Tag Archives: sailing

Mallorca to Sardinia

Goodbye Mallorca!

Crossing DH & CP

We landed back in Mallorca and jumped in a cab to take us back to Soller where we met up with a wobbly pair of sailors (David Heane and Chris Plumb) who were to be joining us for the leg of our journey across to Sardinia.

We had ear-marked Monday as the day to prep and wanted to set off on the first sector to Pollensa where we were intending to do the provisioning.  However, the mechanics had not completed the work we had hoped would be done whilst we were away and, in fact, we had to wait for a spare part to be delivered.  When it arrived at 1500 the mechanics discovered that it was the wrong one!  Ah well,  they  made a temporary fix which will do fine for now.

We anchored in the bay and were treated to a fabulous last sunset.
Crossing 6 Leaving Soller last sunsetLater, we were able to watch the Iceland England game.  Upsetting to be out of Europe twice in one week!

The next day, we prepared to set off to Pollensa and had a good days sailing although a good deal of tacking was involved.  We motored into the bay, anchored and were doing a smash and grab raid on the Euroski supermarket by 2030hrs, prior to heading to Ambrosia for a slap up paella.

We slept well, stowed all the provisions and set sail for Sardinia around 0900hrs.  Unfortunately, our delay leaving Mallorca meant that we had to miss out a stop in Ciutdadella, Minorca, which we had been looking forward to.

We decided to all be up for the day time watch and after supper at 1900hrs, the first pair would take the first watch from 2000hrs til 0000hrs.  Chris and I were awoken with a cuppa and as I popped up through the hatch at 0000hrs.  I was amazed to see such an incredible tent of stars above us.  The sky was clear and the Milky Way above was like a dark carpet dusted with an arc of icing sugar.

We motored for a while and as the wind picked up decided to put out the head sail.  The wind was fairly light and coming from the East, but close hauled we made decent progress and it was mesmerising to sail along in the absolute darkness gazing at the stars and watching the lights of Minorca recede behind us.  Crossing 2We silently parted the waves as we sailed under a huge and intricate pergola of stars, the phosphorescence gleaming in our wake.  Not another soul was out on the water near us.  Suddenly, from nowhere – a sailing boat appeared right on our nose!  She had her full sails lit up from the deck, presumably so we would see her.  She was approaching so fast that I altered course to be sure to pass her by.  I decided to call Ian.  He came up on deck still bleary-eyed with sleep and looked hard at the oncoming vessel.  Peering through the binoculars minutes earlier I had been convinced that I could see rigging.  Ian took a careful look.  ‘Ah!’  He announced, visibly relaxing.  ‘It’s the quarter moon coming up over the horizon!’  and off he went back to bed!

We handed over to Ian and David at 0400hrs after what seemed like a very brief time.

We managed to sleep in between watches but at 0700 I woke to hear Ian fiddling in the engine housing.  On further investigation, it turned out that the engine was not drawing in any water to cool it down.  impellor probsThis meant that there was an issue with the impeller.  Ian removed the impeller face plate, and wriggled the impeller out.  Immediately he noticed that some of the blades of the impeller had disintegrated.

 

We had a spare one in stock and so Ian changed it and refitted the gasket and face plate ( under my supervision). Thank goodness for our diesel engine course.

Luckily, the water started circulating again and we breathed a collective sigh of relief being 100 nautical miles from any land! Throughout this time, we had managed to continue on our course, sailing along nicely.

We had a slap up breakfast of ‘kitchen sink omelette’ and strong coffee and enjoyed the rest of the day sailing out further and further from land.

The following night we made good progress and awoke to an incredible sunrise. Crossing 8 There was another sail boat off to our port side (Red Rooster) and we had a radio chat with them to check what they knew about the weather forecast.  They too were heading for Alghero, albeit, much faster than us.  We anticipated arriving at 1200hrs.
We had a calm and safe crossing in decent winds and slight seas and were very pleased that it had not proved to be any more challenging than that.  Lovely!

DH IM & SH Sardinia 2016

The crossing took 50 hours, 22 of which we motored.  The top speed was 8 knots and top wind speed was 12 knots.  Total distance 250 nautical miles

Job done!  Many thanks to David New Courtesy Flag Italyand Chris rossing 13 CPfor their help, energy and company.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

 

On arriving in Alghero, We anchored in the bay in 3m of water over sand and weed, luckily finding a sandy spot to lay the anchor  and narrowly missing a bunch of giant clams tucked in amongst the weed on the sea bed.  The wind was mild and the bay flat calm.   We put the boat to bed and set off into the town to find somewhere to watch Wales in the Euros.  As we approached the Town Quay we spotted Comet neatly parked alongside.  After brief chats about Andy and Denise’s crossing from Minorca.  We wandered off into the beautiful old part of town and found a pizzeria in which to watch the football. David, with his Welch connections, was suitably delighted with their win.

After a leisurely start the next day, we bid farewell to David and Chris and started to prepare the boat for our next set of visitors.

Guest Blog – Degree finished , time to relax.

K12After a not so pleasant-Magaluf holidaymakers-infested-plane journey from Oxford to Birmingham to Palma, Keira and Ian were waiting at the airport with open arms on a warm Saturday evening. We drove to the marina (Club Nautico Palma) where Sarah was waiting on the boat and preparing a cup of tea for my arrival. This was my first experience staying on a boat so it was a great learning curve.

The next day we made use of the facilities at the marina where Keira and I spent an hour in the gym catching up about our holidays in both Cornwall and Spain. Later that afternoon we received our results from university, we were both very pleased and we all celebrated on the deck with the sun setting in the background with Ian and Sarah’s hidden away cava!

Whilst we were in Cabrera, we made the most of the beautiful National Park by exploring the island by foot, walking up to the lighthouse and the castle that dates back to the 14th century. We also did lots of snorkelling and saw a huge clam and many sea breams. Every evening we were spoilt by Sarah’s delicious meals that she barely let us help prepare- what a treat! It was in Mondrago where I had my first Paella of the holiday, followed by a lemon cheesecake looking out onto a deserted beach at dusk- beautiful! After dinner we got on the dinghy back to Linea where we spent one more night before sailing to Calla de s’agulla. After doing our routine yoga on the top deck, we enjoyed our daily muesli and yoghurt for breakfast in the sun before kayaking to the beach, AKA German version of Magaluf! After people watching, sunbathing, bat and ball competitions and swimming, we kayaked back to the boat to have some aperitifs before our night out in the town.

Ian kindly took us ashore and Keira and I got lost in the streets that were aligned with bars and clubs that all looked the same. We had a lot of cocktails and a lot of fun, and being the only British in the whole resort we suspected! Ian collected us at 5am equipped with jumpers for our ride back to Linea, thank you Ian!! The next day, we woke up hungover and unaware that we had travelled 25 miles to Pollenca! The best thing about meal times on a boat is that there is a possibility you can have fresh fish caught from the sea that very day… Sarah caught a sea bream, so we had ceviche with salad for our dinner- delicious! Sunday was my last day before returning to the UK so Keira and I spent the day on the beach, determined to beat our score with bat and ball -we got to 200 I think! Monday morning we went ashore and said our goodbyes leaving behind blue skies and sun, I took a bus to Palma airport and returned to the UK to rain and grey clouds, I had the blues to say the least!

What a fantastic holiday, filled with laughter, fun and games, and wonderful company. Thank you Ian and Sarah for such a brilliant and memorable experience, I will be back soon!

Lucy Anne Hunt

More visitors

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.

K18 K19 K20 K21

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!

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.

CADV3

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.