Mar Menor

Lady Stardust Faro-Portugal to Barcelona - 2010
Paul Collister
Mon 9 Aug 2010 22:54

Monday 9th August


We’ll be heading gradually north now so the weather is likely to get calmer due to a different set of wind conditions.  Apparently it was the ‘Levante’ wind that caused the recent rough patches.  We left at 12 after buying some bread and filling up with fuel.  There was a bit of swell in the sea but not enough to rock the boat.  Simon struggled to cope with the steering though so we took turns at the helm until the wind shifted and Harriet could take over.  We made good progress this way, doing 4 or 5 knots and enjoyed the peace of no engine noise.  We hugged the Costa Blanca coast all the way on a relatively calm sea.  High rise buildings appeared as we approached Mar Menor.  La Manga is a narrow strip of land crammed with skyscrapers and stretches for miles. 

On the other side of it is an inland sea 12metres long and 6 metres wide which is where we were headed.  To get in, boats with masts have to wait for a bridge to lift up but we weren’t sure of the times it opened up.  A quick call on channel 9 told us it would be 7 or 9 pm.  Since it was only 5 30 we motored out of the very shallow water near the entrance to it and picked up a spare mooring buoy near a small island where we’d noticed other boats on the way in and had a late lunch while we waited.  The bridge lift was great. The approach to it is quite a narrow and shallow canal that requires careful navigation.  We were near the front of a line of yachts moving slowly towards a road that was gradually separating until both sides of it were at 90 degrees with cars queuing up on either side like a level crossing. 

Quaint, tiny beaches lined the right hand side of the canal and the boats passing through were waved at by holidaymakers and fishermen.  We felt quite regal. Once in the inland sea, which is like a huge lake similar to those in the Lake District, we looked for a good place to anchor.  It’s very shallow and calm and so peaceful.  We are in the lee of an island – again out of bounds to tourists.  We’d noticed lots of jellyfish on the way in but they disappeared once we were in the ‘lake’.  Lots of people from other anchored boats were swimming anyway but most had left by the time the sun went down, leaving just us and one other boat a fair way off from us in the area near the island.  We played Mah Jong and the seriously addictive Wordfu on the iPad and later, I prepared some veggie tapas while listening to West Side Story. This is to be our last anchorage this holiday – all marinas from now on so it was a pleasant final evening at anchor.