It seems so long ago, July 2020 and we are sailing in Sardinia
Taking you back to July 2020, lockdowns are easing, the sun is shining and we have just arrived in Sardinia.
We were delighted by the incredible anchorage on the North West coast. Cala Grosa was spectacular. The sedimentary rocks had been twisted and folded into extraordinary sculpted patterns. My geological advisor Glen Ward tells me that this occurs when the rock is wet and therefore more ‘plastic’ and pliable. The tectonic plate that Ibiza sits on was subject to massive forces as it collided with neighbouring plates. The solid rock is corrugated into wrinkles, runkles, crinkles, crimps and pleats to astonishing effect.
We made good progress the next day and called into San Antoni de Portmany for a fuel stop. Thence to a beautiful bay a short distance away. We anchored in pristine clear water. At 14m deep we could clearly see the bottom. We had a calm night in strong wind, the low headland providing perfect protection. We set off for the mainland at first light with a few other boats in sight.
We had arranged to meet Gwendoline and Glen (Friends from Marina de Ragusa) for lunch in Javea so we attempted to find the bus station. We had left a little bit late and were struggling to reach the bus station in time to catch the 1200h bus. We thought that it might be possible to pick the bus up on its route out of town. We stopped a passing lady and I asked her in my Spanish/Italian mix where the bus stop was. She replied in faultless English that she didn’t think there was a bus to Javea but that she was going there in 20mins and would be happy to give us a lift!
Well, we happily accepted and were given a scenic ride over the Montgo mountain to Javea. So thank you to Jet, Funeral services director, from www.adiosconamor.es.
The next day, we set off to Altea. The wind had really picked up and the seas were lumpy. Initially, we were on a run with the head sail only. We were tonking along at 7.5kts…which is very fast for us as we normally cover the ground at about 5kts on average.
The wind shifted a bit so we decided to put the main sail up on the third reefing line as the wind was consistently 25kts and gusting to 30kts. We reduced the size of the head sail too and still we were washing all the windows and bombing along. I don’t really like the tipping up so I was doing my usual clinging to the winches in the cockpit. Anyway, we made record time and arrived at Altea with plenty of time for a shower, pre-prandial complementary cava and a stroll before dinner. Nice to be on terra firma.
The trip to Alicante by complete contrast was just “Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way.”
The exhibition was very interesting. The town was a surprise with its wavy esplanade, palm trees, statues, bourgainvilla, gorgeous seafront buildings, le Barrio or old quarter, the Santa Barbara Castle and the Bull Ring, theatre and cathedral.
The next leg was a biggy from Alicante to Cartagena – about 65nm. We arose at 0530h and dodged through cargo and fishing vessels on our departure from the port without incident. Using our fancy new radar together with the AIS, we could ‘see’ all the vessels and obstacles around us in the darkest predawn dark of the night.
Then the sun finally made an appearance and we could relax a little.
The last two hops passed without incident.
We have now arrived at our winter berth in Almerimar, on the costa del Sol where we are trying to sell the boat.
I have volunteered at a Oxfam type shop here and will start Spanish lessons soon.
We hope that more liveaboards will arrive over the coming days and that we are able to meet the community soon.
There are as always, lots of boat jobs to keep us busy until the boat sells. We need to lose weight and try to get fit too. As per….! We are hiring a car to explore the area around us and will try to keep you all up to speed n ow that I have a working blog again!
Thanks for reading!
We left to head off to Mallorca and had a rolly night at anchor just along the north coast, followed by a fantastic sail across to Porto Pollensa anchorage. We anchored up in familiar territory again. Five seasons ago we set off from here to go to Sardinia for the first time.
We went ashore and wandered along the front, reminiscing. We had a fine meal at one of the restaurants and then Josh took us to meet his old tennis coach who runs a bar nearby. Rafa was a delight and invited us to come and play tennis the next day. We duly met him and I had my first lesson and knock up for about 20 years!
