Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Barcelona to Gibraltar

The Costa Brava is renowned for its Tramontana and on arrival in L'Escala it was blowing hard, delayed by 2 days we slipped on Wednesday morning and set sail for Ibiza via Barcelona, blowing hard we had some biggish seas and strong winds providing some exhilirating sailing. Spending the night in San Antonio was a pleasant surprise as most of it was closed down with it being out of season, the marina is fantastic and very well priced. The staff could not have been more helpful and it was a delight to be there, something I thought I would not be saying about San Antonio. Although the prosepect of Friday night in Ibiza sounds amazing, the crew and skipper were feeling the trip so far and opted for an early night as we planned to leave the following afternoon and we had to tidy the boat.
The intention was to make for Cartagena but winds played there part and finally we made for San Pedro having experienced good wind then total calm before the winds picked up again allowing to sail within a mile of the harbour. During the calm of the day we sighted numerous turtles and had a magical encounter with 2 pilot whales. San Pedro provided a great pilotage exercise closing it from seaward and avoiding the fish farms using only a hand bearing compass and the lights. Having identified a safe route around the farms we found that the West Cardinal bouys were unlit so extra caution was needed. Despite arriving late, the crew rested well and were fighting fit the following morning as we made for the Mar Menor and passed under the impressive lifting bridge. Meeting up with El Rubicon and her all femal crew we had lunch then departed once again under reefed sails as we beat our way around Cabo de Palos, the shipping lanes seemed extra busy and provided plenty of opportunity to study the lights and apply the colregs. With the wind easing in the early hours we called into Garrucha to see the new pontoons which give the place a fresh new feel and more importantly allowing  secure stop over when sailing this stretch of coastline, something that until now has been greatly missing. Now heading for Motril the wind is due to increase again this afternoon  to E3/4 just in time for us to take advantage if it and sail round Cabo de Gata.
Night sailing has been wonderful under the full moon and with being slightly offshore the stars have been impressive to say the least, with only a few more days to go until we arrive in Gibrlatar the crew is planning a stop over in Marbella before the final leg.
If you are interested in joining a mile building trip from Cartagena to Gibraltar on the 25th March contact us today for more information.

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