Thursday, May 10, 2012

Out of Barcelona

On a bright Saturday morning, we left the Varadero boat yard where we had hauled out Three Rivers and painted her bottom. We swung by Port Olympic, about 2 miles away, to get diesel and also to see the pretty Barcelona waterfront one more time. Then we headed south towards the Balearic Islands, a hundred miles away, into the prevailing SWS wind which seems to be dominant around this time of the year. A wind direction that’s behind our back would be nice, but one cannot wait forever especially since the marina tab is running; and as nice as Barcelona is, it is time to move on and start our cruising season.

So contrary to what we said we would not do again when we did it last time, we are once again bashing into wind and wave for the long overnight slog. We don’t mind sailing close-haul; love it, actually, if the sea is flat. But the sea doesn’t stay flat for long in 15-20 knot winds, so by late afternoon while the boat is happily heeling and making good progress on a lumpy sea, the crews are trying to convince their stomachs that it’s ok to keep the breakfast. A school of dolphins stay with us for a while, showing off that they can swim faster than our 6 knots and leaping off our bow waves. The fresh breeze continues through the night, which is somewhat unusual. A full moon lights up the semi-overcast sky; the sea is bright as Barcelona’s lively back streets. Once we went beyond the busy shipping lane near the mainland, we encountered not a single boat or ship, just the AIS displaying one or two solitary dots passing in the distance. A solitary night sail is not a bad way to start a cruising season.

The Islas Balearic consist of four main islands and a number of small islets, and form one of the most attractive and varied cruising grounds in the western Mediterranean. We are now anchored in Port Soller, a ‘beautiful, almost circular bay lying in the midst of spectacular mountainous scenery’, according to the pilotage guide. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue under the sun, and at least for now the beaches are still quiet and the hordes of charter boats with naked (male) sailors are not here yet. Yes, we will enjoy doing boat maintenance in these exotic locales...

Anchorage at Port Soller, Mallorca

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