Saturday, July 04, 2009


I made it to Spain - only just though. I arrived with only 3 litres of diesel left in the tank and no reserve.

My last day at sea began with a decent southern wind. Perfect, I should arrive early evening after an easy reach to the coast. I began to anticipate my first tapas. Then the wind died. There wasn't a breath. I checked the forecast. It looked as though the wind would remain "light and variable" until the evening when it would pick up, but as a south-westerly head-wind. Time for a rethink and some chart perusal. I changed course to Cartagena. It was closer and I'd be able to sail when the evening wind arrived. Although Cartagena was only 50 miles away I only had enough fuel for 30 miles of motoring. I spent the afternoon motoring until there was any slight sign of wind then tried to coax the boat along with barely enough wind to ruffle the surface of the water. I finally stopped using the engine and drifted, so that I'd have enough fuel to motor into port. As the prospect of a celebratory tapas disappeared, I cursed my impatience when leaving Sardinia; if I'd filled my fuel cans, I'd be ashore rather than rolling around at sea.

The one benefit of the windless afternoon was the smooth water aided my turtle spotting. In the windy morning I hadn't spotted one. Do turtles spend longer under water when it's rougher or is it just easier to spot them in calm conditions? There were so many I started to speculate on how I could harness them to pull the boat towards land; a water equivalent of a husky pack.

The other event of the afternoon was passing through the Greenwich meridian. In fact it was so windless that I passed over the meridian multiple times; the current pulled me back and the little wind there was I harnessed to try to push me westward.
As forecast the wind arrived in the evening and eventually at 4am I dropped anchor in a small cove just to the east of Catagena; I didn't fancy heading into an unknown port with scant information in the dark. I awoke to see I'd anchored in the shadow of some impressive cliffs, no danger, just not what I'd anticipated when I'd anchored earlier.

Good to be back in Spain again. My Spanish is slightly better than my virtually non-existent Italian and I had fun trying it out as I explored the town, dividing most of my time between the three main supermarkets in town. It's great to be provisioning for an offshore trip again.

04/05/09: Anchorage in cove east of Cartagena: N37deg 33.4' W0deg 55.0'
04/05/09: Cartagena marina: N37deg 35.8' W0deg 58.7'

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