Cartagena to Mahon
Steve & Chris
Mon 18 Aug 2008 20:57
We waved Cartagena a reluctant goodbye, making a note in the log that this could be a possible leaving place for the boat if needed. Having fuelled up, we motored out into a fairly heavy swell but little wind and so began our longest passage to date with just the two of us on board - under engine. The chart plotter read 290 miles for this passage which was to take us North East, passing south of Formentera and Ibiza, then Mallorca and Cabrera and finally round the southern tip of Menorca to Puerto de Mahon on the south east coast.
Eventually the wind kicked in and we were able to sail for a while before it died again and the engine went back on. This was to be the pattern for the entire passage, with the engine on for probably half of the time. We settled into the watch pattern of four hours by day and three by night that we had used on the Biscay crossing, and it worked well, though of course this time there was no third person on standby! It was an ideal opportunity to test out what can be done single-handedly on deck, though the benign weather meant that it wasn't a complete test. Reefing in the sails in a fairly flat sea is one thing, doing it in a blow is a different matter altogether!
Both nights at sea were lit by a very bright full moon, which made keeping watch easier - although so far in the Med we have not come across the fishing marks that plagued us down the Atlantic coast of Portugal. The AIS system which shows large vessels on the chart plotter and very conveniently tells you how close they will come to you if both maintain the same course is invaluable - although it also makes you aware of vessels you may otherwise have been blissfully unaware of!
We arrived in Mahon at around four this afternoon, after 54 hours at sea, and the log showed 297 miles. We moored to a floating pontoon 'island' and decided to eat on board this evening and get the rib out tomorrow and go and explore.
Passing Mallorca in the early light Rounding the southern end of Menorca