We almost couldn’t believe it ourselves. Ela didn’t sleep all night, and I only managed to sleep a bit. We were sooo excited that we would now finally leave Almerimar after almost 6 months of preparation. We’ve had so many setbacks. Wanting to leave already in August, there were still so many things to do and new issues popped up as soon as we started to fix something. It almost felt like science. You answer one question but end up with two new ones. It was a very intense time, that is perhaps the best description of our time in Almerimar. Every day we faced problems that we had no clue how to address them and perhaps sometimes we made things even worse. But in general, I think we did a pretty good job. Both Ela and I went through a steep learning curve and increased our practical and boat maintenance skills tremendously!
Now it was getting late for leaving to the Canary Islands. Wise sailing books say that one should leave at the latest in September or October because of the increasing risk of winter storms with heavy westerly winds that make a passage through Gibraltar and then towards the south difficult and more dangerous. The whole summer it had been blowing from the east (Levante) – the right wind to cross the Gibraltar Strait, if it is not too strong. Now that we were getting close to finishing the boat projects on the “before leaving” part of our todo list, the wind was, naturally, blowing from the west. But then a three day window of opportunity appeared on the weather forecast. So we doubled our efforts and after an intense final spurt we were finally ready to leave, just in time for the nature-given deadline. We had spent two entire days alone to store all the tools and spare parts and to clean up the boat. In the end we almost didn’t recognize Naima again. There was a nice dining table and cushions around it, a navigation desk, and aft cabins! How awesome! Just a couple of days before we had been sitting on the floor to eat as the entire boat was basically a mechanical workshop.
On Tuesday morning we got up at 5:30 to leave Almerimar with first light. There was no wind yet, so we motored out of the harbor. Our friend Paco came to the port entrance to wave us farewell and so did the marineros that we had come to know over the last months. And then we had finally left port, the sun started to rise and the famous Torre de Control started to shrink on the horizon. There was already snow in the Sierra Nevada, a definite sign of the approaching winter. It was time for us to leave towards more southerly waters and to experience something new. Sailing Totem have once put it like this: if you get invited to the second wedding, it is definitely time to move on. We hadn’t been invited to weddings, but to anniversaries and Almerimar started to feel a bit too much like home already. We really like the people there… but now it was time to start our sailing adventure!! Thanks Paco, Alex, Udo, Frank, Stuart, Andy, Mike, Manolo… we won’t forget you! Farewell Almerimar!!
View on our boat from the Torre de Control (thanks Paco!)
Heading towards Gibraltar and testing our improvised boom brake while sailing butterfly…