Tag Archives: Spain

Anchoring technique

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

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

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

binäre optionen 120 sekunden It soon became obvious to even to the non-accountants in our partnership that we would have to start anchoring more.  We had anchored once, in a huge bay off Estepona, and were only emboldened to do so because our new friends (Peter and Annelise on Skadi) were also anchoring there and they gave us the confidence to have a go.  We had a rolly night but it was very peaceful and a good start.

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

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

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

touch no touch binary options significato One of the most reassuring technical apparatus we have is the anchor watch which sets off an alarm should we move away from the spot where we dropped the anchor.  We use the one on the computer and sometimes double up with an App that Ian has on his phone, called Drag Queen.

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

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

http://ligaspanyol.net/?mikroskop=site-de-rencontre-mst-ist&e96=37 We drive into a bay GPS showing a clear map of the depths and our position.  We pick our general spot and Ian drives in and makes a slow and deliberate circle around the edges of where we think will be the best spot to drop the anchor.  In this way, we can be sure we have enough depth around the circumference of our swinging circle once the chain is out.  As soon as we have done the circling round, we head into the wind and the epicenter of the circle we have just drawn.

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

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

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

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

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Budgie Smuggler!

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

Technical detail for my brother; just so he knows.

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

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

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

Social Mallorca

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

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

Fantastic!

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

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

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

 

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

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

Small world.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A wonderful wine-filled and fun-filled week.

Go Fish!

IMG_3248[1]On the first evening in Cala Portals Vells I announced to Ian that I was going to do some fishing!  He smiled ruefully, remembering his frustrating childhood experiences of fruitless fishing trips, perhaps?

Well, I prepared my line, which is four little hooks and a wine bottle cork, for a float, a very rudimentary affair.  I happened to have made some popcorn the night before and thought that it might make good bait, especially since it floats quite well. Looking down I could see shoals of sea bream all around the boat.  I tested their hunger levels by lobbing in a few morsels of popcorn.  They were immediately snapped up.

No messing, this was the time to get my line in.  Ian walked away to do some kind of job.  I threw out my line with another handful of popcorn and immediately I felt a tug. Disbelieving my own luck I looked down to see a silvery wriggle below the boat.  I shrieked over to Ian who thought I was having him on as he had barely had time to walk the full length of the boat.  He rushed back in time to see me pull up my line with not one, but two sea bream on it!

We dispatched the fish, removed the hooks and dipped the line again.They were only small….we needed more.  This time I just caught one more unsuspecting fish.

 

Subsequent attempts revealed that the fish can learn.  They would not come near my popcorn bait until it had drifted far off leaving my constellation of popcorn hooks looking so obviously fake.

They did not bite.

So we made do with three.  I gutted them and de-scaled them and we had three little fishes on a little dishy, for us tea!IMG_3026[1]

Next day, buoyed by my success I had another go and caught one more fish.   Just enough for a small lunch. But after that the fish had wised-up.  No more were tempted by my popcorn, bread or tortilla wraps.

We finally managed to drag ourselves away from the turquoise waters and the comings and goings in Cala Portals Vells and, on the morning of our departure, a huge motor cruiser pulled into the bay and dropped anchor.

Staff were busy polishing the stainless steel, laying out fluffy towels on the sun beds and  frothing the bubbles in the top deck  jacuzzi.  Speculation mounted on our boat that this could be Bruce Springsteen since he played in Madrid the night before!  Apparently,  he had a similar kind of holiday in Mallorca three years ago between gigs.  So, we hung around a bit more and sticky beaked through our fabulous binoculars but just saw lots of white uniformed crew members.  A quick look on the internet revealed that the cost of chartering this cruiser for a week, low season, was $470,000 plus expenses which would add a further $70,000 on top!  Mere bagatelle!  We sat in the same cove, with the same sun rise for a lot less than that!

We set off towards Andratx (and thence to Palma)  and our surprise assignation with Ian’s parents who had rung the night before to tell us they had booked a last minute cruise to the Mediterranean.

