Spain to Gibralter

Tue 2 Nov 2010 22:21
36:08.168N 5:21.347W
Left Carloforte, 5.30am Tuesday, 14th September for 4 day sail to Spain and headed out into building seas and strong winds, seas got bigger and wind blew 25 knots, sailed with reefed Genoa no mainsail and averaged 7 knots but very bumpy, uncomfortable and cold!  Wednesday dawned, sea and wind dropped and motor went on, glassy sea a total contrast to the day before!  Sunny and warm, even stopped mid ocean to have a swim in 2,500 metres deep sea.  Passed 3 turtles swimming with the current and heading East.  Thursday and still very little wind and running out of fuel fast so a torn Spinnaker with broken snuffer was hosted for a few hours and we managed a slow sail.  Engine back on by the evening.  Sailed on and off Friday as the coast of Spain came into view.  As we neared Cartagena we were treated to an impressive air display by the Spanish equivalent of the Red Arrows - a nice Spanish welcome!   Sailed into Cartagena Friday afternoon and checked into the Marina.  Soon discovered it was the 1st day of a 10 day fiesta celebrating the history of Cartagena.  In true Spanish style festivities began late with the lighting of the festival torch with most of the population dressed in Roman costume, the atmosphere was electric with loud music, speeches and fireworks - the fiesta had begun and was to carry on non stop for the next 10 days.  Cartagena is a lovely historic town with friendly fiercely proud people and Saturday night (on the recommendation of the local music shop) we headed up to the festival ground on the outskirts of the city where a huge funfair had been erected next to the area of Roman Camps.  After a scarey ride on the crazy mouse at the funfair we went to the Roman Camp and joined the Celt sect (who in true Cartaginian form had a live rock group playing!), we were welcomed by the chief of the clan and left at 4.00am after a wild night of drinking (all drinks 1 euro!) and dancing. 
Left Cartagena Sunday,19th September afternoon 4.00ish and after re-fueling, overnight sailed following the coast up to Almeria, there was no room in the main harbour so were told to try Aguadulce along the coast next to Roquetas de Mar, moored in a nice marina in the concrete jungle of Roquetas.  Tuesday we hired a car and visited Fort Bravo the studios famous for producing hundreds of spaghetti westerns including the Clint Eastwood classics and Indiana Jones movies. 
Left Aguadulce Wednesday morning and another hop down the coast in strong winds, sailed broad reach most of the way then a run into Almerimar, another concrete jungle with an enormous purpose built Marina surrounded by hundreds of empty apartments.  Cycled around a strange marsh like area (referred to as a National Park!) on Thursday and were not sorry to leave Friday morning for La Caleta, after a long days sailing we arrived just before dark at a lovely little Marina (unfortunately expensive!) to find the dreaded westerly wind that we had been beating into all day decided to change direction and blow straight into where we were moored!  Left La Caleta midday Saturday and did a short but uncomfortable beat into 30 knot winds and after a tricky mooring stopped at Caleta de Velez near Torre del Mar.   Left Caleta de Velez having discovered it's best feature was an excellent cake shop called Ramos!  Left the next morning under motor which progressed to motor sailing then a beat up to Fuengirola where we moored in the Marina along with the other Cockney wide boys!!  After an exciting night in Lonnie Donnegans Music Bar!!!  left Fuengirola and wind shifts allowed us a fast sail onto Duquesa, another purpose built resort and Marina set amidst some of the top championship Golf Courses of Spain and spent the night there.  Left Duquesa Tuesday, 28th September and did the last short sail onto Gibralter, negotiating various fishing nets which stretched for miles across the bay and rounding the Rock with a strong wind and choppy seas.  Sailed into Queensway Quay mid afternoon and came to rest in a more British place than Britain to spend the next month repairing and re-stocking having completed the circumnavigation of the Med.