LEG3: CARLOFORTE TO GIBRALTAR
September 24th – 25th: We left Carloforte at 6:00 AM for the Menorca Island of the Balearic Islands of Spain. We have 190 Nautical Miles to cover that will take about 36 hours. Our first stop in the Menorca Island will be at the port of Mahon (39 52.0N, 4 18.5E). The expected Northeast wind arrived towards the noon, and we sailed with 10-12 knots of wind on our beam. The wind left us in the evening, and so did the waves, and we had a peaceful night. In this section of the Mediterranean sea there is no traffic at all, and we have not come across any fishermen either. We continued our way with the engine in the morning. Nilgün's fishing line rewarded us with two fish, one tuna weighing a kilo, and the other one an unknown species and smaller. We have fish for dinner! We entered the Mahon port at 5:00PM, and took one of the unoccupied buoys. The person in charge came with a dinghy and collected the fee for the buoy (€ 10). Boats are not allowed to anchor anywhere in the port. Choices are either to take a buoy, or tie to one of the rafts (€ 20 including electricity and water), or tie to the pier (about € 40 – 60). We were not in need of water or electricity, therefore we preferred to stay on buoy and go to the town by our dinghy. We were a little tired, so we stayed aboard and savored our fish for dinner.
September 26 th : A heavy shower of rain washed our boat for us at night. The morning was bright and sunny. We went to town by dinghy, and visited the port authorities and the customs office. They gave a navigation permit free of charge, and that was it. We bought some oil for the engine and a pilot book for the Spanish waters. Going up the steps, we arrived in the city center. Mahon is not one of the typical Spanish cities made of enormous concrete blocks. It is a very pleasant town with plenty of green palms and trees scattered between the buildings. The streets are crowded with tourists, mostly German and English. We had lunch at a restaurant and did our shopping from a rich produce market. In the afternoon we continued our city tour. In the evening we had a typical Mahonese dinner at a restaurant by the sea. We were delighted to watch the city by night from our boat. We will sail to Majorca tomorrow.
September 27 th – 29 th : We left our buoy in the sunny morning and went to the fuel dock. After filling up our tanks, we started off at 9:25 AM for Puerto Petro (39 21.6N, 3 12.9E), on the East side of Majorca . We have 63 Nautical Miles to cover, mostly with the engine on. Nilgün caught another handsome fish. We arrived at the port at 8:15 PM. We found a place to anchor among the other boats. The days are considerably shorter, and we can feel the autumn approaching. It gets chilly at night. The wind stopped at night, all boats turned to different directions, and Nilgün had another sleepless night.
We went ashore by dinghy and discovered the tiny town. It has a nice marina, full of local fishing boats. We left Puerto Petro at 1:00PM and sailed to the South of the Island to the Rapita Bay (39 20.1N, 2 59.2E) only 14 Nautical Miles away. The weather was warm and the sea was inviting, so we took the day off for a swimming break. We had a peaceful evening. The next morning we left our anchor place at 9:10AM for Port Andratx (39 32.7N, 2 23.1E) at the Southwest of the island. We have skipped Palma di Majorca, because we have already seen this city in 2003, when we have stopped there with s/y Mat. We have covered the 30NM through the heavy traffic of sailing and motoryachts and ferries. Port Andratx is a bay squeezed between high hills, with a marina at one side, and an anchoring place at another. We anchored next to a Vagabond 47. When we went ashore by dinghy, we thought we were in Germany instead of Spain . The streets were very neat and tidy, and German language is spoken everywhere. The real estate brokers are doing their utmost to sell sophisticated villas to Germans. We did our shopping at a nearby supermarket, and although the restaurants and bars were tempting, we went back to our boat. We will sail to our third island of the Balear group tomorrow: Ibiza .
September 30 th : We left Port Andratx at 8:00 AM on an Autumn day with the sky covered with dark clouds. We motored our way of 55NM to the Ibiza Island . We have stopped at this island with s/y Mat, but because we arrived late at night and departed early in the morning, we have not had the time to see the city. This time we are determined to stay longer. Later in the day the sun started shining. The sea is quite choppy. Nilgün's attempts to fish, results with the loss of two precious rappalas! The fish that ate the rappalas must have been huge. Nilgün's third attempt with a plastic bait rewarded us with a good sized Dorado. We will have fresh fish for dinner. We anchored at 4 meters at Talamanca bay (38 54.9N, 1 27.6E), on the Eastern side of Ýbiza town. We will go to the marina in the morning. We had our fish cooked by Nilgün's special formula, watching the lights of the town.
