Go Fish!

IMG_3248[1]On the first evening in Cala Portals Vells I announced to Ian that I was going to do some fishing!  He smiled ruefully, remembering his frustrating childhood experiences of fruitless fishing trips, perhaps?

Well, I prepared my line, which is four little hooks and a wine bottle cork, for a float, a very rudimentary affair.  I happened to have made some popcorn the night before and thought that it might make good bait, especially since it floats quite well. Looking down I could see shoals of sea bream all around the boat.  I tested their hunger levels by lobbing in a few morsels of popcorn.  They were immediately snapped up.

No messing, this was the time to get my line in.  Ian walked away to do some kind of job.  I threw out my line with another handful of popcorn and immediately I felt a tug. Disbelieving my own luck I looked down to see a silvery wriggle below the boat.  I shrieked over to Ian who thought I was having him on as he had barely had time to walk the full length of the boat.  He rushed back in time to see me pull up my line with not one, but two sea bream on it!

We dispatched the fish, removed the hooks and dipped the line again.They were only small….we needed more.  This time I just caught one more unsuspecting fish.


Subsequent attempts revealed that the fish can learn.  They would not come near my popcorn bait until it had drifted far off leaving my constellation of popcorn hooks looking so obviously fake.

They did not bite.

So we made do with three.  I gutted them and de-scaled them and we had three little fishes on a little dishy, for us tea!IMG_3026[1]

Next day, buoyed by my success I had another go and caught one more fish.   Just enough for a small lunch. But after that the fish had wised-up.  No more were tempted by my popcorn, bread or tortilla wraps.

We finally managed to drag ourselves away from the turquoise waters and the comings and goings in Cala Portals Vells and, on the morning of our departure, a huge motor cruiser pulled into the bay and dropped anchor.

Staff were busy polishing the stainless steel, laying out fluffy towels on the sun beds and  frothing the bubbles in the top deck  jacuzzi.  Speculation mounted on our boat that this could be Bruce Springsteen since he played in Madrid the night before!  Apparently,  he had a similar kind of holiday in Mallorca three years ago between gigs.  So, we hung around a bit more and sticky beaked through our fabulous binoculars but just saw lots of white uniformed crew members.  A quick look on the internet revealed that the cost of chartering this cruiser for a week, low season, was $470,000 plus expenses which would add a further $70,000 on top!  Mere bagatelle!  We sat in the same cove, with the same sun rise for a lot less than that!

We set off towards Andratx (and thence to Palma)  and our surprise assignation with Ian’s parents who had rung the night before to tell us they had booked a last minute cruise to the Mediterranean.

We anchored in the bay and I went ashore in the dinghy to restock supplies as we were virtually out of wine, and less crucial supplies, like fresh fruit and vegetables!

It was sad to see the poor Frenchman’s boat moored up and collecting a light dusting of Saharan sand and salt.

The next day we retraced our route and dodged the race regatta boats that were skimming along around us, and then headed round to Paguera but on looking at the small Cala we decided it wouldn’t offer enough protection against the forecasted strong northerly and northeasterly winds so we continued round towards Santa Ponca which is a wide bay surrounded by tall, sheltering buildings.

We set both anchors just in case and had a very good night with no buffeting at all.  Ian had even figured out how to stop the wind turbine so I wouldn’t feel the vibrations from it rotating all night!

We spent three lovely days here.  Although the beach front and town are not so attractive as other places we’ve seen, we were able to replenish food stocks again and suss out a great anchorage.  All jet skiing is regulated here and must be done from a floating pontoon way out in the bay, so it is a really quiet place to be, even though it’s so huge.  Whilst sneaking in to the marina to do our laundry we were pleased to meet up with fellow Soller pontooners on Moondance of Cork.   We had a lovely catch up chat, and their dulcet tones reminded us once again of Fascinating Aida’s rendition of Cheap Flights!  If you’ve not heard it, please do Google it!

On the 25th we sailed round to Palma de Mallorca, to one of the many marinas there and predictably arrived in time to park up in the strongest wind we had had for days!

We were down to our last drops of water which we had eeked out.  So whilst Ian sorted out the recycling and the gas cylinder, I refilled the tanks.  We then set too scrubbing the decks, windows and covers so that the boat would look her best for Henry and June’s visit.

