The last place we were able to fill our American propane tanks was in Estapona, which is the first port after Gibraltar. When we got to Palma, Mallorca we found that there was no way to fill our American bottles, and so we switched to Campingaz butane.
It might well be possible to fill American bottles elsewhere in the Med, but we never looked into this after converting to Campingaz which is more readily available.
We heard many stories of people buying Campingaz and then transferring it from tank to tank with a special adapter hose from the Campingaz bottle to the American bottle. This is extremely dangerous, very illegal, and takes quite a long time. Since the bottles freeze as the gas expands you need to provide some heat to keep the gas flowing freely.
A much simpler solution is to buy a Campingaz bottle (you actually put down a deposit on the bottle which you can , theoretically, get back when you leave) and a Campingaz regulator that screws to the bottle, and a length of hose.
I needed to buy a brass hose adapter to screw into my electric shut off solenoid to accept the new hose, which I attached with hose clamps. The old propane regulator needs to be completely removed and saved for when you return to propane.
The whole conversion took about 3 hours (including shopping time) and cost less than €50 including the deposit on the bottle, the regulator, the hose, little brass hose adapter and the hose clamps . We found Campingaz available almost everywhere in the Med.
It is best to take the solenoid or old brass fitting to the hardware store so that they can match the thread for the hose adapter, especially if you are not fluent in the local language. Don't forget to use Teflon thread seal tape or silicon sealer on the threads.
Use a soapy sponge and water to check for leaks in the propane locker, and it goes without saying never to use an open flame.
I did not notice any difference in performance between the propane and butane, although, I believe the butane burns slightly hotter and will freeze at -5C. So, if you plan on sailing far to the North you will need to use Propane which freezes at -45C.
The idea behind Campingaz is that you swap your empty bottle for a full one for a fee of about €10 or €15. The replacement is often dinged up and rusty, but this never seemed to be a problem. Many places will fill your same, empty bottle, or send it away to be filled and returned later in the day.
When the first Campingaz started to get low, I invested in a second Campingaz bottle. You want a full one on hand when the first runs out, especially in the middle of cooking dinner. I removed one of my two, large American bottles from the propane locker and found that I could fit two 2.75Kg Campingaz 907 bottles, stacked on top of each other, in it's place.
I use a small fishing scale to weigh the bottles to determine how full they are.
I made sure that the American bottle was quite empty before stowing it in the lazarette. I will revert again to the American bottles before going back across the Atlantic.
To find gas suppliers in the med, click on "HOME", then East or West Mediterranean, change the search category to "Gas" and click search. Please add your own gas supplier sources in other cities, as you come across them.Howard and Jayne [ Just Imagine ] 23-Feb-2008