We had heard that Calpe was a lovely anchorage to use before
making the hop across to the Balearics. We stopped overnight
and anchored in Benidorm as were tired before heading to Calpe.
Benidorm was all bright lights and loud music and sirens and
we were glad to be gone again in the morning.
30th April - 5th June Spain - Greece.
We finally set off from Santa Pola on 30th April. My
cousin Gordon and his partner Joyce, who live a couple
of hours away, came to see us before we set off. Armed
with a bag of their beautiful oranges. Well we didn't
want to get scurvy along the way. So after a few hours
socialising we slipped the ropes and headed north along
the coast of Spain towards a place called Calpe. Things
were different for us now as we had new friends with
us. Reggie the Rutland (wind turbine) and Alfie the
Autopilot. These guys were going to make life a lot
We arrived in Calpe on 2/5 in glorious sunshine and as it
was the weekend there were lots of boats anchored with us,
and lots of families having a good time. After an amount of
obligatory sunbathing we went ashore and had a wander. It
was a lovely wee place and even had WIFI, which is always
a bonus for us. We spent a couple of days before heading off
on an evening sail to Ibiza.
We sailed in San Antonio Bay, Ibiza at about 7.00am and were
glad that the nightclubs that are on the shore weren't still
open. We stayed here 2 nights and thankfully the nightclubs
didn't disturb us too much at all. Although at one point I
could hear DJ shouting 'Are there any northerners here' (yeah),
'Are there any southerners here' (yeah). 'Lets make some noise'.
But they didn't make that much. We did have Kevin and Perry
hats to don during our time here so we didn't feel too left
out from the club scene.
After leaving San Antonio we were going to head straight
across to Mallorca but due to weather changed our minds and
headed to a little anchorage on the NE of Ibiza called Cala
San Vincente. It was a hidden anchorage that you just couldn't
see unless you were in the right position. Oh, what a gem.
It was like paradise. The water was clear and the sands were
white and yet again there was free WIFI courtesy of the big
swanky hotel on the beach. We could have done without the
older folk on the next yacht skinny-dipping so close to us
but that was our only complaint. It was almost a shame to
leave here but we were meant to be making passage so reluctantly
we left after 1 night.
So our next leg of the trip was to Andratx, Mallorca. It
was a great day and we sailed literally door-to-door from
Ibiza. This is a rare thing for us as usually we have to motor
at some point. It was a great feeling sailing along at 5kts
and not having to steer at all. To top it all off we had dolphins
visiting us too. Normally when dolphins come to swim at the
bow only one of us gets to see them but because of dear Alfie
the two jumped out of the cockpit and headed for the bow to
watch them play. It was terrific as always.
We only spent one night in Andratx. Had a bit of a wander
ashore and a beer before turning in for the night. The next
day we headed for Port Soller on the NE of Mallorca so that
we would be ready for our hop to Menorca.
Port Soller was a lovely place and we ended up staying a
few days. We met a lovely couple from Wales, Rene
and Mike, Yacht Arwen Evenstar, who live in Spain now
and cruise around in the summer. They told us about a festival
that was happening on Saturday so we hung around and went
with them to the town. This involved getting on a lovely tram.
The festival involved the locals dressing up, parading around
the town and decorating a statue with flowers. As it was a
festival there were lots of market stalls and fun fair etc..
to keep everyone entertained.
After 3 days in Soller we set off for Menorca but only made
it a few miles, as weather wasn't great. So we anchored in
a wee place on NE side of Mallorca ready for the next day.
This time we saw only one dolphin but also a swordfish, which
jumped out of the water, a few times (not sure if the dolphin
was chasing the swordfish).
We set off early for Menorca and again managed to sail all
the way across. We had to motor the last part of the journey
as we were heading straight for the NE of Menorca and the
northern coast didn't have the winds we had on the open sea.
But we weren't complaining. We arrived in Fornells, Menorca
about 9.00pm on 12/5 and found a mooring buoy, as it was a
restricted anchorage. We had heard about Fornells from a few
people before and knew it was great place to get stuck! We
had 3 days here wandering around and drinking beer.
