Tag Archives: anchoring in a bay

Northern Sardinia

 

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Linea, looking north in Cala Del Bolo

On Sunday 17th July we sailed to Porto Conte to the north west and tacked pleasantly along in 12 knots of wind.  We arrived at the anchorage, after some initial confusion with interpreting the wording in the pilot guide,  and decided to do what others were doing and anchor in 6-8m over sand and weed with our conventional anchor.  Apparently, ‘autonomous anchoring’ is only permitted if you have a Sardinian stone anchor’.

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The track to Capo Caccia.
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762 steps down to Neptune’s Cave – and then, back up again!

We took the dinghy to the shore and had a good walk up the track, cutting into the headland like a gash, to the head of the steps that lead down to Neptune’s cave.  However, the entry fee – €13 (and the thought of 762 steps, down and then back up again) convinced us to simply take in the views and then walk back down to the dinghy.

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Sarah with Cala Del Bolo in the background.

Having built up a suitable appetite to do justice to chicken, seriously garlicky creamy potatoes, courgette and carrot ribbons, we wolfed down our tea and the had our first game of chess.  Stalemate!

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Hunting is forbidden

Leaving Cala del Bolo be-times on Monday morning, we motored out of the dead calm bay to staggering views of the Capo do Caccia (Hunters’ Cape – where oddly, hunting is not allowed) looming overhead as we passed.  The opening angle revealing a perfect hole in the rock half way up the cliff.

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The impressive cliff of Capo di Caccia.

Just as we were marvelling at the formation of rock and wondering how the radio beacon managed to be balanced so precisely on the edge of the precipice, rather like a golf ball on a tee, when Ian suddenly slowed the engine and swerved to avoid an uncharted rock.  On closer inspection, as we drifted by, with it inches from our starboard beam, it appeared to be a huge log!

FLoating Lava Log
HUGE LAVA LOG!

Ian circled round and I grabbed the boat hook.  We glided by and I prodded the ‘log’.  Ah ha!  Lava!  It seems that there are large chunks of volcanic rock floating about in this part of the Med.  Like icebergs in the North Atlantic.  Hopefully, they would only afford us only a glancing blow as they are clearly very light and buoyant, despite their size.

On this course around North Sardinia, there is a huge promontory that adds 25 miles to your journey unless you take the Fornelli Passage.  A very narrow and shallow channel between Asinara Island to the north and rocky island outcrops to the south.  Here, you need to position yourself at the correct entry point out in the bay and steer towards two towers that must be in line one behind the other.  You continue to head straight for these towers (and the shore!) until you spot two behind you that are aligned, and then you can turn right, keeping the two stern towers in line behind you.  We negotiated the passage in fine weather and clear water so there was no problem at all.  In unsettled weather vessels have to go round the long way.

We continued without incident and anchored in Stintino Bay in the late afternoon sun.

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Stintino, Tuna fishing capital of Sardinia from times gone by.

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We kayaked into Stintino town and had a wander round.  The walls of house s in the old town are adorned with enlarged photographs of the tuna fishermen of the town from days gone by.  The industry is now defunct for various reasons but, as these amazing images show, the genti di tonnari were hardy folk from a bygone era.  All cloth caps, long sleeved shirts, high-waisted trousers and rugged, weather beaten faces.  If it weren’t for the fact that they invariably had bare feet, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were Yorkshire Farmers.

The pics showed tough fishermen lugging huge tuna from the boats, heaving boats up on to the shore, pushing barrows of filleted tuna to the market.   In one group photo which the photographer was trying to stage, things had clearly gone very Sardinian.  There were men dangling on each other and laughing, men gesticulating at each other to make a point mid conversation, men grinning, oafish at the camera, men looking the other way, men having conversations with characters beyond the limits of the scene.  The whole picture looked like a community of people used to working with and trusting each other on a daily basis.

Interestingly, none of the men seemed to be sickening for a good feed.  Some of them were almost portly.  How wonderful it would be to meet them now.  I wonder what these hardy folk would have made of bikinis, sun bathing, quay side restaurants, up to date weather forecasts and mobile phone obsessions!

Setting off from Stintino we motor-sailed most of the way to Isola Rossa, our next port of call.  A pretty village and holiday development with a new marina and breakwater offering good shelter to anchor.  We anchored among five other yachts and three cats plus a few day motor boats.

The holding was good and we had a great night’s sleep. next morning we srt off for a long kayak ride across to  this incredible beach.

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Isola Rossa main beach
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Looking towards Isola Rosso.
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We decided to stay an extra day to explore and in order to find wifi, which we did at the Coccodrillus Restaurante.  We spent most of the afternoon and early evening there, had supper on board and started our first chess lesson from a book of How to Play Chess!  Fiendish game!

