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Our last ‘jaunt’ before we left for England was a glorious cycle ride for a day round the southern part of the Ebro delta (about 45 kms) as far as the mouth of the Ebro river in the east, where it was shallow & slow flowing, & dropping a swath of silt to form a different colour ‘highway’ across the sea. The birds were many & varied, including flamingos, terns & various heron. I was surprised by the brilliant green of the paddy fields & the variety of cultivation (from olive & apple trees to palms & vegetable plots).
Then it was the business of cleaning, tidying & sorting
the boat before we caught the train to
The weather was rather disappointing with more rain than usual, so the garden did not get all the tlc it needed & deserved. We slotted in some nice walks, mostly short & local, but including an attractive 11m chunk of the Essex way, some dinghy racing (mixed results), & got some household maintenance done.
Thursday 2nd September. A ‘small’ hours start to
the day for our flight back to
Next day we shopped for fresh provisions, filled water tanks, fitted a new engine hours meter, replaced the log, & other routine jobs prior to sailing.
Saturday 4th September. Left St Carles marina via their fuel berth for the lagoon area of Alfacs bay. Our speed was exceedingly sluggish & the log was not registering despite having been taken out while we were away to stop weed/barnacles growing & clogging it. Once anchored Doug dived to look at the prop, & resurfaced saying it was barely recognisable for the growth of barnacles. Our hero then spent considerable time diving & scraping off the barnacles – lucky he has lungs like bellows & one of the few times we wished we had full scuba gear & air tanks (& an underwater camera!). The log housing also had barnacles, so much for removing the log itself while we were back home.
Sunday 5th September. An early departure, &
once clear of the Ebro’s sheltering lagoon we found a big swell out to sea, so
with a fairly light wind it was motorsailing to make a sensible passage speed.
Further off the delta we saw an oil/gas rig away to port, which was not on our
chart. Late morning the wind veered so we gave the engine a rest & tried
sail power alone. It was a lot more comfortable motion as the boat was not
slamming through the waves, but they also stopped her fairly often so the
engine went on again. Mid afternoon we arrived at the tiny horseshoe shaped
As it is a reserve one is not allowed to anchor, must check with the warden, & use the buoys of which there are only 12. We were lucky that one was free as the nearest alternative anchorage is some 20 nm away. It is however a lovely place with curious formations of black volcanic strata sticking up from the rocky shores. We watched the aerial display of several Eleanoras falcons along the cliffs, & some other much larger raptors (possibly Bonelli eagles) passed though. At night there were strange noises from the shore – like distorted electronic sounds, snorts & chuckles – which we assume were made by shearwaters as they breed in burrows on the island, - & were not the ghosts of past travellers!
Monday 6th Sept. An ominous weather forecast
& Ibeza, the intended destination, another 60 nm away meant a small hours
(4am) start to try to stay ahead of the stronger winds. Once out of the shelter
of the horseshoe the swell was as bad as the previous day, the wind had not
dropped at all overnight as generally the norm & was on the nose for the
destination. After half an hour we decided it would be a very long &
uncomfortable trip, & use a lot of fuel so we turned for the mainland.
Despite the big seas the different angle to the wind meant we were sailing
fast. Later the wind increased, a reef went in, then for a short while the
second when the wind went to a F6. One of our genoa sheets chaffed through
& then the wind started easing again & headed us. The big swell was
still there so again it was motorsail to maintain a good course & speed. At
2pm we arrived at
Tuesday & Wednesday. We got the bikes out to get around
Thursday 9th September. An early start (but only
7am this time!) from
Friday 10th September. A late start, with very
light wind sailing down the coast. The wind died completely in the channel
between Ibeza & the spectacular
Saturday 11th September. A relaxed start with a pleasant breeze sailing though the islets & channels between Formentera & Ibeza to Cala Talamarca near Eivissa, Ibeza’s main town (Ibiza Town to us).
A pleasant short stop there, then another nice sail west close in to the town, with its castle on a rocky outcrop.
On though a shallow channel between mainland & off islets, a brief sighting of fins – dolphins concentrating on fishing – but surprisingly close to shore & then anchor in Cala Jondal. 21.5 nm & very pleasant sailing.
We anchored here 2yrs ago when going east. It was not as busy this time, but there were still the very big, & expensive yachts & motorboats of the very rich visiting the beach bars & later the discos.
Sunday we spent relaxing & doing a few jobs & canoed to lunch at one of the beach fish restaurants.
Monday 13th September. A prompt departure, motoring, with destination the Spanish mainland. Several sightings of groups of dolphins, just fins concentrating on fishing, no time for play. Mid afternoon we cleared the shipping lane off Capo Nao, not much shipping, & had a nice sail to our anchorage at Moraira. 57 nm. The swell picked up in the evening so it was a ‘rolly’ night.
Tuesday we motored the 6 nm to
Wednesday we shopped & sorted the boat for visitors, who duly arrived on schedule at tea time. Thursday we all went for a walk in the hills, a nice change for us.