Tag Archives: Liveaboards

Ibiza and mainland Spain again four an a half years on! Late September 2020

We had a great crossing to Ibiza.   We miss having our own personal crew  already.  Not to mention The Travel Tapes  videographer.    You will have to make do with just my photographs now. 

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.

The stars were amazing and the sun rise well worth the early start but, oh, it was a rolly night.

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. 

The marina and harbour in Denia is huge but pleasant.  We had a lovely dinner out and gorgeous showers in our own individual bathroom!

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.

We had a great catch up lunch with the two Gees – such fun and a fantastic meal at La Siesta.

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.”

We had 10kts just b’aft of the beam and all the sails up.  We were fairly level the whole way and still made excellent speeds of between 6 and 6.5kts all the way.  Lovely.

We booked into the Real Club de Regatas in Alicante for two nights so we could go and see the Volvo Ocean Race Exhinbition and have a good explore round town.

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!

 

Magical Mallorca, Mid September 2020

 

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.

Josh was particularly happy as he used to spend his summer holidays here as a child and teenager and so he was keen to see some old haunts and meet up with people he knew.

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!

Soller.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we met up with the yachtie friends in Soller town.  We walked to Fornalutx and back to Soller taking a few scenic beers en route. 

We had a fantastic meal (good value) at Bar Molino and then we went to the cooperative to stock up on wine supplies. 

 

We bought four litres of their best rose at 2 Euros a litre!  They sell vegetables, fruit, olive oil and other produce made and grown by locals in Soller and district.  Such a great idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Marvellous Minorca. September 2020

After our lovely few days shore side in France we headed west down the coast and had some good sailing.  We reached the long spit of land of Hyeres which is a huge sandy anchorage with superb protection.  Just as well really as the wind was forecast to blow at 30kts of so for a good few days bringing with it some thunderstorms. 

Tucked in behind the flat-ish headland of Hyeres Plage we were well sheltered.  We just had to sit it out.  We had to re-anchor a few times because initially we were on weed, then too close to other boats, then too near to a sunken vessel!  (of which we subsequently found three others!  See Erin’s You Tube Channel; The Travel Tapes for dramatic footage of our time here.  

We spent a few lazy days here, stocked up on a few veggies and bread in the cute village of Hyeres Plage ashore and prepared for our crossing to Minorca.

We had a fast but lumpy and uncomfortable 18 hours sail for the crossing from France.   Then the wind died and we motored over flat seas. Despite it being perfect dolphin spotting weather, we saw nada!

We arrived early in the morning, slightly ahead of schedule to the mouth of Fornells Bay so we hove to until first light and then made our way into the anchorage.

After a rest we wandered (complete with compulsory face masks) into the charming village ashore and treated ourselves to a fabulous lunch.

We had some stormy and windy weather to sit out in this incredibly well protected bay and they duly came and went with some impressive light shows all around us but nothing too close.  Once the weather settled we planned to hire a car and explore the rest of Minorca.  We managed to see Mahon, Binabeca Nou, The south coast, El Toro mountain and Cuitadella.  We loved it. (See Erin’s video on The Travel Tapes on You Tube for some amazing footage of our day.)

We were particularly impressed to see the Minorca Cricket Club grounds.  (MCC) A beautiful patch of well-kept grass and pretty club house.

 

After a massive re-stock shop at the Eroski Supermarket we headed back to Linea just before dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Legs

Our route from Taormina to Gaeta

Since the failure of the engine, it was with some trepidation that we set off to head north through the Messina straits. This was to be our first leg of seven as we headed to our winter berth 250nm north.

We timed our departure so that we would have the least tide/current against us. We were also lucky with the wind, although some of the time the wind was on the nose.

Last view of Etna.

In order to ensure that the gunky bits from the bottom of the tank had less chance of being sucked into the fuel pipe and delivered to the engine we wanted to keep the fuel tank full. The nearest fuel dock being just north of Messina, at a place called Paradiso.

As we approached the traffic separation scheme in the straits, I had to radio the marine traffic controllers in Messina to explain our intentions. The officer instructed us, in no uncertain terms, that we MUST make an appointment to go to the fuel bunker and MUST NOT hang about in the area, and MUST NOT cause any obstruction to passing shipping.

Next challenge: Phone the fuel dock to make an appointment. In my faltering Italian, I spoke to the very understanding Mario Rainieri at the fuel dock and managed to book in for 1500h.

However, we arrived earlier than expected. We hovered off the long, sharp, pointy, metallic, ugly, fuel pontoon, unsure about where exactly to moor up, or indeed if we even could. We knew that we couldn’t hang about as the Coast Guard would be after us!

I phoned Mario again, slightly panicky and I explained that we were early. He said he was at his house having lunch and would be there at 1500h as agreed and that we should tie up to the pontoon.

We approached the south side of the south pontoon and realised as we neared the structure that, a) it was high; and, b) it had railings all round.

The long and short of it is that we managed to tie up, bruised thighs resulting, and awaited Mario’s return from lunch.

