Monday, August 20, 2012

One more thing to go wrong

We lifted the dingy and readied Magnum for the off. Mark noticed that the engine smelt odd so gave it a quick once over to find that a rubber moulding on the cooling system had split dumping water in the engine bay.
This left us stuck again, Mark stripped down and removed the offending article and made a temporary repair using self amalgamating tape, but there is no way we could trust it to hold for the 400+ miles to Gibraltar. A new part was needed.
It was Saturday afternoon and being Spain everything was shut so we were stuck until Monday.
Alan kindly came and picked Mark up to run around the local marinas in the forlorn hope of discovering somewhere open, but to no avail.

The plan was to stay put and then sail around to Ibiza town and the dingy in to try and get the new part.

However the weather had other ideas ! Cala Longa is sheltered from every direction except east, so obviously the wind blew from the east sending in a large swell. We looked out to sea in the morning and all we could see was breaking waves, so not trusting the temporary repair and feeling safe, but not comfortable we decided to stay put and abuse Alan’s good nature and his hire car again.

Amanda popped ashore and the two of them managed to establish that the part wasn’t available on the island L but that they could order one from Madrid to arrive by 10.30 the following morning and that this could be delivered to the local Volvo dealer in Santa Eulia

So we waited another day, hoping for Spanish efficiency ?!!?? 

Tuesday morning we started the engine and gingerly motored to Santa Eulia, we dingyed ashore and tracked down the required office, the part wasn’t there, but we were assured it would be at some point that day !
So we disappeared off to do some food shopping, and buy Mark a shirt as he had been so keen to get the new part he had left the boat without one and was now feeling like a proper Brit abroad tourist shirtless in the high street !

A couple of hours later we had a phone call, our part had arrived !! Mark rushed to the port to confirm the part was correct and to see what they would charge us.

Two surprises,
1/ it was the correct part
2/ they didn’t charge us any delivery fee, despite 24 hour delivery from the mainland and also they delivered it to the port from their main depot to save us time and a 40 min walk in the 30 deg sun

Excellent service

We fitted the new part and were on our way …………….at last !

Head family in Ibiza

We had an early start leaving Ibiza as the ferries and cruiser liners were all arriving, we had force 3-5 north easterly winds all morning but when the wind then dropped it was an uncomfortable afternoon motoring with the a heavy swell and with no wind it was baking hot, but I did find a new spot to relax in.

Yes that is Amanda lying on the up turned dingy

With the swell running onto the east coast of Ibiza we started to get concerned about where we could find shelter knowing that the Alan, Karen & Dan were staying in Es Cana on the east coast.

We tucked in behind Tagomago which is an island just of the coast with not much other than a light house.  We were protected by the swell but the water was deep and bottom weedy so the holding was poor. There were around 10 other sailing boats (mainly charter boats) and we were all very amused when one launched pirates in their dingy to “arrhhaaa” their way around the anchorage. 

Pirates ahoy

We were pleased to be just a few miles away from Es Cana and it felt strange knowing Alan, Karen & Dan were so close.

Leaving Tagomago

Next morning we motored to Es Cana, manoeuvred our way into the shallow Cala, dropped anchor and we could see them waiting on the quayside. We quickly launched the dingy and Mark rowed over to collect them, Alan was still to perfect rowing on the way back.

Mark, Alan, Karen & Dan heading to board Magnum

With not much wind we sailed a few miles along the coast to Cala Boix to anchor, this provided enough shelter from the remaining swell.  We had a fantastic day swimming and snorkelling off the boat, the rocks made for some great snorkelling and Dan was like a fish! He loved the water and was also fast becoming an expert at diving off the boat.

We headed back to drop them off to the comfort of their hotel (ohh for a long shower with unlimited water) and although we had to motor due to the lack of wind it did mean that the anchorage was sheltered. We decided if we laid a stern anchor we would prevent ourselves swinging near the shallow reef and we would be safe to stay here for the night.

The next day we took advantage of Alan’s car and did a big supermarket shop which is always appreciated.  We then spent our time between Magnum and relaxing on the beach at Es Cana. On one trip back to the boat, Alan, Karen and I went in the dingy whilst Dan and Mark swam, good swimming as Magnum as anchored about 800m off the shore.  It was nice to be settled for the day, Es Cana is quite a nice little resort and Alan treated us to a nice meal in the evening, lucky us.

