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Crossing from Sicily/Italy to Formentera Island/Spain, June 16th - 22nd 2008 (by Dagmar)
We can really say, that we were not looking forward, after just a stopover of 24 hours in Sicily, to get back on the water again, for at least another 6 days. Normally we would have rested for a longer period after that heavy passage coming from Greece, but the winds looked very favorable towards the west. Not for the next two days, but right after the wind should change. The Strait of Sicily, with Tunisia on its western side, is not an easy passage. So we had some more rough days again, until we could relax during sailing, even could have some hours of decent sleep in-between our watches. During the last days the water was calm, winds came from the back, we had both head sails out, enjoyed beautiful sunsets and a full moon at the night sky.
Formentera Island, Balearic Islands, Spain, June 22nd - 25th 2008 (by Dagmar)
Isla Formentera, the most southerly of the Balearic Islands, the southern tip of Ibiza, came into sight on the morning of June 22nd. It looked like a bare cliff on the horizon.
We went around the south of the island towards the north west. We anchored in the bay in front of Port de la Savina, a very modern harbor. Behind the anchorage we could enter a shallow lagoon with our dinghy and were right in town. Just across the beach we found a supermarket. As it was Sunday we had to wait until next morning to get fresh bread, fruits and veggies. They had the best pastries and bread, even fresh strawberries...what a delicious breakfast we had on Luna, the following day...a feast!!!!
Even as the harbor was very modern, still old "campesino" houses were lining the street, the old town wall and tower were under restoration.
The harbor provides a regular super ferry schedule to neighboring Ibiza Island. At the far end still fishermen were laying out their nets to check if they needed repair.
Although the island was very dry, it was very colorful: flower beds were every where, stalls in the busy harbor area were selling jewellery.
Art work was presented at every corner.... The Balearic islands are known for their artist communities.
We enjoyed ice cream at the harbor and just relaxing in the hammock on board Luna in the afternoon.
Because of a change in the wind direction we anchored in the protected bay opposite the shallow harbor entrance. Here the coast was lined with huts built by the fishermen of the village right into the cliffs. They were using them for storage of fishing gear, even as sheds for their fishing boats.
Just before sunset we decided to leave the bay for Ceuta, the Spanish dependency on the Moroccan coast, opposite Gibraltar, were we want to refuel, as it is tax free. But after 20 minutes we turned around to anchor again in the bay. There was hardly no wind, what wasn't the problem, but the waves and current was against us. So we would have needed to motor, but wouldn't make much miles in this conditions.
Next morning, on June 25th, we pulled anchor at first light, leaving the coast of Formentera behind us, covered in a yellowish haze by the rising sun.
Cartagena, Spain, June 26th - 27th 2008 (by Dagmar)
From Formentera our intention was to sail right away to Ceuta, the Spanish dependency on the Moroccan coast of North Africa. But some miles out of Formentera the alternator stopped to work. As our Generator was not working, too, we were in trouble. For the navigation lights at night and the proper work of the auto pilot we would need electricity. So we decided to change our course towards Cartagena on the Spanish mainland, a sail of still more then 100sm, but good to do with our still remaining electricity level. Coming close to the harbor of Cartagena, a sailing rally just left the marina. As we learned, it was the Rally Cartagena - Ibiza.
Strong fortification walls and towers were lining the coast in front of Cartagena. We entered a thousand-year-old city on the shores of the Mediterranean where Hannibal and Escipion, the African, battled thousands of years ago.
We docked Luna just alongside the city quay. The marina had a swimming pool. Soleil was in heaven.
While Bart was busy with a mechanic from the marina shop to repair alternator and generator as well, Soleil and I did a cultural tour through the city....
...past monuments and the City Hall, which was build in a form of a triangle with different facades,..
...the Casa Cervantes, known for its beautiful white "Miradores", the balconies, so typical here in Cartagena.
As in other Spanish cities, Cartagena as well is known for its great artists, sculptures and architects.
We visited the restoration site of the ancient Roman Theatre in the middle of town as well...
...as the mosaics and columns of the old ancient entrance to the theatre. Right on the Roman Theatre lie the ruins of the ancient cathedral of Santa Maria, two monuments, which form a unique site.
Up a very futuristic looking elevator and over a high walk way, we went to the fort overlooking the city and the harbor of Cartagena. In the distance you could see the coliseum which is housing the bull fight spectacular right now and will be under restoration in the future.
Even a better view into the roman theatre we had from up here. Peacocks were on the grounds.
