Day Five – Discovering the Costa Blanca (Wednesday 24th August)

Am settled in Javea for the next couple of days and can´t believe the Costa Blanca isn´t as popular for boaters as it should be.

Back on track after a day of doing “proper” work yesterday. It’s quite odd writing about Galway Bay when you’re sitting beside a pool in Spain. But surprisingly productive – will suggest to Hugo that MBY relocates next summer?

Am now in Javea (or Xabia if you’re Spanish, and armed with a black grafitti spray can) between Alicante and Valencia on the Costa Blanca and it’s great. The backdrop is similar to that on the Costa del Sol – rolling hills and the odd mountain – but it’s so much more lush and green and there’s not a plastic greenhouse in sight. The towns on the coast (apart from Benidorm, which looks like something from Bladerunner) are fairly low-rise and the sea is so much clearer. It’s amazing that the people I have spoken to here so far say that this patch of the coast is relatively unnoticed by boaters compared to the Costa del Sol and the Balearics.

Had a quick nose into Javea marina, which on first impression seemed a little snotty. If anyone knows anyone there it would be great to hear what they think of it as it’s difficult to meet people when there’s a security guard following your every move!

Javea itself is a very laid-back holiday resort, with lots of English, Germans and Dutch, but not in a Blackpool-y kind of way. Although we discovered Scallops on El Arenal (the main beach) which offers the incredible bargain of three courses (scampi, pizza, prawn cocktail – good, old fashioned Spanish food) for 7 euros 95, plus a free bottle of wine for everyone. Have since found out that if you go there for breakfast at 3 euros you still get the free bottle of wine per person. Sounds just my cup of tea.

Denia, north around the headland, has a HUGE marina. I’ve heard people mention it on the forums, but always assumed it was a little harbour. But there must be a good 600 boats here in three different marinas, with great facilities and a whole line-up of the great and good when it comes to yacht brokerage. Chatted with forum-ites Steve and Liz Clayton who’ve been here for a year (yes – I know they’re yachties, but despite that they were incredibly helpful and only tried to convert me once?). They introduced me to Wayne and Tony from Premier Yachts Spain, the new Princess agents in Denia, who both live nearby.

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We had a great chat about the town, especially the endless Fiestas, which apparently cause some confusion among the English ex-pats. One that the boys went to recently involved hundreds of thousands of people on the beach building their own fires, then jumping over them, running into the sea, jumping up-and-down six times and making two wishes. I think they just joined in, which seems to be the best way to deal with things round here (maybe except when you’ve got a bull running at you down the main shopping street in Denia, which is another local highlight).

Wayne and Tony were very positive about the area, saying that there were lots of berths available in Denia if you looked through different channels – apparently the web and local adverts are great for spotting private berths being rented out or sold – rather than rely on the marina office. In fact they are surprised that there aren’t more boats here – an hour’s cruise to Valencia, beautiful anchorages and beaches and a couple of hours to the Balearics, where berths are notoriously pricey seem quite good propositions.

Anyway, am out on Tony’s Sealine tomorrow to check out the coast and marinas between Denia and Calpe. So far, I’m really impressed. In fact, with the risk of annoying everyone I met last week, there is no comparison for me between here and the south. But I’ve got a couple more days here to really explore, so I’ll let you know if my first impressions change.

P.s. Liz tells me that Cartagena is the noisiest marina on the Spanish coast – with nightclubs right on the waterfront. What a shame – shan’t be moving my billion-pound superyacht there after all then.


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