Sunday, 7 September 2008
Wind bound in Cala Prona
That day with the northerly Tramuntana pumping we knew we weren’t going anywhere. The people that I’d met on the small beach, Alex, Jaume, Carlos, Carmen and Ana called their respective workplaces or families to say that they were wind bound in Cala Prona.
As phones snapped shut the atmosphere in our little cove changed markedly. A Monday morning excuse had appeared, a perfect excuse, better than illness or vehicle problems, a legitimate reason to spend a relaxing day with friends in a beautiful cove; a day of beer and skittles on Fiddler’s Green. Though the only problem appeared to be a foreseeable shortage of beer around lunchtime. But fortunately OB’s stern locker had been restocked the day before in Cadaques. I had ten beers on board, a litre of wine and half a bottle of whiskey. They had a fridge. We were gong to be fine.
The wind had cleared the sky and we sat in the sun, sheltered from the breeze, chatting about boats and drinking beer. In preparing the trip I had allowed for a day of rest due to unfavourable weather and now, after five days of flat out cracking on I happily lay back on the shingle and gazed into the depths of blue above me.
Soon all thoughts turned to food. They had intended to cook paella the night before and had brought the sofregit (the all important base of slow cooked onion, garlic, tomato and in this case, being in the region of the Alt Empordà, sausage meat and rabbit) with them. They just lacked the fish ingredients.
The wind was fading, the grop had passed. A fishing trip was proposed and I eagerly joined Alex and Jaume in the launch. We drove out of the cove and round the rocks to a place where Jaume had fished since he was a boy and there we donned masks and snorkels and, diving into toothpaste blue waters, harvested mussels and crabs from the rocks. After half an hour we had two net bag’s full and returned to Cala Prona where preparations for the meal were underway.
It was the best paella I had ever eaten, the grop, the cove, the fishing and the company each adding a layer of priceless flavour.
A gust of wind woke me from a delicious siesta. The south easterly had returned. Alex, also rousing, went for a swim while I studied the sky and the sea. I could see Cap Cerbère clearly across nine miles of water. With my destination in sight and a favourable breeze I was overcome with perverse doubts about my ability to reach France. I knew, and my friends had confirmed, that days like these could be battles between northerly and southerly winds. Jaume had said that if clouds formed again bringing rain then the Tramuntana wouldn’t be far behind. But the south easterly, having been denied free reign all morning was blowing strongly—strongly enough, I hoped, to keep the Tramuntana at bay. But still I doubted.
Then Alex returned from his swim with a pair of sunglasses in his hand. ‘I found these on the sea floor. You lost yours. They’re a bit effeminate but you can have them.’ I tried them on. The lenses were dark, the fit was perfect and I could handle effeminate. I said my goodbyes untied OB and headed out for France.