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Santa Margarita Lay Day
Marty/very overcast with dark grey skies, then HEAVY rain & wind
10/20/2012, Spain

Friday, October 19, 2012

We got up and began the process of cleaning, sorting, packing, preparing the list for the yard and sheltering from the heavy rain! We are so glad that we arrived a day earlier than planned because about 1030 the wind and rain was fierce. We also don't have wifi so I have not been distracted. My Kindle does work and the daily newspapers have come in that keep us somewhat up to date in world affairs.

The rain stops in the mid afternoon and Paul went out to do some errands. I am catching up on this blog and expect that it may be my last post.

We went to dinner with Julia and David, Sue and Bob and another English couple who keep a boat here, Liz and John who hosted us for drinks first. We had a great dinner at a favorite restaurant, El Rancho. Great food at nice prices! David loves the "pigs cheeks" that are on the menu but we didn't give them a try.

Photo: The dinner at El Rancho. From the left around the table: Bob, Marty, Liz, Julia, John, David and Sue.

Santa Margarita
Marty/overcast, spits of rain & breezy
10/20/2012, Spain

Thursday October 18, 2012

When I got up at 0810, I looked out the main hatch and thought we were much to close to the beach. The wind had come up overnight and I told Paul I thought we were dragging. He disagreed but we got underway immediately--in our pajamas! When he hauled up the anchor the chain was twisted around the flukes mightly! I circled around in the cala until Paul got the anchor unwound & secured. He got dressed, then me and we left the cala under power and put up the main.

The wind was more southeasterly for our sail to Santa Margarita, a 21 mile trip that took about 3.5 hours. Max speed 9.3 knots and max wind 31.4 knots. The seas were over 1 meter. We were concerned about the entrance to Santa Margarita. The guide says, "Approach could be dangerous in heavy seas or strong winds between E and S though once inside there is complete protection." The area is also quite shoal. The area around the Bay of Roses is marshland and the development is on land that has been drained. Without local knowledge we decided to consult the OCC Port Officer for Roses, David Blackburn who keeps his boat Daq Attack at Santa Margarita. He assured us that depths would be fine in the channel.

We took the main down outside the breakwater with two kite surfers flying around us. They just love this kind of weather!! We got in just fine and followed the narrow channel all the way in to the Nautic Center boat yard where we tied up "Scandinavian style" - between two posts with lines that you pick up to hold you from going forward.

After we checked into the yard, we began taking off the main and jib and doing other on deck chores before rain set in. Knowing that rain would be serious on Friday we closed up the cockpit so we could keep the main hatch open while it was raining without getting everything wet.

David and his wife Julia invited us for dinner at their home in Roses just 3 miles away. He came to pick us up and drove to their lovely home which Julia had a major part in designing. Her daughter Sue and husband Bob, who live next door, joined us for a very fun evening. We first met David and Julia in Maine in 2009, when we were sailing in Maine instead of Europe.

Photo: The chain wrapped anchor

Cala Sa Tuna
Marty/Sunny, warmer, breezy
10/20/2012, Spain

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This stretch of Costa Brava has many calas. As we sailed downwind again, we referred to our guide and considered dropping an anchor in one instead of going to a marina. We looked at Cala de Aiguablava but it looked too small and there were no visitor moorings--we think they have been removed for the season. We went on to Cala Sa Tuna which looked better. Indeed it was! It was calm and quiet, no roll from the sea. We only sailed 10 miles with just the jib. Max wind 24.7 knots and max speed 6.9 knots.

There were maybe a dozen people on the beach and several people swimming. There were no yellow caution buoys by the beach and visitor moorings are not in place. We dropped our anchor off the main beach. Paul swam ashore and back after a walk around. We both went ashore and walked on lovely hiking trails above the cliffs to the south of the harbor. The trails look very new and we found out later that they are just 2 years old.

We walked north of the harbor to the next cala--Cala de Aiguafreda, on a beautiful stone walkway at the water's edge. Above is an old hotel that is being converted to apartments. There are some lovely residences along the road that leads back to Sa Tuna, but also some that are derelict with for sale signs. We met an Englishman who has been coming here for 35 years. He feels it is one of the most beautiful parts of the coast of Spain because of its rugged natural beauty, but it has "been forgotten" - I think he meant by tourists--that more go to the southern parts of Spain. He did say that people come here from everywhere in Europe.

