The first stop was Estepona on the Costa del Sol to meet English sailing friends who live there. Amazingly the first day was cloudy and wet! Then it was just a short sail up to Marbella to meet another friend who lives there. Marbella old town is lovely, and nothing like the “Bling” image I had in my mind. Then another short sail to Benalmadena, where my old friends on the Western Star have decided to moor until the New Year.
I then had a great sail to an anchorage near to Marina del Este. After dinner I heard an engine rumbling. When I went on deck a large boat with a search light was coming towards me, then came alongside and two guys in helmets and with guns jumped on board….it was the Spanish Customs looking for drugs! Once they searched around and were certain that I was “clean” they filled in forms and politely left me.
Early next day I set sail again with good wind and sunshine to arrive in Almerimar late afternoon. I stayed in Almerimar for longer than I wanted waiting for the right winds to come along. For this reason I decided to do a long overnight sail to Alicante. The first 12 hours or so were tough as there was a big swell, a strong current and a gusting wind. I will stay for a few days, and then move on. We had one day of rain, rain, rain due to a massive low pressure system in the Mediterranean. The next day I moved on again…..I wanted to sail round to Denia, but there was a big swell from the earlier storm and going was slow so I diverted to Moraira. It is definitely getting cooler as December is here and I move further north…no more sailing in shorts!
Not far now!….I wanted to sail another long overnight stretch to Vinaroz. The first half of the passage was fabulous, but then in the middle of the night the wind changed direction to a northerly and there was a big swell coming from the north. It all became another endurance test so at day break I diverted to Oropesa del Mar. Many places along the coast are seaside resorts, and were very quiet in December. Two days later I made the short sail to Vinaroz. Then the last big sail….overnight to Barcelona. This passage had everything up to a Force 7, in which the boat, well reefed, coped fine. The speed I was now sailing made me realise that I would arrive too early. I prefer not to arrive at a marina new to me, in the dark. So I “slowed down” and entered Port Olimpic marina as the sun was rising on 11th December 2014.
Both Port Vell and Port Olimpic were trying to fit me in somewhere, and Port Olimpic found a place for me for two months. I have sailed about 2400nm and Barcelona is the 44th place visited since leaving Hull…..not including anchorages, which were just overnight stops.
The boys flew to Barcelona for Christmas week on the boat, and the New Year has arrived. Friends, Clarissa and Karen visited in January and February. I’ve seen a lot of Barcelona’s sights and have been to three football matches at Camp Nou. The Carnival is mid-February. I am getting all sorts of jobs done and getting ready for seeing more of the Mediterranean. After a quick trip back to the UK I was ready to leave Barcelona….on 1st April 2015 I sailed out of Port Olimpic marina and up the coast to Blanes.