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Published: September 23rd 2014
It's been a while since we have blogged, so quite a lot to catch up on including our Ibizan adventures!
Needless to say after Mike's bought of man flu we stayed in Caleta De Velez slightly longer than planned! ...but finally we were ready to set sail again...
Caleta De Velez to Cala La Rijana
Distance 32.7nm (7.5hrs)
We set off in some mist, visibility a little reduced but not to bad.
We were heading for a beach called Playa Cala Honda, giving ourselves a shortish sail for our first day back at sea in a while.
The weather is just getting hotter and hotter. We don't have a bimini (Sun shade) on board - not that necessary in the UK!!! SO hats and frequent dips in the sea are important to keep you cool.
We motored or motor-sailed most of the way there. When we arrived and Cala Honda, we realised that there wasn't much room to tuck in behind the cliffs for a boat our size, so we had a quick check of the charts and decided to push on a little further to a little Cala
called La Rijana on a hunch.
On arrival the water was amazingly turquoise over white sand. It was a cute shingle beach with one tiny beach bar, there was however quite a big coastal road going around the side of the cliffs, but it wasn't too noticeable.
Mike jumped in with the snorkel to check the anchor had set OK as soon as we had settled, then couldn't resist doing his favourite thing - photographing the keel & anchor!
We had a lovely evening on board, making use of all the new provisions we had bought, including some great beer brewed in Malaga.
As always seems to happen, the wind shifted overnight, so we had quite a bad night's sleep. Disco has a habit of going sideways to the waves and rolling about.
We were determined to buy a 'kedge' anchor the next time we found a chandlery, which you put off the back of the boat to keep the boat facing into the waves, not across them.
La Rijana to Almeria
Distance 49nm (10.5hrs)
Our original plan was to do another stop on the way to
Almeria to break up the journey. As we were discovering the winds in the Med can be pretty flat, meaning we do more motoring than we would like (Engine = money).
So we have been a lot more conservative when route planning. But today was a good day, winds were stronger and with some careful tacking we could make it further than we had planned and more quickly.
When you have some time off sailing, the next time you are out and the winds are up you have a renewed energy to put all the sails up and take and jib as necessary to keep the speed up.
Our time off had certainly recharged the batteries!
The boat was leaning quite a bit, but we are so used to it now, we can pretty much move and relax around the boat like most people would on land. SO it was an exhilarating sail, but as the sun started to go down around 6pm the wind started to pick up until we had about 26knots (A force 6-7).
We had the option of pulling into Rocquetas Del Mar, but the marina was expensive and the entrance
was open to the wind direction we had. SO we decided to push on for Almeria. I rang ahead and they had room thank goodness as we didn't fancy a rolling night at anchor again!
A couple of miles off the marina we knew we would have to take the main sail down. With the wind very gusty and changeable (& 26kts) we were slightly worried!!!! Especially as with only the two of us! (We had done a similar thing when Rich & Rach were on board and it wasn't fun!). Luckily the sea state wasn't too wild, as soon as you get up on the cabin roof you really feel the motion of the boat like a lever. Even though you know it isn't rocking too badly, it still feels very strange.
So autopilot went on, we turned into the wind and then we got to work. I was up the front of the sail pleating it as it came down and Mike was pulling the folds along the boom and strapping the sail down as he moved up the boom to meet me.
I would certainly say it was a rush, I had to grab
onto the boom several times when the boat lurched underneath me. We'd tidy the sail up once we were safely berthed!
On arrival at the Marina, we had a drink to steady out nerves and then an early night - it was our first 10hr+ sail in a while! And definitely our first couples sail with such big winds.
17th & 18th August
Almeria Marina, Club Nautico (27EUR a night)
We had a coupe of days in Almeria to see the local sights. I had come on holiday here when I was small and my Grandparents used to have an apartment here. I was looking forward to visiting again and seeing what I remembered.
We caught a local bus (So cheap & Efficient) to Aguadulce where our tapas all-dayer was due to start. Both Grandad and my Auntie Rona had recommended lots of restaurants for our 'tapas crawl'. The almeria area is very famous for tapas - 1.50EUR for a small beer or Sangria and one free dish of tapas per drink!!!
So for budget conscious travelers like us, this was music to our ears!!!! We started off in La Concha, it
We had trouble deciphering the meu
..but at 1.50EUR for a beer and tapa who could complain???
took a while to find, but was totally worth it when we saw the place was packed and full of spanish, not a tourist in sight! WE did the typical game of checking out what other peple were eating then trying to cross reference this with the menu which was in Spanish only.
We were prepared for a few mistakes, but at 1.50EUR it wasn't a costly one. We ordered chicken wings and Pulpo Frito (fried octopus tentacles). Both very nice. Then some calamari and meat skewers.
