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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!

Mallorca

After a wonderful evening catching up with news from T’ Shire the following day,  Friday 29th April we caught a bus to Palma and met up with Ian and Alice IMG_3139[1]after a brief interlude at a beer and food festival near the Cathedral. 
We set off walking around the historic part of town.  IMG_2960[1]Of course, we hadn’t gone far before we were very thirsty and diverted to Can Toni a little tapaseria near Santa Cruz church.

Café Bar Can Toni
Café Bar Can Toni

A lovely setting.  Food soon arrived….pimiento de padron, boquerones, salami, cheese.  All delicious.   We took a stroll round the contemporary art gallery and enjoyed views of the city and then wandered back towards the fabulous cathedral building.

On our way back, Amelia called to see what we wanted to do.  We agreed to meet them in Gallaleo.  However, on reflection it seemed that it might be impossible for us all to squeeze into the Fiat 500, so we caught the bus back to Andratx and collapsed into us beds!

The next day was fair weather so we decided to set sail and head for Soller since that was where the rest of the gang were staying.  We departed quietly but didn’t see the Frenchman;  his hatch was open so he was up and about probably.

We had to motor most of the way since it was so calm.  Along the way we spotted what looked like blobs of plastic in the water.  There were hundreds of them.  IMG_2968[1]Intrigued to find out what they were, I attached the plastic sieve to a string and managed to scoop one of these things up.  On closer inspection it appears to be some kind of jelly fish with a ‘sail’ to propel them along the surface of the water.  The first one was pink and the second one was a bright blue.

We arrived nice and early and parked up on the completely empty PortsIB temporary summer season transit pontoon which had just been installed.  As is the sailing way a couple of gentlemen from the boat next door hopped ashore to take our lines, there was a vague hint of recognition on Ian’s face and it eventually clicked they were crew from the 2011/12 Clipper race, Stuart Miller and John who had just arrive on Chibas. In fact Ian spent several days in NZ with Stuart when they were both injured en-route to NZ. Mooring was a bit of a challenge as there were no cleats on the north side of the pontoon at all!  We, nevertheless, attached ourselves to the pontoon using cleats on the far side.  Most definitely NOT the RYA way,  but we were secure.

Next day brought calmer weather and more cleats; divers were busy reconnecting new lazy lines.  It was fascinating to watch all the goings on.

Later that day, we were so pleased to see the gang from T’ Shire walking towards the pontoon.  They arrived and we rustled up drinks and then pasta to keep them going.  Amelia and Charlie had to disappear off for an appointment.  We all met up later on the prom and plumped for tapas (with pimientos de padron, calamari, boquerones, potato croquettes, patatas bravas, chipirones, amongst others) at the Cava/Albatros restaurant overlooking the marina.  We had a lovely evening with live music.  Everything was by Neil Young or Jefferson Starship!  Such fun!

Back on Linea, the wind picked up and we were subject to a huge swell coming into the  bay and ricocheting off the steep walls on the SW side of the bay.  We bounced most of the night.  The temporary pontoon was bucking like a bronco and giving a good impression of the Loch Ness Monster.  We were astonished to see people negotiating the bridge after dark, which was cordoned off by orange straps.  They  were walking, or rather staggering, down the pontoon just for a look at the view!  One man brought his very young children, and his beers.  I hovered near the transom to warn him about the trip hazards of our lines across the pontoon.  Before they had walked very far the little boy quickly and sensibly back-tracked so that his Dad had to follow him.    Thank goodness!

In the middle of the night we were all woken by a couple of big thumps as we connected with the pontoon.  The ‘fat boy’ fender had popped out.  We were all out on deck really quickly and David and Ian pulled in the lazy line as tight as possible as I released the stern lines.  I tied a bit of line between to other long fenders so that they couldn’t pop out around the sides of the transom and we fixed two breast lines to the pontoon.

Back to bed but a fitful sleep because of the squeaking of the lines.

The next day, we cadged a lift with Charlie and Amelia over to Sa Calobra and Cala Tuent.  IMG_3142[1]We drove over the long and winding roads that snake down to Sa Calobra and it was stunning.  The hills are incredibly high and full of hair pin bends.  It is amazing to think that cyclists enjoy slogging up these hills.  We all felt quite queasy with vertigo on the way down because you can see so far below you.  Finally, we arrived at sea level

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Cala Tuent

and had coffee (and a pint of fresh orange juice for Angela!)  in one of the many restaurants in the small bay.  The waves were pretty big as they curled round in to the small Cala.  IMG_3144Next we drove up and over to the next bay along and took a beautiful walk across the  beach with a collection of the most ancient and gnarled olive trees in a plantation just to our left. We slid through the sand, meeting a track up to a restaurant.

We  had a pleasant lunch on the terrace under the trees overlooking the spectacular bay.  As we set off back we noticed that we were very low on petrol.  By chance, at the junction at the top of the hill we spotted a sign promising fuel in 9 km.  We took the turn (in the wrong direction and away from Alice and Ian in our support vehicle,  and wove our way along the curving road beginning to believe we had been duped.  Suddenly, up ahead, amongst a herd of cyclists at least four deep, we saw the petrol station and thanked our lucky stars. Now that we had re-fuelled, we decided to take a look at Lluc Monastery which was close by.  It is set in the most gorgeous spot.  A large piece of flat land in an otherwise mountainous and precipitous area.  Lovely.

