September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye

September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation

September 1, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing

August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez

August 1, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind

July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap

July 1, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec

June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico

June 1, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua

May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising

May 1, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica

April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There

April 1, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama

March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money

March 1, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal

February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal

February 1, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific

January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week

January 1, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef

December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2

December 1, 2011

November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise

November 1, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question

October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers

October 3, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World

September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come

September 1, 2011
Sailing for Humanity

August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work

August 1, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish

July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books

July 1, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas

June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala

June 1, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise

May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now

May 1, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala

April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas

April 1, 2011
At Last in the San Blas

March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon

March 1, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!

February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2

February 1, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1

January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude

December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane

December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba

December 1, 2010
Stuck in Curacao

November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing

November 1, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks

October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe

October 4, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal

September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing

September 1, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea

August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao

August 1, 2010
Bonaire Diving

July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire

July 1, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles

June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent

June 1, 2010
Right Place, Right Time

May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle

May 1, 2010
To the Grenadines

April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon

April 1, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II

March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1

March 1, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing

February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations

February 1, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands

January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa

January 1, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............

December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing

December 1, 2009
Moving On To Morocco

November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med

November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone

October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol

October 1, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise

September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles

September 1, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well

August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca

August 1, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca

July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast

July 1, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia

June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa

June 1, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails

May 15, 2009
Into Africa

May 1, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia

April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy

April 1, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles

March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling

March 1, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports

February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta

February 1, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2

January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1

January 2, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time

December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear

December 1, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend

November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise

November 1, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz

October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman

October 1, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins

September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta

September 1, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story

August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

August 1, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians

July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca

July 1, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe

June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece

June 1, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey

May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey

April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living

April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip

April 1, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget

March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi

March 1, 2008
Home Sweet Home

February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising

February 1, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World

January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free

January 1, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free

January 1, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni

January 1, 2008
About Feel Free

January 1, 2008
Voyage Itinerary

October 1, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise

By Liz Tosoni

Frankly, we were ready to move on from the tourist-infested Balearic Islands. The town of San Antonio on Ibiza was our last stop, a good jumping-off point for the Costa Blanca on the mainland and that’s why we went there, but it wasn’t our style. The Lonely Planet says it’s the perfect destination if you’ve come in search of “booze-ups, brawls, and hangovers.” Twenty-somethings strut the streets like peacocks and sprawl on beaches wearing next to nothing, counting the hours before the clubs open and the parties begin. Loud music blares all night long. Tour boats and ferries buzz around. Thankfully though, the anchorage is far enough away from the action so that we could rest peacefully on the hook. Plus, there was one bonus. The town provides free wifi and we were connected while at anchor – a rare luxury.

Spain’s Costa Blanca, a 195-mile stretch of coastline between Cabo de Gata and Cabo de San Antonio, is made up of high and steep promontories and cliffs that tumble into the sea, rolling hills, long sandy beaches, and numerous “puertos” and coves.

Spain’s Costa Blanca, a 195-mile stretch of coastline between Cabo de Gata and Cabo de San Antonio, is made up of high and steep promontories and cliffs that tumble into the sea, rolling hills, long sandy beaches, and numerous “puertos” and coves.
It was an uneventful 50-mile motor-sail to our landfall on Spain’s Costa Blanca. A large and lively school of dolphins was the only real punctuation mark to the day. Winds were light and from the southwest, seas slight and for a short while there was a favorable current.

Closing the coast, a sculptured, layered outline of mountains appeared like a Chinese watercolor painting, culminating in Punta de Ifach, a rugged pinnacle jutting out of the water like the prow of a large ship. While anchored off Punta Ifach, we enjoyed the company of Steve and Eva of the Los Angeles boat Music.

We tucked into the lee of Punta de Ifach, deployed the anchor in water so clear we could see it as it dropped onto the rippled sandy bottom, set it, then admired our new surrounds. The literature declares this stretch of coast to be the epitome of cut-price colonization, lined with bungalows, condos, posh resorts, cheesy hotels, and monstrosities in all stages of construction spreading virally and ruining the natural beauty that once was there. Yet, our view from Feel Free’s cockpit was one of grand beauty: an impregnable wonder of nature towering above, raucous gulls filling the sky, a wide sweeping beach dotted with colorful umbrellas, and yes, rows of hotels. Friends Steve and Eva of the Hans Christian Music were there to greet us so we found it to be a fine arrival.

Next morning, the “must do” activity was to climb that calcareous rock before our eyes, 332-meter (1,079-foot) Penon de Ifach, through a tunnel, and along a winding, vertiginous path to the peak. Seagulls standing sentinel and minding their young squawked teutonically at us along the way.

The views from the top of Penon de Ifach are exhilarating and well worth the steep, sweaty climb. There’s a beach on either side of the rock and Feel Free and Music appear as small white specks from the summit.