Meanwhile, we spent some time marvelling at the super yachts parked up around us.  Across the way, in the boat yard, an enormous yacht waIMG_3327[1]s having it’s mast stepped.  There are 850 berths in this marina, there are eight marinas in total here – that’s a lot of boats and a great deal of wealth is evident.IMG_3324[1]  This must be one of the nicest back drops for a marina though.  Here we are tucked under the Cathedral and beside the Museum of Contemporary Art and four incredible old windmill towers and sails.

Such a beautiful city.

Mum and Dad visit us on Linea
We were up and at ’em early; my first proper shower in five days!  Bliss.  Then we walked all the way along the fantastic promenade, people watching the whole time, to meet up with Henry and June outside the Cruise Ship terminal building.  It was soooo lovely to see them and we all had little weep.  So bizarre to be unexpectedly together in this lovely city, chatting as we wandered back in the warm sunshine.  We gave H and J the full guided tour (which takes about two minutes, by virtue of the fact that everything is very compact) In fact, it probably took longer for us to shoehorn them both down the hatch and into the main saloon!  ‘From the sublime to the ridiculous’ springs to mind when I think about the difference in size of their ship (20 floors high) and our dinky little boat.

We wandered through the old part of town to eat in a lovely tapas bar called 13 Prozent which had been recommended by a friend of a friend who lives in Palma.  Delicious and reasonably priced lunch and then back to our respective ships.

By the time H and J had walked back to the Ventura, we had left our mooring and were motoring across the bay within the breakwaters.  We did a sail-by and happened to spot them as they were boarding the ship.  We were all waving like crazy things.  It was a very special moment!

We then made our way out to the bay to hang about whilst the ship departed.  We sailed along with her until she sped away at 16 knots towards Italy. We waved again but couldn’t make out anybody on the port side promenade deck as it was in the shade.

We continued to sail across the bay to our anchorage at El Arenels.  The evening sun warm on our backs.  As soon as the anchor was down we dived in to cool off and check it was well bedded in.

We watched the sun go down over then distance hill and gazed up at the stars.  It is simply heavenly tonight.  Very little wind, safely anchored, only one other yacht, and a view of the lights around the whole of Palma Bay!

We left the bay of Palma and sailed off out round the Cabo Blanc with the dark clouds brooding overhead.   It was akin to driving the wrong way down a one way street.  IMG_3065[1]We passed so many charter boats that were returning to Palma after their week away.


Keen to try out my tuna hooks I carefully removed my new line from my fishing tackle box and tied on my hook and lure.  Within minutes I had created the most confounded and inexplicable messIMG_3062[1] and tangle of line from what was a perfectly looped coil!  Confident that I could untangle it I had a go, but no, it became even more mangled and knotted.

I gave up, threw it away and reverted to using my mackerel line.

We trawled that hook and lure most of the day.  Not a bloody thing!!!

Since arriving in Mallorca

Velella Velella
we have not seen any dolphins or tuna.  We have seen sea bream, jelly fish and Velella Velella, (the jelly fish with the sail on their backs!)



Tomorrow, we set off to Porto Pollenca to meet up with the Chown family.


Guest blog – An outsider’s perspective

guest2Having cycled 70 miles from Puerto de Pollenca, through the stunning mountains in the North of Mallorca, the 5 of us arrived at around 4pm to our favourite little beach bar where we’d arranged to meet up with Ian and Sarah.  On a high from our exertions, and dehydrated from the heat of the day, we eagerly gulped down our beers while we waited. There was no mistaking them when they arrived, but gone were the shackles of life in the Dales – I couldn’t now imagine Ian wearing a shirt and tie and conforming to the routine of a steady job.  They both looked somehow ‘nautical’ and at one with their new life bobbing around the Mediterranean in their boat Linea.  It was good to see them and to catch up with their latest exploits.  After another round of drinks (or two) spirits were high and we headed back to our apartment, just a hundred metres away, and retired to our private rooftop terrace, complete with barbecue and hot tub.  While Ben, Adam and Leah went off to shop for food for the evening, we chatted about home in the Dales and the stark contrast of their new life on the boat.  More drinks and a fabulous barbecue later, the kids disappeared to go and find a bar where they could watch the Champions League final, while we opted for a soak in the hot tub. The space of the villa struck Sarah in particular, who, having lived aboard for around 3 months already, was clearly aware of the tight spaces inherent in any yacht design.  The wind was strong and once we’d dried off, it was sadly time for Ian and Sarah to head back to Linea to keep an eye on her overnight as she pulled on her bow anchor, bobbing and yawing in the bay throughout the night.

