“Pull left, pull left,” he shouts without removing the pipe clenched between his teeth. “You’re heading for the rocks.”
Laughing, chatting and enjoying a jolly, albeit temporary, life on the ocean waves, my compadres lounging about on the deck of the 13 metre long sailing boat, the Rafael, are blissfully unaware we’re currently on course for a maritime disaster.
I spread my feet for better balance, wrap the rope around my forearm and do as instructed. All too slowly the boat responds, drifting away from my jagged and ragged nemesis jutting out of the sea and we emerge unscathed and into a rock free bay. I make a mental note not to get distracted by the scenery again.
The Rafael, built in 1915, is one of a small fleet of beautifully constructed ships belonging to Telamarinera that sail out of Palamós on adventurous ocean going journeys (picturesque sea trips to most people).
Apart from the excited anticipation at arriving at new destinations, the act of travelling allows a different perspective on our wonderful planet, whether breaking through a sea of clouds to be faced with a lush tropical landscape carpeted by palm trees, or rolling along on a rickety old train catching snapshots of life in villages and towns you’d otherwise never set foot in.
Arriving by sea is a particular joy (unless you’re one of those landlubbers who can’t make friends with the fickle ways of the briny). It doesn’t matter whether by luxury cruise liner, rusted old sea bucket or a sleek looking vessel constructed of oak, olive wood and pine like the Rafael, the view of a new and mysterious land approaching unleashes the same emotions. There is something pure and timeless about travelling by sail boat…even a modernised one with an engine.
Our voyage on this lovely looking sail boat is taking us along the Costa Brava coast from Palamòs to Tamariu for a special lunch date, skirting an undulating coastline whose beauty must distract the eye of even the most experienced sailor. Our host, Captain Joan is the picture of a sea captain – grizzled grey beard and hair as wild and unruly as the waves. His first mate, with the pipe permanently clenched between his teeth and eyes that twinkle like moon on the sea, could easily have come straight out of a Tintin adventure.
As we ride a gentle swell along the coast, they talk of pirates, nature and history, pointing out Roman ruins and secluded coves that can only be reached on foot or by bike. The landscape is alluring – emerald forests atop rocky cliffs whose soft pink hues belie the danger they pose if one was to get distracted and stray too close. It feels like the perfect way to travel.
The scenery is hypnotic and with the sun warming the cool sea spray on my face combined with the soothing voices of Captain Joan and his first mate, I find myself drifting into a pleasantly dreamy state…
“Pull left, pull left,” urgent instructions wake me from my reverie.
Unfortunately as I drifted, so did the boat and once again we are far too close to the pretty in pink rocks. My arms are tiring. Steering the Rafael isn’t as effortless as it looks. It requires constant adjustments to the stubborn rope to keep us on a true course.
I hand the reigns back to someone who actually knows what they’re doing and who also has a better attention span so that we can be assured a safe arrival in the clear aquamarine waters of the bay at Tamariu.
I enjoy sailing the seven seas and my first name may be Jack. But there’s one thing for sure, my surname isn’t Sparrow.
Buzztrips was a guest of Visit Costa Brava during this trip.