Having been in port for over six months, we chose a day to depart when conditions finally calmed down; we didn’t want too much excitement for our first day out. As it turned out, we had company as many others who had overwintered in Cartagena also chose to depart on Saturday, although several had left the day before. A gentle motor brought us around Cabo de Palos, the SE tip of Spain and pictured above, from which we could enjoy seeing N along the coastline we had come to know from our various trips by car, bike and on foot. Then wind direction became favorable and filled in a little so we raised the mainsail, unfurled the genoa and had a very pleasant sail the remainder of the way to the canal entrance. There was quite a procession of boats entering with the 14:00 opening of the bridge, amongst whom were Robert and Maria onboard Amore, who had been our neighbors in Cartagena.
Mar Menor is a large body of water with a narrow entrance only accessible to boats via the canal. We decided to take a peek into the lagoon instead of proceeding directly to our berth in the Tomas Maestre marina to permit others ahead of us to receive assistance first. The marina is quite large, full of boats, but is really dedicated to the summer crowd. Unfortunately, there also appears to be plenty of jellyfish, which would make swimming in the lagoon less appealing. The several mile long narrow stretch of land separating the sea from the lagoon has golf courses at the south end and then miles of high-rise apartment blocks, most of which are deserted until the summer season.
After overnighting in Mar Menor our next passage up the coast to Torrevieja was relatively short. T is quite the tourist town with two marinas and a plethora of high rise apartment blocks. We stayed two nights in Marina Salinas. Salt is still exported from this port. A pleasant marina, lots of space, and an overwintering community (many Brits)….. but we still are happy with our choice of Cartagena. The next installment is our trip around the Balearics