Despite its huge size the visitor berths of the marina at Benalmadena are open to weather from the west. All the time we stayed there the wind was in the west. Moving to the Marina del Este we therefore breathed a sigh of relief. Marina del Este is open to weather from the East. Even in a slight sea sends a Mexican wave of surge sweeping round the North shore, along under the restaurant. Of course as soon as we moved there the wind turned round and we had a week of easterlies. Worse still, for ourselves and everyone round about, our mast developed an intermittent creak as Lyra swayed from side to side in this swell. John tried tightening and loosening lines, greasing bearings and swearing at it, but nothing worked for more than a few sways. At night we moved from laying awake in the stern, where the rocking was worse and the slosh of water louder, to the bow, where it was hotter and we had the mast to listen to and back again. Of course on our overnight jaunts ashore we enjoyed an excellent nights sleep, which was just as well. Any hope that the night before we moved on would be a calm one proved false. We set off to Almerimar bleary eyed and jaded.
Just out of harbour John spotted a dolphin slowly grazing the surface a couple of times up ahead, but we think it was still asleep, just coming up for air, then back down to the land of nod. We could both have joined it. There were a few lobster pots to slalom and then we were out into a very choppy sea with no wind and what there was right on the nose. John put the mainsail out to steady us, but I began to feel queasy. He put the sails out to see if the easier motion would help. This made us travel more slowly, which was easier, but I still felt grim. I had taken our last Stugeron tablet and it proved not enough to make me feel better in the chop, but in my tired state still made me sleepy. I lay down on deck as lying down brings instant relief, but then could not stay awake.
When I woke up we were behind a smaller yacht, this one under engine. John said it had come up on our inside and decided to take in the headsail and put the engine on to make some progress. This was good news. We soon passed the other boat and thrashed through the sea. At some point the wind came up and we started sailing again, which was more peaceful than having the engine throbbing. I think John enjoyed the sail, but even he could not face anything to eat. I just wanted it to be over. We arrived at Almerimar glad to be out of the tossing waves. It is another big marina and we were allocated a berth well inside it, thoughtfully near the services. It is about a third the price of the places we have stayed recently.
Our stern to mooring was bewildering. We were probably not taking things in very well as we were tired. I passed the marinera our stern lines one at a time and he gave me the lazy line. A lazy line is nothing of the sort. It is designed to be used instead of dropping anchour to hold the bow, when going stern to. Basically it is a length of rope tied at one end to a whacking great lump of concrete, sunk in the water opposite the berth and at the other to a thinner line fastened to the quay. When you are handed the narrow line you have run along the side of your boat drawing it up, till you can take hold of the thick rope, you then carry on hand over hand with this to the bows. It is usually covered in slime and molluscs, but eventually you reach a clearer section that has been tied to other boats and you wrap this round your own cleat at the bow. It is important to pull hard, so the line between concrete and boat is taut, so the boat is held firmly. I had done all this, but the marinera was not happy it was tight enough, so John went to have a pull. This is normal. Then came the confusion, he seemed to be saying we were too far from the quay, so John let out the lazy line a bit. No that was not it “Forte, Forte” he insisted, so John pulled it tight again. Still no good. We were lying at an angle. They tied up the stern lines and he came on board. He tried to tighten John’s line and could not move it. He was not happy. He caught up another lazy line and worked it to the front of the boat, but it was on the wrong side, so he tried a third. John and he wound it round the bow and fastened it to the other front cleat, we now had two lines crossed beneath us and were going nowhere. I thanked him and we enjoyed an excellent nights sleep.