Back in May we had been to Roger and Jo’s wedding in Malaga. The plan had been to take the boat and our wedding present was to have been a day out. But we didn’t manage to get there with the boat and on reflection a Monday morning sail after a weekend wedding reception wasn’t going to work; so we left them with an IOU.
They managed to get a few days off to coincide with our stopover here and had three days with us rather than just the one. We took them for a sail along the coast, anchored for lunch and spent the afternoon swimming, sipping Cava and sunbathing. The wind was typically light and fluky but we had the sails up and were in no hurry so drifting with style was the order of the day. We were going so slowly I even got the fishing rod out again and lo and behold we caught a fish! No idea what it was, it has been suggested it was a Dorada and I think we need and ‘I Spy Book of Fish’.
We went out for a couple of meals in the evenings. The first was a real disappointment but the second, to the Cerveceria Catalana was awesome. We decided to walk back about 3 km each night to walk off our dinner. After the first night we had to eat some snacks on our return, after the Cerveceria we managed to stagger back in the final stages of labour with our food babies!
Roger and Jo took themselves sightseeing on the Tuesday and on Wednesday Rog suggested taking a Segway tour; none of us had ever ridden one before so we decided to give it a go. We took the beach front tour as a novice ride through town was a scary proposition. By the half way point we had mastered the controls sufficiently to make a straight line and stay still long enough for the photo! It was thoroughly good fun.
It was a real pleasure to see Roger again; we’ve known each other for years and it was lovely to meet Jo properly. We’d only really met her at her wedding and she had one or two other things on her mind then! I’m fairly sure they enjoyed their wedding present and will come back and see us again somewhere else.
We planned to stay in Barcelona for a week or so to resupply and visit some of the places we’d missed in our previous visits, also to enjoy Valeria’s favourite Tapas restaurant. It was fortuitous that Roger and Jo, to whom we’d promised a day out on the boat as a wedding present back in May, could get time off to coincide with our time here.
We booked a berth in the Real Club Maritim which is at the bottom of Las Ramblas which is as central as you can get. We had shopping to do, the obligatory visit to the chandler to buy shiny things (it is a shoes and handbag situation – Need v Want). I arranged the first service for our generator, and also bought some more Pilot Books from Amazon to cover France, Corsica and Italy to be delivered here to the marina. Pilot Books are basically maritime guide books to ports, anchorages and coastal features. We also spent vast amounts of time washing clothes and bedding – 3 sets of visitors in just over a week, and no shore electricity for 2 and the washing just piles up – seriously may sound extravagant but the washing machine is essential!
But it wasn’t all work …….. I persuaded Valeria she wanted to see the Maritime Museum and she persuaded me I wanted to see La Pedrera – a Gaudi creation. I love seeing old, traditional sailing boats and the museum had a few, even a real Brazilian Jangada which is a simple raft with a lateen sail. Had a quick tourist trip on one in Brasil and was gobsmacked at how such a seemingly rickety thing managed to move!
La Pedrera was one of Gaudi’s last civil engineering projects and is very impressive. It was nickname the Quarry for the stone façade. I reckon the guy had a phobia about straight lines because the only ones we found were the floors. It was built as a private home with a series of apartments for rent on the upper floors and was a very futuristic design 100 years ago featuring and under ground car park and ensuite bathrooms.
We also visited a couple of Tapas Bars / Restaurants. One, Quimet i Quimet was little more than a small room fronting onto the street, the walls lined with bottles and serving fantastic tapas and a really nice beer, a proper bitter! Valeria’s favourite restaurant, Cerveceria Catalana, was amazing and we made two visits. It is so popular you can’t make reservations, you just arrive and wait your turn and it is always crowded!
All in all a very pleasant interlude but tomorrow we are setting off towards Marseille and the south of France, now racing to catch a weather window to cross the Gulf of Lyon.
And so it was time to move on to the next leg of our trip. We spent the morning of September 1st in Pollenca shopping before setting sail for Barcelona at 4 pm. We had a 25 hour passage ahead of us based on 4 knots cruising speed but happily made more than that the whole way across.
We motor sailed out of Pollenca Bay and once we turned onto our course to Barcelona managed to get the Code Zero in use giving us up to 7 knots briefly before the wind died away to nothing. We lowered the main sail and motored over night anticipating no wind at all and in the morning as the wind picked up we were sailing again under the main sail and Code Zero making well over 4 knots for most of the time arriving off Barcelona at just after 2 pm.
With Sarah and Joe departed we had a day of cleaning and laundry in preparation for Jeremy, Angie and Hannah joining us.
