Spain - Barcelona to Valencia | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Spain - Barcelona to Valencia

October 4, 2012
Sailing Mediterranean Spain - Barcelona to Valencia
We arrived back in Spain to
Badalona Marina near Barcelona, late in the evening on Sunday September 23. We had left Distant Shores II stored there in the water for the weekend while we flew to England to speak at the Southampton Boat Show. We were pretty tired from the journey but Barcelona is party capital in Spain and Monday was the last day of the city's big annual festival, La Merce Festival, so there was no rest for the weary :-)
From Badalona it is about a 20-minute train ride into the heart of Barcelona and throughout the throng-filled city there was music and dance demonstrations...
theatrical performances including street puppet shows...
competitions of people building human towers several stories high and Parades of Giants ...
The next day, when things had settled down a bit, we took the train back to see the most unusual and inspiring cathedral we have ever seen (and in 23 years of cruising we've visited a lot of cathedrals!), the Sagrada Familia meaning Sacred Family, the monumental Modernism creation of the devout architect, Antoni Gaudi. Wow!
Finally, on Thursday September 27, we sailed away from the inspiring city of Barcelona to sail 54nm down the coast to Tarragona. We knew we would be here for a few days since there was a very strong gale with lots of rain in the forecast. The history there interested us so we thought it would be a good place to wait out a storm and it was.
Tarragona was once an old Roman provincial town. The ancient amphitheatre is located right by the sea and there are many interesting ruins throughout the town which we explored the next day.
The day after that the storm hit with a vengence. The sky was green, the seas were crashing over the breakwall, and the rain came down, down, down! Sadly 13 people died in the flash floods that resulted and there was much destruction. We were safe and sound in the very secure marina here.
The storm passed quickly and we were able to leave Puerto Esportivo de Tarragona the next morning casting off at 0730. The full moon was just setting over the town as we left and the sun rising. Magic.
It was calm in the bay close to Tarragona but we got hit with some strong winds in the acceleration zones funnelling through the valleys of the mountains so soared along the coast. A tired little bird, buffeted by the wind, landed on deck and sailed with us for a while then, as the wind levelled out, he left us to sail on alone. There was lots of debris in the water from the storm - branches, twigs and roots mostly but unbelievable amounts of them. Further south where the storm struck the hardest, our Swedish friend, Christer, and his crew sailing aboard SY Crystal Magic encountered palms, full-sized trees, and a dead pig! Apparently small animals such as pigs faired badly in the violent storm which centred near Valencia.

Castellon de la Plana
We were still at sea at 1930 when the moon rose again. Hello old friend! We saw you set this morning on the same voyage. Welcome back! At 0800 the sun had set just as we arrived in the near dark at Castellon.
The friendly
marinero (dock hand) at the Real Club Náutico de Castellón helped us moor then called (literally shouting over the fence) and made dinner reservations for us at a really good local seafood restaurant called El Galeon, right by the yacht club on the waterfront, (this usually means a touristic restaurant but it was all local people eating there, always a good sign) where we enjoyed an excellent seafood paella before hitting the pillow.
Our next daysail on to Valencia was short, only bout 35 nm, and the winds were gentle so we sailed slowly down the mountainous coast. Just before reaching the harbour
Marina Real de Juan Carlos I formerly America's Cup Marina in Valencia, Sheryl saw a rare Mola or Moonfish (also called a Sunfish) jump right beside the boat. 
Mola also called Moonfish or Sunfish

When we went to visit the fantastic Oceanographic Museum in Valencia the next day, they had a very large Mola in an amazing 70m tank so we could get a good look at one close up. There were also seals, beluga whales, penguins and numerous reef displays and schools of exotic fish in enormous tanks.


Paul and I went back to the boat itching to carry on to the Caribbean to do more scuba and skin diving there. I can't even begin to explain all the interesting displays, information and fantastic architecture at this very special aquarium so check out their website to learn more if you're interested.

We spent one more day in Valencia exploring the old town and enjoyed the old city market buying a few goodies to take back to the boat.
The Marina Real de Juan Carlos I is very good and surprisingly very inexpensive - 26 euros per night including water and electricity and wifi which is the least expensive we've seen on this coast so far. And there is a huge beach which is great. However it is quite far to get out of the marina even to reach a bus stop or tram/train station. Bikes are helpful but prepare to do lots of walking or budget for taxis. But despite this, I wouldn't miss it.

See you on the water,

Sheryl and Paul Shard
Aboard SY Distant Shores II
blog comments powered by Disqus