Cartagena to Ibiza

The day began pretty relaxed. We were only leaving at about 11am so everyone had a lazy morning and made the most of the marina’s pleasant toilets and showers.

We were sailing a Lagoon 40 catamaran

Once again the wind was on our nose so we spent a lot of time under engine but occasionally the wind would shift a little bit and we’d get some extra power from the sails. But for this journey it was pretty rare that we had the engine off.

The final night passage was my least favourite shift of Midnight until 4am but we could again see the Milky Way and since it was my last night shift for the foreseeable future I kinda put up with it.

As we approached Ibiza we started hitting a little traffic!

Birds trying to steal the fisherman’s catch with Formentera in the background

We then started to catch sight of what I thought was San Antonio…

Turns out it was Ibiza Town.

This is where much confusion began. I’d used to reserve an apartment a few hundred feet from the marina. Whilst we were filling up with diesel I checked on google maps to see how far the apartment was and was told it was a 25 minute drive. Ooops. Not entirely sure why I thought we were finishing the trip in San Antonio – ho hum.

Happy crew with the details of the journey.

We completed 1314nm with 125hrs under sails and 170hrs using engines.

We then headed into Ibiza Town for dinner where I plumped for some sushi…

Expensive, but good

Then we all said farewell, the two Josh’s and I got a taxi over to our apartment. We checked in and then went out for more drinks, gin and tonic if I recall, and then headed to bed.

The next day, Saturday, was my birthday so we went off in search of food. We walked past Fatso’s thinking it wasn’t quite classy enough for a birthday breakfast – but then we were all craving a fatso’s breakfast for the remainder of the time in town – and subsequently ended up in Rita’s Cantina. I wanted to eat here at some point during the day so it ticked the box and we all enjoyed it immensely.

We then went off in search of jet-ski’s. Founds some but had to wait a couple of hours so we went to a nice chill out bar near the beach and sat on comfy sofas drinking beer and watching people play rugby. It was Tulp Bar and is very much recommended.

We then went on a high speed mash across the sea to blow some cobwebs away

Excellent fun – note Captain Sensible with his t-shirt on.

Following the jet skis we had another couple of beers in Tulp and then headed to the next tick box tourist event which was watching the sun set at Cafe Del Mar on the West side of San Antonio.

After drinks in Cafe Del Mar we were all dressed inappropriately so popped back to the apartment to get some warmer clothes and we rounded off the night in a Thai restaurant. There was talk of the young ‘uns going to a club to dance the night away but there was no way I was dragging my 51yr old body out at midnight. So it was a relatively early night.

Awoke the next morning quite early to find we were almost out of water. Trying to find an open supermarket early on a Sunday in Ibiza is a bit tricky. But eventually found one, bought water, went back to the apartment and packed.

It was as I was packing I started discarding tatty clothes and shoes to lighten my load. So I had to say goodbye to my three-stripes that have travelled the world with me.

Ummmmmm to Cartagena

We set off from the anchorage in the Spanish national park and headed for Cartagena. There was some bad weather coming in ( 30kts+ and rain ) so we decided we’d stay a couple of nights in the marina at Cartagena.

Me waiting to do a day shift

We arrived at the marina after a day or so of sailing [ I don’t think we did a night passage here but it’s a few days later and all starting to blur into one ] and I seem to remember we spent a lot of time on engine to ensure we avoided the storm. We got into the marina quite late and so were pleasantly surprised to find a bar still open and serving food.

The food was edible, the drinks were cold.

After the Yellow Submarine bar we went to Radio bar just up the road. The toilet was truly horrific. Absolutely Trainspotting standards. But when you’ve gotta go!

The next day in Cartagena the rain absolutely arrived. Properly throwing it down. The plan was to do some exploring but after a few seconds out in the rain we were all soaked. So we took shelter in the nearest pub and pretty much just got drunk and ate for the day and night.

A collection of the wines we went through. There were a lot more than this…actually I think this is just one night.

When I told Emma we were heading to Cartagena she sent me a picture that she’d taken there on a school trip a few years before.

This is Emma’s photo on a beautiful sunny day
This was my recreation on a much much wetter day. I couldn’t do it perfectly as there were some barriers to my left preventing me getting the angle correct on the building in the background

We left Cartagena in beautiful sunshine heading for Ibiza.

Ceuta to ummmmm

Well, here

We left at the ridiculously early time of 8.30am which was quite a shock to the system after finishing drinking rum a mere five hours earlier. We made reasonable progress during the day dodging tankers and cargo ships as we cut across the shipping lanes to get back to the Spanish side of the Med.

We had to make a few course changes to avoid some of the big ships but they also made course changes to avoid us. It was all very gentlemanly except for one Russian bell end who kept screaming “Putin number one” over the VHF emergency frequency. Dick.

Once again we had our usual Dolphin accompaniment. This was a massive pod of them and they were everywhere we looked.

It was a largely uneventful day which was made all the easier by having a full crew which means there are always two on each watch. So if you want to make a cup of tea or go for a wee or just have a lie in the sun then it’s no problem. It makes the four hour shift fly by.

We did an overnight passage and Pawel and I were due on watch at 4am. So I went to bed at about 9pm and slept soundly until 3.30am. During our watch we could see the Milky Way in the inky black skies and we also saw Mars shining brightly at about 5am.

The next day started off quite mildly but the winds really got up in the afternoon.

My watch mate Pawel enjoying the waves…

We eventually made it to a relatively safe anchorage where will be sleeping for the night. The intention was to have a bit of a swim in the Mediterranean but

a) it’s still quite windy
b) it’s still pretty chilly
c) the guys in the picture below wont bugger off and I absolutely refuse to swim with shorts on

We have to be in Ibiza by Friday so there will probably be another night sail at some point. But we’re pretty much on target to make it for Ibiza for my birthday!

Gibraltar to Ceuta

Josh, Josh2 and Pawel finally made it to the boat and we managed to fix the topping lift. It wasn’t a perfect fix but it was better than using the spinnaker halyard.

We pulled out of Alcaidesa marina which is part of Spain, and drove around the corner to a marina in Gibraltar where fuel is 40% cheaper. Filled our fuel tanks and bought some beers and rum and then headed South across the Mediterranean to Africa…kinda.

Rock of Gibraltar in the background

It was a very short crossing, probably a little over two hours, but we were immediately joined by Bottlenose Dolphins and they accompanied us for quite a while. As we were crossing the water we saw a familiar sight.

It may not be the exact ship that blocked the Suez but it’s close enough.

The sun was setting as we approached Ceuta and a tanker ship was in the right place at the right time.

Ceuta is part of continental Africa in much the same way as Gibraltar is part of mainland Spain, and just as Gibraltar remains a little part of Britain, Ceuta is a little part of Spain. So we went ashore and found a fantastic little Tapas place where we had some amazing food and drank some beer and wine.

On the way back to the boat we came across the statue of Hercules.

After getting back on the boat, which was considerably easier than getting off it since the tide had risen, we all fancied a rum. So we finished the bottle of rum we brought from the Canaries, then we opened the bottle of rum we bought whilst filling up with fuel….and we finished that as well. Unfortunately I had an 8am shift and only went to bed at 3.30am with a belly full of rum. It wasn’t a pleasant start to the next day!