We anchored in the bay and I went ashore in the dinghy to restock supplies as we were virtually out of wine, and less crucial supplies, like fresh fruit and vegetables!

It was sad to see the poor Frenchman’s boat moored up and collecting a light dusting of Saharan sand and salt.

The next day we retraced our route and dodged the race regatta boats that were skimming along around us, and then headed round to Paguera but on looking at the small Cala we decided it wouldn’t offer enough protection against the forecasted strong northerly and northeasterly winds so we continued round towards Santa Ponca which is a wide bay surrounded by tall, sheltering buildings.

We set both anchors just in case and had a very good night with no buffeting at all.  Ian had even figured out how to stop the wind turbine so I wouldn’t feel the vibrations from it rotating all night!

We spent three lovely days here.  Although the beach front and town are not so attractive as other places we’ve seen, we were able to replenish food stocks again and suss out a great anchorage.  All jet skiing is regulated here and must be done from a floating pontoon way out in the bay, so it is a really quiet place to be, even though it’s so huge.  Whilst sneaking in to the marina to do our laundry we were pleased to meet up with fellow Soller pontooners on Moondance of Cork.   We had a lovely catch up chat, and their dulcet tones reminded us once again of Fascinating Aida’s rendition of Cheap Flights!  If you’ve not heard it, please do Google it!

On the 25th we sailed round to Palma de Mallorca, to one of the many marinas there and predictably arrived in time to park up in the strongest wind we had had for days!

We were down to our last drops of water which we had eeked out.  So whilst Ian sorted out the recycling and the gas cylinder, I refilled the tanks.  We then set too scrubbing the decks, windows and covers so that the boat would look her best for Henry and June’s visit.

Meanwhile, we spent some time marvelling at the super yachts parked up around us.  Across the way, in the boat yard, an enormous yacht waIMG_3327[1]s having it’s mast stepped.  There are 850 berths in this marina, there are eight marinas in total here – that’s a lot of boats and a great deal of wealth is evident.IMG_3324[1]  This must be one of the nicest back drops for a marina though.  Here we are tucked under the Cathedral and beside the Museum of Contemporary Art and four incredible old windmill towers and sails.

Such a beautiful city.

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Mum and Dad visit us on Linea
We were up and at ’em early; my first proper shower in five days!  Bliss.  Then we walked all the way along the fantastic promenade, people watching the whole time, to meet up with Henry and June outside the Cruise Ship terminal building.  It was soooo lovely to see them and we all had little weep.  So bizarre to be unexpectedly together in this lovely city, chatting as we wandered back in the warm sunshine.  We gave H and J the full guided tour (which takes about two minutes, by virtue of the fact that everything is very compact) In fact, it probably took longer for us to shoehorn them both down the hatch and into the main saloon!  ‘From the sublime to the ridiculous’ springs to mind when I think about the difference in size of their ship (20 floors high) and our dinky little boat.

We wandered through the old part of town to eat in a lovely tapas bar called 13 Prozent which had been recommended by a friend of a friend who lives in Palma.  Delicious and reasonably priced lunch and then back to our respective ships.

By the time H and J had walked back to the Ventura, we had left our mooring and were motoring across the bay within the breakwaters.  We did a sail-by and happened to spot them as they were boarding the ship.  We were all waving like crazy things.  It was a very special moment!

We then made our way out to the bay to hang about whilst the ship departed.  We sailed along with her until she sped away at 16 knots towards Italy. We waved again but couldn’t make out anybody on the port side promenade deck as it was in the shade.

We continued to sail across the bay to our anchorage at El Arenels.  The evening sun warm on our backs.  As soon as the anchor was down we dived in to cool off and check it was well bedded in.

We watched the sun go down over then distance hill and gazed up at the stars.  It is simply heavenly tonight.  Very little wind, safely anchored, only one other yacht, and a view of the lights around the whole of Palma Bay!

We left the bay of Palma and sailed off out round the Cabo Blanc with the dark clouds brooding overhead.   It was akin to driving the wrong way down a one way street.  IMG_3065[1]We passed so many charter boats that were returning to Palma after their week away.

