Cartagena to Balearics

From San Jose we had a couple of gusty sails on our way up to Cartagena. We stopped for a night just east of Aguilas

and the next bay just around the corner had a perfect little beach protected from the wind for a beach fire.

The next morning we followed a path and found a hidden well that according to an old sign used to supply pirates with fresh water, and along with the abundance of wild fennel to keep scurvy at bay meant this cove was a popular spot for landing.



A steep pathway led up the cliff inhabited by wild tortoise (despite my persistent searching none were to be found) and we had a fantastic view of Bora Bora at anchor.







There is some stunning scenery around these parts now Costa Del Boy is behind us.


Arriving into Cartagena Bay the next morning we had the strangest experience of short, sharp swell coming from what seemed every direction, making for an uncomfortable ride along with the wind suddenly picking up to 25-30kts from nowhere. We radioed the marina once we were inside the harbour, saying with the direction and strength of the wind and our prop walk, we’d need a port side to berth that we could enter up wind. What happened was the marinero directed us down towards a berth where we were unable to turn in the conditions, so were forced to enter the berth with the wind behind us on our port quarter, driving us in. Ben struggled to keep control but with the engine in hard astern managed to slow our speed enough to stop us hitting the pontoon ahead, I managed to get a line to the marinero but not before we were blown crossways and pushed into the boat in the next berth. Fantastico. We were pretty peed off…why only one marinero to assist in those conditions and why give us a downwind berth when there were plenty more suitable? It was an accident waiting to happen and later that week we saw another exact same situation two boats down. The damage was actually quite minor, but he will almost certainly claim and our excess is an expense we could definitely do without. Lesson learnt; stick to your guns and go with instinct when something doesn’t feel right.
The boat was in desperate need of a wash down being caked in salt, along with the majority of our clothes, so we spent the next two days scrubbing, washing and having a general tidy up before the parents’ arrival.

We spent a fantastic few days being tourists, seeing the sights and over indulging on tapas and vino tinto. We couldn’t’ve asked for better weather for them and even managed a light winded sail to a nearby beach where we anchored for lunch (which turned out to be the beach of a nudist campsite, whoops!)

We’d spent a week in the marina, our longest ever, so were keen to set sail again.

The next stretch was just trying to make as much headway towards Denia as possible in order for the shortest crossing to the Balearic Islands.

We spent the next three nights hopping anchorages and on the last two hour leg with calm seas and clear skies, got hit by Gale Force 8 out of the blue. As such we had too much sail up so it was a bit chaotic for a minute whilst Ben reefed the main and we struggled to furl away most of the genoa but once we’d got into the protection of Calpe all was calm again….the Mediterranean can be fierce!
The wind direction now turned against us making sailing to Denia a no go, so we stayed anchored outside the marina for a few nights.

Calpe is quite touristy but had a nice feel to the place and whilst there we climbed the Penon de Ifach; a 330m high Nature Reserve and bird sanctuary and is really stunning!img_20170407_103910.jpg

The first third has laid walkways but once you go through the tunnel the ‘path’ to the top is marked by spray painted red dots where you scramble up the slippery soapstone polished smooth by thousands of feet, the worst parts having ropes or chains to hold on to, and it’s certainly no mean feat. I was more worried about being dive bombed by the gulls though as it was nesting season!

We also caught our first fish just off Moreira near Calpe woohoo! Finally lots of fish around the boat that aren’t mullet, these turned out to be Saddle Bream, and we’ve caught a few more since.

The following Tuesday we had an early start for our sail to Formentera, and a light but good downwind run.

Twelve hours later we dropped the anchor outside of the port at La Savina on the north of the island. The ferries here that come across from Ibiza are crazy fast, most travelling at 24kts, and cause huge wash as they slow to enter the harbour. We put the kedge anchor out to hold us into it and slept well, but had to time it going ashore in the dinghy so we didn’t get flipped as the swell broke on shore!
We spent just over a week sailing around the island (our first circumnavigation haha!) The sand is icing sugar fine, the anchorages blissfully quiet with usually just us staying overnight and we couldn’t get over how stunningly clear and blue the water was…we could lay the anchor over 6 metres down and see it clearer than in a swimming pool. We did lots of walking and cycling but also lazed on the beach and soaked up the holiday vibe! It was lush. But also expensive…our one lunch out nearly broke the bank (long gone are the one euro beers) and the laundrette in town was 10 euros a load! We nipped into the marina to fill up the nearly dry water tanks and that was 12 euros, god knows what it costs to stay the night.

When the wind turned to a strong easterly we sailed across to Ibiza with 25+kts of wind and reefed sails, dodging the gap between the mega ferries.

Wow, is this island stunning. We are making our way up the west coast and apart from small patches of holiday apartments there are no over crowded towns along this coastline so it retains an unspoilt, raw beauty. We’ve been hiking up the hills most days and the variety of wild flowers lining the roads and paths is phenomenal.

Yesterday we found our way down the scree covered trail to the hidden cove of Atlantis-the lost city, opposite the island of Es Vedra. It is actually where they have quarried stone to build the many lookout towers that stand atop the hills on the islands, but with the odd rock formations, carvings and myriad of caves and sea pools it does have a mythical quality. The climb back up was pretty challenging amongst the scrub and loose rock but we pushed our aching legs further on to the top of the highest headland we could see (we estimate 350-380m) and literally vertical in parts. I must admit my legs, scratched to bits and feeling like jelly, nearly gave up towards the top but the views were incredible!

In 10 days time I fly back to the UK for two weeks whilst Bens mates join him out here for his Stag weekend (oh dear God) so until then we’ll be trying to snap out of this holiday mode we’ve fallen into and get some jobs done…Ben is currently varnishing, I best go help.


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