Latish next morning, we left for Capo Testa furthur to the East.  As so often seems to be the case recently, we were heading directly into the wind.  Progressing by motor sailing.  We arrived and anchored.  I felt sure, as noted in the pilot guide, that I was dropping the anchor on to a perfect sandy spot about two metres square.  Since high winds were expected we put out nearly all our chain.  We swam out to inspect it and, yes it certainly looked like sand but the anchor lay on its side and on further investigation it appeared that we had landed on a smooth rock with a covering of sand.  Not much to dig into.  Luckily, the weight of the chain alone seemed to do the job and the strong winds forecast weren’t due til much later.

The following morning, after great deliberation and reference to the wind reports from various locations, we decided that we would be better returning to Isola Rossa, where we knew that the holding was good and where we could head into the marina if necessary.

We had the wind behind us the whole way back.  With the headsail alone we sped back in double quick time on a nice even keel.  My favourite point of sail.

We anchored head to wind, pointing at the beach.  Putting lots of chain out.  As predicted the wind picked up at 0500hrs and we had spun right round.  In the meantime, a French boat had anchored in front of us on much less chain.  As we span in the night, both scribing circles round our anchors, we ended up about five metres from their bow!  We rapidly pulled up some chain.

After breakfast, we thought it would be a good chance to go snorkelling on the rocks about a hundred metres from the boat.  Ian had been swimming earlier and found a really good quality mask and snorkel on the sea bed so I tried it for size.  Perfect fit!  Off we paddled towards the jagged rocks in the distance.  As soon as we had swum a mere thirty metres from the boat we realised that there were many large, unyielding and uncharted rocks lurking right below the surface!  How fortunate that we hadn’t dragged our anchor or anchored any further over to the south side of the bay as we would almost certainly have hit them!

The visibility was good for snorkelling and we saw about six different varieties of fish, sea cucumbers, and many sea urchins.  I dived down to pick up a green speckled shell.  It was a perfect dome with a hole underneath and dot patterns vertically around from its head to its belly.  There were still a few spines attached to some of the dots.  These shells are the skeleton of one of the many sea urchins around here.  Apparently, they are a delicacy that are an acquired taste.  The effort of harvesting and preparing them must be a kind of guide as to just how much one should appreciate them.

As soon as we returned to the boat we moved across the bay (now deserted) to anchor further away from these errant rocks.  We took the dinghy ashore and managed to persuade the bar man in a very nice hotel, Albergo Corrallo, to allow us to watch the Tour de France final day in Morzine.  Didn’t spot you, Claire and Nick!  Ooo, it did look wet!

Anyway, we returned to the boat to find that a swell of one metre was being driven into the bay.  No other boats were anchored by this time.  Clue!  So we decided that, on balance, rather than pitching and rolling all night, we would head into the Marina Isola Rossa.  What a lovely place and delightful staff.  I forced myself to speak Italian and was rewarded with a mini, good-natured lesson and lots of grins.

It was incredibly hot in the marina because the high wall presented an excellent wind shield (as it should).  It is probably an age thing, but I have recently discovered that the heat makes me sweat copiously.  Whereas with most people this perspiration is evenly distributed throughout their entire body, with me, I seem only to perspire from my head and face!  I am literally like a watering can.  People could shower from me, if they turned me upside down and I’d almost certainly produce hot water!  I could supply a small village with its daily water requirement; or I’d be the perfect sprinkler system for a lawn.

So, I have tried various items of apparel to combat this problem.  One is to wear a cap.  Another is to constantly wipe my face and head with a towel and the third, slightly less flattering option, is to wear a bandana.  It was this last method that I had momentarily forgotten I’d employed when a slim, fresh faced, cool looking (as in temperature) young Canadian asked us for some help.  She glanced at me as I responded to her question, clearly surprised that a yacht would have a permanent water feature on its deck and wondering what on earth a red-faced, dripping, middle-aged woman was doing on board.  Realising my shocking appearance, I disappeared below to try and freshen up and cool down.

We had a good night’s sleep, although Ian managed to beat me at chess!  Stupid game!

We left the safety and comfort of Isola Rossa by midday and and headed out into the bay.  Before we had even put the dinghy on the back of the yacht the rain, thunder and lightening had begun!

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Ian in his full wet weather gear and lashing rain!

Fantastic!  Ian instructed me to put the phones, lap top and iPads into the oven!  I kid you not!  Apparently, this will stop them being zapped by lightning. The rain came lashing down, rivalling even my water producing qualities.

Luckily, up ahead brighter weather beckoned.  We continued on, hopeful that it couldn’t last.

After all, this is the Med and it is the middle of July!

