One week log sailing the Costa Brava
“translated from the Spanish translation application using Google. We apologize for any errors that may occur in the text”
Duration: One week
Distance traveled: 120 miles
Palamós – Illes Medes – Cadaqués – Port de la Selva – Palamos.
Sunday July 13.
Sant Cugat del Valles, six o’clock. We are finalizing preparations when the phone rings. It Jehoiakim Own Sailing Nomad, the company which I have rented the boat. It tells us that it is now ready and if you want you can embark tonight instead of tomorrow, as planned. The boat, a Beneteau Oceanis 311 Clipper of 9.85 meters in length, is called Antull two and is moored on the Costa Brava Sailing Club Palamos. Of course we say yes and eight p.m. we headed, road, to Palamos.
The boat is beautiful and very well kept. We loaded the stuff and spent the first seven wonderful nights. Seven nights when sleep accompanied rolling and the thousands of noises that a boat and wind can generate.
Monday, July 14.
Fredi, as is usual during the week, I get up at seven and begins to read the manual GPS, turn on the radio, check the weather and study the letter. In short, noisy and coffee.
At nine Joaquím appears and explains the operation of the ship. We buy the latest and the twelve outta moorings. The output is very easy and seem real sailors. Within a week we will check that the aft berth at this jetty is far more difficult than we now think.
Palamos, which since the eighteenth century is one of the major trading ports of the Costa Brava, and was even assaulted by the pirate Barbarossa in 1543, is currently an excellent starting point for voyages to the Costa Brava and the Balearic Islands.
Just leave the harbor we hoisted the sails and we headed north with a nice wind we take in way. Sailed parallel to one mile offshore to avoid problems with rocks or low and today we go to sleep at the port of L’Estartit which is 14 miles.
Not a single cloud in the sky, the boat is going well but the candles are not very well trimmed and fit crew rather than dedicated to sunbathing.
Neus and Jeremy had never sailed a sailboat. Laura, sometimes as crew and Fredi, the pattern, which has the title of Captain of the Yacht, has a little more experience. Much theory, little practice, thinks as he struggles to unravel a bite back.
While browsing the hours of four intrepid mariners is low, the illusion is inexhaustible, and so let the Balearic Formigues and Cap de Sant Sebastia to port parade viewing incredible scenery: clear water coves, stunning cliffs, villages manger and pines that reach the sea itself. At the height of the Cap de Begur lowered sails and the breathtaking view of Illes Medes, we hit the first of countless bathrooms that mark out this week and prepare the first meal in a place where everything moves except the kitchen.
After nap we see that we have derived regulatory much and it’s time to turn to port. We are tired, happy and savory. Dreaming of a good shower and a good dinner.
It’s time communications. Laura has been appointed in charge of the radio in perpetuity and shows great skill or great luck, then contact the Club Nautic Estartit to the first, using the number of repetitions and exact vocabulary, as the manuals say. The answer we do not like so much, as we say, without much sympathy, it’s all full and they do not happen or come to us, there is no free mooring.
It’s six o’clock, the nearest port is heading north of L’Escala and as we arrive at night, there is no alternative to anchor and choose Cala Montgo which is a few miles to N. It seems that today we learn it all at once!.
Skirt the Natural Park of the Illes Medes, admiring their whimsical shapes and crystal waters, full of huge fish and protected, in the light of sunset. We return to sail until we realize that at this rate we will be playing in the dark anchor. We motor and eight o’clock we entered Cala Montgo. Paradise and very well protected. Obviously the best mooring sites are occupied, began to spin and looking for a gap where we dropped anchor seems better.
We get a little shower because now we have to save battery and then prepares a spaghetti Neus l’arrabiatta, Laura draws a picture of the boat against the possibly “chocaremos” tonight, Fredi type logbook and Jeremy tries to learn Catalan forced marches reading “Tintin in Tibet”.
Acts dust go to sleep hoping that the anchor does not hold and we wake up in the middle of the sea: wrong or against the cliff: worse.
Tuesday, July 15.
Eureka!, Still in the same place. We awoke to a dip base, and over lunch, we calculate the course and try to listen, without success, the weather, the fog goes down.
We have decided that we will go to Cadaqués today across the Gulf of Roses. Terrible mistake, in a few minutes we are engaged in a very thick fog. The visibility must be less than 5 meters and no longer dare to return, so we headed Low speed 35 °. All goes well for a couple of hours, and even exciting, until you have not seen or heard anything we cross, 10 meters from the bow, a good-sized fish. It is not exciting, really scared us and we put on life jackets.