The following day, with the wind still blowing strongly, we headed off for another bike ride – this time heading out towards Cap de Formentor, the lighthouse at the end of the most North Easterly peninsula of the island.  It wasn’t too long before we realised that the excesses of the previous day (both cycling and drinking!) were having an adverse effect on our ability to pedal, so we turned back, had breakfast and did a spot of sunbathing before walking to the marina where Ian had agreed to pick us up in the tender to have the afternoon aboard Linea.  The 15hp outboard pushed all 6 of us very nicely into a strong headwind out into the bay and towards Linea at anchor.  As we approached, there was Sarah, waving from the stern ready to take our painter (technical term for the line that attaches the tender to the yacht).  Having chartered many yachts around the Med (in Greece and Croatia) it soon became apparent that this was no ordinary charter yacht.  This was a solid yacht, built for sailing and for living aboard.  For a start, a slab-reefed Mainsail took the place of the now common in-mast furling sails (which perform very poorly upwind by comparison).  Once aboard and furnished with yet more beer (after all it was 3pm by this stage), Ian took us on a tour around the deck.  Everywhere I looked this yacht was different.  There was more mast rigging and a more substantial mast to start with.  On top of that, all the deck gear (pulleys, winches, cleats and jammers) looked like they’d come off a much larger yacht – all very substantial.  The Spinnaker pole and foresail pole were both solidly built with beautifully crafted stainless steel fairleads and cleats at bow, stern and mid-ships.  An array of other kit was festooned on the mast and spreaders including radar, VHF antenna, Foghorn and lights.  Mounted to the tender Davitts (used to lower and hoist the tender when not in use), a powerful guest3floodlight, directed at the mainsail area could be switched on to highlight the sail like a triangular beacon in case a passing craft should fail to notice the navigation lights during a night passage.  It would be impossible to miss Linea (unless of course the watch were asleep!)  A powerful wind generator and array of solar panels mounted at the stern meant that Ian and Sarah could run their fridge for free without running the engine – not important when you’re on a 1 week cruise, but expensive in diesel, and noisy, if you live aboard.  Beyond this, the boat has an incredible array of electronic ‘clutter’ – some of which works and some of which doesn’t, covering all manner of requirements – man overboard, more VHF antennas, wi-fi booster, etc. etc.

The deck is coated in a sandtex type product which affords excellent grip, but also takes the skin off your knees – and it’s surprising just how much time you spend on your knees on a yacht, especially as a Catholic!  The cockpit has plenty of space and is very comfortable for 2 – perhaps a little crowded for the 7 of us – as the spilled bowls of crisps and broken glass confirmed later.  It’s surprising just how far tiny pieces of toughened glass can scatter when crushed by Sarah’s bare foot!  Talking of bare feet, at my suggestion, Ian took a great shot of my cod-like lady white feet (which had, to be fair, been in cycling shoes all week) next to his very brown, weathered man feet.

Down below, the electronic wizardry continued with a myriad of kit, without which, one wonders how Magellan, Cook and Shackleton ever managed.  I’ve never seen a Bavaria like this one.  This was from the early Bavaria stables and the difference between it and the typical modern day budget versions (though they have improved of late) is staggering.  The quality of the joinery wouldn’t be found on any, but the most expensive of modern yachts.  Overall, a very nice 44ft yacht which is larger than one would imagine for its size.  There are cubby holes in abundance –  Ian has somehow even managed to get his bike on board!

