We arrived to the Eastern edge of Ibiza at a little place called Cala Boix.  We passed the island of Tagomago, which Andrew was captivated by.  The small, South-facing cove had a little chirinquito in it.  We arrived, dropped the hook, and made it ashore just in time to get a caña at the chiriniguito.  The steep walls of the surrounding cliffs were topped by a few houses and three restaurants.  We had a nice seafood paella in one of them with a fine view of the cove, and Tocayo, below.  We hurried back, though, out of concern for not having our anchor light on.

It wasn’t until later in the night that the boat started rocking on the swell.  It wasn’t as bad as in Mallorca but it was annoying.   Still, I’d highly recommend Cala Boix, if you have the means and the weather’s good.  Oddly, we had the whole place to ourselves that night. 

The next morning (8/22) we set off for Cartagena.  I weighed the anchor for the last time in what should be a good while.  Throughout Spain and in Morocco and probably even in the Canary Islands, we will be staying in marinas or harbors and the anchor will stay stowed.  No more hand balling for me until the Caribbean!

We passed between Ibiza and Formenterathrough Freu Mediano.  We had some nice beam reach winds for a bit.  Then they died out and we were on motor until 4 in the morning.

Some sailboat, heading towards us, changes course to pass right in frontof us with just his tricolor on.  Later that night, while Andrew is on his shift we have a close call with some cargo ships.  The ships were to starboard and a turn to port would have meant a dangerous gybe.  That night was full of some close calls and a few blunders from the crew.  (Who are a band of ruffians and miscreants, for sure, but usually quite competent) 

The next morning we are motoring along the craggy, foreboding cliffs of Cartagena.  Closer to the harbor we see tons of jellyfish in the water.  There are clumps of a hundred or so, followed by more.  We are sure that we are chopping up a few of them with the propeller, but it’s hard to feel sorry for a bunch of spineless drifters.

Cartagena’s harbor has an imposing approach.  the craggy cliffs and industrial behemoths beneath them give a decidedly unwelcoming impression.  We were guided into one of the marina (there are two there) over the radio.  We had to do a tricky little swerve maneuver to get ourselves into the spot on the end of the pontoon.  The situation of the marina itself was lovely.  We were right across from a plaza with a huge Spanish flag and, admittedly, a Burger King.   But it looked pretty nice and much better than the brick factory or sand mine or whatever it is on the edge of the harbor with the huge chimney.  At the entrance to the marinas is the reconstruction of the electric-powered submarine “El Peral“.  We had no idea why they were so proud of this thing at the time, though.  It seemed like it might just be an elaborate fountain. 

Anyway, the marina, the Real Club Nautico de Regattas, had a bar, a pool, and, gasp, showers!  It was also about a fifth of the price of the so-called marina in Mahon, Menorca. 

After resting up, we head into town.  There’s a lovely calle peatonal that extends through the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and into the city center.  We passed by the “famous” statues of a sailor and a soldier waiting to ship out.  They aren’t that impressive, but everyone stops to take their picture with them. 

We had dinner in Restaurante Columbus which has a sign reading ” We speak a little English and make a good paella.  We are the best.”  Unfortunately the last part is far from true.  Our food (merluza a la romana) was mediocre.  We were forced to stop at the nearby gelato shop to cleanse our palettes. 

In the morning of the 24th, we went out for a leisurely coffee in one of the plazas.  We had a copy of the International herald Tribune to read and the coffee flowed; life was good.

We walked around the town around lunchtime.  We ended up having tapas in a place called el Rincon do Miguel or something like that, after taking a pass by the Roman theatre.  Then we bought a cell phone.  When we asked the lady in the tourist information office why several of the phone stores had closed, she responded with a statement that sums up the zeitgeist in Spain these days.  “Pues, la crísis, hombre.”  Roughly translated, she might have said, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

That night’s dinner was a vegetable paella followed by a visit to the Irish bar.  It was a weird little place, not without charm.  They had mirrored ceilings (cat noise!) and foreign currency with notes from former customers on it pegged to the wall behind the counter.  They were trying to sell Pinwinnie whisky for €18 a glass. (compare)  We had Cordhu instead.

August 25th, we get our laundry back from the industrial cleaners who promised us they’d be cheap.  They lied.  Our big sack of laundry cost about as much as the two nights in the marina.  We hopped back on the boat to make our getaway.

Stopping by the self-serve diesel pumps, I messed up in tying off the lines.  This lead to a botched job tying off, but we managed to get close enough to pump some fuel in.  I’ve learned in doing these things that preparation and timing are essential.  With the tanks full and my lessons learned, we set off through the jellyfish-infested waters for Almerimar, the marina complex outside of Almería.

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