The following fishing boat hears Neus, which is now in the bow watching, a few seconds before we appear to port and were crossing the stern. Although we hope that they do see us on radar, we decided to cruise the Gulf of Roses tomorrow and change course to head to L’Escala. The fog is still very thick, thanks to the GPS do not appear in Cape Town, although most fish we eat a platform that is not on the card. Our appearance is most comical: in swimwear and vests made, although no one has mood to go get the camera and immortalize the situation.
The gods take pity on us and after another hour, the fog begins to rise and we can see the outline of the coast and the houses of the village of L’Escala. Relieved breath and pray there is some free mooring. This time we are lucky and one o’clock we landed, in bright sunshine, in the Club Nautic L’Escala. We sailed through the fog over three hours. The sailor who helps us in the tie tells us that this situation is common in anticyclonic conditions and the mist rises around noon.
The part, hanging at the Yacht Club, said one day tomorrow like today. We decided to leave, of course, when the fog has lifted anchor and go to Cadaques.
Tonight we can hardly sleep because of the stifling heat.
Wednesday, July 16.
Quiet morning hoping to improve visibility. We spoke on the phone with a friend of ours, a meteorologist, which tells us that it is expected that this afternoon between a good north wind, so if you do not want to stay in L’Escala have to get moving.
We left the mooring with a very unorthodox maneuver, luckily nobody sees, and with glorious sunshine, calm seas and a force mistral 4, crossed the Gulf of Roses tacking like crazy and enjoy sailing.
When we live up to the Cap de Norfeu the wind begins to rise. Now is tramontana declared and comes exactly at the bow. You pause regatta sails lowered, and an hour later we entered, a motor, in the beautiful bay of Cadaques. This entry by sea is spectacular. The mountains framed entirely white houses and the church-looking sailor. There are none of the usual huge apartment buildings afee this scenario.
Cadaqués, homeland sailors were smugglers and the Americas, is a perfect anchorage, protected from the north wind fearful, full of mooring buoys. We hooked the more we like and while we are celebrating the day with a few beers is the owner of the buoy in a zodiac … With the next buoy we have more luck, no one will cast during the two days we will be anchored. We assume there must be some kind of official service about it, but Channel 8 only found out about problems similar to ours.
Bathrooms, beer, macaroni Bolognese and nap.
Now it another maneuver: if we go to the ground to swell the zodiac and install the engine. With less difficulty than expected we got it, even though it’s only slightly bigger than a plastic pool toy. With humor and pants presiding everything on hand, we boarded without falling into the water and when we headed inland we find ourselves faced with the procession of the Verge del Carme. A lot of us going out and fishing with our motor pool …
Walking around Cadaqués is a pleasure: Streets that are twisted white houses with flowers in the windows, which directly overlooks the sea, and craft boutiques, insolent cats, maybe because we’re happy to be here, just overwhelmed with tourists.
After a nice dinner at one of the many restaurants and taverns of the village, boarded the dinghy, which is still in place, and after discovering, stunned, we had to have brought a flashlight, we managed to find our boat after half an hour spinning between buoys.
Today we slept great, the north wind, it keeps going and whistles through the shrouds, has cooled the atmosphere and the sky cleared. The view of enlightened people who look from the deck is breathtaking.
Jeremy over “Tintin in Tibet” and start “Vol 714 to Sydney”. Logically, as he is Australian.
Thursday, July 17.
The weather has announced strong north wind north of Cap de Creus, 3 miles of Cadaques, which is precisely what we want to bend. And while not Cape Horn, it is one of the finer points of the coast east of the peninsula. Strongly discouraged for novice crews and current weather conditions.
So today we relax, restrooms and shopping.
Jeremy has become an expert in navigation with the dinghy and leads to a small secluded cove where we enjoyed the sun and sea. We return to the town to buy food and ice, it is the second day with the fridge off and then do another trip for shopping and to the last beer.
Our meteorologist particularly for tomorrow announces a significant decrease in the intensity of the north wind, so we put some order in the chaos that we have created inside the boat and go to bed excited about the day ahead.
Friday, July 18.
Bathing ritual and last trip to Cadaqués with the dinghy to buy bread, then desinchamos and, mysteriously, we folded it with far more difficulties in assembly.
At eleven o’clock we left. Still the north wind blows something, but now is perfectly controllable. We use it for, giving edges and with all sails set, approach the Cap de Creus. I bend, leaving the island of maca d’Oros to port, under a clear blue sky in silence, feeling the sound of water under the keel and our thoughts. The view from the sea, the lighthouse and the mountains of this corner as mineral and inhospitable, so beautiful, has left us speechless.