On to the reality of life aboard … Having only ever once spent 3 weeks in one stint at sea, I can only imagine what this must be like.  Surely this must be the true test of any relationship – and in reality, an unfair test.  How many couples spend 24 hours per day, 7 days per week together, in the same 44ft long space – with nowhere to go and no decent doors to slam after a tiff?  On the positive side, there are no shelves to hang and no wallpapering to do.  In their place though, is an apparently, endless list of things to repair, replace, scrub and clean.  I don’t know how many of you have ever been around a yacht chandlers?  As an engineer, I happen to love them – but it won’t surprise you to know that you don’t get much change out of £100, regardless of what you need to buy!  In terms of the general routine of life aboard – whilst there are certain routines that need to be adhered to (weather checks, engine checks, etc.), there is no fixed plan, no final destination, no need to go anywhere in actual fact.  It must, therefore be quite pleasant to have a reason to go somewhere and to have to be there by a certain time.  In the week we had been in Mallorca, Ian and Sarah had had a visit from Ian’s father who just happened to be sailing into Palma on a cruise ship for a day or two.  This had given them a reason to sail from Soller where they had been based for several weeks, to Palma at the Western end of the Island. Following this, we had agreed to meet them at the end of the week at Puerto de Pollenca, diametrically opposite Palma at the other end of the Island.  So, after saying their goodbyes to Ian’s Dad, they had sailed via the Southern coast to see us.  The effort was very much appreciated – we had a lovely time.  Sarah is doing a great job with her blog and Ian in keeping them both safe at sea.  There are many followers looking out for details of their latest adventure.

Your friends are here in Wharfedale thinking about you both.  Keep plugging away.  It can’t be easy sometimes.


Nick Chown and family, on board May 2016

Fun and Games at Anchor

Cala Portals Vells, Mallorca


The goings on!

When we wake up in the morning to bird song from the shore, we are almost entirely alone in this beautiful Cala; just a couple of other sail boats bobbing about.  We gaze up at the surrounding headlands that are tree covered and verdant and lush.  There is a lone worker rearranging sun beds and cushions on three newly swept little beaches nestled in between promentories.  Beach goers will arrive later by car or on foot.  The view out to sea across the Bay of Palma is clear and cloudless.  Bliss!


On the southern most headland are incredible Phoenitian cavesIMG_3239[1] which have been here for 2000 years and where there is an amazing shrine carved into the limestone rock. IMG_3244[1] There is a tomb tucked away in there too and cavernous rooms that go back far under the surface and are cool and damp.  The ground is sandy under foot and above there are only the tiniest of stalactites illustrating how little water makes its way through the rocks to the cave.


Huge square arches have been cut to let in as much light as possible and you can really imagine an ancient community of people living here, safe and invisible from marauding pirates.  Around them there would be access to water, sea food and some limited vegetation as well as the chance to do some hunting of wild boar, wild goats and other mammals that would have lived in the densely wooded areas around here.IMG_3030[1]

So, breakfast IMG_3243[1]can be enjoyed sitting on the deck in serenity.  The lapping of the waves, the wind wafting the branches of the trees, the sun twinkling on the water and the sea bream darting beneath the surface of the azure sea.


Then the fun begins.  Being only 8 miles or so from Palma de Mallorca the day boats and tourist glass bottomed boats start to arrive.


One or two sailing yachts make their way in.  Everyone wants to be as near to the beach as possible, they want to anchor over sand, where the water appears most turquoise in order to enjoy the day.

Gradually, this small Cala fills up.  IMG_3028[1]Mostly large, stealth-style, motor boats with snarling mouths and jagged shark-like anchor teeth.  Their smooth lines, glistening metalwork and gleaming gel coats glide in; shining and beaming out to the world around,

‘Look at me, haven’t I done well?’

They anchor in pole position with the aplomb and supreme confidence only those who exude success can do.  On board, heads begin to emerge like meerkats, curious to see where they have arrived.

We give them names!  The East End Bank Robbers!  The Boy Band, The Frenchies, The Oiks on the Black Boat, The Britannia Jet Submarine Day Trippers (with a slide on the side ), The Hamburgers , The Danish Bacons, The Five, No Six, Times a Day (lots of anchor practice) , The German Industrialist, The Gin and Tonics, The Sales Reps Team-Building Outing, The Boat That Rocked, The Nosy Missing an ‘I’, The German Space Invaders….

The stern hatches open and jet skis scoot out and roar off with whooping youngsters aboard, paid crew dart about like anchovies, pumping up paddle boards and lowering dinghies.

Wine, beer and food appears on sun decks to the waiting owners and friends.

