22nd Apr 2012
Departure from Cartagena & journey to Barcelona
At around 10am Saturday March 31st, we actually slipped lines & were seen off by about 20 of our friends with others greeting us from on deck their boats as we passed . We were even serenaded by Alec & Hubert on their trumpets.The occasion was very emotional & heart warming & was a real surprise to us.
On succesive days we reached Torrevieja, Villajoyosa, & Denia by which time we realised the hull & propellor were badly fouled reducing our speed & costing us loads of Diesel ! In Denia we found "Barnacle Bill" who specialises in diving services & in particular cleaning hulls . It was very expensive but the results were immediate...we could reach maximum engine speed & hull drag was much reduced.
On the approach to Denia we passed Benidorm which in our opinion seemed a dreadful place for a seaside holiday. It looked more like the City of London complete with Canary Wharf Tower. Soon after we passed Calpe which Richard remembered from the 60's as a sleepy little fishing village....not any more, it's becoming another Benidorm !
Easter was spent in Cullera , about 1 mile upriver from the sea which was pleasing becausing we were in fresh water where fouling is much reduced. We regretted spending 5 days here but were trapped because Richard had booked a service wash in a laundry which was closed over the weekend. There were some Easter processions in Cullera but did not compare with Cartagena. We did however visit Valencia by train from here which was well worthwhile. We made our usual trip around the city on an open top tourist bus & enjoyed the beautiful old city & especially the quite amazing modern architecture near the America's Cup Marina.
Our next stop over Puerto Burriana was notable because on arrival which was about 7pm we stopped at the fuel station/reception and first proceeded to fuel up during which 3 Civil Guard officers descended on us demanding all our paperwork which then took them half an hour to transcribe to their records. It seemed farcical but one supposes that these officials have to produce paperwork to somehow justify their existence. We next had to produce the same paperwork to Port reception.
Vinaros was our next port of call, a quite pleasant old town. We have found that after 2 succesive days of 40-50nm (averaging 5kn) we need a rest stop of 2 days. As with many ports, this marina was administered by Club Nautico and as usual the facilities included a bar/restaurant. We stopped by for lunch at an outside table then found ourselves quite deliberately ignored, there were only two other tables occupied. We were casually dressed & we think we must have upset their dress code. We thought it it very rude and were quite upset. It seems that these Club Nautico operate more as social clubs than facilities for yachties.
We had chosen Vinaros as a place from which to round the Rio Ebro Delta which juts out some 20nm and is constantly altering so one has to ensure adequate clearance. As we rounded the delta we found ourselves headed into quite strong northerly winds (25kn) & instead of progressing further eastwards we had to take a more westerley direction ending up in L'Ampolla resulting in a net 20nm progress for about 40nm travelling ! There was a bonus however in that nobody came to collect our dues that night & we set off early next morning in a steadily increasing breeze which turned by mid morning into a 33kn gale on the beam. Our sails were well reefed & little Cariad put up with these conditions quite bravely achieving 7kn at times. Carole did suggest putting into port but Richard decided that it was safer staying at sea. By afternoon the wind had settled and we put into Torredembarra marina that evening. The next day we reached Barcelona & put into Puerto Olimpico, a harbour which was constructed for the 1992 Olympic Games.
As I write we have now been in Barcelona for 1 week, partly because there is so much to see but also because the winds coming down the Gulf du Lyon are quite volatile & it has become quite difficult to find a comfortable weather slot. For those interested look up www.passageweather.com & you'll see our problem ! Our destination is Port Napolean , France, which is approximately 150nm distance from here . We've done our usual overview of the city on the open top buses which we find is a good start. There are an amazing number of tourists here including at present many young French students. We have visited the Picasso Museum, Gaudi's Museum & Park Guell, and walked along Las Ramblas. Our birthdays were celebrated this week & we have treated each other to splendid lunches. Speaking of eating out, we have noticed that the restaurant/bars surrounding our marina are favourite places for the locals, especially Sunday Lunchtime.....you'd hardly believe that hereabouts times are hard ! Yesterday Barcelona played Real Madrid which caused massive excitement (next Tuesday they have a return match against Chelsea). Last night it sounded like they partied all night .....they're a noisy lot these Spaniards !!
It's looking like Tuesday 24th for departure,. Carole is looking forward to just one more day of cultural visiting whereas Richard feels that is just about cultured out !
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