To Moraira with Ian & Jane

Sat 7 Sep 2013 16:24

Saturday 31st August 2013

Fourteen hundred hours Saturday 31st August, a second beer, feet up,
lounging in the gently rolling cockpit, feeling the sun's warmth on my now
Asian brown shoulders. We lie to anchor on a languorous, azure blue sea, in
a small bay immediately behind Punta (Point) Mascarat. At the head of the
bay a sand and shingle beach from which soars a grit and limestone mountain
its peak almost eight hundred metres above the shore line. The lower slopes
cloaked with Canary Palm, Holm Oak and Olive amongst other shrubbery. Hiding
a local road cut into its flank one hundred and fifty metres up, above that
a narrow gauge railway makes a brief appearance between its subterranean
burrows and higher still a major trunk road has been hacked into its side.
Only careful study reveals their existence as an occasional vehicle is
glanced between the trees on these verdant, lower slopes. Small white
development crowds the shore side and punctuates the greenery but above five
hundred metres very little clings to its stern, almost vertical, grey and
brown massiveness.
Mascarat lies on the Greenwich Meridian and I reflect on the times we have
been on this line of longitude in the last few months. Once in July on our
Kensington Palace trip to visit historical Greenwich itself and once in
April on our way up the Thames to launch Pamarzi at St Catherine's Dock.

Jane and Ian joined us in Alicante last Monday evening. We dined in town
beneath Santa Barbara Castle, that Lynn and I had visited on Sunday. The
food unremarkable but the girls enjoyed the seemingly endless parade of
artisan market stalls that line the tree decked, main street offering all
manner of handmade (whether by the vendor or children in the Far East!)
trinketry, leather goods, decorative metal ware, balms and potions.
Tuesday morning we woke to cloudy skies but had some good sailing for our
new crew berthing that evening in Altea Marina where we enjoyed an evening
of each other's company aboard Pamarzi. Wednesday more cloud but we had a
thrilling beat to windward, Ian enjoying a goodly turn on the helm holding
her 'in the groove'. Although we did respect the ladies wishes and reefed
down as boat speed reached double digits. We anchored in El Rinconet, a
small bay near the village of Moraira, but just before dark Jane's stomach
dictated a move to the nearby marina. A difficult berthing, in gusty
conditions, alongside, between two already moored boats in a space little
longer than Pamarzi herself. Once moored and ashore Jane quickly recovered
and we found another excellent restaurant, the appropriately named El
Refugio in this small and very attractive town. Here the thick cut fillets
of rose veal, were quite exceptional. Before we had finished our repast
thunder rumbled and lightening illuminated the sky, the precursors to a
tropical downpour that turned the narrow cobbled streets of Moraira into
mountain streams. These monsoon conditions, that have blighted a large area
of Spain, continued all that uncomfortable night as we bounced and jostled
against our fenders and pulled and tugged on our mooring lines, prohibiting
sleep and not helping Jane's queesyness. Ian and I managed some boat jobs
the following day on the bouncing deck between down pours, resetting our
lines with compensators to relieve the worst of the snatching. It being
Ian's Birthday it was back to El Refugio that evening for a celebratory
dinner. That night conditions started to ease and we all hoped for good
sailing conditions the following day for the forty miles or so back to
Alicante on Jane and Ian's last day with us. Whilst the winds were fine the
next morning, forty miles in the rolling, wallowing sea state that remained
was deemed too much for Jane's underdeveloped sea legs and they decided on a
long taxi ride back to Alicante airport. The monsoon conditions continued to
ease through the day and Lynn and I had a relatively quiet night in the
It was good to release Pamarzi from her shackles and put to sea this
morning, although with little wind we gently motored to this sheltered cove,
continuing our journey, retracing our course back to Alicante for my brief
trip back to the U.K. on Tuesday.