Dan living it up at a beach side bar

Mark, Alan & Karen enjoying a glass of bubbly

Dan looking a little sleepy with Magnum the only boat anchored at Es Cana

With an easterly wind forecast we knew we could not stay at Es Cana for another day and we knew Dan was keen to get out on the boat again.  We picked Dan up in the dingy and sailed along the east coast towards Cala Llonga. Where Alan and Karen would meet us later by car.

Dan heading for a fun day out, Mark getting fit as always

Dan as always we keen to get involved, so Mark had him hauling the anchor chain, winching in the sails and generally letting us relax.

Can hauling anchor chain

We were really lucky in seeing a couple of dolphins and loads of flying fish which we kept disturbing.
We then decided we should stop the boat and let Dan have a swim in the deepest water he had been in – 42 metres, look at them go!

In 42 metres of water

We arrived at a quieter than expected Cala Llonga and anchored and Dan & I headed off to see some fish.  Not long after Alan and Karen arrived by car and came out to the boat for lunch and a dip.

Alan & Mark cooling off

Karen enjoying a dip

Dan was still launching himself in as many ways as possible from the boat.

Dan mid flight

It was then time to say goodbye, as they headed back to their hotel and we readied ourselves to head for Formentera.

Saying goodbye

Quick stop in Mallorca

We left Menorca with 20-25 knots north easterly, we were glad to have the wind and keen to have a quick crossing but within 2 hours the wind had dropped off to about 10 knots we had full sail up but progress was slow. By mid morning the wind had gone completely and we were motoring but luckily by lunch time the wind was back and we were back sailing, With us both being tired from the night before we hardly spoke all day, both engrossed in our books (both reading the Hunger Games) and would only communicate when the wind changed and we had to adjust the sails. By the time we were approaching Mallorca it was back up to 20+ knots and we were anchored in Porto Petro by 4.30pm after a good day sailing.

We had visited Porto Petro twice before and were happy with the anchorage but whilst putting the sail away a rib came over telling us we were not able to anchor on the weed as it is a protected species, but he could offer us a buoy in a not very protected area of the harbour for 20 Euros, didn’t sound very appealing. He advised that he could not do anything to stop us but the Guardia might turn up, we took the risk.

A grey looking Porto Petro, it is actually very nice
Porto Petro is a nice quite anchorage and in the morning we planned to head off but due to light winds forecast and the tiredness from the day before catching up on us, we moved our anchor onto a sandier patch and decided to stay for the day.  We dingyed into town, a small resort with a couple of nice port side restaurants and a couple of shops for basic over priced provisions.

We rested for the day and were joined by a Brit flagged yacht which was actually owned by 2 Americans, Bob was particularly chatty and came swimming over, they had been cursing for 12 years and it was a shame we did not get to hear about more of their adventures but he shared a few stories about the dangers of the Caribbean which were interesting. They apparently carry a stainless steel shotgun and seemed prepared to use it if their boat is threatened! Unfortunately the next morning we were heading off which is so often the case when you meet other cruisers, you are on different timetables.

Next day we had light winds which made it a long and hot sail south and west into Palma Bay and another favoured anchorage Illetas, busier that we had visited in the past but still plenty of room to anchor. We were in for a rolly night with a big swell rolling in, it was probably one of the rolliest nights we have had at anchor and after getting up just as it got light we spent an hour or so waking up before I decided we would get off the boat and head for a run.  Nice idea to get off the boat but not so great when trying to land and launch the dingy from the beach with breaking waves, nice to use the legs again though. Luckily the swell died as the day went on and we were able to have a quiet night.

Sun just coming up over Illetas

Friday, August 10, 2012

South coast Menorca

Ever since before our first visit to Menorca we have been keen to sail along the south coast as we had heard it was very pretty and yes we have to agree it is very nice.  We only had a couple of days due to the engine problems but we had a south westerly force 2-3 for a peaceful sail (I am not sure why I have such a look of concentration in this photo as it was quite a relaxing sail!) from Mahon to Cala Coves which the pilot book refers to as the most spectacular Cala in the Balearics.

