Tag Archives: Linea

Anchoring technique

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The beautiful anchorage at Favignana, Egadi Islands, off the west coast of Sicily.

When we first set out on our adventure we had completed in-depth research and budgeting – in Ian’s style; with spreadsheets and accounts.  In order to be sure we could live on our fairly shoestring budget we had carefully calculated how much we would spend on food, laundry, gas, fuel, etc.  You name it, we had it covered in our budgeting.  Inexplicably, and I know you’ll be amazed by this knowing of our thoroughness, we had missed out marina fees.

We set off on the first tentative leg of our journey to Gibraltar.  First stop Mazagon Marina – 20 odd Euros and so on, every night until we reached Mainland Spain when in one marina we were charged 50 Euros and are still smarting at the eye-watering cost of that night in early April.

It soon became obvious to even to the non-accountants in our partnership that we would have to start anchoring more.  We had anchored once, in a huge bay off Estepona, and were only emboldened to do so because our new friends (Peter and Annelise on Skadi) were also anchoring there and they gave us the confidence to have a go.  We had a rolly night but it was very peaceful and a good start.

Once we arrived in Port de Soller, Mallorca and the spell of unsettled weather had cleared, Ian said that we simply had to man up!  We were breaking the budget and seriously curtailing our cruising careers.

Heart in my mouth, I released the stern lines attaching us to dry land and we pootled out into the crowed bay in Port de Soller.  We motored round a bit trying to pick our spot.   We dropped the hook and kept a sharp look out to judge if it was holding.  Once we were both happy that it seemed to have set Ian swam out to inspect the anchor.  Due to the swell creeping in we thought we ought to try to set a kedge (stern) anchor so that the nose of the boat was pointing into the waves the whole night.  It is all good practice I kept telling myself.  High hearts rates and stress levels persisted throughout this process and through most of the night. Every time Ian or I woke up we would pop our heads up into the cockpit, meer cat style, to check that we hadn’t moved at all.  Without a kedge anchor, it can be disconcerting to see that whilst you were asleep the wind has changed direction and you are now pointing at another part of the coast.

Despite the horror stories from other yachties about 40kn katabatic winds sweeping down in the night and making their boats drag their anchors, we have not been put off.  We persevered and have had no problems even in quite strong winds which all goes towards developing our confidence.

One of the most reassuring technical apparatus we have is the anchor watch which sets off an alarm should we move away from the spot where we dropped the anchor.  We use the one on the computer and sometimes double up with an App that Ian has on his phone, called Drag Queen.

On a few occasions the alarms have gone off and we both leap out of bed to go and see what’s happening.  It takes a while for the heart rate to settle down and to go back to the land of nod after that, I can tell you.

We have watched the parking techniques of many a yacht by now and have developed our own ways of doing things so that, touch wood, we have not yet dragged the anchor in any major way.

We drive into a bay GPS showing a clear map of the depths and our position.  We pick our general spot and Ian drives in and makes a slow and deliberate circle around the edges of where we think will be the best spot to drop the anchor.  In this way, we can be sure we have enough depth around the circumference of our swinging circle once the chain is out.  As soon as we have done the circling round, we head into the wind and the epicenter of the circle we have just drawn.

I have already untied the anchor and it is poised on the brink ready for speedy deployment.  Ian indicates with our agreed hand signal and I let the anchor drop as we coast to a stop.  Whilst the first 10m falls to the sea bed Ian goes down below to set the anchor watch.  As he appears back up in the cockpit I am ready to let more chain out, as we gently drift backwards on the wind.  Depending on the depth and the strength of the wind and other boats/obstacles around us, we let out what we think is the right amount of chain.  Usually this works out at four times the depth but, the more the merrier.  Ten times the depth is usual in strong winds.

Since we departed we have now spent 117 nights at anchor, alongside a town quay or sailing overnight, out of 200 nights away.  The strongest winds we have experienced at anchor have been about 30 knots.  The deepest water 11m.

