Friday, 11 July 2014

Almerimar To Cartagena Via Cabo De Gata . 3 - 11 July 2014.


       It was a clear day as we departed Almerimar on 3 July with Ginny at the wheel and we once again headed off east to cross the Bay Of Almeria towards Cabo De Gata. A following F4 wind picked up and provided us with a fun sail across the bay with rolling seas. Buildings soon gave way to a barren headland which is the enormous Nature Park Of Cabo De Gata. A very rugged area of natural beauty and far from the tourist 'hell holes' between Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca as we were soon to discover. After a lovely sail of 30nm, we headed into San Jose Bay and found a delightful safe anchorage at 1715hrs.
Ginny In Control Departing Almerimar.
Sailing Round Cabo De Gata.
Guy Happily Anchored In San Jose Bay.

      San Jose Bay proved to be a stunning anchorage where we enjoyed two days walking the hills, swimming, relaxing on the beach and generally enjoying being miles from anywhere. Not a building in sight. The water was crystal clear and the beaches lovely and clean occupied by day with naturists at the far end and the bikini brigade at the more accessible end of the bay. The scenery was rugged and quite stunning as can be seen on the pictures. Guy found it reminisent of Africa and expected to see wild herds roaming the flat lands behind the beach! We were to spend an idyllic two days here and did not want to leave, but needs must and we departed on 5th July in search of another anchorage. It is clearly going to remain as one of our favourite anchorages ever being very similar to Worbarrow Bay in Dorset but much drier and with lovely warm crystal clear waters.
Kisti Two In The Stunning San Jose Bay.
Guy Admiring San Jose Bay.
That Is Not His Shadow Below!
Ginny Swimming In The Bay.
Kisti Two From The Beach.
Anchor Chain In The Clear Waters Of San Jose Bay.
Departing San Jose Bay.

     We motored gently along the stunning and rugged coastline investigating anchorages until we came to San Pedro Bay. It looked absolutely wonderful and with hardly any discussion, we decided to anchor in this bay and not continue as previously planned. The bay is only approachable by boat or a rugged path along the steep slopes above the coastline. There is an ancient ruined castle and a hippi/naturist community has moved in to the few deserted buildings of the abandoned village of San Pedro. A spring supplies them with water and solar panels and wind generators with power. Spanish tourists would be dropped off by day from a couple of Ribs doing a taxi service and the beach became a hive of colourful tents by night. We enjoyed a wonderful day here swimming and walking in what can only be described as an oasis that time has forgotten. Another glorious anchorage.
The Barren Gata National Park Coastline.
Approaching San Pedro Bay.
Castle Ruin On The Left.
Kisti Two In Castillo San Pedro Bay.
Ginny On The Path Out Of San Pedro With Cerro Negro Bay In The Background.
Corner Of Castillo San Pedro & Anchorage.
The Black Rock Along The Rugged Coastline.

      Strong winds were forecast so Kisti Two had to leave San Pedro and head off towards Garrucha where we arrived at mid-day after 4 hrs of motoring the 20nm. We had hit the tourist scene again but Garrucha was pleasant with a long walkway along the seafront and provided us with shelter for the night and a peaceful sleep. We decided to continue on 7 July and prepared to depart only for Guy to get the mooring rope trapped in the prop while reversing out. We secured 6Kisti Two safely and then the marina staff came round to assist. The only solution was for Guy to go in and cut the rope clear - oooooopppsssss. There was no damage except a bit of loss of face! 

Guy Cutting The Rope From The Prop In Garrucha Marina.

       We escaped Garrucha and Kisti Two headed on along the coastline again looking at likely anchoages until she arrived at Punta Padra where we dropped the anchor and enjoyed a delightful swim and lunch before continuing to motor on towards Aguilas. We had a quick look into the harbour but decided to motor on to look at possible anchorages near Mount Cope. We discovered another gorgeous spot in the Ensenada De La Fuenta. An enormous private motor boat was anchored in the bay and a couple of yachts. Another swim and tapas on the boat closed the day off nicely. The wind picked up overnight and for the first time since leaving Gibraltar, we awoke to a grey misty day! 

The Deserted Coastline Towards Aguilas.
Anchorages Along The Coastline.
Approaching Mount Cope Just Past Aguilas Harbour.
Grey Morning Anchored In Mount Cope Bay
At Ensenada De La Fuente.

       The anchor was raised at 0900hrs on 8 July and Kisti Two motored off once again along the coastline on Ginny's 20m contour armed with map in hand! Tourist resorts started to appear as the coastline became more developed and the wind picked up off Mazarron so we put up the sails to enjoy an exhilarating F4/5 sail into the wind tacking our way along the spectacular rugged coast  to get around Cabo Tinoso. We found a wonderful anchorage tucked into barren rock which was already occupied by 2 yachts called Cala Cerrada so continued on to Cartagena arriving at 1830hrs after 35nm.

     Cartagena is a lovely town that is clearly trying to pick itself up after suffering so badly in the Spanish Civil War. It is still struggling but making gallant efforts to restore itself to former glories. We watched Germany thrash Brazil while eating Tapas and the following morning it was back to culture! Cartagena has had a muddled history and is an archeological treasure trove, most of it Roman. We explored the Roman Museum and were amazed by the recently discovered (1990) and renovated Roman Theatre. It has been very well preserved and presented and well worth a visit. We explored the Castle De La Conception which has been well restored giving us panoramic views of Cartagena, the harbour and 5 hills all with ancient forts. 

     We spent the day stocking up with supplies, gas bottles and drinks. We met up with Barry & Cath on Yarona who have Guy's dream boat, a HR43 and enjoyed a Tapas meal out with them in the town. Its the 11th July today and we once again move off hopefully for a couple of nights in anchorages.
Tourist Developments Start Appearing Again Towards Cartagena.
Calla Cerrada Off Cabo Tinoso.
A Glorious Small & Barren Anchorage.
Ginny In Roman Theatre Museum.
Guy Enjoying More Culture In The Roman Theatre With Ruined Catherdral in Background.
Life's A Stage For Ginny!
Does She Ever Stop Talking?
The Roman Theatre Of Ancient Carthago Nova.
Cartagena Harbour & Marinas
The Ancient Roman Amphitheatre That Became A Bull Ring.
It Was Damaged  During The Spanish Civil War.
Our Marina On The Left.
Kisti Two Behind Ginny In Marina
With Red Marine Rescue Boat And Cruise Ship Aida.
The Lovely Walk Along The Restored Town Walls.
Guy On A Good Night Out!
Guy Recovered With Criuse Ship Aida Docked For The Day.
Spot Ginny With Free Willy Whale Tail.
Ginny With Bronze Sculpture In Cartagena.
Cartagena War Memorial With Catherdral Ruins.
Spot Guy This Time.

    It has been a most enjoyable week anchoring away from all the tourist spots, swimming, walking, sailing, coastal hugging and ending up with a spot of culture. Now for Cosat Blanca - help!!!