We left Fornells (Menorca) at 13.10 on 28/8/18.. The first 12 hours were spent motoring through calm water, in glorious sunshine. We swam off the stern of Money Penny to cool off and witnessed a stunning sunset.
Sunset on 28/8/18
At around 1.00 hours the wind picked up and the sea state increased. Money Penny forged on but we soon realised that we had been a little blasé with stowing away items in the cabin. There was plenty to clear away when we arrived in Palamos on Mainland Spain at 10.56 on the 29th August 2018.
What a mess!!!!
We spent one night in Palamos and then headed along the coast to Roses for a night. After departing Roses, we anchored in Cala Moutjoi and then Cala Rustella, where we took a walk along the coastal path and enjoyed the scenery. We finally anchored in Cala Culip for the night.
We left Cala Culip at 9.50 on 3rd September and headed across the Spanish/French boarder, 25 miles, to Argueles Sur Mer Marina, stopping briefly in Collioure, a beautiful little village that we had visited during our ‘road trip’ in January. The following day we sailed 24 miles to Leucate Marina. Here, we enjoyed visiting our first French farmers market in a long time.
We were nearing the end of our travels for 2018. The 5th September saw us departing Leucate Marina, our aim, to head for Sete. Fishing was the name of the game this morning and our luck was in! Within a short time we had caught a couple of mackerel. Alistair was in charge of the rod and Judith, getting the fish off the hook! The photos are self explanatory…..
Sete would have to wait. Due to the position of the barb, we were unable to remove the hook from Judith’s finger. We could either return to Leucate Marina or continue on to Gruissan, 2 hours away. Judith was comfortable as long as she didn’t catch the finger on anything! - She was happy to continue on to Gruissan and tried to sit still for the remainder of the journey! We telephoned the Marina at Gruissan to get advice as to the location of the nearest hospital, explaining our predicament. The Marina staff were amazing and when we arrived 2 hours later, they were ready and waiting at the dock to help us moor up. A member of staff even drove us to the local doctors surgery in his own car. It was a little tricky, but the doctor managed to ease the hook backwards after freezing the finger. She explained that it is always better to have a hook removed professionally from a finger as there are so many nerves and tendons. What would we have done if we had been mid Atlantic!!!
We remained in Gruissan for the next couple of days, exploring the area on our bikes. Gruissan, a fishing village, is built around the former castle; a 10th century chateau of which the Tower still remains. We climbed to the top of the tower to experience the amazing views and purchased some fabulous fish from the fishmonger who we came across whilst exploring the tiny side streets.
On 7th September we departed Gruissan and experienced a great downwind sail to Sete. Sete is known as the Venice of Languedoc. It is a port and a seaside resort with its own strong cultural identity, traditions, cuisine and dialect. The town is full of historical buildings and also has a huge fishing fleet in its harbour. On arrival, we were advised to climb the hill to experience the sunset but tiredness got the better of us! We stayed two nights and explored the waterway both on foot and on our bikes.
On 9th September we departed Sete & travelled 21 miles to Port Camargue. Port Camargue, built in the 1970’s, is the largest marina in Europe with almost 5,000 berths. It is a purpose built complex with some properties having waterfront berths. There are 15,000 sq m of service areas, 3 wet docks, 175 shops or companies based in the immediate area as well as 60 nautically related shops and activities! Enormous!!!
We took the dinghy over to the adjoining old fishing port of Grau du Roi, and into the canal where the local fishing boats are moored. The Canal runs alongside old buildings, shops and cafes. Later on in the day we took the bikes along the cycle path and explored the streets of the fishing village of Grau du Roi.
The thousands of boats moored in Port Camargue!The canal at Grau du Roisunset from the cycle path.
On the 11th September Money Penny began her final passage of 2018. We had booked her in to Port Napoleon, a dry storage facility just outside Marseille. On the 46 mile passage we decided to risk putting out the fishing rod and were lucky in catching 2 Bonito, 1 Mahi Mahi & 4 Mackerel. Supper was sorted! By the time we arrived at the pre-booked marina berth, the office had closed but we had telephoned ahead so knew where to moor up. There were plenty of people on hand to take our lines. Our liftout was booked for 14th September and we were due to fly from Marseille to Faro on the 17th. Perfect timing!
Port Napoleon is an amazing ‘set up’ They have a number of floating berths which are used as ‘holding’ berths for arrivals and departures and a small number of permanent ones. The majority of boats are held on land in purpose made cradles, there is a restaurant and small hotel facility onsite for those who do not wish to stay onboard whilst on dry land. We were lifted out at 1400 on the 14th and Money Penny had been washed off and placed in her ‘winter position’ by 1500. All very efficient! For the following two days we winterised our home before departing for the airport early on the 17th.
We will need a new Welsh Flag for 2019!
17th September 2019
We had left Albufiera on the 21st March 2018, it seemed an age ago. We were now returning for a 10 day ‘holiday’ with Judith’s son, daughter-in-law and grandson and to attend the wedding of close friends, Ceri & Owain. We would then drive our car (still in Albufiera Marina car park!) back to the UK before helping Judith’s brother in taking his boat, Moana, from Southampton to Grand Canarias before he and his family depart across the Atlantic in the Arc Plus to the Caribbean. We have certainly enjoyed our travels so far and are now looking forward to many more.
Moana’s blog can be found at https://www.sailmoana.com/