 

Keen to try out my tuna hooks I carefully removed my new line from my fishing tackle box and tied on my hook and lure.  Within minutes I had created the most confounded and inexplicable messIMG_3062[1] and tangle of line from what was a perfectly looped coil!  Confident that I could untangle it I had a go, but no, it became even more mangled and knotted.

I gave up, threw it away and reverted to using my mackerel line.

We trawled that hook and lure most of the day.  Not a bloody thing!!!

Since arriving in Mallorca

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Velella Velella
we have not seen any dolphins or tuna.  We have seen sea bream, jelly fish and Velella Velella, (the jelly fish with the sail on their backs!)

 

 

Tomorrow, we set off to Porto Pollenca to meet up with the Chown family.

 

Guest blog – An outsider’s perspective

guest2Having cycled 70 miles from Puerto de Pollenca, through the stunning mountains in the North of Mallorca, the 5 of us arrived at around 4pm to our favourite little beach bar where we’d arranged to meet up with Ian and Sarah.  On a high from our exertions, and dehydrated from the heat of the day, we eagerly gulped down our beers while we waited. There was no mistaking them when they arrived, but gone were the shackles of life in the Dales – I couldn’t now imagine Ian wearing a shirt and tie and conforming to the routine of a steady job.  They both looked somehow ‘nautical’ and at one with their new life bobbing around the Mediterranean in their boat Linea.  It was good to see them and to catch up with their latest exploits.  After another round of drinks (or two) spirits were high and we headed back to our apartment, just a hundred metres away, and retired to our private rooftop terrace, complete with barbecue and hot tub.  While Ben, Adam and Leah went off to shop for food for the evening, we chatted about home in the Dales and the stark contrast of their new life on the boat.  More drinks and a fabulous barbecue later, the kids disappeared to go and find a bar where they could watch the Champions League final, while we opted for a soak in the hot tub. The space of the villa struck Sarah in particular, who, having lived aboard for around 3 months already, was clearly aware of the tight spaces inherent in any yacht design.  The wind was strong and once we’d dried off, it was sadly time for Ian and Sarah to head back to Linea to keep an eye on her overnight as she pulled on her bow anchor, bobbing and yawing in the bay throughout the night.

The following day, with the wind still blowing strongly, we headed off for another bike ride – this time heading out towards Cap de Formentor, the lighthouse at the end of the most North Easterly peninsula of the island.  It wasn’t too long before we realised that the excesses of the previous day (both cycling and drinking!) were having an adverse effect on our ability to pedal, so we turned back, had breakfast and did a spot of sunbathing before walking to the marina where Ian had agreed to pick us up in the tender to have the afternoon aboard Linea.  The 15hp outboard pushed all 6 of us very nicely into a strong headwind out into the bay and towards Linea at anchor.  As we approached, there was Sarah, waving from the stern ready to take our painter (technical term for the line that attaches the tender to the yacht).  Having chartered many yachts around the Med (in Greece and Croatia) it soon became apparent that this was no ordinary charter yacht.  This was a solid yacht, built for sailing and for living aboard.  For a start, a slab-reefed Mainsail took the place of the now common in-mast furling sails (which perform very poorly upwind by comparison).  Once aboard and furnished with yet more beer (after all it was 3pm by this stage), Ian took us on a tour around the deck.  Everywhere I looked this yacht was different.  There was more mast rigging and a more substantial mast to start with.  On top of that, all the deck gear (pulleys, winches, cleats and jammers) looked like they’d come off a much larger yacht – all very substantial.  The Spinnaker pole and foresail pole were both solidly built with beautifully crafted stainless steel fairleads and cleats at bow, stern and mid-ships.  An array of other kit was festooned on the mast and spreaders including radar, VHF antenna, Foghorn and lights.  Mounted to the tender Davitts (used to lower and hoist the tender when not in use), a powerful guest3floodlight, directed at the mainsail area could be switched on to highlight the sail like a triangular beacon in case a passing craft should fail to notice the navigation lights during a night passage.  It would be impossible to miss Linea (unless of course the watch were asleep!)  A powerful wind generator and array of solar panels mounted at the stern meant that Ian and Sarah could run their fridge for free without running the engine – not important when you’re on a 1 week cruise, but expensive in diesel, and noisy, if you live aboard.  Beyond this, the boat has an incredible array of electronic ‘clutter’ – some of which works and some of which doesn’t, covering all manner of requirements – man overboard, more VHF antennas, wi-fi booster, etc. etc.

