Mira settles in for the winter at Yacht Port Cartagena, Spain

With the Med sailing season coming to an end, we bid a sad farewell to the idyllic Balearic Islands in early October. Surviving these popular islands in August and September had been easier than we expected. We slipped the buoy lines at S’Espalmador and set a southwesterly course for the overnight passage to the Spanish mainland where we had booked a winter berth at Yacht Port Cartagena.

Overnight sail from Formentera to the mainland of Spain.

Having temporarily berthed there during the summer, we knew it offered a well protected harbor, reasonable winter rates, friendly staff and a diverse vibrant live-a-board community.

The city of Cartagena is located in the southeastern Spain region of Campo de Cartagena and is the country’s six largest city.  A natural harbor, it has a long history having been inhabited by the Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Muslims and the christian Kingdom of Castile; all of which left their mark.  We experienced the modern Port of Cartagena – which is the home of Spain’s Mediterranean navy, a major cargo terminal, commercial shipyard, cruise destination, and recreational boating center.

Beautiful night view of Cartagena from Mira’s bow in YPC.
Amazing sunsets in the marina.
Huge cruise ships were frequent visitors to our marina.

Mira and crew arrived in Cartagena with a long to-do list – beginning with a haul out at the adjacent ASCAR boat yard which was built originally for repair of a local fishing fleet. The yard had a good reputation for professional work at reasonable rates and, most importantly, had a travel lift large enough to lift Mira. She received new anti-foul paint, new zinc anodes, and small, gelcoat repairs.

Job done, it felt great to have Mira safely back in the water.  After our time in the loud dirty boat yard, we were eager for one last sail before our winter hiatus.  Further west from Cartagena we dropped the hook for the last time in the soft sandy bottom at La Azohia, a quaint little beach town.  Water was still warm enough for swimming and kayaking along massive cliffs in brilliantly clear turquoise water.

A short hike along the peninsula led to an ancient military outpost and a spectacular view of the beach and Mira in the distance.

The next day, with winds on the nose, we motored back to Cartagena and tucked Mira into her berth for the winter.

We had budgeted about a month’s time to explore Cartagena and the surrounding Spanish region before flying home to the States.  Time passed quickly as we balanced fun while ticking off our long list of accumulated boat projects and winterization procedures.

A stroll down the Calle Mayor – main shopping district
Giant ficus trees in the Plaza San Francisco
Where the locals (and us) shop for fresh produce, meats and fish in Cartagena.
Awesome museum of underwater archeology
Cartagena’s amphitheaters – Spanish and Roman

A massive cleaning of the entire boat consumed several days.

The captain attempting a double-braid eye splice. Sails removed and stowed in the third cabin for the winter.

Repairing the cockpit canopy enclosure.

We did manage to complete our projects while making time for marina fun, new friends, and shenanigans.

The weekly Sunday barbecue for cruisers.

An old friend from home dropped by for a weekend.

Birthday celebration on a neighboring catamaran

In our time in Cartagena, we met some wonderful people. Kindred spirits from all over the world.  We shared stories, maintenance tips, played games, dined, drank and laughed until the wee hours.  Sadly, we all have our own schedules and destinations – so we never know if or when we might see folks again …. social media has become a wonderful tool for far-flung sailor buddies to stay connected.  Fair winds and we will never forget you! Such is the nomadic sailing life ….

NEXT POST – LAND TRAVELS TO VALENCIA, SPAIN

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