There are shrieks of laughter and lots of guffawing.  Then a period of quiet whilst people digest their lunch and drink more hospitality wine. IMG_3245[1]  Suddenly, an urge for activity strikes, and  jet skis tear about, ribs and dinghies chase their wake and girls scream with delight.  Men paddle about sedately, chatting companionably  to each other, as they glide along.


Music starts to beat out a rhythmic tattoo and the high hat and bass compete for attentionIMG_3248[1].   People are heating up in the sunshine and the leaping, diving and jumping begins.  Increasingly daring jumps of bravado are made from higher and higher parts of the boats.  Some of those on The Sales Reps Team-Building Outing leap in naked to shouts of abuse.

Meanwhile, there is much to entertain Ian, as if naked people wasn’t enough!, as he watches and notes dropping and weighing anchor techniques.

The wind constantly shifts in the bay and so we all swing round, the noses of the boats sniff out the wind direction.  This leads to some hasty fendering as crews realise that boats are too close together and they will need to limit damage when they collide.  Luckily, most of these vessels have bow thrusters so they can avert any imminent catastrophe.  We work on the theory that we were here first so others need to watch out for us, especially as we are the least manoeuvrable.

As the sun dips down over the headland, the jet skis disappear back into the lockers and lazerettes the size of a small child’s bedroom.  Pink bodies head for the shade and more refreshment.  The sun loungers and mattresses on the beach are stacked up like the bed in The Princess and the Pea.  The shouts and shrieks gradually fade away.  Boats weigh their anchors and creep away in to the dusk.

Peace at last.

Oh, wait a moment, The Nosy but Missing an ‘I’  boat decides to stay longer and spends the next two hours tearing around the bay creating unnecessary waves on their rib.  The rest of us tut and raise our eyebrows and finally cheer a silent cheer as the drunken lot head off back to Palma.

Passage Preparation

IMG_3234[1]After two glorious weeks in Port de Soller Mallorca, we set off for our new anchorage.  An email from friend and fellow sailer from landlocked Wharfedale, has prompted me to jot down a little of what we do in preparation for a trip out.

A couple of days beforehand we look at various weather forecasts.  (Although we are looking at the forecast everyday even if we are parked up or at anchor) They all seem to be slightly different so we kind of judge the average of them all, particularly in terms of wind speeds and direction.

Using this prediction, we can access how easy a sail may be to where we want to head.

We would rather not beat into the wind if possible, preferring to wait until the wind is blowing the right way!  Also, I would prefer that the winds are manageable in strength, so up to 20kn being about my limit in terms of comfort zone.  Often, we have found that if the predicted wind speed is 20kn, once you are out there it is usually much more!!!   If it’s going to be blowing a hooley, then we’d rather stay in port!

So, having settled on a destination which would be within range, say 25 – 50nm, we plot a course on the open CPN navigation software; putting in various way points and checking the entire route in close up for any potential hazards.

We look at the destination port in the pilot guide and take a note of the course to follow for safe entrance.    Checking the things to look out for on the headland and mouth of the harbour.  We have the Navionics App ready on the phone so we can see the plan of the marina.

In addition, we check tides and currents, if necessary, and generally make a note of Barometer readings the previous day and evening.

I always like to have a plan B just in case the wind changes and the original destination becomes more difficult to enter.  Sometimes we have to have a plan C as well!  I write down this plan in RYA fashion with a little drawing of the destination port, etc.

I open up a new ships log on the computer and fill in as much detail as I can about the weather, (from forecasts and observations) barometer, temperature, humidity, provisioning plan, etc.

Once that stuff is complete really it’s practical preparations of the boat and crew.  A visit to the shower block ashore, last minute provisioning, back to the boat, shore shoes sprayed with cockroach killer so we don’t bring the nasty little critters’ eggs aboard inadvertently. Boat shoes on, breakfast, tidy up, teeth.

Life jackets are to hand, MOB alarms are worn, shoes are on feet as there have been injuries when sailing in bare feet, factor 30 (soon to be 50) sun cream is applied, jackets at the ready in case of chill, binoculars on deck and water bottles filled.

We have already done the provisioning, filled the water and diesel tanks.

After our experience with the sail drive and head gasket we now complete a daily engine check (WOBBLE) and also one once we are underway.

Below decks we stow all moveable items in lockers or on deep shelves, etc, and shut all doors or pin them back.  We close and lock all hatches and lock off the heads, after we had a flooded forward head one day.

Ian switches all the instruments on; AIS which transmits our position, speed, heading and also receives the same information about other vessels in the area; VHF is tuned to Channel 16; wind, depth, speed, navigation and autopilot instruments are activated. The course is activated on Open CPN and the first waypoint is sent to the navigation instruments at the helm.  The MOB alarm is switched on.

Then we come on deck and put the engine on so it can be warming up.

We take sail covers off, attach the main halyard and check that everything we’ve moved whilst in port is back in the right place.  For example, we always fix the main halyard away from the mast so  that it doesn’t clank all night.  We also attach one of the preventers on the boom to the breast cleat so that the boom doesn’t squeak as the boat rocks.

Next, we stow the fenders in the stern lazarette.

Now, it’s time to lift up the anchors.  When in Soller, we deployed a kedge anchor off the stern  in addition to the main anchor because we wanted to be kept facing into the swell which comes into the bay.  Also, other boats around us were moored up to two mooring buoys so we didn’t have the space to swing at anchor.  (It would have been uncomfortable in any case!)  Once the kedge anchor is recovered and stowed, we attach and hoist the dinghy and finally, lift and fix the main anchor.   Then the anchor ball comes down.

We motor out of the port giving a jaunty wave to new friends who we are sure to meet up with again soon.

We check that the course has been sent up to the console at the helm and I make the second entry in my shop’s log noting the time of departure.

When possible I try to make an entry in the log every time we change the sails, or tack or when I remember, or when I am below decks.

So, there you go, Nick Chown, all recorded for you.  We don’t have paper charts for this area which is a shame, because I prefer to use them and see the whole route in detail.  It’s also good to be able to plot your positions on it regularly as a back up to electronic stuff.

From starting to lift anchors, etc it was at least 45 minutes ’til we motored out of the bay.  It would have been longer but luckily the dinghy winch decided that it would continue to work just long enough to pull up the dinghy on to the davits after a teasing halt to its smooth action. Another thing to add to the repair list that grows on a daily basis!

As for parking…that’s a whole other story!!!

Well Deserved Coffee Time


After a wonderful evening catching up with news from T’ Shire the following day,  Friday 29th April we caught a bus to Palma and met up with Ian and Alice IMG_3139[1]after a brief interlude at a beer and food festival near the Cathedral. 
We set off walking around the historic part of town.  IMG_2960[1]Of course, we hadn’t gone far before we were very thirsty and diverted to Can Toni a little tapaseria near Santa Cruz church.

Café Bar Can Toni
Café Bar Can Toni

A lovely setting.  Food soon arrived….pimiento de padron, boquerones, salami, cheese.  All delicious.   We took a stroll round the contemporary art gallery and enjoyed views of the city and then wandered back towards the fabulous cathedral building.

On our way back, Amelia called to see what we wanted to do.  We agreed to meet them in Gallaleo.  However, on reflection it seemed that it might be impossible for us all to squeeze into the Fiat 500, so we caught the bus back to Andratx and collapsed into us beds!

The next day was fair weather so we decided to set sail and head for Soller since that was where the rest of the gang were staying.  We departed quietly but didn’t see the Frenchman;  his hatch was open so he was up and about probably.

We had to motor most of the way since it was so calm.  Along the way we spotted what looked like blobs of plastic in the water.  There were hundreds of them.  IMG_2968[1]Intrigued to find out what they were, I attached the plastic sieve to a string and managed to scoop one of these things up.  On closer inspection it appears to be some kind of jelly fish with a ‘sail’ to propel them along the surface of the water.  The first one was pink and the second one was a bright blue.

We arrived nice and early and parked up on the completely empty PortsIB temporary summer season transit pontoon which had just been installed.  As is the sailing way a couple of gentlemen from the boat next door hopped ashore to take our lines, there was a vague hint of recognition on Ian’s face and it eventually clicked they were crew from the 2011/12 Clipper race, Stuart Miller and John who had just arrive on Chibas. In fact Ian spent several days in NZ with Stuart when they were both injured en-route to NZ. Mooring was a bit of a challenge as there were no cleats on the north side of the pontoon at all!  We, nevertheless, attached ourselves to the pontoon using cleats on the far side.  Most definitely NOT the RYA way,  but we were secure.