Paul wanted to take me out to dinner but the one restaurant at the beach served its last meal at midday--its now closed for the season. Lots of the residences around the cala also appear closed up for winter.

Photo: Canty in the harbor at Sa Tuna. Marty on the newly built hiking trail above the harbor.

Marty/Sunny, clear, cooler
10/20/2012, Spain

Tuesday October 16, 2012

We turned on the Espar heat this morning for about an hour just to see if it still works! Well, it was also chilly--60° in the main cabin with the main hatch open. Tomorrow night we will close things up more.

We had a great 35 mile sail, downwind to Palamos. After an hour we rolled up the jib. Our max wind was 34.9 knots and max speed was 10.1 knots. The seas continued to build all day. There are two harbors at Palamos. One is used primarily by the fisherman and the other -- Palamos - east, is where the recreational boats moor. There was a steady stream of large fishing boats returning to harbor from the NE, into the wind, taking a lot of water over their decks. We did a very nice job of staying dry as we turned into the wind to get the main down and then head NE to enter the harbor.

When we registered at the marina office, we were told that the weather was going to be bad the next day but the weather reports we read were for a day very similar to today. We think they want the additional business. The winter rate for one night with power and water was €75. We expected a high price but not this high as a winter rate.

We walked to the other harbor and around the streets of the town. Palamos rose to prominence during the Middle Ages. In 1334 it became the maritime district for Girona, a city inland and north of Barcelona, and prospered greatly. In 1534 it was sacked and burned by Barbaraossa and his Turkish fleet. Thereafter it fell on hard times. The cork industry and agriculture revived its fortunes but it was again heavily damaged during the Spanish Civil War. Tourism is the main industry today but it looks like all the tourists have gone home for the season. There are interesting signposts at various locations describing a famous native or architectural remains.

Photo: Fruit and Vegetable market in the old part of Palamos

El Balis--Part 2
Marty/sunny & warm
10/20/2012, Spain

Monday, October 15, 2012

We departed Marina Port Vell in Barcelona under sunny blue skies. For 5 hours we sailed or powered 22 miles to the club nautico at El Balis. The wind was quite variable from 8 to 15 knots when we had enough to sail. It was also dead astern.

Ashore, we took a long walk, 3 hours, to the small town of Caldetas. The beach is huge--very deep--and stretches all the way to Caldetas and beyond. The only people on the beach were a few fishermen. Some very expensive real estate is across the street from the beach, enclosed with high, secure walls. Some of the properties have been converted to small apartments and a few look very forlorn.

Being a Monday, things of tourist interest were closed. St. Marie is a 13th century church up on the hill above the old city walls and there is a hot spring. Reportedly there are many Moorish remains.

Trains run along this stretch of coast, known as the Costa Dorada or the Golden Coast because of its golden sandy beaches. This section is 140 miles long and Barcelona is almost at the end, when the coast becomes Costa Brava which is 67 miles long and goes to the French border.

Brava means wild, savage. The beaches are interrupted with rocky cliffs, and deep, steep-sided calas. Most sailors consider this the most attractive of the Costas of Mediterranean Spain. There are numerous anchorages but all are open to the sea and none have shelter all around. Some have moorings in the summer for yachtsman but the area is limited by the yellow buoys in front of the beaches.

Photo: Empty beach that we walked along from El Balis to Caldetas. No life guard needed to occupy this station.

El Balis
Marty/sunny and warm
10/16/2012, Spain

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo: Mega yacht in Barcelona. Pelorus is 115 meters in length--only #21 on the list of the top 200 mega power yachts. We saw this vessel first in Helsinki, Finland in 2008. She was originally made for a Saudi sheik but shortly after her maiden voyage she was bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. In 2011 the oligarch's ex-wife got this Heywood-Disdale six-decker in a divorce settlement and sold it to David Geffen, an American, who also owns a large yacht "Rising Sun" which is 138 meters which was built for Larry Ellison, founder of software giant, Oracle.

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