Sailing day-trip to Cala Aiguablava
Duration: 8–10 hours
Distance travelled: 20 nautical miles
Today we enjoyed a different sort of day, a day of sea, sun and wind.
We did it by taking the ropes (called sheets by those in the know) of a magnificent yacht and sailing along one of the loveliest stretches of our coastline.
We had an early breakfast at the Casa del Mar, a bar frequented by fishermen, in Palamós. It was a hearty breakfast of sausages and bread spread with grated tomato. With full stomachs we went to meet our friends from Vela Nómada. The day was promising: there was a northerly breeze, the tramontaneta, and the sea was calm. The sun began to warm up the cool spring morning.
After the usual introductions to our fellow voyagers for the day, the people from Vela Nómada explained the features, parts and basic procedure for handling the boat.
In no time we were sailing out of the marina into the horizon. For a couple of minutes we had the company of a couple of playful seagulls that were doubting whether to land on the dinghy we were towing or to dive into the sea.
The time came to hoist the sails. With the motor still running, first we hoisted the mainsail with our bow pointing into the wind, and then we hoisted the genoa jib once we were on course.
We sailed upwind, tacking towards the rising sun as it tinted the sky a bright yellow, and then towards the land, where a horizon of pine trees came right down to the water’s edge.
Sailing into the wind, we spotted the bays of Cala Fosca, Cala S’Alguer Bay and Cala Castell. We made our way to the last of these, a green, romantic place, previously unfamiliar in our cosmopolitan experience. We entered so we could get a closer look, turning around in the centre of this small bay. We made a note of coming to visit by land, given that there’s a seaside path that starts at the place we embarked and it can be reached in slightly over an hour.
We sailed northwards between the coast and the Formigues Islands, which are really only a scattering of rocky islets with a small lighthouse perched on the highest point.
After we skirted the point of Cap de Planes, the coastal village of Calella de Palafrugell came into view. From where we were, it appeared white and orderly, with an arcade running along the seafront under the houses and the church rising above them.
Sailing further along the coast, we reached Cap de Sant Sebastià, from where we could make out the majestic, grey and solitary headland of Cap de Begur.
After passing Cap de Sant Sebastià, we turned away from the land and headed out towards open waters. The wind had risen and made its presence felt. They say that the wind rises with the sun, and the waves with the wind… As we sailed into the wind, the boat heeled and we flew over the waves.
The coast gifted us with an amazing view: the headland of Cap de Creus, forming a blue backdrop in the distance, and the Medes Islands, with their stark grey colour clashing with the landscape. After taking the usual snapshots, we turned towards the bay of Cala Aiguablava, not before being sprayed with the salt water of three waves that were rougher than the others.
We all had a turn at the tiller, and now it was up to me to steer us through the mouth of Cala Aiguablava.
We dropped anchor, and gradually life got back to normal. We made lunch, sunbathed, read and somebody dived into the sea. Then we ate, had coffee and went for a walk along the beach. It was easy to lose track of time.
Cala Aiguablava is a very pretty, sheltered bay with whimsical rock formations. The area’s holiday homes are hidden away among the pines. To the north lay Fornells, with its small harbour.
It was time to weigh anchor, so we got ready for the trip back. After stowing everything away, we left the bay with the wind in our sails.
Sailing with a tailwind was very different experience to that of the morning. The boat didn’t heel and the sense of speed wasn’t as pronounced as before. A summer-like warmth settled over the boat.
After again sighting the landmarks we had come to know a few hours earlier, we made our way back towards the troubles of a life that was probably too busy, but we were happy to have enjoyed and taken part in a different, very rewarding experience.
Cap de Begur 10 nautical miles
Cala Aiguablava + 2 nautical miles
Palamós + 8 nautical miles