Gibraltar to Cartagena - 11 - 15th Sept

Mon 15 Sep 2008 19:24
We didn't leave Marina Bay too early, as we needed to fuel up, especially with diesel at only 78p per litre (we have been paying well over this in Spain and Portugal).  We took advantage and filled up everything that would take fuel!  Within half an hour of leaving Gibralter, we were sailing in 20-25 knots of southwesterly wind (behind us) in beautiful sunshine.  In fact we sailed for the next 19 hours, albeit in slightly less wind, but all the same it was fabulous, especially when we were joined by dolphins and we also sighted pilot whales. 
Leaving the Rock and heading for Europa Point
One of the many anchored ships surrounding Gibraltar
As we sailed along the Costa Del Sol we listened to the local English FM radio station, which was targetted at the ex-pat community living in Spain and I must say we were both in histerics as one of the programmes was about dog grooming!.  I didn't want to stop anywhere along this coast as I knew it was very touristy and very expensive in marinas and we've since spoken to sailors who have regretted going there at all. 
As we wanted to get some miles under our belt, we did our first night sail since crossing The Bay of Biscay, but this time it was warm and was fairly relaxing, apart from trying to avoid a vessel restricted in its ability to manouvre.  The morning brought another day of glorious sunshine, but not much wind.  So after rounding Cabo Gato into the Costa Blanca (White Coast) we decided after 170nm to pull into Puerto de San Jose and anchored in a lovely bay next to the small town.  The mountain vista was beautiful and a very unspoilt area of the coast.  Early next morning we were woken up by Nimue being jolted by the swell, due to the wind building from the north.  This meant a quick exit and sails up.  As the wind was heading us, we had to tack out to sea before we could make any distance up the coast, but again a great sail in 15-20 knots of wind. 
The anchorage at San Jose
As there are not many suitable ports along this part of the coast we found a nice anchorage in Peurto de Aguilas, just about 100 metres from the beach. The sea here was crystal clear and we made the most of the opportunity to go for a swim off the boat and cool down.  In fact we enjoyed a couple of nights at anchor in Aguilas before heading round to Cartagena and it was interesting to see the building work being carried by the Spaniards to convert areas between the barren mountains into hotels or other dwelling places.  Since leaving Gibraltar we had not been ashore, so we spent a couple of worthwhile and interesting days in Cartagena.
Sailing up to Aguilas
Anchored in Aguilas
The 'dwellings' in the mountains
Moored up in Cartagena                                                              Club Nautico in background (with very nice swimming pool)