Monday, May 3, 2010

Holiday at Espalmador

When we arrived here yesterday morning, we found a few boats already at anchor: four British yachts who had been at Cartagena last week, a Danish boat, and a catamaran with a courtesy flag but no national ensign. (Here, by the way, is just north of Formentera, not Frontera as I posted yesterday without bothering to look it up.) A few hours later, everyone had left except the cat, and the anchorage was filling quickly with Spanish yachts, mostly motor yachts but also some sailboats. Dinghies were zipping back and forth to the beach, and it started to remind us of popular beaches in Mexico--without jet skis and banana boats, thank goodness. This is a long holiday weekend. May 1st is Labor Day here as in most of Europe.

The DK Eyewitness Travel guide to the islands calls the beach here s'Alga. They say that it is popular with day trippers from Ibiza and that there are mud baths a short way north. We can vouch for the former, but didn't look for the latter. Somewhere I also read that Formentera is tolerant of nudity. When I mentioned that to John, he got out the binoculars to check. He reports that it seems to be true.

Mostly, we've been resting and trying to find a better source of weather information. The grib files have been basically wrong, so far, and we're cut off from our Internet weather sources. A German at Cartagena had warned us that gale-force northerlies were forecast for Monday (today), but we aren't seeing them on the gribs. Using the cruising guides in our collection, we've tried the listed VHF radio sources, but can't hear them. We also tried the SSB nets they listed and one of the two nets that Diane from Argonaut gave us, also without success. NavTex is OK, but it isn't showing us the aforementioned weather either. Finally, John has subscribed to the UK Met Office forecasts, and we can now see what the German was talking about. It looks particularly nasty east of us at Menorca. Here it shouldn't be too bad, and our bay is well sheltered from all directions except southwest. For longer-range forecasts, we're going to try the German weather service. It's nice to be able to plan our next move a little. (If any Med-experienced sailors are reading this and have other ideas, please leave a comment. We can pick them up via SailMail.)

Märzen has adjusted easily to being away from the dock. In fact, she was quite frisky when we first set out and able again to jump the companionway step up to the salon. She's lucky that she doesn't like to go for walks because she won't be going ashore again probably until Sardinia. We're tentatively scheduled to stop at Cagliari, Sardinia, for three nights starting May 17th. Marina Sant' Elmo there is a Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) cruising station, and a letter in the SSCA Bulletin said that U.S. propane tanks could be filled in town. That would be a great savings to us because the Camping Gasz that we've had to use since we got to Spain is relatively expensive.

Today the weather is cloudy and windy, but not cold. Despite the holiday, it's enough to keep the locals away, and we're one of only two boats still here (the catamaran remains). Two more spent the night but left early this morning. I wonder where they went. This seems to us as good a place as any (outside the very expensive Ibiza marinas) to ride out the forecast strong winds.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments: