We sailed from near Cartagena to the Mar Menor which is a large lagoon (12 miles long by 6 miles wide and only about 5-6 metres deep), just round Cape Palos, separated from the Mediterranean by a narrow band of land called La Manga. We got to the entrance after 26 nautical miles in 6 hours 45 minutes and then had to anchor outside for about an hour waiting for the road bridge to be raised so that we could get into the lagoon – it’s raised once every two hours.
We berthed in a very large marina at the edge of the lagoon so that we could stock up on supplies, water, etc. Unfortunately we were assigned a berth for boats much longer than ours and it took about 45 minutes to get moored up even with three marina staff to help because the permanent bow mooring lines they provide were the wrong length – anchoring is definitely easier!
4 May: Next day was completely calm in the morning so we sailed into the lagoon and the wind immediately got up to 20 knots! We anchored behind a small uninhabited island to get some shelter. The plan was to go swimming on the basis that the lagoon, being shallow, was much warmer than the Med, but the boat was surrounded with lots of jellyfish and neither of us was keen to get stung, so we had a cuppa instead! We anchored for the night on the west side of the lagoon near Los Alcazares with only just over a metre of water under the keel – at least in the Med you don’t have to worry about the water level falling with low tide as the tides here are negligible. We did about 10 nautical miles in all around the lagoon.
5 May: For once we had a grey and drizzly day which made us feel quite at home! Being a Saturday the local yacht club was out racing on the lagoon so it was quite busy. We ‘caught’ the 4pm opening of the bridge to get out of the lagoon and anchored for the night just round the corner in the Med itself. 8 nautical miles today – big deal!