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On to orange country (Valencia’s biggest export)

October 3, 2009
Leaving Denia

Leaving Denia

The time has come, the walrus said; well, you know what I mean. It seems to have been a long time since one of us actually sat down and wrote anything for the blog but today is a good one to do a bit of catching up. We’re at sea heading from Valencia to Castellon de la Plana, a little place about 35 miles north. There’s not a breath of wind so we’re motoring along and there’s little to do except make sure we don’t hit one of the large commercial vessels or one of the numerous motor yachts that there seem to be round here.

Having just checked what we wrote on 28 September, I see we left you all in Vilajoyosa, a lovely little place (not). Anyhow, on 30 September, we left there and headed round the last major cape before Barcelona, Cabo de Nao. It seemed to take forever to get there, as what wind there was seemed to be straight on the bow and slowed us up a bit; it didn’t help that we could see the cape almost as soon as we left harbour – it just never seemed to get any closer. We stayed that night in Denia, a real change from our last stop! The staff were helpful, even though the only language we shared with the berthing chap was French, there were bars and restaurants in the marina and it was all a refreshing change from the fairly grumpy, grudging service we’d had in Vilajoyosa. I mean, we don’t want to pay a fortune to stay in a marina but you do expect a reasonable level of service in exchange which we frankly didn’t get in Vilajoyosa.

The showers and loos in Denia were a real demonstration of what can be achieved; there were about 24 bathrooms, each about double the size of our bathroom at the Chapel with a shower, sink and toilet, bench and hooks – beautifully clean & new. If there’s an award for the marina with the best loos, Denia wins it hands down. Nowhere else even gets a look in! Mind you, still not too sure if it was worth the 37€ a night……

1 October was very much similar to the previous day in weather terms, not much wind but at least it was blowing in about the right direction – we did manage to get a couple of hours sailing in around middle day. We were making for Valencia and arrived round about 6 pm. The trip was largely uneventful apart from a load of bamboo & debris in the water at one point which we had to try and avoid.

Flood debris at sea after all the recent rain - one small patch!

Flood debris at sea after all the recent rain - one small patch!

We’d tried to radio ahead to book a berth at the marina but got no proper response, so carried on into what we thought was the Real Club Nautico de Valencia marina. The almanac had talked of an expansion having taken place but failed to let us know of the major changes that had been going on. The club marina remains as before but there is a vast new ‘yacht base’ aimed at boats in excess of 20 metres and “super yachts“, so initial thoughts were that they wouldn’t be interested in Rampage at a mere 12m. Nothing could be further from the truth – the yacht base had a RIB waiting for us who guided us to a berth more suited to a boat 3 times our size, the receptionist turned out to be the sales manager for the complex and couldn’t have been more helpful and to cap it all, when we got back to the boat after booking in we found that Duo, a catamaran we’d been meeting on and off on our trip north was berthed on the other side of the pontoon!

One downside of the yacht base was the 2 km trip to the shower block – does that give you some impression of the size of the place? Did I mention the price? 15€ a night, all inclusive (most marinas in this part of Spain meter both electricity and water and add that to an already large bill!). Their offer for staying the winter was also very attractive but their setup is aimed at ‘super yachts’ with their crews using the on-board facilities which isn’t really what we’d like.

Given the low cost and all, we decided to stay 2 nights and ‘do’ Valencia. There are no bus or rail links to the city which is several miles out so the marina organised a taxi to pick us up and Eva, the charming sales manager, told us all the ‘must visit’ places. We had a great day out, looking round the indoor market and the cathedral, having lunch in a little plaza and doing a bus tour of the city. Sadly we both managed to leave the camera aboard Rampage so no pics I’m afraid, but the city is well worth visiting. The market, in particular, was terrific – buzzing with activity and a series of domed roofs, lots of decorative coloured tiles and stained glass. It was frustrating not to be able to buy from the tremendous array of meat, fish, fruit and veg but we were dropped off there first and it wasn’t practical to cart stuff about all day in temperatures of 30 + centigrade. Yes, after a few days of rain last week we are back to warm sunshine, blue skies and termperatures in the high twenties and thirties.

Julia arrives in Valencia......

Julia arrives in Valencia......

We both decided that we rather like Valencia and wouldn’t mind staying the winter there. But not at the yacht base – it’s simply too far out of town and remote from everything we need so this morning we headed to the north of the port to the Americas Cup Marina, another new marina development which has two parts, one for the more humble yachts like us, the other, inner part for the ‘super yachts’. The two parts are separated by a swing bridge, which carries the Formula One circuit across the dock.

We refuelled there, taking on just shy of 100 litres of diesel (for the main engine) and 5 litres of petrol (for the outboard). Whilst I was attending to the nasty smelly diesel (note this is definitely one of my jobs – no competition from J to take it over), J went to the Capatania to check out their charges. To our total surprise, they were as good (almost) as the other marina and what’s more they’ve got plenty of spaces. We paused for ½ an hour to have a look round and think we may yet come back to the marina for the winter. It’s fairly new, has a metro station 10 minutes walk away which links directly to the airport and city centre, there are shops a short bike ride away and there’s a beach just round the corner when the weather’s good.

Fish farm - miles out to sea.  Yet another hazard to avoid.

Fish farm - miles out to sea. Yet another hazard to avoid.

Tonight we are in Castellon de la Plana – a grotty little industrial town but it is just a brief stop. We hope to reach Vinaroz tomorrow night as the forecast is for more light winds from the west.

Ruins! You will be pleased to note that the skipper is now 100% confident of reaching Barcelona before your arrival … unless the first mate screws up in some way!

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3 comments

  1. Hooray – was beginning to think we may need to swim out to meet you!!!! Lucky I have such a pretty, fishy tail…
    Well done, my salty sea dogs.
    Do you need any provisions from Blighty, to be borne out to you on the wings of Sleazy Jet?
    xxx


  2. Lovely pictures. Can’t wait to come and see you both! And I must say I really like the little flower motifs on the menu. 🙂
    xxx


  3. Ha Ha I do think I am getting hang of this, it all sounds amazing fun even if the bits floating in the sea need good eye sight to miss, Duncan you look like a true sea captain wooley beard and all, julia you look to be having best time. can’t wait to see you at xmas and then plan a trip to see you at seaxxx



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