Next morning, had agreed to meet Alice and Ian in Soller but we were a little slow off the mark and so it was mid morning by the time we walked along the tram tracks up to Soller town.

It was a lovely walk and when we arrived we found the town square and settled down for a coffee. Angela and I decided to do a little bit of window shopping.  We walked towards the railway station and visited the Pablo Picasso ceramics exhibition and the Joan Miro painting exhibition, we had a look at the railway station where a miniature train departs regularly for Palma and stopped off at the Hotel de Guia (where Ian and I and the girls had stayed ten years previously) and ah-ed over the beautiful tram that trundles back to Port de Soller.

Angela and I went for a wander and some shopping and then headed back to meet the boys after our walk round town…yes they were drinking beer already!

We took the tram back down to the Port…because you really have to travel that way.  It is the most appealing experience.  The tram hoots affectionately all the way back down to the port.  Even though it is a throw back to the beginning of the 20th century it seems to  fit in to its more modern surroundings.

We had a fantastic meal out that evening in Port de Soller and the next day it was an early departure for Angela and David.  Hoping to see them soon.  The rest of the day we  all just chilled on the boat because by then we were sure that we had a further problem with the sail drive.  The oil level was rising, which could only mean one thing.  Sea water was getting in! Not a good time to be going out for a sail.  So after a relaxing afternoon of Scrabble, sun and conversation, we bid a fond farewell to the gang from the T’ Shire and are already looking forward to seeing them again in June.

The next day, the engineer came to look at the engine and after some consultation and discussion in Spanglish, it was decided that the boat would have to come out of the water again!

On the hard again
On the hard again. The Hokey Cokey boat!

Fortunately, there is a crane lift in Soller so we motored round there and Ian negotiated a fantastic turn in a very tight spot and Pieri and his Dad carefully edged the cross frame in above the mast and between the spreaders with millimeter precision.

The boat came up and out with surprising ease.

The boat yard is right in the midst of the promenade and restaurant area so, from our vantage point high above ground level, we had a great spot for people watching.

We were back in the water by the afternoon and Tommy, the engineer, spent a further two days replacing the head gasket and the morse cable and tweaking this and that until he was happy. Phew!

We do hope that this is the end of any more problems as we are now thinking of changing the boat’s name to Hokey Cokey because we have been in, out, in, out so often.

After the extra expense of this repair work we were delighted to discover that we had been wrongly charged for water and electricity during our stay.  Hurray, we were due a refund!

More settled weather meant that we were going to anchor in the bay.  After the third attempt to bed in the anchor we were happy that it was secure.  Ian went swimming and diving down to check!  We put out an anchor at the back to keep us facing the swell and we had three of the most comfortable nights yet; albeit with every kind of alarm on.  Wind alarm, depth alarm, anchor alarm, Drag Queen!

We wanted to be out in the bay so that we would be in pole position for the Moors vs Christians Festival and battle re-enactment that was to take place on Monday the 9th May.  We had already met up with a couple called Nicky and Mark on Mezzo Magic who had kindly invited us to join them for a bit of a party on the Monday on their boat.

At 1350 we went ashore to meet up with Amanda Spencer (yeah!) IMG_3180who was here to stay with friends living in Soller and another couple who live aboard their boat in the Port deIMG_3178 Soller.   We were amazed to discover that Amanda had been at school with Mark!  Small world.

We watched the re-enactment from their boat and it was quite baffling.  The Pirate (Moors) IMG_2996[1]attacked from the sea.  The Peasants IMG_3187(Christians) tried to repel them.  There was a lot of noise from firecrackers and fireworks and IMG_3186smoke bombs and flares.  But rIMG_3183eally it was all just a great excuse for everyone to get drunk!

We retired to Linea at a suitable juncture and left the partying on Mezzo Magic.   Amanda and friends made it up to the town square and watched the procession into the church and the hanging of the Moor king, apparently it was very moving.

We spent a couple of lovely evenings with Amanda and her friends and during the day we were off exploring the island on bikes.  Ian using his trusty bike from home and me hiring an electric bike from Tramuntana Tours  We really enjoyed the cycling. IMG_3169

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Fornalutx
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Fornalutx
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Fornalutx
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Fornalutx big cactus, small doorway
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Lemons

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I was especially pleased with my electric boosting bike. Just using gears 1 and 2, ‘eco’ and ‘tour’ boosts, made all the difference between an enjoyable IMG_3171experience or an absolute bloody trial!  I confess to switching to ‘Turbo’ (gear 4) on one occasion to zoom past Ian on a steep incline, at about 30kph!  I still had to push hard to get up those hills but I also had time to take in the views, marvel at the terraces and the dry stone retaining walls, which are a work of art, notice the wide variety of flowers, shrubs and trees, spot wild goats, fighting billy goats gruff, rabbits and cats and to breathe in the scent of Mallorca in early summer.  It is a heady and divine combination of orange blossom, broom, roses and pine trees.  Gorgeous!

Post Script:

On our return to Soller in the late afternoon we were pleased to receive a visit from Peter and Annelies who had driven over from Andratx where they had moored Skadi.  After we had caught up on our travel news they told us sad news. The Frenchman we had parked next door to in Andratx had been found dead on his boat by Spanish police after his family reported that he wasn’t answering his phone.  He was only 48 years old and had sailed solo from France. Angela and I had a nice chat with him, as we moored up, about his home region of Brittany. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.