October 1 st , 2 nd : We went into the port and came alongside the fuel station of the easternmost Botafoch marina (38 54.7N, 1 26.9E). Ibiza port is huge. There are three marinas, various piers for the yachts to come alongside, also piers for ferries and ships. The marina looked fully occupied, but we were ushered to an empty space. The marina fees were reduced 33%, € 40 instead of €60. The banditos have started the mort season! We went to the town after filling up our diesel tanks and getting tied up to our pontoon. We would like to find a telephone service station and have our Spanish telephone card adjusted for internet access, before the siesta time begins. We were told that this was not possible, had lunch at a restaurant and climbed up to the ancient city walls. Ýbiza is a cosmopolitan city. Many houses have been sold to foreigners, people from all over the world can be seen in the streets. We were exhausted walking through the city and decided to get our bicycles out from their garage the next day.
We learned through experience that on Sundays the stored are not open. The weather was not good, so we decided to stay here one more day, do shopping on Monday and go to Formentera Island 5 miles away. We passed the day cycling to the places that we have yet not seen and catching up with work that needs to be done aboard. The weather forecasts indicate that Monday will be warmer.
October 3 rd – 5 th : The weather forecasts failed. It did not warm up until Tuesday. We left the Botafoch Marina of Ibiza at 11:30 on Tuesday. We anchored among many other sailing boats in a well protected bay of Espalmador Island (38 46.8N, 1 25.5E), which is right at the North of Formentera. The next morning when we looked around we have seen our French friends aboard s/y Papa Djo, anchored beside Vagabond. Hervé and Evelyne gave us many clues having traveled in this part of the Mediterranean in the past. We made the most of this wonderful place, and the next day we sailed to Sabine Port of the Formentera Island . As the summer season is over, the town was not crowded, but there is a heavy ferry traffic between Ibiza and Formentera. We took our bicycles ashore, intending to see the island, but Ali's bicycle had a problem, and we returned to the boat.
October 6 th : We plan to pass to the mainland of Spain . El Rinconet of Moraira (38 41.0N, 0 08.8E) is 60 miles west of us. We departed at 7:00AM, still in the dark. The light winds did not let us sail, so we just had the mainsail on just to prevent rocking. When we have seen the land, we have also seen the black clouds ahead of us. As we approached they turned to nasty looking waterspouts, and did not disappear until we got very close. The Spanish radio gives a weather bulletin every two hours. The fishing line has a problem, each fish that got caught escaped before we could get them in the boat. We arrived in El Rinconet at 5:30 PM. The bay is protected from the North and West, but a swell makes it uncomfortable. Later that night a squall or two made us jump from our bed, but our anchor won the battle again.
October 7 th and 8 th : Our next destination is Alicante (38 20.5N, 0 28.9W), which we entered with s/y Mat in 2003, but did not have time to see the city. The 36 miles that we covered that day was close to the shore, and we were shocked when we saw Costa Blanca covered with high blocks of buildings. At 10:00AM we passed Longitude 0, from the East to the Western hemisphere. We reached Alicante at 3:15, filled our diesel tank and tied to the magnificent marina. The elegant city enchanted us. After the promenade, we had dinner – Kebap for Nilgün and Paella for Ali. We listened to a spectacular concert of an American Indian group, and got back to our boat. The next day we went to Alicante 's produce market full of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, took a bicycle tour, and had Nilgün's delicious version of Paella at dinner. Alicante was very impressing.
October 9 th and 10 th : We left the marina at 1:20 PM in a very calm weather. We arrived at Torrevieja Port (37 58.3N, 0 41.4W) at 6:10, and we anchored among the other boats inside the port. The port is very crowded with local boats. It was raining, therefore we did not go ashore, but watched the city from the sea. The next day we started off at 1:00AM for Mar Menor (37 44.5N, 0 43.2W), which is a small sea separated from the Mediterranean by a sand bank. A bridge opens every once an hour to let the boats go in or out. Mar Menor is 12 nautical miles to 6 nautical miles, and the depths are 5 meters in most of the places. It has two islands, and many marinas. We anchored at Perdiguera island, and had a peaceful night.