Along the city wall, built by Charles III, we went back to the harbor, to check on Bart. The mechanic and himself repaired alternator, and generator as well, in 2 hours time. So we would be ready to leave for Ceuta soon. In the evening we enjoyed "Tapas", the Spanish appetizers, in town.
Ceuta, Spain, June 29th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On our way from Cartagena to Ceuta the high rock of Gibraltar came first in sight. The rock of Gibraltar is a 2.5 sq mile limestone monolith that happens to be the southern most point of the Iberian peninsula. The 1400ft high rock commands the western entrance to the Med. In ancient times the stone mountains of Ceuta and Gibraltar were known as the Pillars of Hercules. They flank the 10-miles wide Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow passage way between North Africa's Morocco and Europe's Spain.
Several schools of dolphins accompanied us down the line. On every ocean now, during our circumnavigation, these graceful sea creatures enjoyed rides on our bow wave, jumping, doing loops, sometimes entertaining and staying with us for hours.
Ceuta is a tax free Spanish dependency on the Moroccan coast of North Africa, just across Gibraltar. High rising buildings lining the shore and the city skyline. So we did just a quick pit stop of one hour in the late afternoon of June 29th, just one hour before the final soccer game of Germany - Spain in the European Championships. Instead of Euro 1.60, we paid Euro 1.00 for a liter of Diesel. As we needed 530 liters, that was a great deal for us. And off we went.
Crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar, June 29th - 30th 2008 (by Dagmar)
As the Strait of Gibraltar is known for unpredictable winds and very strong current, very fast changes of weather, we stayed, for the first hours until midnight, close to the Moroccan coast. Right after leaving the bay of Ceuta we could see the border to Morocco. The appearance of the villages along the coast changed right away; different style, small houses, mosques in the center.
High cliffs lined the shore, bare rocks, some low thorny bush vegetation. This mountainous side of the coast, just north of the Atlas mountain range, didn't look fertile for farming at all.
When the sun set the fog came up. And in an instant the close shipping lane came out of sight. The ships disappeared in the fog. Thanks to our radar, we could still spot them.
The current in the Strait was like a whirl pool. At some time we had 3.5 knots of current with us and under full sail we made 10.5 knots over ground. For our Luna, that is a great speed. Around midnight we decided to leave the Moroccan coast and to cross, the shipping lane of the Strait of Gibraltar towards Portugal. Northeast of Tanger we crossed behind a fast motoring boat, which suddenly turned around towards us and put big spot lights on Luna, asking us over VHF to identify ourselves and to state our intension. It was the Royal Moroccan Navy. We told them, that we just came from refueling in Ceuta and our next port of entry would be Lagos in Portugal. That was okay for them and they wished us safe travels. We both stayed up for monitoring the ships traffic in the channel. It got very exciting, but we made it safe to the other side, and out of the Strait suddenly the fog and wind disappeared. The water got calm again and we had to motor sail towards Lagos.
Lagos, Portugal, July 1st -3rd 2008 (by Dagmar)
In the morning of July 1st, at 7:14 am, we crossed our track from December 9th 2005, when we left Lagos in Portugal for the Canary Islands. Now we were on our way into the marina of Lagos again. Oh, we were so proud of ourselves. We did it...we finished our circumnavigation. As we know it will count, when we are back in Holland again on July 26th, but that was our achievement of a life time, a great goal we set more then 3 years ago on an evening, still on Maui/Hawaiian Islands, when Bart and I talked about it,...sailing around the world... that, we can do it. We just had to find a very solid and reliable sailing boat. And we did it!!!
We wanted to spent some days in Lagos, just rest and sleep, sleep, sleep...We were so very tired from all the last weeks of sailing, 22 days on the water and just 5 days break in between. We had a lot of tough night watches, a lot of ship traffic to pay attention to, while coming down from Greece through the whole Med.
Soleil enjoyed riding her new scooter through town. Her old one was stolen in Cartagena, the first day we came in, just from the dock. She was so disappointed, how somebody could have just taken it. She had the old one since New Zealand and it was pretty rusty, but that didn't keep somebody from taking it. So Bart found a new one for her. She couldn't believe it and was so happy....
A lot of the old houses in town are covered in beautiful tile work. You can see design wise, that we are still close to Morocco.
The harbor entrance is lined by old city walls and a fort, high cliffs featuring the west entrance of the city.
So enough now about architecture and culture. We have to get ready again. We will leave Lagos today for an anchorage 20sm up the Portuguese coast, anchor there overnight and then sail further north. The wind direction is perfect for us to get closer towards the Gulf of Biscay, closer to home, closer to family and friends, closer to our greatest achievement.......
Last modified: September 02, 2008