AND, oddly, we have begun to really enjoy the anchoring experience.  No fenders to put out, no lines to prepare, no stress of parking in a tight spot in howling winds with lazy lines to snag on and sharp parts of other boats to prang!  The slight downside is that it’s a bit more effort and coordination to get to the shore.

On balance, the cooler air out in the bay and the extra privacy, not to mention the grandstand view of all that is going on around you, more than makes up for the inconvenience.

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Budgie Smuggler!

Plus, I ought to make a special mention about the male Italian (European?) fashion habit of wearing skimpy swimming trunks when out and about on the water.  In common parlance amongst us Northern folk, these small items of apparel are known as ‘budgie smugglers’; an inference to the total lack of imagination needed as to the lumpy contents of said trunks.    There is also penchant for fluorescent versions which are even more eye-catching than normal.  What is even more amazing for us prudish Yorkshire folk…these chaps think nothing of walking about on land dressed like this.  When I say dressed, that is hardly the right word for such scant clothing.  It does make for the most entertaining people watching and when we are with David Heane, he can be heard saying ‘BUDGIE AND SMUGGLER’ repeatedly in a loud stage whisper.  The delivery being a definitive and emphatic exclamation of his amazement at their bare-faced cheek!

Technical detail for my brother; just so he knows.

We have a 25kg Delta anchor on the bow attached to 50m of 10mm galvanised and calibrated chain (soon to be 100m) due to deeper anchorages in Greece.

The kedge anchor is a Danforth anchor at the stern with 10m of 10mm galvanised chain and 50m thick nylon warp.

The front anchor is deployed using a LOFRANS TIGRESS 1000 Watt anchor windlass with a remote control with wires or wireless remote control.

A poem about all the worrying noises (for Sarah) on the boat

CAla del bollo

What’s that noise?
It’s tins sliding in the lockers;
The mast creaking at its base;
The headsail sheet a-clanging;
Wind whistling, as we gain pace.
It’s the bilge pump pumping water
From the gap beneath the floor.
The sound of wood a-knocking;
Someone’s not pinned back a door.
It’s the loose lines that are clanking,
They just need pulling tight.
The turbine making ‘lectric
That we need to power our lights.
It’s the engines and the thrusters
And the noisy anchor chains
Of other boats around us
That are causing you dismay.
It’s the whistle of the kettle
Saying it’s time to make a brew.
It’s the chugging auto pilot
As it does the work for you.
It’s the fish nibbling at the hull,
The coral crackling below.
The large blue straps vibrating,
On the dinghy; don’t you know?
It’s the radio that has static
when there’s much chatter between
Boat owners and marinas,
And more sailors, yet unseen.
It’s water coming from t’engine
That’s cooling it as we drive.
It’s good to hear that splashing
‘coz the impeller’s alive.
It’s children shrieking on the beach
People having such a lark,
I wonder why they choose to be
Where we decide to park?
It’s the Man Over Board alarm,
It alerts me if you fall,
And the smoke alarm detects
Vapours that are abnormaal.
It’s the breathing of the dolphins
As they come along to play.
Your screams, clicks and shouts of glee
mean you scare them far away
It’s ‘Drag Queen’, the anchor alarm
making noise that’ll wake the dead.
It’s just as well; we’ll hear it!
When we are asleep in bed!

So safe to say, no worries,
noises are quite the norm
As we get used to Linea;
She’ll care for us in a storm!

Northern Sardinia

 

CAla del bollo
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’.

Capo Caccia
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.

Capo Caccia (2)
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.

Stintino2

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!

.

 

Social Mallorca

CADV23Upon leaving Palma Bay, we made good progress round the East coast of Mallorca due to reasonable winds and stayed for one night is IMG_3268[1]Cala S’Emrelda, the only boat in the small cala, overlooked by luxury bijoux hotels and houses with infinity pools.  It was lovely.