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More visitors

IMG_3021[1]On Tuesday 7th June we motored sailed round the northern tip of Mallorca to head back to Port de Soller.  We were about to complete our first circumnavigation of the island, meet up with all the Vyvyan family IMG_3308[1]and pick up our new comfy, comfy mattresses for the front cabin!

We had a tranquil sail round and I am almost loath to tell you that Ian was working on his all over tan!  Much to my amusement, he sat at the helm in his deck shoes, Gilly hat and birthday suit!  Hmm….an interesting style.  (No Picture!!!)

It was lovely to be back in Soller.  We anchored near the swimming buoys right opposite the Hotel Esplendido – a great name for a hotel!CADV17

 

We had a lovely few days pottering around, catching up with our new sailing friends and chilling with the Vyvs. IMG_3107[1]IMG_3312[1]

On Friday we had to depart fairly early to head on round towards Palma, where we were going to pick up Keira and her friend Lucy.

We had decided to spend a night in Cala Portals Vells again and duly anchored.  After a late supper we crashed out only to be woken by urgent tapping on the hull at 0400hrs.  Ian leapt up and went up on deck to see what was what.  A middle-aged Mallorcan man was swimming in the bay, wearing a head torch and pulling a life buoy behind him on a long strap attached to his yacht.  He said only one word…’Tipping!’ But with sufficient anxiety and panic to spur us into immediate action.

It was such a dark night, we couldn’t make out anything, there being no moon or shore lights to help us see.  We deployed our dinghy in record time and Ian set off into the gloom whilst I shone our fantastically strong flood light on to the other yacht.  It soon transpired that their anchor had dragged in the strong winds that had built up in the night.  The boat had been pushed back until it’s keel was sitting on the sand near the beach.  Luckily, they had not been pushed to the rocks lying menacingly on either side of the small yellow strip.

The shadows cast by the search light made Ian believe that there was another stricken yacht and crew wrecked up on the beach which served to add to his sense of urgency in sorting out the first boat quickly, but later, on closer inspection turned out to be just shadows and a vivid imagination.

First, they attempted to push the small yacht off the sand using the dinghy.  The keel was too deeply embedded and so Ian thought of enlisting the help of another yachtie and their tender.  The nearest other boat was a HUGE catamaran called Le Passion 60.  Ian knocked repeated on their hull and finally managed to raise one of the guests.  Ian explained the need for assistance but the man stated that he was not the skipper and no one came forward to help.

Ian returned to the troubled yacht alone. Next, they tried using the kedge anchor to winch themselves forward, but that was hard work with a manual winch.  Finally they tilted the whole boat to one side by pulling hard down on the main halyard from the dinghy and this, the swell coming into the bay, together with a bit of luck, allowed them to pull the boat off the sand.

They re-anchored near by and we agreed to listen out for them on the radio should they need further help.  I brewed up some coffee and we gave them our last few biscuits, which they were very grateful for, as they had no intention of going to sleep again after their trauma.

We were so pleased to have been able to help them and they were very glad that they hadn’t had to call out the life boat because, as local Mallorcan sailors they would have been mightily embarrassed.

They left for Palma at 0800hrs and we told them that we would be there later on in the day.

After checking into the Real Club Nautico Palma and being issued with our blue wrist bands – Paul Brennan, take note! We marvelled at the range of facilities, including pool and gym, that we could use.  Just look how close to the cathedral we were now.K23K10

We collected the rental car and set off to do the shopping before heading to the airport to collect Keira. K22 This included an additional 50 meters of anchor chain in preparation for the eastern Med. Weighing in at 75 kg this presented a bit of a challenge to get on board. We tried to find a petrol station that would allow us to refill our LPG bottle but no joy, and, in the extra time it took to find this out, the Palma half marathon had started and the one road we needed to be on to get back to the Marina was closed!   We spent a frustrating hour in the car trying to find our way back and finally decided to just go straight out to eat.K6

Later, Ian went to the airport to collect Lucy, Keira’s friend and we all crashed out.  Next day we spent nearly an hour circling near the fuel pontoon for an opening only.  When we were about to motor in to take the place of Taira they radioed us to let us know that the fuel station had now closed for the day!  Humff!K12

So off we set.  We arrived in Ensenada de la Rapita in the evening, and, after an slight issue with the anchor deploying itself quite close to another boat, we finally managed to sort out the errant remote control and anchor a safe distance away from others.

It was a fairly bumpy night in the large open bay but there were only two other boats and so it was certainly peaceful.  We motored into the fuel pontoon at La Rapita Marina and were able to top up fuel and water, empty our bins, visit a chandlery, use the facilities plus have a pleasant chat with the marinero who had a can of beer tucked into the water cage on his push bike!