We then set off for Sardinia on 15/5 but after only an hours
turned back as we received a gale warning. We are so glad
we did as once the storm came in it was with us for 24hours
and it would have been horrible to be stuck out in that kind
of weather. We set off again 16/5 and had a 2-day crossing
to the SW of Sardinia. We put up the Italian flag halfway
through. This was quite a landmark occasion for us as at times
it felt like we would never leave Spanish waters. We treated
ourselves to stay in the port of Calasetta, as it was only
16 Euros a night. This was a beautiful little place and our
first chance to practice a bit of Italian. It was just great
to wander around the streets and have a coffee.
We then set off the next evening on another 2-day passage
but this time we would end up on the NW coast of Sicily. Another
landmark passage for us really. Greece was getting closer
by the day. We didn't get much sailing in on this leg but
we did get to practice our harmonica playing and managed to
belt out 'Michael Row your Boat Ashore' without being attacked
by the local marine life. We also had another visit from a
green bird, aptly named, Gilbert II. He came for a wee
rest with us and stayed overnight. Thankfully we didn't kill
this one and he flew away in the early hours of the morning.
We sailed into Mazara del Vallo, Sicily at about 9.00pm on
21st May. There was no anchorage so we had to go into a little
yacht club here but it was only 20 euros and we were only
staying one night. We had to go stern-to as well and pick
up a laid mooring from the quay. This was the first time we
had done this so it was bit nerve wrecking but we achieved
it no problem and with no arguments or violence! Mazara Del
Vallo was lovely old city that was great to wander around
too. We treated ourselves to a meal out and had pizza (well
we were in Italy now).
On 24th May we arrived in Siracusa on SE coast of Sicily.
This was after trying 2 other anchorages and not being very
happy with them. We arrived in the bay at Siracusa and instantly
knew we would be fine as there were 20 boats anchored there
and the coastline was a history lesson. All you could see
was a beautiful big castle, and old churches and buildings
as you came along.
Siracusa was so lovely we stayed there 8 days. It was a bit
of a holiday within a holiday for us. On day one, Chris
and Sandra, Yacht Deep Blue came and introduced themselves
and invited us to a BBQ
at their friends place that evening (Katherine and Craig,
Yacht Sangaris). It was great fun and there were about 18
of us there. Chris and Sandra were also our local tourist
information centre and we pumped them for all the info we
needed as they had been here before (big thanks). We also
met up with Marc, Yacht
Monade that we had met in Aguilas, Spain at the end of 2007.
That was brilliant too. His daughter's friend, Natalie, had
come along and we had a great laugh with her. Everyone was
very friendly and it was just what we needed after leaving
Sardinia all those days before. Siracusa is a beautiful place
to visit and just full of lovely winding roads and old buildings
and monuments. It also had a great fresh market and a brilliant
wine shop that sold wine from barrels (we felt obliged to
buy 30litres). We socialised on the evenings with Jim and
Daphne, Yacht Quintessence and with Chris and Sandra. Just
before we were leaving Siracusa we also met another young
couple that had just returned from a round-the-world voyage
that had taken them two years. They were Matt
and Rose, Yacht Delicate Dawn, from The Nederlands. They
were on their final leg and were due back home in Amsterdam
at the beginning of July. They were fabulous fun and we had
a couple of nights on our boats with them too swapping tales
and anchorage information. All in all we loved Siracusa but
Greece was calling us.
On 1st June we left Sicily and headed for Corfu. This was
a 3 day trip but we didn't know if we would manage it in one
hop or have to break the journey. We set off but after one
night the weather forecast wasn't great and so we did a detour
for Crotone on the boot of Italy. We are glad we did this
as more gales came in and we thankfully were anchored up safely
while they passed. We set off from Crotone on 2nd June and
arrived in Greek waters on 4th June. We managed to catch our
first tuna along the way. The
Greek flag was hoisted and it we had finally made it.
We had to anchor the first night on a tiny island called Nisos
Othoni as the sea was up and it would have been an unpleasant
trip to Corfu Island. We celebrated by eating tuna steaks
On 5th June we arrived at our original Greek destination
of Kassiopi. We had been here before on holiday and new it
was a lovely place to stop. This was it. The long trip from
Spain was over. We had covered 1300 miles in 5 weeks and also
met some terrific folk along the way.