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 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!
We had a lovely few days pottering around, catching up with our new sailing friends and chilling with the Vyvs.
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.
We collected the rental car and set off to do the shopping before heading to the airport to collect Keira. 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.
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!
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 a 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.
What a stunning place. We were able to walk up to the castle 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!
We 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!
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.
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.