It was great fun. I loved how Rafa would say, ‘Good shop’ whenever you hit the ball sweetly.
The following day we headed by bus up into the town as there was a market on. There was a bit more hustle and bustle up in Pollenca but it was still much quieter than normal for this time of year. We had some incredible empanadas from the bakery stall. I have to say that they truly did rival Weatherhead’s pork pies! Totally delicious.
Ian found a bar along the sea front in which to watch the Tour De France so he was happy and Josh and Erin topped up their tans on the beach. We ordered Pimientos de Padron to keep the hunger pangs at bay.
We decided to hike over to a bay on the north coast. It was impressive scenery. Towering rock faces and boulders, wild rosemary and juniper growing all around and paths unevenly forged by torrential downpours in winter.
Unfortunately, when we arrived and were preparing for a welcome dip we noticed that the centre of the bay was a veritable soup of plastic debris. Of course, we had no bags to put anything into but the sea provided four perfect bags and we spent the next hour scooping partially decomposed plastic bags, lolly sticks, tampon applicators, fishing nets, fishing lines, ropes and plastic cups and containers out of the water and off the beach. Others around us joined in and we lugged our plastic hoard back over the hills to town to dispose of it in a bin. Gone are the days of beach combing for shells.
After a few fab days in Pollenca we filled up with fuel and water and sailed round the headland to the north to go back to our beloved Soller.
We anchored in a good spot opposite the Esplendido Hotel and soon met up with friends Nikki and Mark on Freda who live here during the summer. It was extremely quiet ashore. N and M invited us round for drinks with some fellow yachties from Cartagena and we had a fantastic evening finally rolling into the tender after midnight!
We took the bus into Palma the following day and had a lovely time aimlessly wandering around the streets. It, too, was practically deserted. A good number of shops, cafes and restaurants were closed up and graffiti was visible everywhere. We marvelled at the stunning cathedral without crowds of tourists around – such a beautiful city.
On Saturday afternoon Erin and I went up to Soller to attend a workshop to teach us how to make lavender oil. We met Joaquim and Rose of Jabon de Mallorca, (www.jabondemallorca.es) and fellow tutee Barbara from Argentina, and had an interesting hour and a half learning all about the process.
We came away with our own ‘home made’ oil, lavender perfume and lavender floral water as well as some wonderful almond oil, shampoo bar and an ingenious soap holder. It was a interesting experience courtesy of Erin for my Christmas present.
Checking the weather we realised that we had a good opportunity to cross to Ibiza soon. Erin and Josh decided they wanted to fly home to the UK and so we planned to drop them in Andratx on Monday morning and they could easily fly home from Palma airport.
We motored from Soller, sadly saying farewell to N and M, and made good, if very lumpy progress. We all felt particularly bilious. Clearly the fuel had been getting a good mix up too, being sloshed about in the tank from side to side and up and down, because, just as we came into the harbour of Andratx, the engine stalled. By now, there was a little wind behind us. Ian put the headsail out and we sailed in. Luckily, we were able to call the marina and request assistance on to the mooring buoy that we had booked.
Ian changed the fuel filters, and pumped out some gunk from the fuel pipes, using a handy bicycle tyre pump, and managed to get the engine going again. So, that was a huge relief! We are so practiced at this now my heart rate hardly went up at all! I think that is the 6th time we have had to moor under sail! No problem!
Early on Monday morning we bid a sad farewell to Erin and Josh. We shall miss them dearly. We needed to set off for Ibiza. But not until we had sorted out the ropes and pulleys on the dinghy davits which had decided to play silly buggers. Half an hour and a good bit of swearing later we were on our way waving madly at Josh and Erin’s drone as it hovered overhead. (See The Travel Tapes video on Erin’s You tube channel for some amazing drone footage of Linea leaving Andratx port.)
Next, we bounce to the Spanish mainland via Ibiza.