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Adina - Shaking out in the Med!

Last time we contributed to the ARC blog back in April, Adina ( had crossed Biscay and settled in Bayona. Our plans before starting the ARC were to have a shake-out in the Med over the summer before heading to the Canaries. Two reasons - one being to get to know our boat well and secondly to iron out any teething issues. To date, it's certainly been a wise strategy. 
We enjoyed sailing down the Portuguese coast with Lisbon and Porto being highlights. Porto has a new marina offering discounts to ARC boats and we'd highly recommend it being close to the city and with friendly staff - indeed, fresh bread rolls were delivered to the boat each day! While in Lisbon, we sailed up the Rio Tejo to the north of the city - it's a long way and next time we'd berth at the river entrance and take the train in. The Atlantic swell means you will mainly need to use marinas and a good eye needs to be kept on wind and sea state, particularly around Peniche. Faro on the south coast is well worth a stop with easy anchoring. So too is a trip up the Rio Guadiana bordering Spain and Portugal. But be warned, if stopping at Vila Real Santo Antonio at the end of the river, tides are very strong and you really do need to arrive/leave at slack tide.
A stop-over in Gibraltar seems mandatory. Certainly for the cheap diesel, if nothing else. If you want to take advantage of the VAT savings and duty-free for vessels in transit, ensure you order well in advance as deliveries from the UK do take a few days. It's also a good place to stock up the wine cellar. Marina choices are Queensway or Marina Bay. Some stay away from Marina Bay as they fear the airport runway but we stayed there and truth be told you hardly notice it as there are very few flights each day. It's advantage is it is more central but the high concrete pontoons mean you'll be climbing up from your boat. The Spanish side Linea is cheaper for shopping and eating out, but its not much of a town.
After Gibraltar we headed northeast along the Spanish coast. Here a highlight was Almeria as a town not taken over by tourists, but the marina is hard to get into due to its size. They would not make reservations despite us trying by phone and email, but they squeezed us in on arrival. Granada is a must as a day trip from here. Cartegena is a useful stop for repairs and favoured by many Brits. Be warned, Spanish marinas are not cheap and you need to reserve in advance to get a spot. 
We next crossed over to the Balearics, enjoying Ibiza and Mallorca. It's certainly getting into the summer season now and the bays are getting busy. Marinas are expensive but there are plenty of good anchorage spots. In the evenings the bays empty out and become enjoyable. Palma is well worth a visit and the Cabrera Islands have been a trip highlight. See our full blog for details on getting a permit to visit.
We're certainly enjoying ourselves and loving the sun and sea. Things that have surprised us is the amount of boat maintenance we've needed to do and the cost of marinas. Everyone you meet will tell you the same. Boat maintenance takes up time and costs. We're going on a 3 day rule - sail one day, sight-seeing one day, and boat maintenance one day. It roughly works!
Next we're off to Sardinia and then hope to sail back west along Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Adventure beckons!
Our full blog is at where you can read more of our fun stories about fishing, trips ashore and buying legs of Iberico jamon! Fair winds to you all!

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