Next day brought calmer weather and more cleats; divers were busy reconnecting new lazy lines.  It was fascinating to watch all the goings on.

Later that day, we were so pleased to see the gang from T’ Shire walking towards the pontoon.  They arrived and we rustled up drinks and then pasta to keep them going.  Amelia and Charlie had to disappear off for an appointment.  We all met up later on the prom and plumped for tapas (with pimientos de padron, calamari, boquerones, potato croquettes, patatas bravas, chipirones, amongst others) at the Cava/Albatros restaurant overlooking the marina.  We had a lovely evening with live music.  Everything was by Neil Young or Jefferson Starship!  Such fun!

Back on Linea, the wind picked up and we were subject to a huge swell coming into the  bay and ricocheting off the steep walls on the SW side of the bay.  We bounced most of the night.  The temporary pontoon was bucking like a bronco and giving a good impression of the Loch Ness Monster.  We were astonished to see people negotiating the bridge after dark, which was cordoned off by orange straps.  They  were walking, or rather staggering, down the pontoon just for a look at the view!  One man brought his very young children, and his beers.  I hovered near the transom to warn him about the trip hazards of our lines across the pontoon.  Before they had walked very far the little boy quickly and sensibly back-tracked so that his Dad had to follow him.    Thank goodness!

In the middle of the night we were all woken by a couple of big thumps as we connected with the pontoon.  The ‘fat boy’ fender had popped out.  We were all out on deck really quickly and David and Ian pulled in the lazy line as tight as possible as I released the stern lines.  I tied a bit of line between to other long fenders so that they couldn’t pop out around the sides of the transom and we fixed two breast lines to the pontoon.

Back to bed but a fitful sleep because of the squeaking of the lines.

The next day, we cadged a lift with Charlie and Amelia over to Sa Calobra and Cala Tuent.  IMG_3142[1]We drove over the long and winding roads that snake down to Sa Calobra and it was stunning.  The hills are incredibly high and full of hair pin bends.  It is amazing to think that cyclists enjoy slogging up these hills.  We all felt quite queasy with vertigo on the way down because you can see so far below you.  Finally, we arrived at sea level

Cala Tuent

and had coffee (and a pint of fresh orange juice for Angela!)  in one of the many restaurants in the small bay.  The waves were pretty big as they curled round in to the small Cala.  IMG_3144Next we drove up and over to the next bay along and took a beautiful walk across the  beach with a collection of the most ancient and gnarled olive trees in a plantation just to our left. We slid through the sand, meeting a track up to a restaurant.

We  had a pleasant lunch on the terrace under the trees overlooking the spectacular bay.  As we set off back we noticed that we were very low on petrol.  By chance, at the junction at the top of the hill we spotted a sign promising fuel in 9 km.  We took the turn (in the wrong direction and away from Alice and Ian in our support vehicle,  and wove our way along the curving road beginning to believe we had been duped.  Suddenly, up ahead, amongst a herd of cyclists at least four deep, we saw the petrol station and thanked our lucky stars. Now that we had re-fuelled, we decided to take a look at Lluc Monastery which was close by.  It is set in the most gorgeous spot.  A large piece of flat land in an otherwise mountainous and precipitous area.  Lovely.

Next morning, had agreed to meet Alice and Ian in Soller but we were a little slow off the mark and so it was mid morning by the time we walked along the tram tracks up to Soller town.

It was a lovely walk and when we arrived we found the town square and settled down for a coffee. Angela and I decided to do a little bit of window shopping.  We walked towards the railway station and visited the Pablo Picasso ceramics exhibition and the Joan Miro painting exhibition, we had a look at the railway station where a miniature train departs regularly for Palma and stopped off at the Hotel de Guia (where Ian and I and the girls had stayed ten years previously) and ah-ed over the beautiful tram that trundles back to Port de Soller.

Angela and I went for a wander and some shopping and then headed back to meet the boys after our walk round town…yes they were drinking beer already!

We took the tram back down to the Port…because you really have to travel that way.  It is the most appealing experience.  The tram hoots affectionately all the way back down to the port.  Even though it is a throw back to the beginning of the 20th century it seems to  fit in to its more modern surroundings.