Being anchored they didn’t have the luxury of walking on board in a marina but only having overnight bags that wasn’t an issue and was quite an adventure in what turned out to be slightly choppy seas; in a small rubber boat even a small wave will get you wet!
They joined us on Tuesday afternoon and we set off for a sail in Pollenca Bay. Hannah wasn’t feeling so great and so was encouraged to sit up at the helm station; lots of fresh air and a good view of the horizon. Well she wasn’t going to sit there doing nothing so as we tacked I had her working the Jib as Jeremy furled the Code Zero; all Hannah neededto do was press the winch button; Jeremy on the other hand had go forward to fight the Code Zero into submission …. he he he. Once the big sail was away Hannah turned the boat through the wind and did and excellent job for a complete novice.
We were heading for a couple of small Calas close to Cap Formantor; Cala de Engossaubas and Cala Murta. Although we got into Engossaubas and actually anchored it was too small to spend any time there as there was not enough room to swing on the anchor and Cala Murta was full with two yachts, so unfortunately we had to return to Pollenca. Instead of returning to where we had been, we anchored on the west side of Cap L’Avancada, right below Sa Fortaleza which was one of the sets used for the Night Manager. We spent the night there, swimming, having a BBQ and playing cards.
We then spent in the following morning swimming and relaxing and I gave Hannah a chance to drive the tender around. We even had a ring side seat for the arrival and departure of a sea plane from the military base nearby! After lunch we moved back to Pollenca and I ran them all ashore to a small jetty a stone’s throw from their apartment, we had to wait for the wind to die down a bit first though.
And that was the end of their very brief visit! Dinner ashore completed the reunion and hopefully their two days with us will encourage them to return for a proper visit soon.
A couple of weeks ago some friends of ours from Brasil asked if they could come and visit us while they were in Europe; about a week later they flew out to Palma and we met them in El Arenas, a marina about 5 km from the airport.
Everything went like clockwork. They arrived in the evening of Tuesday 23rd and settled in. On Wednesday we went food shopping before they went to look around Palma and we brought the shopping back on board. We had only booked one night in the marina as it was rather expensive and so we moved the boat back out to the anchorage to wait for their return. They had one of our little radios and when they called I went back in to the marina pick them up in the tender.
On Thursday morning we set off towards Porto Pollenca in almost perfect conditions for our guests, neither of whom had been to sea before. We sailed for part of the way in very light winds and in addition to being Sarah and Joe’s maiden voyage today was Valeria’s birthday!
We planned to spend the evening having a quiet BBQ anchored close to a place called Sant Jordi Campo so as the wind died we motored the last leg of the journey and anchored in a bay off Playa es Carbo. There was time for a swim and then the BBQ, some wine and beer as the sun set and then cards. It was a big change from the normal hectic and well attended Bank Holiday BBQ we normally host and it was great Sarah and Joe could be with us!
On Friday we moved on to Port Colom and instead of anchoring we took a buoy for the night, anchoring in the Cala is prohibited. We went ashore to explore and Valeria and Sarah went for a walk to a beach opposite town for a swim and Joe and I picked them up in the tender. We had a meal ashore and the following morning did a quick fresh veg shop before setting off towards Cala Ratjada. On arrival none of the anchorages looked too appealing so we carried on for a couple of miles to Calas Molto and Guya and decided to anchor in Cala Molto, the smaller of the two and once the day boats had gone it was really peaceful, just ourselves and a couple of German yachts.
Sarah, heavily into her yoga and meditation loved it; calm, tranquil, peaceful, ideal for meditating at sunrise! Sarah is running an ‘aerial yoga’ course in Chile and was using some of our ports of call as a back drop for the advertising. I did suggest ‘busting some moves’ whilst dangling from the mast but she didn’t seem too keen …..
At this point I need to mention fishing. Before we left we were given advice about what gear to get for sea fishing and so with a translation into Spanish and conversion to Euros we got the basic stuff we needed, the only thing we didn’t have was any clue how to use it; until Joe arrived! Although he hadn’t done much sea fishing he did an admirable job of catching us three fish which tasted awesome on the BBQ.
On Sunday we set off for the last stage in our trip to Porto Pollenca and it was a really good sail. The wind was behind us for most of the day and we had the Cruising Chute out and were managing almost 8 knots at some points, half the true wind speed and twice our Cruising speed under engines!!!! ! My brother Jeremy was in Pollenca and I’d told him when we’d arrive so he could look out for us as we arrived and had visions of screaming into Pollenca Bay like something out of Master and Commander; alas, the wind had other ideas and we had to drop the nice big colourful Chute and arrive under plain sails alone; just one more sail boat in a bay full of them.
We dropped anchor and went ashore for dinner with Sarah and Joe and had to make the return journey to the boat in the pitch dark! A bit of an eye opener for our guests.
