Well there was literally no room in the inn for us in Gibraltar. After our 52 hour sail from Portugal, no entry and loving every minute of being on board Scout, Mike and I decided to keep on pushing on. We had enough water, food and fuel but the most worrying was no further weather forecasts for the days ahead or for this region. We were going to update all these in Gibraltar. The weather looked good but with no internet for updates or any cruising information for this region, we still decided to keep on going.
We were also on a little bit of a time pressure. My dad was due to arrive in Barcelona in 5 days and we wanted to get as close as possible to him. We always knew that from there he was going to have do some additional travel to get to us, but the closer we got, we knew it would be easier to organise his pickup. We also had checked out of the Schengen zone in Portugal, so the incentive was to remain checked out for as long as possible to allow us more time available to get to Greece.
We anchored on our rejected night from Gibraltar off the beach at Marbella. A pretty seaside, populated resort town. It was our first night anchoring. Combined with anxiousness of setting an anchor for the first time( will it hold? – have we done it properly? ) and where to take the dinghy as there was no where available on a busy beach, we decided to stay on board and get a good nights sleep. It was however, as we suspected it would be,very rolly with a swell and although it was nice not to be woken for a night shift, the movement made for an uncomfortable night.
The next morning we set off along the Costa Del Sol. We had done no research for this region but Mike had some limited information on his chart plotter and we decided on heading for Almería towards the end of the coast, another full day and night sailing. The Costa del Sol was grand. Heavily populated seaside resorts after seaside resorts with a steep mountain range broken up with dramatic headlands. Facing directly south, bathed in sun all day, you could see the appeal of many Europeans enjoying Malaga and this coastline for their warm getaways. It seemed to go on forever. It was wonderful to see the coastline from the sea but combined with our need to keep moving, stay checked out, and the fact that we live in a beach resort on the Gold Coast in Australia we didn’t feel that we were really bypassing too much by not going to shore. Perhaps we can see it better when we leave the Mediterranean.
Another overnight sail completed, and there was no room in Almería for us but we got into a marina in Aguadulce nearby. What a find! The cheapest marina we had found so far and a lovely quaint beach resort- bathed in fog that didn’t lift until 1 pm. It was so good to step on shore after 4 days on the boat. First stop breakfast, internet, contact the kids and make some plans with an updated weather forecast. We had decided -well, lets just head to Barcelona and pick dad up there. It was only 2 days away and we had 3 days to get there. The bad news was that bad weather was going to be setting in in 2 days… we had to leave now! So lunch, a bit of posting on Facebook and the blog and we were off again…
We left Aguadulce by 1500 and set off on another 2 night passage. The next coast line was the Costa Blanca and this took us in a bit more of a north easterly direction with more dramatic geography and more seaside towns and resorts. It was hard to imagine so many people all over Europe enjoying these beautiful coastlines. It was just as intensive as the last coast with development and as dramatic with the rugged coastline. Another full day of crossing this coast, beautiful sailing conditions with full main sail and genoa and at night a little bit more motoring with the wind dropping. We were very content.
We were approaching Cartagena and we noticed that we were already heading on a course direct to Ibiza. The Balearic Islands were where we wanted to spend a lot of time and not really wanting to head out of way north to Barcelona, we decided to just stay on this track and head for Ibiza. We would have to find another way for Dad to join us. Again no internet, no way of looking for flights for Dad and we thought.. well we will just sort it out in Ibiza. I am sure people who were watching us on marinetraffic.com were wondering what on earth we were doing.
We arrived in Ibiza early Easter Monday morning. There was no room in the marina for us again… of course…(we really must start getting organised and booking ahead) but we were now confident of our anchoring skills and there was a lovely anchorage area with only one other boat there. Successful anchoring for our second time and our first transporting ourselves into shore in the dinghy led to another success venture….our first stop was breakfast and some internet. I had to find a way to get Dad over to Ibiza and inform them in Australia what was happening before Dad departed there…. in case I couldn’t make it to meet him.
Well, the best laid plans…… there were no available seats on any flights (being Easter of course) for me to get to Barcelona and Dad and I get to back….. but guess what….. there were from Palma, Mallorca in 2 days time……. so yes, we did some restocking, had a paella lunch in the old port part of town and we were off again. We stopped up the northern tip of the coast for dinner on board (we were getting good at anchoring by now)….. and set sail. This time, for what was planned to be a 9 hour over night sail to Palma.