Hola hombres (Spanish for hello mates)

August 17, 2012

Polly kidnapped the dinghy and went for quite a long row but found it did not really match the handling characteristics of a well-found Cornish pilot gig!

The last blog left you breathless with the anticipation of Polly and Tommy’s day out aboard “Rampage”.  They joined us the day after their second wedding anniversary and we set off round Cap Bear for the day.  There was no wind as we left Port Vendres, so we were reduced to the iron mainsail to travel the couple of miles to a lovely quiet anchorage that we’d spotted on our walk the day before.  Did I say quiet?  If you recall, we’d gone for a walk in the aftermath of a nasty little set of thunderstorms.  This meant that no one had bothered to go out for the day, so the lovely (and large) anchorage had a sum total of 4 boats in it.  When we got there with Polly and Tommy it was as if the D Day landing fleet had gathered there.  You could practically walk from one side to the other on anchored boats packed with excited French folks.

Tommy shows off his turtle tatoo to best effect!


Ah well, at least the water was warm and we had a lovely time splashing about the boat.  Polly and Tommy took the dinghy into the beach to investigate before we decided that it was time to return to Port Vendres.  Luckily, the wind had come up (as it often does in the afternoon) and we put the sails up before we hauled the anchor and sailed all the way back into port.  The port authorities, in the shape of a helpful little man, guided us into a very easy to access berth near the entrance to the basin, where we gave an almost perfect demonstration of how to do reverse parking in “Rampage”.


That evening we went into Collioure with the younger generation and visited the flat where they were staying.  We took the Cobb barbeque with us and had lovely relaxing time with them before Polly ran us back to the boat.  J had hoped to take some pictures of Collioure but the car parks were all jam packed so we gave up in the end.  It was lovely to see Polly and Tommy and it gave us the chance to talk through all sorts of family bits and pieces.


The following day was departure day.  Having looked at the ‘Bloc Marine’ (French equivalent to Reeds Almanac and very helpfully published in French and English) we had come to the conclusion that going further into France wasn’t worth it, as the next 100 miles or so of coast is all low lying with only marinas to stay in.  To add to that, most of the marinas on this coast are part and parcel of large tourist developments as

The main bay at Cadaques


The 20 mile hop went quickly under the motor, as there was no wind at all to ruffle the sea.  We anchored in much the same place as we’d stayed with Maggie and Colin and decided to stay here for a few days to just take things easy after what has been a fairly hectic couple of months.  Cadaques is a very attractive little town but very crowded at the moment, particularly at weekends.  The anchorage is off to one side of the main bay behind a rocky spit of land favoured by the local nudists – sorry no pics available!  Dali had a summer residence in the next town of Lligat to which we plan to walk this evening.  Frankly it is too hot to do much by day other than swim and snooze and read books.  The various bits of shade tent etcetera that we made last winter are certainly proving their worth.


Having moved out of marinas and back to sea, once again weather watching becomes something of an obsession, especially when we are not in a completely protected anchorage.  Cadaques is open to the south east, so we need to an eye out for prolonged winds from that direction as the anchorage will become uncomfortable if that happens.  As it is, what we had yesterday was strong winds from the north west, which had me sitting up half the night, not so much worried about our anchor as those of folks anchored around us, especially one very large motor boat anchored just up wind of us.  In the event, nothing untoward happened and eventually I got some sleep (and the excuse for a good siesta today!).  We now have light winds before we expect southerlies at about force 4 – 5 in a day or so.


Part of the water-front at Cadaques

Our plans at the moment?  Well, we don’t have any really except to get back to Badalona before Susie arrives in early September.  We’ll keep you up to date with things as they go. 

Mandatory pic of the skipper in a bar (nursing his measly daily beer allowance – according to him!)


2 days later… since writing the above, we have been unable to get it published due to the aforementioned southerly winds.  Yesterday morning the local police came round the anchorage warning all the boats that strong winds were expected and pointing out (in case we had failed to appreciate the fact,) that we were on a lee shore (ie liable to be pushed towards the shore, should our anchor fail to hold.)  We have much faith in our new anchor but after a trip ashore for bread and milk and to dump the rubbish, we had a quick conference and decided that discretion was the better part of valour – in other words we would bug out!


We raised anchor almost immediately as the winds were due within the next hour or so and headed north.  We hoped to round the headland and find refuge in Port Lligat which is an excellent sheltered anchorage.  However, on arrival we discovered that the entire bay is given over to fixed mooring buoys.  This is increasingly our experience this summer in Spain and is becoming frustrating.  It makes us even more inclined to head back towards Greece next year, but I digress.  We were prepared to pay for a mooring buoy for the night but were informed by two chaps in a RIB that there was no space available.  As we turned to leave, as if by magic they suddenly found room for 25m stinkpot – irritating!


Cala de Culip, looking west


Anyway, we continued north; the next few anchorages were all exposed to the south so we headed back round Cabo Creus and into the very protected bay of Cala de Culip where we are currently sitting out the 20 -25 knot winds.  The anchorage is surrounded on 3 sides by high cliffs so there are no facilities and we are unable to pick up an internet signal, hence we cannot yet publish this.  The winds are expected to drop this evening and we then hope to have a 2 – 3 hour opportunity to beetle back to Cadaques before the wind swings round to the north.  As this bay is exposed to the north, we will need to escape while we can.  In the meantime, we are much entertained by the anchoring adventures of other craft which are puzzling to say the least.  A French charter boat yesterday attempted to anchor with just 18m of chain and a bit of additional rope.  The depth here is approximately 15m metres and they were taken aback when we told them we had 45m of chain out and that possibly they needed to rethink…….  I am also very puzzled by those people who start to drop their anchor chain and continue to move forward at a rate of knots.  We by no means claim to get everything right all the time as our adventures on this blog will testify but this is curious by any standards. 

The anchorage at Cadaques, taken at dusk. It is separated from the main bay by the rocky outcrop seen to the left of the photo (generally populated by nudists!)



  1. ok so we need to be planning a Greek holiday again … Photo of Polly reminds me of Naomi.

    • Yes, definitely! Glad you feel you’d like to come again! Would love you to see the Ionian. Can’t see the likeness between Nomie and Polly but people always see different things.

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