Interestingly for us, for sure there is an explanation, north of Cap de Creus not blow any drop of breeze. We were a long time admiring the scenery and letting the boat do what you see fit.
El Port de la Selva, important fishing port, not far away, about 6 miles, and hunger and the desire to give a good shower make engine and calmly say we come to this beautiful town.
Since it’s early we have no difficulty in getting mooring. The Sailing Club of Port de la Selva would have fitted very well: the pontoon for visitors is located in such a way that even the most incompetent of patterns should not have any problem with the maneuver.
Right beside the Club Nautico’s gorgeous beaches, where we get a little more salt over before the long-awaited shower.
Port de la Selva has a beauty like Cadaqués: white houses, near absence of tall buildings, its pretty fishing port, surrounded by mountains and presiding entire monastery of Sant Pere de Roda. And as in Cadaqués, little noisy tourists.
We have almost lost track of the days and after a few minutes deliberating discover it’s Friday, which leads us to two important conclusions. The first is that today is the name day of the patron, so, gala dinner. The second is that tomorrow we have to bow to the South, because we return the maximum Palamós boat Sunday afternoon,
According to the planning, we should now be in Llançà after arriving yesterday to Portbou and taken the way back. We met one of absolutely no plans calculated that in the long winter evenings had drawn. The circumstances, the weather, our own decisions we have been leading the way. A wonderful and erratic course, no clocks, no rush, no obligations.
Saturday July 19.
The bakery is near and now breakfast freshly baked croissants.
We left early, at nine, because we want to make one run all the way around, 50 miles, and going to anchor this last night at Cala Castell, and very near Palamos. We have the whole day ahead navigation and not a cloud in the sky.
Wind is little but enough to go sailing. We spent close to shore to say goodbye to these amazing places and slowly we approach the Cap de Creus, where even dare to bend passing between the islands of maca d’Oros and L’Encalladora.
Southbound left Cadaqués, in the distance, on the starboard side and when we started to cross the Gulf of Roses the wind dropped completely. No choice but to put the engine if we are to fulfill the plan. This crossing straight Gulf is impressive, in the widest point nearest the coast is 10 miles. The autopilot takes us while we cook … macaroni.
The total calm in a few hours we will soon be over. The sea wants to say goodbye in their own way and when we have the Medes Islands a few miles down the starboard bow begins to rise the Garbí. Excited stop the engine, put candles and in ten minutes the descend quickly. Now blows hard 7 and interestingly, if you do this intensity comes direct bow. We’re seven hours browsing and tired to start belting wildly. We continued to motor. The waves are getting higher and the wind rising. We removed the autopilot to better catch the waves, because we are taking a terrible slamming and totally soaked.
Precisely Cala Castell, where we were sleeping today, is a great place of anchorage, sheltered from all winds except Garbí. Bad luck, today we, get to Palamos.
The passage between the coast and the Balearic Formigues is quite delicate, narrow, with rocks on both sides, but we crossed, praying and staring into the probe, since we do not have to flip energies needed to be left to starboard.
We entered the port of Palamos and going direct to Costa Brava Sailing Club.
When we came down to earth everything is moving, we have more than ten hours of sailing. None of the four we’ve queasy even once and we are now very close to achieving.
After a good shower and magnificent prawns from Palamos, and since tomorrow is ominous part, we decided to terminate our “Around the World” and we have to spend our last night on board.
Sunday July 20
For variety, Fredi gets up at half past seven and a coffee drink alone while updating the log book and calculates overhead, discovering with pleasure that are not excessive. Vinicius de Moraes background crew tries to have a sweet awakening.
After the last breakfast on board and after some tightrope walking exercises, get download the boat without anyone or anything falls overboard. Interestingly, now everything fits in the trunk of the car and immediately although there are four volunteers to stay in Palamos, decided hechar the usual dose of good humor and end of the trip the same as what we started.
Jeremy took 20 hours to travel 12,000 miles from Sydney to Barcelona, the four of us have done 120 miles in six days. A true anti-jet lag, a pleasure, a dream.
Voyage performed from 14 to 19 July 2003.
Text: Frederic Callado. Photographs: Jeremy Davies.
Velanomada yacht charter services. We are located in Palamós in the North of Spain. We offer bareboat charters, boat outings, and sailing tips. Come and sail with us and discover the best hidden corners of the Costa Brava (Gerona), Barcelona coast and the Balearic Islands.