends is the final of this great evening.
Monday 29 July 2002 We continue our work on the ship. Everything is packed into plastic bags and containers, because Amberella goes again for one year on the hard.
After a visit in the port office we are scheduled to haul out a 1100h. Navigating Amberella from the box to the lift station works perfectly, but close to that basin we need to undertake a 180° turn. I try to turn once, but the wind presses us too close to the other ships and its not possible to maneuver in this little space. So we wait in the dock, until the crane workers help us by means of a Dingi and a some ropes. Amberella is pulled from the dock and turned gently by hand.
The maneuver is still a little complicated because the wind reaches quite some strength. Because of the tides the land level is at least 12 meters higher than the water level.
Seeing Amberella lifted so high above the water line looks quite scary to us and as usually I get a little dull stomach.


The trunk and its water paint appears bright and clean, because it was only 15 days in the water. With the ship back on dry land we finally realize how hot it is. 45 degrees in the shade are hardly to manage. At midday the roads are swept empty and one can only hide into the air-conditioned restaurants. Since its lunch time, it seems the best thing to do. So we meet up with Sergio, Gogi, Candela, Maria Luisa and Ignacio, (married man of M.L) to a long and rich lunch.
In the evening we visit the open air cinema “Alameda de Hercules” in Seville. Begonia works here and we see the Spanish film “Solo mia”. This way we have some more lessons in Spanish language.
Tuesday 30 July 2002 We have to leave already on Monday because we experience problem in changing the already booked train tickets in Germany. We did not expect it to be so complicated to change a train ticket, but obviously it was necessary to personally visit a German train station in order to change it.
That means changing of the reservation is not possible. We are in Spain. Despite two service numbers, fax and the assistance of my parents in Germany the German train service cannot offer a solution for our problem. The whole situation is quite ridiculous, because we have just booked and changed a flight reservation online in the internet. But this kind of service is not available for German trains.
Anyhow we give it another try and visit the train station of Seville. But we did not succed in changing those tickets.

Our last evening we spend in Seville. and go in a Japanese sushi bar. Wednesdaywill be a long travel day.
Our race home begins. First leg from Seville. to Almeria (600km), airplane from Almeria to Dresden (2800 km), picking up the children and drive by car from Dresden to Leipzig (130km), then pick the mentioned train from Leipzig to Zurich (800km). Actually we wanted to spend 2 more days in Germany with my parents and the family, but thanks of the service of “Deutsche Bahn” we hurry home.
For the whole torture of this trip I continues reading the 1172 pages “Lord the Rings” in original language.
Wednesday 31 July - Thursday 1 August. The trip does exactly end as described and we reach all destinations right in time.
Selina and Nastasja are tanned likewise after a perfect holiday on the pool with their grandparents. In Rapperswil no changes are noticed.
I end our diary and connect the Mac laptop at home with the Internet. My computer loads approx.. 2800. Approx. 2750 Mails are automatic absence messages. My computer and the PC of another computer dealer communicated during holidays without stop, replying constantly with an absence message to the others absence message. Well at least they had to do something during this summer:)


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