After having spent 5 months in Almerimar, it was finally time to move on. We had finished our projects, the restrictions seemed to be lifting, and we saw other sailors moving around Spain without problems. On the 10th of March, we had a good weather window to sail east and round Cabo da Gata. The first destination on our wish list was Cartagena. We had heard many good things about this city. Our friends on Cherie had left Almerimar 2 weeks earlier, and we were meeting them there.
Cartagena is an old city and has played an important role during the history of Spain. As far back as the 16th century, it has been one of Spain’s most important naval ports. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain and is home to a large naval shipyard. So, of course, we had to visit the Naval Museum. It was an imposing exhibition, and we liked it a lot. (and the entrance is FREE). We walked around the city centre and saw all the historical sites and the old Roman Theatre. It was discovered in 1988 during an archaeological excavation, and the restoration was completed in 2003.
Sailing in a lagoon
After a couple of days exploring Cartagena, we continued north. Our next destination was Mar Menor. It is a coastal saltwater lagoon, the biggest in Spain, with a coastal length of 70 kilometres. It is separated from the sea by “La Manga”, a 22 km long sandbar. The water depth is 5-7 meters, known as a sailing paradise due to the protected waters and many anchorages. So, of course, we had to check it out. There is a canal into the lagoon. A bridge crosses the canal, and it opens every 2 hours. Once we were inside, we immediately could see what the fuss was about. We had flat waters, a gentle breeze and sunshine. Many other sailors of every kind, was out enjoying a day on the water. So, we set sail and enjoyed the best sailing of our trip so far. We had our eyes set on an anchorage behind an island in the southern part of the lagoon. We rafted up with Cherie and enjoyed a calm evening and night at anchor.
We spent the next 2 days in the lagoon. In the northern part we went ashore and went for a LONG walk in the Nature Park where we watched the “Salinas” (salt lakes) and the many flamingoes who live here. We really liked the lagoon and it was nice not having big waves and swell – especially at night.
Road trip, waterfalls and lobster dinner
The weather forecast showed a couple of days with heavy wind and rain coming in a couple of days, so we decided to sail further north to Calpe, where we could find shelter. Calpe and the surrounding area was also on our wish list, so we didn’t mind spending a couple of days in a marina here. Peer and Bente know this area very well, so they offered to show us all the sights. So we rented a car and went on a road trip. The first stop was El Castell de Guadalest. An old village situated on top of a cliff overlooking a big turquoise mountain lake. Good thing we brought a warm sweater – it was only 5 degrees, and we saw snow on the surrounding mountains. It was an amazing place. The next stop was the waterfalls, “Fonts d’Algar”. It’s not just a waterfall but an entire park with many waterfalls of different types and sizes.
It’s situated in a canyon and therefore surrounded by tall stone walls. Due to the water, it is lush and green. Another amazing place. Next, and final destination, was the town “Altea”. The old town of Altea is situated on top of a hill with amazing views of the coast and the sea. It’s a maze of narrow streets with many small shops and restaurants. Finally, we found a restaurant on a small square where we enjoyed local white wine and delicious lobster paella. A perfect ending to a perfect day. Big thanks to Bente and Peer for being our guides.
You can’t visit Calpe without climbing “The Rock”. It was quite a challenge, but the view was stunning. We also had to fix a couple of thing on the boat. A clogged toilet, a leaking sink and the sail drive (part of the engine) were leaking oil. Luckily we got all things fixed.
We need a doctor – twice
But that was not all that needed fixing. Sebastian needed to see a doctor. So we decided to sail to Dénia, which is a bigger city than Calpe and it has a lot of English tourists. So we thought it was a good place to find a doctor. Once we were there, we called our travel insurance, and they immediately arranged a visit to a doctor – in Benidorm – 50 km away. Oh well… We took a taxi – paid for by our insurance. The Medical Clinic was very “international” – the woman at the reception spoke Spanish, German and English. Sebastian was in and out within an hour. It turned out it was nothing serious, and all he needed was a trip to a pharmacy.
Now that Sebastian fixed the boat, we could think about our next destination. From Dénia, it is only 68 nm to Botafoch Marina on Ibiza. But before we could set off, we needed a PCR test – it was required for entering the Balearic Islands. We found a doctor in Dénia, and she would send the result within 24 hours via email. (Two tests was 300 euro!!) So, on the 24th of March, we set sail for Ibiza, hoping to receive our results while underway.