12 to 17 March 2017
After a night of fitful sleep but an anchor held fast in the sand, we left our anchorage outside Calpe at 5.30am. We were reminded how much easier it is to leave when at anchor than in a marina. No rushing around tidying away lines and fenders. Just anchor up and away we go.
The wind had been forecast to be about 15 knots but by 7.30am when we were just heading into more open sea it was much stronger, gusting up to 30 knots, and the sea state more choppy. For the first time we decided to go back. It made no sense to beat into wind and sea in conditions like that when we didn’t have to be anywhere. So we turned round.
With a whole day ahead of us we decided to go further back along the coast to Altea. On the way we passed Penon de Ifach again and took a closer look at some spectacular rocks, where we anchored to have some breakfast. We went in to Altea harbour but the marina was full because of a regatta. We enjoyed watching the racing boats as we made our way back in the direction of Calpe and tried not to get in their way.
Finally safely tucked up in the yacht club in Calpe, only a few hundred metres from our anchorage of that night, we prepared to sit out the few days of stormy weather that had been forecast. And it certainly rained! On 13 March the Costa Blanca had half of its annual rainfall in just one day. It was a great test for the re-sealed window – not a drop came through. Shame we can’t say the same about the other three.
With the prospect of at least two more days in Calpe we hired a car and headed inland. The scenery is spectacular around here, all rugged limestone peaks and escarpments.
After all the rain many of the mountain roads had been closed due to damage but we made it up to the village of Guadalest with its castle perched improbably on rocks at the top of the village. The town is also home to some very quirky museums including one dedicated to salt and pepper pots!
Day 2 of our road trip took us back down the coast. We decided we had to say we’d been to Benidorm so got up early and went there for a good old breakfast and a bit of people watching.
Further down the coast we found Alicante altogether more appealing with a fort atop an enormous hill with our name on it in order to comply with The Rules. It was a sweaty hike up to the top in the increasing heat but the views on the walk back down the top of the wall were spectacular.
Our final stop of the day was in Altea where we had tried to find a berth. An old white town perched on a hill was a gorgeous place to wander around with views at every turn either to the sea or to the mountains. There were lots of artists studios there but all closed for siesta!
We thoroughly enjoyed our unexpected stop on the Costa Blanca and are glad we turned back. Calpe itself was a great town. Nowhere else have we seen flamingos on our walk to the supermarket!
Its sunsets were stunning.
Real Club Nautico Calpe was a lovely friendly yacht club, very welcoming to visitors. It reminded us very much of Baiona. We passed a lot of time chatting to our British neighbours, Carol and Roger, who live in Spain and have their boat at the club. They were a brilliant source of knowledge about anchorages in the Mediterraean islands as well as hints and tips from their many years of sailing. Thank you Carol and Roger, for all your coffee, advice and the lovely lemons from your garden. We hope to see you again on our way back.
But the storm having passed it was time for us to leave the mainland for a while and head to the first of our island destinations, Ibiza…
Selfie, Benidorm beach.