36 Hours from Almerimar to Espalmador: Fog, Dolphins, and Flying Downwind

Posted by David Newhoff on Sunday, September 30th, 2007 at 2:48 pm
Position: 38.7793 by 1.4254 map

We left Almerimar in the morning to make the our 36 hour, 243 nautical mile passage to The Balearics. The first 6-8 hours brought light winds and an easy motor-sail around Cabo de Gata. As the sun went down a dense fog surrounded us. It’s one of my least favorite things when sailing. A target appeared on the radar and kept heading directly for us. I had to veer about 70 degrees to avoid this sailboat headed in our direction. We were close enough to see their appreciative waves as we corrected our course; it was clear they had no radar, which was surprising and scary.

The fog stayed with us for most of the night and cleared as we approached the coastline of Cartegena. The moon was beautiful and helped us watch out for fishing boats and ships. I noticed cell phone reception was strong so I called my parents on Whibdey Island. It still amazes me how you can have clear conversations across the world while sailing offshore in the middle of the night.

Dolphins greeted us as the sun rose. One treated us to a jumping show just off our bow. By 10:00am the winds were picking up from the southwest. They built to a solid 20-25 knots and gave us a wild ride downwind for the last 11 hours at an average boat speed of about 8 knots.

We raced to beat the sunset, not wanting to anchor in darkness. Moonstruck was ahead of us by over an hour, and Alan offered to send word on the conditions and details of the small island of Espalmador. After they arrived they noticed that most boats were tied up to mooring balls rather than using anchors. We had lost our boat hook the month before in Sancti Petri trying to pick up a mooring in heavy winds and strong currents. As we arrived Alan graciously motored out to lend us their boat hook. We grabbed a mooring and went to sleep for the night.

The morning revealed the full beauty of the beach and water around us. It was a wonderful flashback to the many anchorages we enjoyed in the Caribbean.

David checking the course on the electronic chart Rosario sailing around Cabo de Gata The lighthouse on Cabo de Gata The coastline near Cabo de Gata was rugged and striking Just your average sunrise with dolphins jumping off the bow Tni at the helm 

One Response to “36 Hours from Almerimar to Espalmador: Fog, Dolphins, and Flying Downwind”

    Hi David and Tni,
    It was really good to meet you last night, thank you so much for your hospitality. We will definitely be in touch. Have been in touch with jamie this morning. On ferry to barcelona right now. Not exactly the sailing I had in mind and definitely not good for jumping off the stern for a swim! Guy & Tori

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