Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ibiza to Gibraltar

400 miles and at least 3 days at sea ahead of us.
We woke to a nice moderate breeze blowing in exactly the direction we wanted to head, just as forecast, perfect.
We had a leisurely breakfast upped anchor and headed off with full sail and made good progress, this lasted until early evening when the wind started to drop, we continued under sail until out speed dropped to around 2 knts and then the engine came on. 0300 the wind returned and full sail was set again, by Mark as Amanda snored happily below. We were well away from any shipping lanes and we passed a quiet night slowly slipping SW.

 Sunset at sea

 Get up its your watch !

During the next day we continued with very light winds but just enough to carry on under sail, although crossing the main shipping lane at a little over 4 miles and hour was interesting.
After passing Cabo Gata in the early hours daylight dawned along with very light winds. The forecast indicated stronger winds further offshore so we hoisted the spinnaker and proceeded southwards at a stately 2-3 knts, frustratingly slow but at least we were making progress…just! Eventually even this light breeze died away and we had the engine on for a couple of hours. Just as Mark had settled in bed the wind came up and it was all hands on deck to hoist sail and ensure we made the most of it.
We were quite surprised to find we had picked up about 2 knts of foul tide  even though we were still about 100 miles from the straights of Gibraltar, this slowed progress until the tide turned about 6 hours later when we picked up a knot of fair tide. Why is the tide always stronger when it is against you ????
As we approached Gib the tide again turned and the sea became pretty rough, but Amanda saw a whale, loads of flying fish and a large pod of dolphins which played on the bow wave for quite a while.

 The rock with a top hat cloud

Busy shipping in Gibraltar bay, This is a photo of our chart plotter showing us in black on the right with our track in green, all the grey triangles are other ships !!

We rounded Europa point at about 1800 and were safely anchored at La Linea just in time to have dinner in the cockpit watching the sunset.  

Ibiza to Esplamor

To get a head start on the long passage ahead we did a short hop (13 miles) to Esplamor which is one of a chain of islands between Ibiza and Formentera.  We anchored off a beautiful private beach, in the summer there can be over a 100 boats anchored but we were lucky that there were only around 10 of us.  Unfortunately the jellyfish scared us off, we jumped in, swam about 50m and they were everywhere! So back to the boat L.  Last summer swim cut short.

Cala Talamanca/Ibiza town

Cala Talamanca was ideal for walking into Ibiza town, meaning that this time round in Ibiza we had an opportunity to see a bit more of the island.  We had a couple of days exploring Ibiza town particularly the old town, the walls still surround this part of the town and it very quite exciting entering the town through what was obviously the original entrance hundreds of years ago.  The cathedral is within the calls and you can walk around miles of the perimeter along with lots of tiny streets where lots of people still  live – what a fantastic place to live.  After quite a few days not getting off the boat this was a good work out for our legs!

 Cathedral from within walls

At the top of the walls we were also able to check Magnum was still at anchor although no idea what we would do if she wasn’t! 

 Magnum anchored in bay on distance

I am sure Ibiza town may not be quite a inviting in at the height of the tourist season but early October was ideal and still sunny.

Alcudia to Illatas

With strong winds forecast for the north of Mallorca we decided it was time to start our journey back south to Gib for the winter. To make shelter we needed to cover about 80nm to Palma bay.
We left at about 04.30 to ensure we covered the distance mostly in daylight. It was dark as we left but the sun came up over Cap Formentor which was stunning.

We spent 90% of the day motoring as it was completely windless, we did however have some stunning views of the rock formations

 Port Soller from the sea

As we approached Isla Dragonara we finally picked up a breeze, bang on the nose, but it was nice to have a sail at last tacking our way upwind in the narrow passage between the mainland, the island and the man made obstruction in the form of a massive motor vessel called Phoenix which had 6 jet skis tethered behind and a polished stainless steel phoenix as a figurehead.
We were visited briefly by dolphins but the Med variety seem much shyer then their Atlantic cousins and they never stay and play.


We then made our way into an anchorage at Illiatas to sit out the strong winds.
When we awoke in the morning we had been joined at anchor by Phoenix which now had a new toy on deck……..I want one.

Big boys toys!