Next stop after a long day was Pollensa Bay.  A huge almost entirely enclosed shallow bay on the northern tip of the island.  We crept forwards carefully eyeing the depth gauge.  The winds were strong but after all our anchoring practice we were confident.  We found a spot about 200m off the elbow of the Real Club Nautico de Puerto Pollensa’s breakwater on the outer edge of all the boats moored or anchored nearer the shore. IMG_3269[1]

Fantastic!

Ian checked the anchor was well bedded in as very strong winds were forecast for the night.  All was good and we had a lot of chain out.

Eager to set out to meet the Chowns, we jumped in the dinghy but realised that we had not properly put the boat to bed, so headed back to finish the job properly.  Sail bag zipped up, mast cuff on, preventer pulled out tight to breast cleat. Just as we were about to leave for the second time we heard the most almighty racket of engines revving and saw , to our dismay that we were parked right in the midst of a series of buoys marking a race track for jet skis! IMG_3078[1]

Like hornets playing tag, they chased each other round and round the circuit, unsettling the already lumpy waters and creating an eddy around us.  We were imprisoned by wake. Making a beeline for the shore was impossible until they had finished their race.  A little while later, with Ian still countering about antisocial behaviour, we made it to the shore and set off for a welcome walk to stretch our legs and to meet up with the Chowns IMG_3285[1]after their day’s cycling.

 

They had bravely elected to cycle over to Sa Colabra and, more to the point, back up again!  They confessed by text that their legs were suffering and so it was decided that beer was needed.  It was so lovely to see them all, glowing from their exertions and clearly proud of their achievement!  Their route includes a continuous series of incredible hairpin bends and vertiginous views all the way back up from the Cala, and then they had to continue on to Pollensa.

We were just catching up with them when Karen spotted someone out of the corner of her eye!  It turned out to be Sarah King’s sister. IMG_3272[1]

Small world.

 

We enjoyed a fabulous evening of  chatting, barbecuing and hot-tubbing back at the Chown’s rented apartment CADV2and managed somehow to wobble back to the boat at about one in the morning before the winds had really started to get up.  All was well.

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Next day, the Chowns wanted to cycle out to the lighthouse on Formentor so we agreed to meet up on the boat during the afternoon for swimming and snacks.  The wind was blowing at a steady 25kn and it was really choppy, and chilly, in the bay so we just chatted and relaxed.  A lovely way to spend the afternoon.

We waved them off and wished Ben luck in his search for marketing work, Adam enjoyable studying for his architecture degree and Leah all the best for a fantastic summer with Camp America sailing in Maine before starting at Newcastle University!guest3

 

The next day the winds continued and we saw a number of plastic inflatables flipping past us across the bay to come to a rest on the opposite shore a couple of miles away. We watched with amazement as the seaplane taxied into the water and glided away to anchor in preparation for take-off.  A chunky bright yellow butternut squash of a machine which propelled itself up, seeming to defy gravity and circled gracefully around the bay completing a fly by directly over our mast.  (Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to the camera in time.)  Later on, we were treated to a view from the inside, as the speed boats took to the water for their chance to froth up the waters of Pollensa bay a far cry from this sedate form of transport.IMG_3279[1]IMG_3284[1]

Through some kind of psychic telepathy, we went ashore and I reserved a parking space right on the jetty.  As if by magic, Ian and Alice Daggett appeared and as soon as they were safely parked up, without further ado, we whisked them out to the Linea and had a fabulous lunch, complete with cava!  Then we made a trip out to the town of Pollensa and had a walk through the square and up to the church.  Beautiful.

After a smash and grab shop at Lidl we took all our provisions back to the boat and somehow managed to stuff it all away.  We rustled up some supper and retired for the night.

Our first sail took us down the East coast.  We anchored in a large bay called Cala de S’Agulla and decided to swim ashore for a beer.  In fact Ian and Alice swam and we took the kayak.  We had a beer as the sun set and it became chilly.  Back to the boat for a shower and drink before dinner. IMG_3295[1] IMG_3089[1]Lovely.