The deck is coated in a sandtex type product which affords excellent grip, but also takes the skin off your knees – and it’s surprising just how much time you spend on your knees on a yacht, especially as a Catholic!  The cockpit has plenty of space and is very comfortable for 2 – perhaps a little crowded for the 7 of us – as the spilled bowls of crisps and broken glass confirmed later.  It’s surprising just how far tiny pieces of toughened glass can scatter when crushed by Sarah’s bare foot!  Talking of bare feet, at my suggestion, Ian took a great shot of my cod-like lady white feet (which had, to be fair, been in cycling shoes all week) next to his very brown, weathered man feet.

Down below, the electronic wizardry continued with a myriad of kit, without which, one wonders how Magellan, Cook and Shackleton ever managed.  I’ve never seen a Bavaria like this one.  This was from the early Bavaria stables and the difference between it and the typical modern day budget versions (though they have improved of late) is staggering.  The quality of the joinery wouldn’t be found on any, but the most expensive of modern yachts.  Overall, a very nice 44ft yacht which is larger than one would imagine for its size.  There are cubby holes in abundance –  Ian has somehow even managed to get his bike on board!

On to the reality of life aboard … Having only ever once spent 3 weeks in one stint at sea, I can only imagine what this must be like.  Surely this must be the true test of any relationship – and in reality, an unfair test.  How many couples spend 24 hours per day, 7 days per week together, in the same 44ft long space – with nowhere to go and no decent doors to slam after a tiff?  On the positive side, there are no shelves to hang and no wallpapering to do.  In their place though, is an apparently, endless list of things to repair, replace, scrub and clean.  I don’t know how many of you have ever been around a yacht chandlers?  As an engineer, I happen to love them – but it won’t surprise you to know that you don’t get much change out of £100, regardless of what you need to buy!  In terms of the general routine of life aboard – whilst there are certain routines that need to be adhered to (weather checks, engine checks, etc.), there is no fixed plan, no final destination, no need to go anywhere in actual fact.  It must, therefore be quite pleasant to have a reason to go somewhere and to have to be there by a certain time.  In the week we had been in Mallorca, Ian and Sarah had had a visit from Ian’s father who just happened to be sailing into Palma on a cruise ship for a day or two.  This had given them a reason to sail from Soller where they had been based for several weeks, to Palma at the Western end of the Island. Following this, we had agreed to meet them at the end of the week at Puerto de Pollenca, diametrically opposite Palma at the other end of the Island.  So, after saying their goodbyes to Ian’s Dad, they had sailed via the Southern coast to see us.  The effort was very much appreciated – we had a lovely time.  Sarah is doing a great job with her blog and Ian in keeping them both safe at sea.  There are many followers looking out for details of their latest adventure.

Your friends are here in Wharfedale thinking about you both.  Keep plugging away.  It can’t be easy sometimes.

Nick

Nick Chown and family, on board May 2016

Fun and Games at Anchor

Cala Portals Vells, Mallorca

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The goings on!

When we wake up in the morning to bird song from the shore, we are almost entirely alone in this beautiful Cala; just a couple of other sail boats bobbing about.  We gaze up at the surrounding headlands that are tree covered and verdant and lush.  There is a lone worker rearranging sun beds and cushions on three newly swept little beaches nestled in between promentories.  Beach goers will arrive later by car or on foot.  The view out to sea across the Bay of Palma is clear and cloudless.  Bliss!