Soon, Mario arrived and was very friendly. He chatted away and forced me to speak Italian. He gently corrected my grammar and pronunciation and was at pains to explain his opening hours, summer and winter.

(June 30 – August 30th open all day. Outside of those dates it is imperative to make an appointment and remember that he will be at home for his long lunch!)

We wanted to go to Scilla on the mainland. This involved crossing the traffic separation scheme. Again, we had to radio the traffic controllers. They told us when it was safe to cross and off we went. We marveled at the weird eddies and whirlpools shimmying and dancing around us. The water was practically boiling. We saw a dolphin swimming in the turmoil and wondered how they manage. We laughed giddily as we surfed one of the currents at an incredible 8kn!

Suddenly we heard ‘Linea’ being called on the radio.

‘There is a ship approaching from the south! Would we like to pass to its bow or stern?’

‘Ummm,’ I pondered, thinking quickly, ‘To its stern I think would be better!’ We altered our course and all was good.

We spent the night on a mooring buoy in Scilla, rocking and rolling behind the breakwater of the small harbour. The town is supposed to be worth seeing but, sadly, since it was raining heavily we decided to stay on board.

Next morning, we set off for Tropea. The swell from last night continued all day today and so when we arrived at the anchorage we knew that it would be a very bumpy night on a lee shore. We elected to continue on to the marina Stella del Sud in Vibo a further 10nm east.

We had a pleasant night here with free showers, welcoming people (the marineros even come on board and tie off your lazy lines for you – LUXURY!) and a bar.

The next day was a biggish hop north to Cetrara. We anchored off and Ian and David went ashore to the fuel dock to replenish the jerry cans. We had a super calm night as the swell had mostly dissipated by then.

The following day saw us head further north to Palinuro. A beautiful anchorage off a National Park. We went ashore and found a beach bar and discovered that it was only a short walk from here to the village from where David could find his way to Naples airport and his flight home.

From Palinuro we planned to do the remaining miles in one hit to get to Gaeta before a few days of thundery and rainy weather were due. However, the swell that had eluded us yesterday evening tucked in as we were in the Bay of Good Sleeps, reared its ugly head and the wind decided to do the opposite of what was forecast. We tacked endlessly across our desired course and made virtually no progress.

Plan B…We headed to an anchorage off Ogliastra and picked up a mooring buoy.

Next day, we headed for Capri where we could anchor off the Grande Marina. We intended to anchor, rest, eat and then set off to Gaeta at 0000h.

However, best laid plans and all that. We anchored in 15m of water. Soon, an Australian yacht arrived and anchored nearby. We decided to go ashore and have a quick look at Capri, since we were here. We set off in the dinghy and were invited onto Ari and before you could say, ‘G’day, mate.’ we were drinking a glass or two of vino with them.

We dodged the numerous ferries charging into Capri and found somewhere to dock the dinghy. The outside pontoon No 1 was bouncing and wobbling like crazy with all the wash from the ferries. One yacht that was moored there decided to leave since it was so uncomfortable.

We walked into town and were shocked at how many tourists there were even in late September. We quickly bought a few supplies and left. I think it is a place to visit in the very low season only.

Back on board we had a quick supper and then grabbed forty winks before upping the anchor at 0930h and setting off into the night.

We were in a race with the inbound bad weather.

We negotiated ferries and fishing vessels, small Spanish sailing boats and the narrow straits of Ischia with its buoys of special purpose and finally we were heading across the Bay of Gaeta. Nearly there now, but would we beat the rain and storms?

We both had a couple of hours sleep in the cockpit and I woke Ian when we were 10nm off. At the speed we were making we would arrive in the dark. We cut our speed to 3kn and doodled along killing time.

Eventually the dawn broke and sunlight peeked over the mountains to our east. We had plenty of time to ready ourselves with fenders, lines and lowering the dinghy.

The marineros came out to greet us as we rounded the bow of the USS Mount Whitney that is stationed in Gaeta Military base.

USS Mount Whitney – Communications flagship vessel for the sixth fleet.

We were guided calmly to our berth with no further incidents!

PHEW! and BREATHE! After a shower, snack, and sleep we needed to stretch our legs. Then, feeling peckish, stopped for some comfort food. No sooner had we sat down than the predicted wind, rain, thunder and lightning came in just as predicted.

And then the sun came out!

Next time, read about our discoveries in our new place of abode.

Time in Split by bus

Ian and I decided to take a quick day trip to Split from our anchorage in Vinisce. This involved a couple a buses from Vinisce to Trogir and then from there to Split. All very easy to figure out. We arrived in Split around midday and headed to the old town. Here we wandered round taking in the sights.

It was of course very warm and we soon ran out of the impetus to wander round much more. We headed for a fabulous health food bistro Step by Step and ordered some yummy salads and ravioli.

Having re-fuelled we felt better and were able to summon up the energy to walk back to the bus station. The bus times worked perfectly for us and although we arrived back after dark there were no problems getting back to the boat.

A good day out.