20 December 2014
Malibu is at rest for the winter in Sant Carles de la Rapita. A modern British managed marina attached to a small Spanish fishing town, adjacent to the Ebre delta. The weather has remained very pleasant through to Christmas with a couple of heavy rain days and a couple of windy spells but they are short lived and the sun seems always willing.
The ever present boat jobs list is the shortest ever and allows me to return to Scotland for festive time, before a spell of work in Doha. Yvonne is meantime working in Aberdeen so we are being very productive for a change.
The stay at Sant Carles has been an interesting contrast to previous destinations. The Marina itself is nicely appointed with swimming pool etc and the staff extremely helpful but the location has some challenges;
The river Ebre enters the Mediterranean with Sant Carles on the south of its delta - it is apparently only second to the Nile in terms of size of river feeding the Mediterranean!
Immediately adjacent to the Marina the delta area is a birdwatchers paradise I'm no expert, but the place is hoatching with varies types of Herons, variant diving birds, Egrets, Flamingos and best of all the Kingfishers. However the insect life is equally vociferous. Thankfully the problem has receded for the cooler winter, but although I saw only the last of the real heat, it was ten times as bad for mosquitoes as I have ever seen elsewhere. This wetscape is being "managed" with paddy fields and irrigation schemes. The story goes that since spraying from planes was stopped recently, due to human health problems the mosquitos have gone on the rampage, eating locals as well as us!
Underwater the problem is an equal challenge. The Marina does a free lift and clean of your hull for annual visitors because the fouling is so extreme. Basically they are lifting boats that have been in for two years with 20 years equivalent growth anywhere else, you need to see it to believe it!. Everything living here is having a party including the guy selling antifouling. Standard practice when leaving you boat here is to bag your propeller otherwise all you'll have is a rotating mussel farm when you return.
Despite plenty evidence of recession blues in typical Spanish style they pull out the stops for a party.... Sant Carles alone spending more on Christmas lights than all of Scotland put together!
I think Bon Nadal is Catalan for "good no flies"