We had a fantastic meal out that evening in Port de Soller and the next day it was an early departure for Angela and David.  Hoping to see them soon.  The rest of the day we  all just chilled on the boat because by then we were sure that we had a further problem with the sail drive.  The oil level was rising, which could only mean one thing.  Sea water was getting in! Not a good time to be going out for a sail.  So after a relaxing afternoon of Scrabble, sun and conversation, we bid a fond farewell to the gang from the T’ Shire and are already looking forward to seeing them again in June.

The next day, the engineer came to look at the engine and after some consultation and discussion in Spanglish, it was decided that the boat would have to come out of the water again!

On the hard again
On the hard again. The Hokey Cokey boat!

Fortunately, there is a crane lift in Soller so we motored round there and Ian negotiated a fantastic turn in a very tight spot and Pieri and his Dad carefully edged the cross frame in above the mast and between the spreaders with millimeter precision.

The boat came up and out with surprising ease.

The boat yard is right in the midst of the promenade and restaurant area so, from our vantage point high above ground level, we had a great spot for people watching.

We were back in the water by the afternoon and Tommy, the engineer, spent a further two days replacing the head gasket and the morse cable and tweaking this and that until he was happy. Phew!

We do hope that this is the end of any more problems as we are now thinking of changing the boat’s name to Hokey Cokey because we have been in, out, in, out so often.

After the extra expense of this repair work we were delighted to discover that we had been wrongly charged for water and electricity during our stay.  Hurray, we were due a refund!

More settled weather meant that we were going to anchor in the bay.  After the third attempt to bed in the anchor we were happy that it was secure.  Ian went swimming and diving down to check!  We put out an anchor at the back to keep us facing the swell and we had three of the most comfortable nights yet; albeit with every kind of alarm on.  Wind alarm, depth alarm, anchor alarm, Drag Queen!

We wanted to be out in the bay so that we would be in pole position for the Moors vs Christians Festival and battle re-enactment that was to take place on Monday the 9th May.  We had already met up with a couple called Nicky and Mark on Mezzo Magic who had kindly invited us to join them for a bit of a party on the Monday on their boat.

At 1350 we went ashore to meet up with Amanda Spencer (yeah!) IMG_3180who was here to stay with friends living in Soller and another couple who live aboard their boat in the Port deIMG_3178 Soller.   We were amazed to discover that Amanda had been at school with Mark!  Small world.

We watched the re-enactment from their boat and it was quite baffling.  The Pirate (Moors) IMG_2996[1]attacked from the sea.  The Peasants IMG_3187(Christians) tried to repel them.  There was a lot of noise from firecrackers and fireworks and IMG_3186smoke bombs and flares.  But rIMG_3183eally it was all just a great excuse for everyone to get drunk!

We retired to Linea at a suitable juncture and left the partying on Mezzo Magic.   Amanda and friends made it up to the town square and watched the procession into the church and the hanging of the Moor king, apparently it was very moving.

We spent a couple of lovely evenings with Amanda and her friends and during the day we were off exploring the island on bikes.  Ian using his trusty bike from home and me hiring an electric bike from Tramuntana Tours  We really enjoyed the cycling. IMG_3169

Fornalutx big cactus, small doorway


I was especially pleased with my electric boosting bike. Just using gears 1 and 2, ‘eco’ and ‘tour’ boosts, made all the difference between an enjoyable IMG_3171experience or an absolute bloody trial!  I confess to switching to ‘Turbo’ (gear 4) on one occasion to zoom past Ian on a steep incline, at about 30kph!  I still had to push hard to get up those hills but I also had time to take in the views, marvel at the terraces and the dry stone retaining walls, which are a work of art, notice the wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees, spot wild goats, fighting billy goats gruff, rabbits and cats and to breathe in the scent of Mallorca in early summer.  It is a heady and divine combination of orange blossom, broom, roses and pine trees.  Gorgeous!

Post Script:

On our return to Soller in the late afternoon we were pleased to receive a visit from Peter and Annelies who had driven over from Andratx where they had moored Skadi.  After we had caught up on our travel news they told us sad news. The Frenchman we had parked next door to in Andratx had been found dead on his boat by Spanish police after his family reported that he wasn’t answering his phone.  He was only 48 years old and had sailed solo from France. Angela and I had a nice chat with him, as we moored up, about his home region of Brittany. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

The boating adventures of a Yorkshire couple