So, suitably stocked up on everything, we set off for aK13 lovely sail to Cabrera.  An archipelago of islands comprising the Cabrera National Park, south of Mallorca.

 

We had reserved a buoy there through the National Park website and it was a very straightforward process to pick up the yellow buoy and line.

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What a stunning place.  We were able to walk up to the castleK11 at the top of the hill, walk to the lighthouse over the other side of the island, use the military cantina for a bite to eat and a jug of sangria and most importantly, use the loos!

 

K17We explored the coves and beaches of the bay in the kayak and dinghy and spotted enormous sea bream and other large fish.  We also saw a number of enormous, giant clams, softly opening and closing their scalloped lips.  Strangely there were no shells on the beach at all.  I had a quiet go at fishing with my newly constructed line (following your useful advice, Nick) and threw in my decoy bait, then my hook and line, and yes, quick as you can say, sea bream, I had a HUGE one on my line.  Foolishly, I lifted the fish up out of the water on the line and you can guess what happened.  The fish wriggled off the hook and disappeared back to the shoal.

We enjoyed a relaxing few days here in the utter peace and quiet.

Our next big sail was to head back up the Eastern coast of Mallorca.  We wanted to head for Pollensa eventually, so we made it to Cala Mondrago which was a good half way house and thought it would be a nice place to enjoy a bit of civilisation.  We had run out of cooking gas in the morning so had been denied a morning cuppa, and with no prospect of cooking our supper, we had to go ashore.

We set off walking up the road and met a sweet English couple from Poole in Dorset.  They told us that our best bet would be one of the beach restaurants.  So we about-faced and headed back to have a nice meal overlooking the deserted beach.

Next morning, we set off to do some provisioning and to find gas in nearby Cala D’Or.  We jumped on the bus and enjoyed the scenery as we drove through increasingly touristy areas.  We were keen to find breakfast and sat in a little cafe on ‘the grid’, ordered eggs, etc. and it was only then that I realised that I had dropped our mobile phone.

Ian retraced our steps to the bus stop, I went to enlist the help of the tourist information office, who phoned the bus company to no avail.  Keira was able to see the whereabouts of the phone on Find My Friends.  It appeared to still be in Cala Mondrago.

So we completed our chores and ate our breakie and grabbed a taxi to take us back to the boat.  On arriving at the Cala the phone appeared to have been moved.  Keira was despatched to negotiate its recovery.

It transpired that two German women had found the phone on the floor of the bus.  Instead of handing it to the driver, thinking that it must belong to someone from Cala D’Or, they held onto it in order to take it back to Cala D’Or that evening!  They were wandering around the park and beach in Mondrago and making it difficult for Keira to find them.  They were about to get back on the bus to return to Cala D’Or when Keira finally caught up with them.  They gave us the phone and we thanked our lucky stars!

Phew!

So, panic over, we went back to the boat and because the forecast was not good for the beach day that we’d planned we decided to crack on to Cala de S’Agulla.

We anchored up near the beach and the next day the girls kayaked ashore to spend a day relaxing on dry land.  Within minutes the entire beach, and every piece of sand was occupied by Germans.

They were surrounded by chanting, beer drinkers.  I think they relished the opportunity to do some serious people watching and sat there enthralled.  We joined them for a bite to eat at lunch time and had bat and ball and frizbe competition later in the evening.

It was as if some one had rung the end of day school bell, because the minute the sun started to disappear over the hill the beach cleared.  The beach maintenance guys sprang into action and the sand was swept and spruced up and sun loungers re-arranged neatly for the following day.

This is the best part of a beach day.

Back at the boat we had a Pimms followed by yummy supper.  The girls decided to go out into town.  Ian gave them a ride in and they staggered back to the dinghy at 0500hrs!  And were fast asleep as we set off back to Pollensa later that morning.

Strong winds and torrential rain having been predicted for Pollensa in the afternoon, we wanted to be anchored safely before it arrived and so that Ian could go ashore to watch the rugby.  Typically, the wind arrived early so we had to hang about a bit whilst the storm blew over.  He did managed to see the last half of the game.

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Now we had the chance to do some window shopping around Pollensa and suss out the buses for Lucy’s return to the airport.

We saw a little more rugby and decided to eat out on Lucy’s last night at a lovely looking restaurant called Ambrosia.

Next morning, we were refilling our completely depleted water tanks and petrol supplies before heading back round to Port de Soller when we saw the sea plane again and I managed to grab a couple of pics.  Looking forward to our brief sojourn in the UK for Keira’s graduation ceremony and to vote for the EU referendum.

Happy days!

Fun and Games at Anchor

Cala Portals Vells, Mallorca

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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.