Then we wandered down to the Marina to Petit Cafe which did the most amazing marinated meat skewers and then more drinks..
Next we diceded to walk off the first 4 rounds of tapas by taking an 8km walk to Rocquetas Del Mar. Unfortunately we realised afterwards that was only to the old town, it was another few km to the area we were looking for. But the walk was really nice, despite the searing heat! (This area was used to film numerous spaghetti westerns and is covered in desert - ITS HOT!!!)
Luckily it was a breezy day which helped and that also meant all the wind surfers
and kite surfers where out on the wind swept beaches.
We finally made it to Rocquetas around 6pm, just in time for the evening tapas service. We chose Gambas Oro (Golden Prawn). The food was amazing and they pretty much had queues the whole time we were there. I finally recognised the town - I was getting worried I wouldn't, though I suppose things do change in 15+ years!
On the 18th we had an admin day - caught up with friends and family and did one of our WEEKLY trips to the chandlery - walking back from the shop with a new anchor and some chain in my handbag!!! (The boat widow I am!)
Almeria to Carboneras
Distance 46.1nm (6.5hrs)
Today we again started out cautiously planning a 30nm trip, but we really had the winds behind us and we were making a steady 8knts most of the way.
Loads of yachts out and about today, so Mike did his normal trick of trying to race them! SO some good humored tacking and half-racing ensued for most of the trip.
We headed for a nature reserve beach next to
the town of Carboneras. The beach and area is really pretty, but it's slightly spoiled by some kind of factory plonked right in the middle as they always seem to do in europe!
We still really liked the place, but decided to stay on board as we are not in money saving mode, with Ibiza looming ahead of us!
Carboneras to Cala Cerrado
Distance 48nm (8hrs)
Another day / another change of plan. I am getting used to this now, at first it drove me crazy! Today was definately divine inspiration though!!!!!
There was absolutely no wind to start with, but eventually we managed to motorsail a bit on perfectly calm seas.
We were making for Mazarron, but decided to push on a bit further. Mike got the charts out and manged to find a tiny little scallop shaped cala that looked big enough for us, but also nice and sheltered too.
As we came close we couldn't see an entrance, not even with binoculars, it was completely camouflaged. But luckily just when we were about to give up I saw a small mast poking above
the rocks, so we slowed down and motored over to the supposed entrance.
We could then see a perfectly natural and unspoiled beach. No bars or restaurants, just some day-trippers who all seemed to be leaving. It was a tight bay, so we had to get the second anchor off the stern to stop us swinging around to much overnight. (It puts the mind at rest in a tight space)
Mike swam out with the anchor attached to a fender and dropped it as far out as he could, making sure it wasn't in the way of the day-trippers motorboats.
We couldn't wait to dive in for a snorkel, but there seemed to be hundreds off jelly fish around the boat. We had seen other people swimming with them, so hoped there weren't too dangerous. Luckily they faoured the sunny side of the boat, so we stuck to the shade.
Mike then hiked up the nearest hill to get a picture of Disco all alone in the bay. A magical night in a truly special beach - We will defiantly be back here!
Cala Cerrado to Mar Menor (Nr La
33nm (9.5hrs inc. wait for bridge swing)
It was just a shortish motor from Cala Cerrado to Mar Menor. Mar Menor is a sort of inland sea/lagoon on the COsta Calida. (Hot coast - bloody hot!)
Mike spotted it on the chart and we thought it looked interesting, especially as some higher winds were forecast and would have good shelter. Entry is via a 1km canal and then under a swing bridge (Kinda like Bristol), which only gets swung every two hours. Our book was out of date though, so initially we got the time wrong for the bridge swing = lots of confusing radio conversations in SPanish trying to work out the actual swing time..
Finally though we saw lots of smaller boats heading over to the canal and we followed behind. The canal is pretty shallow in places, so we had to be really careful, plus you are in a queue of boats doing the same thing, so it can be really tricky if you go aground and then have a boat right behind you.
Luckily we were absolutely fine, but it was very strange being in a queue of boats as
it's not so easy to slow a boat down!, but also you only have a limited period to get through, so you have to squeeze up next to the boat in front. You also have boats coming the other way at the same time and the locals who know the canal well try and overtake any cautious/slow boats!
Once inside Mar Menor we looked for a spot to anchor for the night. WE didn't have any idea of what there was around the lake, so as it was already 6pm, we decided to head over to one of the islands in the middle of the lake an anchor there in a little horseshoe bay.
Pretty much straight away we started seeing literally thousands of jelly fish EVERYWHERE. I certainly wasn't fancying going swimming with them until we knew if they were stingers or not - which was a shame as the water was a bathtub-like 29.5 degrees! We had a lovely evening watching the sun go down over a glass of wine. The lake is very calm so we slept extremely well.
