Today we crossed the Greenwich meridian during a short, but nice sail to Moraira. Lisa saw three dolphins feeding nearby shortly after departure from Altea. We joined a few dozen other boats in the El Rinconet anchorage outside the harbor but had a sinking feeling when they all returned to the marina just before sunset.
A pleasant passage today — all motoring — with very comfortable seas and beautiful scenery, especially seeing Punta del Abrir, a photo of which is on the cover of our cruising guide. We tied up at the end of the dock at the Club Nautico and enjoyed the open views of the harbor and surrounding town which we did not have time to visit during our short stay.
This is the biggest city we have been in for awhile, and although we were warned by other cruising friends, the prices for everything were correspondingly high. We stayed a few days longer than planned, mainly to do a 2,500 hour servicing of our engine. It has been running perfectly, and we would like to keep it that way. We made a quick visit to the archeological museum which was interesting but a bit overdone in the multi-media department. Each gallery was devoted to a different topic but had a similar presentation format which didn’t work to well for us. There was an interesting exhibit with a replica of a Phoenician trading vessel found in the waters nearby.
Glad we waited a day for more favorable winds which started light but built in the afternoon to 12-15 knots from the SE. We anchored for one night inside this large, protected harbor which is also home to one of the most productive salt works in the world. We watched them load salt onto a ship at the commercial dock, but did not visit the salt works as our guidebook suggested.
We awoke in the morning to find a local fisherman as our only neighbor. He was in a small, but sturdy looking rowboat named Toto with three lines out but no luck until we hauled up our anchor. That did the trick — he landed a small fish and gave us a wave of thanks. We were underway in the late morning which is when the wind seems to start to build-in around here. Lingering over coffee did the trick for us — we had a wonderful sail to Alicante.
We arrived on Saturday for a one-week stay to visit local archeological sites/museums and to re-stock provisions. We both really liked Cartagena, a small city rich with history that has not been overwhelmed by resort development. The large, natural harbor — a rarity on this coast — has been used continuously since the Phoenicians first settled here in the 3rd Century B.C.
Anchored for two nights 100 meters from a popular swimming beach just outside of town. Rocky cliffs protected us to the north, west and south, but the anchorage was not protected from the southeast wind or swell. Luckily, we did not experience too much of either, although we did roll a bit at times.
Yesterday’s wind held for awhile this morning, just enough to get us around Cabo de Gata but not enough to sail all the way to Garrucha, so we motor-sailed most of the day. We were awed by the rugged coastline while rounding the Cape and continuing with very little coastal development until just southwest of Garrucha. David remarked, “This is one of the most barren stretches of coast that I have ever seen.” We saw swimmers and sunbathers on the beaches nestled between the rocky cliffs and were treated to a school of 15 dolphins feeding in the current just before sunset. We found a nice place to anchor inside the protected, fishing harbor and stayed onboard again watching the holiday festivities ashore and the fisherman on the breakwater “change shifts” as the sun went down.