 

On the southern most headland are incredible Phoenitian cavesIMG_3239[1] which have been here for 2000 years and where there is an amazing shrine carved into the limestone rock. IMG_3244[1] There is a tomb tucked away in there too and cavernous rooms that go back far under the surface and are cool and damp.  The ground is sandy under foot and above there are only the tiniest of stalactites illustrating how little water makes its way through the rocks to the cave.

 

Huge square arches have been cut to let in as much light as possible and you can really imagine an ancient community of people living here, safe and invisible from marauding pirates.  Around them there would be access to water, sea food and some limited vegetation as well as the chance to do some hunting of wild boar, wild goats and other mammals that would have lived in the densely wooded areas around here.IMG_3030[1]

So, breakfast IMG_3243[1]can be enjoyed sitting on the deck in serenity.  The lapping of the waves, the wind wafting the branches of the trees, the sun twinkling on the water and the sea bream darting beneath the surface of the azure sea.

 

Then the fun begins.  Being only 8 miles or so from Palma de Mallorca the day boats and tourist glass bottomed boats start to arrive.

 

One or two sailing yachts make their way in.  Everyone wants to be as near to the beach as possible, they want to anchor over sand, where the water appears most turquoise in order to enjoy the day.

Gradually, this small Cala fills up.  IMG_3028[1]Mostly large, stealth-style, motor boats with snarling mouths and jagged shark-like anchor teeth.  Their smooth lines, glistening metalwork and gleaming gel coats glide in; shining and beaming out to the world around,

‘Look at me, haven’t I done well?’

They anchor in pole position with the aplomb and supreme confidence only those who exude success can do.  On board, heads begin to emerge like meerkats, curious to see where they have arrived.

We give them names!  The East End Bank Robbers!  The Boy Band, The Frenchies, The Oiks on the Black Boat, The Britannia Jet Submarine Day Trippers (with a slide on the side ), The Hamburgers , The Danish Bacons, The Five, No Six, Times a Day (lots of anchor practice) , The German Industrialist, The Gin and Tonics, The Sales Reps Team-Building Outing, The Boat That Rocked, The Nosy Missing an ‘I’, The German Space Invaders….

The stern hatches open and jet skis scoot out and roar off with whooping youngsters aboard, paid crew dart about like anchovies, pumping up paddle boards and lowering dinghies.

Wine, beer and food appears on sun decks to the waiting owners and friends.

There are shrieks of laughter and lots of guffawing.  Then a period of quiet whilst people digest their lunch and drink more hospitality wine. IMG_3245[1]  Suddenly, an urge for activity strikes, and  jet skis tear about, ribs and dinghies chase their wake and girls scream with delight.  Men paddle about sedately, chatting companionably  to each other, as they glide along.

 

Music starts to beat out a rhythmic tattoo and the high hat and bass compete for attentionIMG_3248[1].   People are heating up in the sunshine and the leaping, diving and jumping begins.  Increasingly daring jumps of bravado are made from higher and higher parts of the boats.  Some of those on The Sales Reps Team-Building Outing leap in naked to shouts of abuse.

Meanwhile, there is much to entertain Ian, as if naked people wasn’t enough!, as he watches and notes dropping and weighing anchor techniques.

The wind constantly shifts in the bay and so we all swing round, the noses of the boats sniff out the wind direction.  This leads to some hasty fendering as crews realise that boats are too close together and they will need to limit damage when they collide.  Luckily, most of these vessels have bow thrusters so they can avert any imminent catastrophe.  We work on the theory that we were here first so others need to watch out for us, especially as we are the least manoeuvrable.

As the sun dips down over the headland, the jet skis disappear back into the lockers and lazerettes the size of a small child’s bedroom.  Pink bodies head for the shade and more refreshment.  The sun loungers and mattresses on the beach are stacked up like the bed in The Princess and the Pea.  The shouts and shrieks gradually fade away.  Boats weigh their anchors and creep away in to the dusk.

Peace at last.

Oh, wait a moment, The Nosy but Missing an ‘I’  boat decides to stay longer and spends the next two hours tearing around the bay creating unnecessary waves on their rib.  The rest of us tut and raise our eyebrows and finally cheer a silent cheer as the drunken lot head off back to Palma.