Formentera is spectacular. We spent half our nights in the harbor to wait out strong winds, and rented a scooter to see the island. There were many tourists arriving by ferry from the mainland and Ibiza in the busy little port town, crawling over the main street, buying trinkets and renting scooters. It was sunny and warm, and we explored the couple of harbor side streets that made up the town.
The Formentera harbor turned out to be the most expensive place to berth the boat (in our whole trip) charging for water (which David balked at at first. Coming from Scotland where water is so plentiful, he never considered he would have to pay for it), showers, and of course the slip itself. I think it was about 45 Euros per night. But it was a lovely, if crowded, marina. There were a couple of other small towns on the island, and in one we found a marine shop that had a gas canister for the stove that we needed. It crushed David to buy the part, priced at at least double! Island life.
We rented a scooter and set off to explore the island. As we toured around we kept bumping into a wedding party taking their photos at all the spectacular sites. Music and clinking champagne glasses. It was festive and beautiful. Felt like everyone we came across was on a vacation (which most likely they were). I took my turn driving the scooter, almost running us into an oncoming car on a narrow road. "Break! Break! Break!" David screamed into my ear. But I didn't want to eject us over the handlebars of the bike, and swerved just in time. We laughed with the passing car.
Lighthouses, sheer cliffs, beautiful beaches, quaint villages!
After a 13 hour passage from the mainland to Fortamentera, we made dinner and then crashed into bed. It's amazing how tired you can get sailing for that length of time. Today we are checking out our island!
It was exciting to see the Balearic Islands after our first long sail from the mainland. And what an island!
Formentera is only reachable by boat, most people coming by ferry from the bigger islands. The island was occupied by Carthaginians before passing on to the ancient Romans. Then, it was considered uninhabitable till the 1800s because of the constant threat of pirate attacks.
Only 12 miles long, it became a hippy hangout since the 1960s. (Joni Mitchell wrote her 1971 album Blue on the island) Now, although you can rent a car in the main port town Sant Francesc Xavier, most people rent a bike or moped to get around. The government has done a nice job of encouraging conservation on the island.
We anchored at Espalmador over sand and went for a hike on the island. Found the sulfur mud baths, got clean in crystal clear water, then David caught us two fish for dinner!
We set off under a starry pre-dawn sky, the wind gusting at what felt like 25, not the 15 knots predicted. But that was alright with me. We hadn't had any big wind sailing up the coast of Spain so far, and I was ready for a fast sail.
David buckled me into a life jacket and harness. I didn't argue though I would have liked to be free of these things. Tragedy and loss have made him a cautious, safe and smart sailor, and I love that about him.
I felt, more than saw, the sea swell around us as David took us out beyond the cape that had sheltered us for the last three days. The breeze shifted from the north east, the wind generator spinning like a dreidel in the confused air, and he raised the sails. As the boat heeled starboard and the sea rushed by us I remembered why I love sailing. The huge crescent moon on the horizon would be our guide until it set and the sun came up.
I slept a while down below, with my life jacket still on, rolled up on the side of the cabin as the boat leaned with the wind. When I came up again the sun was bright and I took a turn steering the boat.
After a while David went below to sleep, me promising to wake him if anything changed. The wind remained fairly strong, the sun kept it's ascent into the sky, and I enjoyed the solitude of being the only one, besides the birds and fish, as far as my eyes could see.
Before long, as in so many peaceful moments in my life, the losses of the last year (or last thirty) came to my mind unbidden and unwanted, and with them the familiar feelings of sadness and regret. Is it a human condition that these things always arise in a mind? Or is it just me?
I let them pass under me like the flowing waves and watched them go.
David smiled up at me from the companionway, up from his nap. I looked up and I saw.... land.
A few moments later my phone connected to a cell tower and we learned about the violence and killing in Manchester.
David's daughter lives in Manchester.
Three weeks in Spain and I'm as brown as a nut. Two days sailing and... engine trouble. David Gardner worked his engine magic and we'll be off tomorrow. Not a bad place to be stuck.
If I was going to retire somewhere in Spain this little town might be it. Moraira is a village of approximately 10,000 people, a nice mix of Spaniards, expats and tourists. It hasn't grown the usual Spanish coast crop of high-rise condos and hotels and remains quaint and lovely. It has the beautiful southern Spanish Mediterranean climate of about 300 sunny days per year, a small but functional marina, and unbelievable clear turquoise water. Cafe society is alive and well, and the grandpas meet for coffee at the beachside patios. The hillside terraces used for agriculture by the Moors are still visible today, and are used to grow the grapes used for Spanish wine.
David and I had reunited in London after almost four months apart.
In the weeks before there had been an exhausting flurry of activity and my son came and helped me with the last of my moving and fixing things around the house for the new renters. It was strange putting all my possessions into the the tiny storage room off the garage and handing over the the keys, and the dogs, to this family. I got choked up saying goodbye to Ryan, and it was all more difficult than I had anticipated.
I spent the night at a friends, took care of some banking, and the next afternoon I was off to the airport. The direct flight to London was no fun, but I was the luckiest one, with a row of three sets to myself.
David met me at London Gatwick and lugged my heavy bags back to his sister, Sheena's, lovely flat in a really nice part of London.
The next few days were a blur of spectacular sites and jet lag. We visited pubs, cathedrals, spent time with Sheena, and saw a production of Phantom of the Opera. Amazing!
Soon it was time to jump on a plane to Barcelona! The three days there were a whirlwind too, lots of walking the town and waterfront, a bus tour to see the sights, and the Sagrada Famiglia, Goudi's famous unfinished masterpiece. It was so beautiful. I'm glad David made me go !
The stress of packing up my life, quitting my jobs, and saying goodby to friends family and dogs, and maybe the uncertainty about the future was getting to me. Combined with the fast paced nature of our traveling ( oh poor me). and limited sleep, and I was a bit of a wreck. Badly in need of some rest.
A day at the beach and exploring the small costal town of Peniscola was just what the doctor ordered.
The beach hotel overlooked the old castle, which we explored in the evening. Built by the Knights Templar, it sat on top of a hill jutting out into the sea, for many centuries.
I loved relaxing Peniscola and there was excellent pizza at pizzeria Napoli!