 

 

Next day, the wind was fresher and we were sailing so well on a reach.  CADV19Alice was at the helm and we were doing about 8kn, which isn’t bad for an old girl weighing over 13 tonnes, the boat, I mean, not Alice!  On this tack, we were delighted to reach our first milestone….ONE THOUSAND NAUTICAL MILES since leaving Portugal.CADV12 Uplifted by this achievement, on the spur of the moment, Alice enquired, ‘Why don’t we go to Menorca?’

 

We thought it was a fine idea and so we continued East.  We were aiming for Cala son Saura on the south coast.  We arrived late afternoon and anchored off the beach.  Part of a nature reserve and utterly undeveloped or altered.  The seaweed is left on the beach and their are no facilities.

Over our morning tea and coffee we were delighted to spot through the binoculars, under the shade of the trees, a couple of small cabins that seemed to have a pictograms of a woman and a man on the doors.  Feeling the need for a proper loo we headed off in the dinghy and walked along the desolate shore.  The beach was covered in brown balls of different sizes.  Strange!  They look like coir bristles bundled together in a matted tangle, like spherical dreadlocks.  Despite its unkempt, weed covered appearance it was very appealing.

 

Along a rough track towards a farm house behind the beach was a gate made from olive wood.  All wonky and curved.  Organic and rustic. I have commissioned one from Mr D, who can make anything!

 

We set off walking from the beach inland, aiming to find somewhere for coffee.  We walked about three miles and no cafe appeared.  It was a beautiful walk between fields and dry stone walls.  We saw these incredible wedding cake stone constructions and on further investigation discovered that they were hollow, barn type constructions for animals to shelter in.

We returned to the road.  Having brought no water or sun cream we decided it would be sensible to thumb a lift back to the beach. We were kindly offered a ride by a civil engineer who worked for Menorca Tourist Board.  She explained that she was here to check the newly built road and car park infrastructure that had recently been built to aid easy access to the National Park.

We moved round to Cala Trebelujer. Later in the afternoon and as soon as the tour boat had left we took the dinghy to the beach intending to lift it over the sand bar and thence to the small river in the Northern corner of the bay.  The pilot guide referred to being able to paddle up stream, through quiet marsh flat land, in order to spy turtles, dragon flies, birds and fish.  Alice and I were tempted by the prospect of our very own African Queen moment, so dressed to repel mozzies, and, sporting matching straw hats we headed ashore and jumped eagerly from the dinghy to pull it up over the sand bar.

Alice was in the lead and first to step into the fresh water of the stream.  The sand underfoot was almost like quick sand and taking a step too far, Alice disappeared up to her hips in the squidgy sand.  Luckily,she grabbed me and amidst much laughter, we were able to pull her out.  Weak with the giggles, we collapsed into the dinghy and in that few seconds seemed to have managed to scare off every wild creature that we had hoped to see.

We paddled up stream in a kind of unison, zigzagging between the reeds.  The wide mouth of the stream began to narrow and we squeezed through the vegetation until we could go no further.

It was so peaceful and tranquil.  We did see fish and dragonflies, but no turtles.  It was a pleasant way to spend an evening in the sunshine.

We set off back to Son Saura for the night and the following day had a speedy run all the way back to Pollensa.

We enjoyed refreshing showers in Pollensa and had a wander around deciding to eat out.  Returning from the restaurant Alice spotted the fish tank place where you can have your feet nibbled.  We tried it.  What a strange experience.  Kind of nippy and tickly at the same time.  But after only five minutes we had wonderfully soft feet.IMG_3093[1]

 

Next day, after breakfast Alice and Ian kindly drove us to Lidl so we could restock all the heavier supplies!  With a delicious lunch sorted, too, we went back to the boat.  All too soon, Alice and Ian had to head back to the airport via the Lluc Monastry and Soller and we were alone again.

A wonderful wine-filled and fun-filled week.

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.

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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

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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.