October 11 th : We motored to the bridge, which opened at 11:00. We continued sailing southwest hoping to meet warm weather. Our destination is Mazzaron Port (37 34.0N, 1 15.0W), we skipped Cartagena because we have already visited this beautiful city with Teoman's Mat. We are more lucky with the fish today, we caught a tuna that weighed one kilo. When we entered Mazzaron port, we saw that the port is under construction, we therefore chose to anchor in the bay in the east. We enjoyed watching the well illuminated shore while eating our Tuna fish.
October 12 th : When we started at 8:00AM, there was no wind, but as we proceeded towards the Garucha Port (37 11.0N, 1 49.1W) 37 nautical miles away, the wind started blowing hard from the south, bringing high waves. After a wet trip we arrived at Garucha Port completely open to the South, and quite uncomfortable. The only place available was to come alongside to the diesel station. As the wind pushed us against the tyre fenders at the fuel dock, the hull of the boat was smeared with carbon black. We rearranged our fenders and went ashore. We walked the deserted town and had some ice cream in a café. Our dinner menu was leftover Tuna fish salad with mayonnaise.
October 13 th : We went out of the port at 7:30 AM in darkness. We started sailing, but as we approached the cape the wind shifted, and we put the engine on. Our plan was to pass Capo Gata and proceed to Costa del Sol , but Capo Gata opposed our plan by sending huge waves from the head. We therefore took refuge in Genoese Bay (36 44.5N, 2 07.1W), two miles north of Capo Gata. This bay is reasonably well protected from the South, but as the wind reached 25 – 30 knots and started to turn the boat, we hoisted our mizzen, and had a comfortable night.
October 14 th : As the weather calmed down the next morning, we weighed anchor at 8:30, turned the corner and arrived at Club de Mar marina of Almeria . We bought some more diesel and tied to the berth. Almeria is the town where 2005 Mediterranean Games took place. We even saw the cupboard that was assigned to the Turkish team. We toured the historical parts of the city and the ancient walls called Alcazaba.
October 15 th : We left the marina at 8:55 and head towards Herradura Bay (36 42.9N, 3 44.3W). Contrary to the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol is not completely covered with huge blocks and apartments, but holiday villages and greenhouses. This area produces the fresh fruit and vegetable required by North Europe . The current that was with us all morning unfortunately reversed to 0.5 to 1.0 mile against us, therefore we could arrive at our anchor place in the dark at 8:30 PM.
October 16 th – 17 th : We started off at 8:40 to go to Benalmadena marina (36 35.7N, 4 30.7W), that is 38 miles away. With a light easterly and a current against us we motored our way to Benalmadena. We came inside the port at 4:05PM, and tied to the place that was assigned to us. The marina was very impressing with its modern buildings, residences, stores and restaurants. We dined at a Chinese restaurant. The next day we visited Torremolinos with our bicycles. This has become a very touristic city, with a hint of what it used to be a sleepy little village. The rain got stronger and locked us in the boat all night.
October 18 th : Our destination is Estepona (36 24,9N, 5 09,4W) which will be our last stop in Costa del Sol . We took off at 9:00AM in rainy weather. We spoke to our friends aboard Papa Djo, and agreed to meet with them in Gibraltar . Estepona is a lovely town with a broad band of a beach and a promenade. We had something to drink at a café, and got back to the boat for a good rest.
October 19 th : Today's destination is Gibraltar (36 09.2N, 5 21.6W), the Mediterranean's gate to Atlantic . Gibraltar is a small peninsula under the British rule. We left Estapona at 12:00noon and arrived in Gibraltar at 3:25PM. We tied to the pier of the port authority, finished the formalities very quickly and filled our tanks with diesel. Than we anchored beside Papa Djo in the anchor place right next to the airport that is also the border between Gib and Spain . We had a pleasant evening with Hervé and Evelyne at Vagabond.
This completes our voyage in the Mediterranean . So far we have covered only the one tenth of the complete tour. We will stay here a while to welcome our dear Commodor Teoman Arsay , and complete our last minute preparations before sailing to Atlantic . This leg of our voyage started from Menorca Island of Balearic Islands, and ended in Gibraltar after visiting 17 different port or anchor place in 27 days. The distance covered in this leg was 775 nautical miles.