From Paul Theroux’s book The Pillars of Hercules, I learned that in Greek mythology Calpe was Gibraltar, the “Rock” of Gibraltar, yet the town here, at the base of this rock we were visiting, is called Calpe. Coincidence? It’s curious that a Spanish town retains a name from Greek mythology. Gazing at it we wondered if Gibraltar will be equally as impressive. Calpe is very much a tourist town and some of the buildings appear to be imitating the shape of the great rock. In fact, the town seems to be defined by this pillar as it dominates the scenery as it has from time immemorial. We found out that an Iberian village was established there in the 3rd to 4th centuries B.C. Archeological digs are still taking place and findings of ceramic and numismatic items confirm that the sides of the rock were inhabited in the Middle Ages as well. Attacks from the sea forced the people down to the village of Calpe where a watchtower system was created against pirate raids. It’s evident that this was a common practice along the entire length of the Mediterranean Sea.

Here Penon Ifach is seen from seaward and from the beach in Calpe.

The day we left Calpe, winds were light and from the south or southwest so sailing was very leisurely but slow; it took 12 hours to cover 30 miles! It was also a historic day as Feel Free and crew crossed the prime meridian and officially entered the western hemisphere after eight years in the eastern hemisphere.
Just as Feel Free was abeam the town of Benidorm, whose claim to fame is its miles of white sand beaches and cheap package tourism, coincidentally there happened to be a report on American National Public Radio about Spain, and specifically Benidorm, on our satellite radio, and we just happened to be listening to it. It was a gloomy story of the flagging tourist industry, a dismal economy, rising unemployment and growing poverty. We learned that Spain is one of the worst hit countries in the European Union as a result of the global economic downturn, and that 30-percent unemployment is expected by the end of the year in the Canary Islands (where we intend to be before the end of the year). Strange that you can be sailing in a country, enjoying the sights and sounds, the scenery, the ambience, and yet be so totally unaware of the problems and realities of the daily lives of the people who live there.
In many of the countries we’ve visited, we have immersed ourselves in the culture, gotten involved somehow, made friends, or at the very least gotten to know some people. But here, not so. It was like being on the run – a new place every day, a new view, but separated, as we moved along in our own little self-contained world, the only real contact being with shopkeepers, officials, or people in the streets giving us directions.

We anchored inside Cabo de las Huertas after leaving Calpe. On shore were the usual apartments and hotels that provided a mesmerizing skyline, cigar-shaped clouds tinted orange as the sun sank into the horizon.

Of the weather, the Imray Pilot points out: “The Mediterranean is an area of calms and gales and the old saying that in summer there are nine days of light winds followed by a gale is very close to reality…” and “the weather can change and deteriorate at short notice.” But that was not what we experienced along that ribbon of Costa Blanca. In general, the winds were rather light, anywhere from zero to 15 knots, with on-shore breezes during the day and offshore breezes at night, that is, if they amounted to anything at all. Typically, the winds died around sunset. Days were long, often hazy, swimming good, sailing relaxed with slight seas or none at all. Although there are a large number of anchorages to choose from, they’re not always well protected from all wind angles so there was always discussion about which one would be best, depending on the wind direction that day. Some of them are open roadsteads and subject to awful swells wrapping around capes or points, meaning a rolly and uncomfortable night. It was important to choose well. We made overnight stops at Playa de las Huertas, Cabo de Palo, Ensenada de la Fuente, Garrucha, and Puerto Genoves.

There I am on a nearby hill overlooking Puerto Genoves. The bay has managed to remain undeveloped and the beach must be one of Spain’s most beautiful and least crowded.

At Cabo de las Huertas, a  suburb of Alicante, apartments and hotels are sprouting up like mushrooms but there’s still a friendly small-town atmosphere as it’s next to an old fishing harbor. On shore at Cabo de Palo, you could easily imagine you were on the Miami Beach strip with mile after mile of condos, malls, and holiday homes. Ensenada de la Fuente is a bay in the hook of a promontory – Punta de la Cabrilla. Here, it’s a serene scene: an old watchtower, a mansion on a hill, a few people fishing, a powerboat and two other sailboats at anchor including Sojourner with our friends Pete and Julie on board. In the distance, on the hills, a sea of plastic green houses can be seen. Garrucha is a commercial port and feels like a regular Spanish town. Anchored off the town beach, our evening’s entertainment  was watching locals swim, build sand castles, sunbathe, just enjoying summer.

Puerto Genoves seemed like the perfect spot to hang out for a few days and catch up on boat chores, swim, snorkel, and hike the trails. So we set the anchor and settled in.  Our little holiday was to be short lived though as, the second night, a wicked swell rolled in and spoiled it. Feel Free staggered drunkenly and it was one of the rolliest nights we’ve ever experienced. So next morning we were ready to move on once again.  After all, one of our mottos is “expect the unexpected” and so we do. Next stretch of coast: Costa del Sol and then Gibraltar. We’re seriously sneaking toward that big ‘ole Atlantic.