Sailing around Mar Menor
We had managed
to ring fence a few days in Mar Menor, before we headed off to Ibiza.
After a nice lie in we woke up and realised that the anchor marker buoy had got tangled around the keel overnight. There was nothing for it - Mike was gonna have to take a dip wiht the jellyfish!!!
So protected only by long shorts and my rash vest he plunged into the water - with me pointing out any jellyfish heading his way. Check out the photos - I hyperventilated with all my laughing!!!!
We decided to explore around the lagoon, it's so calm that its kinda like sailing on a lake. The only thing you had to look out for was the depths and sand banks as it can get suddenly very shallow.
We worked out our depth sounder must be off as we were constantly reading less than 0.5m under the boat, but we draw 1.8m. Mike suddenly realised that the combination of temperature increase and salt water was probably effecting the depth sounder. The last time he had calibrated it was winter in Bristol harbour - doh!
Once he had re-calibrated it we felt a lot
more comfortable. I had a lovely hour and a half sail around with just the Genoa front sail up - I said it was like dinghy sailing - Mike was NOT impressed!
We had a look most of the way around the lake, doing a bit of a recce. We need to pick up some supplies and fancied a few beers. We chose a likely beach and go the anchor out. We almost instantly dragged. We tried again three times and each time after a few minutes the anchor would drag again. We worked out we were over rocks and just couldn't get the anchor to dig in.
Finally a Spanish guy zoomed over in his dinghy. In pigeon English & Spanish we worked out he was going to let us use a mooring buoy. Not sure whos it was, but we were very happy to be tied up after almost an hour of putting the anchor up and down.
We finally took the dinghy ashore and had a lovely evening wandering around the beach bars in a truly Spanish resort!
As the night wore on the wind started to really pick up, it was howling
through the rigging and we were very happy we were firmly attached to a buoy rather than risking dragging all night at anchor, We certainly slept better because of it. We have noticed how much sailors help out other sailers along the way and we were very grateful to the kind man that thought to help us!
The next morning we headed into town to get a last bit of WiFi to check the weather and fully top up our store pre-Ibiza.
Then we headed back out to the island again. As soon as we were moored we realised here was a British boat moored close by and hurrah - they were our age!!! So we motored on over and said hi to the Scottish couple who owned the boat. We+- arranged to meet for drinks later aboard Disco and then went to explore the island.
It was very pretty despite all the delapidated crumbling buildings. It's really two islands with a thin sand bar joining them. We even managed a to find a patch of sea sans jellyfish, so had a quick dip, but the water was so warm it wasn't very refreshing. It was then
we noticed the children having a jellyfish fight - guess they weren't stingers then!
Just before sunset the Scottish couple arrived. We had an excellent night of excessive drinking and dancing onboard, especially after a week or so of just each others company,
We spent the next day rather hungover, prepping the boat for our onwards trip. Though we did fit in a quick trip onto a Canadian boat that had arrived during the afternoon. They were an older couple who had been all over the world on various boats!
Mar Menor - Ibiza
Distance 134nm (24rs)
We had been wondering for a good few days how we would manage to fill our water tanks before going to Ibiza. We didn't want to pay to go into a marina (around 50EUR in this area) just to get water, but the water in Ibiza is unsuitable to drink, so we needed a plan.
Quite by chance we arrived a little bit early for the bridge swing to get out into open sea. We realised there was a tap on the pontoon and a guy pointed us to the Marina office
where we were thrilled to find out we could fill our tanks for 6EUR!!! It meant we would miss the bridge swing, but I took some time to go to the supermarket while Mike filled he tanks and gave the boat a rinse.
By 11am we were on our way - slightly heavier than before due to totally full tanks. But the water meant we could be self sufficient in Ibiza for the week before my Brother and his wife arrived.
You must be seeing a recurring theme here, but we had actually only intended to sail to Alicante. In fact we could see the lights of Alicante in the distance when we made the decision to push on for Ibiza! The lure was too much for us. However our rather large u-turn obviously attracted the attention on the Guarda Civil, who came flying out of the port and buzzed right past us. Imagine there surprise when they saw us two drinking wine and playing patience!!!
We made plans for our shift system (We had yet to do an all-nighter just the two of us). We ended up doing 3hr shifts. I watched the sun go down
and the stars come up. Mike watched the sun come up over Ibiza. We even saw a few dolphins on the way - and I am pretty sure I could hear some swimming at the front of the boat in the dark, though I didn't go to check.
It was a truly special moment when we were both up on deck seeing the sun fully up over Ibiza - Our home for the next 3.5 weeks
Enjoy the photos from this blog - We had camera failure, so we are using out back up camera which really isn't as good, but I hope you like them.
You will have to wait until next time to hear all about Ibiza..
p.p,s, I think I like sailing (Don't tell Mike)
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