Pétole : feminine french noumn , from the latin peditum (pet). Total lack of wind, calms.
Gibraltar-Almeria : 160 nautical miles, a very short distance! It’s half the distance between Pornic and A coruña, it should take less than two days !
Hell no ! We definitely are in the Mediterranean sea, and here the wind does as he pleases whatever the weather forecasts say ! And now, he doesn’t want us to move forward ! It will take us eight long days to finally arrive to capo de Gata ! And not in the greatest cities of Spain…
The Levante, a tipically Eastward wind, was waiting for us after the Gibraltar Strait, and allows us to make our 40 first mediterranean miles, until he will abandon us progressively, then definitely.
We use the engine to head to Torremolinos (which we never heard about befrore), and discover with chock the damages of mass tourism… Big concrete towers on the beach and hundreds of tourist-like restaurant filling each square meter near the beach, expensive harbour filled with Yachts…
We are beginning to understand that the Costa del Sol doesn’t have any interest when you’re not an english tourist looking for fiestas and crowded beaches. The landscape is very mineral, the region being the drier of Europa, and is filled by an alternance of buildings and white greenhouses (where the « december tomatoes » grow).
The forecasts are not reliable, but they say there might be a little bit of wind offshore, 20 miles from the coast. Should we go South instead of East to try to catch it ? What if after 5 hours of engine the wind is not here ?
We will change our philosophy, don’t look too often on weather forecast, and set sails as soon as we feel a little breeze ! One constant thing : the wind is not blowing at night, so we better find a shelter before !
With these hard conditions, we usually get busy during our shifts : steering is easier when the boat is not moving at all. Reading, sending mails and postacards will help us support the super shiny sun !
We only manage to sail 15 miles a day, less than a quarter of our average speeds. We start when the wind rises, around noon, then he decreases progressively, and when the boat is at less than 1 knot, we start the engine to get to the next shelter.
But those quiet conditions allow us to make a few planktoon sampling, and with joy we practice this activity who allows us to get busy for one hour, despiste the extremely low speeds we have to go to (1 to 2 knots).
Nevertheless, far from the touristic towns, we will discover a few wonderful moorings, with great snorkeling spots. The harpoon fishing becomes more efficient that the towing line that has prooved its inefficacity since Cape St Vincent. We will make a nice meal with two wild mullets, three trigger-fish and one octopuss !
Unable to cook the octopuss properly (Google tells us than it needs to be frozen 24h before getting cooked : not convenient without a freezer), it will be a little squichy…
After one week, we finally arrive to Capo de Gata, marking the end the Costa del Sol, and the beginning of the Costa Blanca. The winds are with us, with a perfect angle, and with the spinnaker, the average speed is around 7 knots !