Monday 1 August 2011

Summer Cruise, Part 3. Clouds shifted off inland.

No sooner had I struggled out of the small harbour entrance, rowing against the breeze than the guts fell out of the wind. The large, forbidding cloud unburdened itself of a few weighty drops of rain. And that, it seemed, was the end of the weather. Left to roll around on a grey and greasy swell Onawind Blue creaked and groaned. I rowed over to the main harbour mouth and positioned myself to watch Ametlla’s large fishing fleet return home.

Occasionally a boat would stop, presumably to finish sorting the catch, rocking around broadside on to the sea. I hoped I might pick up a few scraps but the seagulls were too quick. I’d lost my line and hooks the day before, probably snagging the bottom rather than a large fish.

But a wind came wrinkling the waves and without a thought I hoisted sail and followed it north. Where to? I wondered. Well I’d find out when I got there. Clouds shifted off inland, the sea turned blue again and white horses rolled up behind us.

From where I was sitting I could see that the coves and small bays that I passed were closed out to waves. I could hear the rumble of water drumming on distant rocks. I kept heading north knowing that at Sant Jordi d’Alfama there was a sheltered beach and a small marina.

Soon the distinctive castle of Saint George appeared on a headland but the bay on the other side didn’t look too promising. I anchored and stowed the sails then rowed down the buoyed channel to check out the beach. The navigation channel was chocker with children and parents playing in the waves. I stared hard at the lifeguards whose job it is to keep bathers out of channels but they were busy admiring their abs, so I rowed off to inspect the marina.

What was once a stunning natural inlet and haven for small boats fell prey some years ago to developers. The lush curves of the inlet have been brought into line with tons of concrete and where pines once tumbled down to the sea cement sits with grim rigidity. I rowed in, awed by the accumulative horsepower of all the outboard engines and the ugliness of motorboats.

The marina is well protected, I’ll give it that, and down at the bottom end the waters were as untroubled as the remotest backwater. On the quay a dockhand polished a stainless steel water and electricity pick up point.
‘Can I stay the night.’ I asked.
‘How much?’
‘What’s your overall length?’
‘Just under 5 metres—no need for water or electricity.’
‘30 euros.’
What could I say? The only words that occurred to me were the same ones that I’d hurled at the guy on the flybridge of the great white turd. I rowed back out to sea.


robert.ditterich said...

Thanks for a lovely piece of writing.

Gavin Atkin said...

When you're tired after a long sail, that kind of thing always seems so unfair. I'm spitting nails in sympathy...

Anonymous said...

Hola Ben,estic gaudint de les teves aventures per a pujar a Cadaqúes. Però sofrint amb la SURREALISTA traducció automàtica.
El meu e-mail és ; si vols enviem el teu i et passaré unes fotos de la O.B. a l'Escala.
Toni. el mariner de fortuna (Santa Espina)