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Jess' Views



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 easier.

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.

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 little 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 for dinner…yum.

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.























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