It is high side with lots of small caves in the rock face but it is quite a small Cala and very popular at beginning of August although difficult to access on foot so majority of visitors are on boats, we were lucky to find space to anchor although we only stayed for the afternoon.
Cala Coves
We motored a mile east to Cala Porter to spend night as this is a larger Cala, again this is surrounded by cliffs but is at the foot of a resort with couple of hotels and lots of apartments/villas. As a southerly wind had been blowing we unfortunately had a bit of a rolly night with a swell running in but it was very peaceful with only 1 other boat in the anchorage.

The next day was Marks birthday so we started the day with a swim before breakfast and pretty much had the beach to ourselves but by the time we went a shore a few hours later the beach had started to fill up.

Busy beach, Magnum the mast in the distance
We walked around the surrounding cliffs, the resort seems to have lots of apartments but not much else in terms of bars, restaurants or shops although there are a few beach bars.

About a 20-25 minute walk there is Cova Den Xoroi which are a series of caves which have been made into bar/cafĂ©/nightclub.  We had though we would take a look but at 7.50 to just look around caves we were not that fussed, I am sure a few years ago I would have been desperate to get to the nightclub but at 25 euros and after midnight there is no chance of that! Luckily we could not hear the music from the anchorage.

Night club in caves
Typically the peaceful night we needed before our big crossing to Mallorca alluded us when a large boat (50+ foot) boat decided to anchor almost on top of us at about 10pm and after some discussion with the skipper we had to re-anchor!! Not what we needed after a relaxing evening and a bottle of fizzy but glad we did as overnight they would have blown on to us.  We were then woken before 7am with shouting around the anchorage as 2 charter boats that were tied together and had decided  anchor between them would be sufficient  started drifting across the anchorage and before anyone was on deck had already hit a few small powerboats! So we were up and off!

We never thought we would spend more time in Menorca

It was good that we caught up with our sleep when we had a chance as the next 48 hours were windy and with Cala Taulera so busy it was like bumper boats! The first night when the wind came up to around 25 knots Mark decided to take a look on deck, confident in our anchor but not so sure about others.  Things seemed ok particularly as half the anchorage was awake and on deck and doing the same.  Within minutes of getting back to bed we hear a dingy motoring close to us and some shouting, back on deck and a 40 foot boat had dragged their anchor out into the channel and within a few feet of us.  Neither of us were happy to go back to bed and in the hour they took to get re-anchored (wind howling around them) other boats were dragging their anchors all over the anchorage and as there were around 40 boats anchored everyone was pretty close – when we anchored here in the Spring there were 4 boats!

Boats everywhere in Cala Taluera

More boats and the glass bottom boat heading towards us
We headed back to bed but were up several times that night and were glad for the sun to come up, but the wind continued so we were stuck on the boat.  The next night we had a repeat of the previous night, we had a new boat in front of us and Mark was up at various points during the night watching them drag very close to us but luckily it seemed the skipper sat in the cockpit the majority of the night and finally re-anchored in the early hours – I expect he wanted some sleep!

We finally managed to get off the boat on the Monday afternoon (arrived Saturday) and were disappointed that we had not managed to see friends in Fornells and they were leaving the following day.  So we cracked on with our domestics and hoped to be able to leave Mahon now the weather was more settled.

With a South westerly breeze we headed north round the coast to Es Grau, lucky to have some wind and had a nice sail.  Again we had enjoyed a stay here in the spring and knew it would be busy but were still surprised, there had been us and 1 other boat when we visited previously now there were around 50 boats!! But it is still a beautiful place, lovely clear water and enough space to take that many boats.

Es Grau

Was a bit grey here and even had a thunder storm over night.  We had 2 nights before we headed back to Mahon where we planned to stop to get fuel and water (had not filled up since Sardinia).  We had a stunning sailing back, with Mark loving every minute of catching and passing the (larger) German boat ahead of us.  The forecast was for 12 knots northerly we had 20-25 northerly!

After getting fuel and finding we could fill up water for free – which is a great bonus for us especially in the Balearics where things can be expensive.   

Cala Taluera at sunset