And then it was Monday morning and their week with us over, all too soon. We ran them ashore in the tender, two trips due to the size of the suit cases, had brunch then saw them onto the bus to Palma.
In all a really good week, all the better for being a last minute surprise that fitted in so perfectly with our existing plans. We look forward to seeing them in Brasil at Christmas.
Leaving the anchorage at Porrassa on Saturday afternoon we sailed south along the coast to a small cala at Portal Vells. It is only about 3 miles from Porrassa as the crow flies, but we aren’t a crow and we don’t fly. With wind from the south we had to tack out and back a few times to make our way up wind. We planned to arrive as everyone else was leaving and so set off at about 3.30 arriving at about 6 pm.
Having anchored initially we moved position slightly when the day boats began to leave to settle down for the night; but with the wind gusting up to 10 knots and continually changing direction I didn’t get a lot of sleep, waking every so often to check we were not swinging too close to other boats also staying over night.
In the morning we were swinging very close to a big powerboat and so we moved a third time and spent the rest of the day chilling in our new spot waiting for the wind to drop so we could venture ashore. Unfortunately the wind had kicked up a considerable swell which rolled into the cala while the wind had changed direction and kept us beam-on to the swell – the waves were coming from one side and rocking us quite hard at times which didn’t make for too comfortable a night.
The attraction of Portal Vells was a sheltered anchorage and some Phonecian caves. The shelter in the anchorage and it being so picturesque with four small beaches it was a magnet for tourist boats and day trippers and the bay became manically crowded. The ‘chav element’ arrived later in the afternoon on big charter yachts which decided to have a full blast disco on board for a couple of hours – nice. First thing in the morning and last thing in the evening Portals Vells is idyllic, but the bit in the middle became progressively less so .
We decided to stay until Monday afternnon, visiting the caves in the morning before it got too hot. The caves were apparently excavated by the Phoenicians and they are perhaps 80 or more meters deep. No idea what they were used for and large parts have collapsed but they are impressive none the less. There is a carved alter close to one entrance, but how original that is I am not sure.
We had lunch then shoe horned ourselves out of the cala at 4 pm bound for El Arenals, 10 miles across Palma Bay; here we have recently arranged to meet some friends who have decided to visit us on the spur of the moment and sail with us round to Porto Pollenca.
Living on a boat in a shipyard is little fun, but it was only 2 nights. Apart from the discomfort and dirt the boat didn’t move, no rocking, no halyards clacking, no creaks and water lapping. Just not right.
But all that was rectified on Friday morning when we were dropped back into the water. We refuelled and sailed out of Palma, proper sailed, no engines! We sailed out into the Bay of Palma doing a cracking 4 to 5 knots into a 12 knot breeze, like driving without the hand brake on!
We planned to return to Las Islets but when we got the the anchorage was full and offered no shelter to the wind so we moved onto an anchorage on north side of Punta de sa Porassa, the head land just north of Magaluf. This was a farbetter choice as the headland sheltered us dfrom the strengthening southerly wind.
We briefly considered going ashore but the three premises at the jetty head were JJ’s Sports Bar, The Scotsman and the Welsh Mosquito; delightful establishments I am sure but we decided to stay on board and have a BBQ instead.
On Thursday we hired a car from the airport to see some of the island and do some shopping. We drove up to Port Pollenca and I took the opportunity to reconoitre the place for our visit at the end of the month. We then drove around the bay to Alcudia; the old town within the walls was very quaint and peaceful and well worth the visit. After lunch we drove to Soller, a town in the mountains of the west coast and again it is a very nice place with a huge church overlooking the main square and a tram which runs through the centre of town. Again just some photos.
So with the boat out of the water in the shipyard and going no where we went for a walk around Palma. It is a much nicer city than I’d thought it would be, relatively quiet and un crowded. We just wandered around the streets with no particular plan, other than to find a supermarket and a restaurant for dinner. The Palau de l’Amudaina and the Cathedral are spectacular and dominate the city but the narrow streets of the ‘old town’ are very pleasant to wander in.
We arranged to have the hull cleaned in Palma by a company called STP. We set off from Las Isletas at 7 and were waiting for the shipyard to open at 8 for our allotted lift out time. Once out of the water she was set down in the shipyard to be scraped and jet washed. The cleaning only took the morning but we couldn’t be put back in the water because the lift wad booked solid until Friday morning; so we had a day and a half in Palma.
As you can see the boat needed cleaning. She had been given anti fouling when built and I can only think that long stays in Faro and Valence defeated it! Hopefully for the next few months we’ll be moving and the marine growth won’t get too much of a grip; we’ll get clean and the anti fouling done for next year.