It’s been a busy three weeks.
We have spent our time sailing around the islands making up the group known as the Balerics. We started in Mallorca, headed down to Ibiza and then most recently crossed to Menorca. The wind has been a bit on the average side, but we have managed a few lovely sails. Notably a cracking down wind leg in Ibiza where Vega managed a steady 8 knots and then on the way from Ibiza town back to Mallorca where we had another lovely sail…until the wind died. We have also had our fair share of flat calms…the ocean taking on an almost oily consistency, the deep blue only broken occasionally by the fin of a dolphin or a school of feeding tuna.
On a sail back from Deya our head sail halyard attachment webbing gave out and we lost our sail overboard…it slipped down the track in the headstay and into the water in a sort of surreal slow motion….we then sprung into action and hauled it back on board. Once back in Soller Ruth re-stitched it for us which was fantastic and kept us sailing for a couple of weeks until we could get it fixed properly by North Sails in Palma. As the sail dropped, the rope (called a halyard) that keeps it up stayed at the top of the mast so, Peter and I had to winch Heather up the mast to retrieve the halyard stuck 60ft up. On other jobs, we have now officially installed our chart plotter (as appose to the previous temporary connection) and we have cleaned out our fuel tank and replaced all our old diesel with new, spending many good euros in the process!
The highlights have been the North West Coast of Mallorca which is truly stunning. Rugged and remote anchorages await those who come here and oddly no one seems to – the main tourist route appears to be Palma on the south of the island and up the east coast. The North West coast is untouched and wild.
Three areas really stand out – Port de Soller, right in the center of the NW coast, a super natural port with sandy beach, foreshore full of restaurants, an old tram network dating back to the turn of the last century and a spectacular back drop of mountains. We used Soller as a base for exploring the coast, as it is the only port of refuge along this coast. From Soller we explored Deya and Torrente de Pareis. The latter being one of the most sensational anchorages we have ever seen. The clarity of the water is like nothing I’ve seen…15m deep and you can see your anchor.
As an island Ibiza is not as pretty as its larger neighbour, but Ibiza old town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is spectacular. We stayed in a marina right at the base of the old citadel and spent a lovely 2 days exploring it by foot – fortunately our visit coincided with the annual medieval markets and festival which saw the whole of the old town come alive with knights and all things medival…wonderful fun until Ben spotted a pig being roasted on a spit and was horrified. He hasn’t eaten meat since and appears to have become a vegetarian at age 6….
The toughest point yet was our sail to Menorca. Not that enjoyable…a lumpy motor sail into 3m, sometimes 4m swell…the crossing took 5 hours and in the first hour we had more waves crash over the deck than I care to recount. The waves would come over the bow and roll right up the deck to the cockpit…scary and yet thrilling. Milly faired the worse. Within 30 min’s she was green. Within 45mins she was in tears and within an hour asleep on a wet cockpit floor. Heather did a bit better…and me a little better than Heath. Ben though, was the star of the show…he was happy as larry as each wave hit us. Neither Milly, Heather or I could eat but ben woofed down cheese and bread all the way across and finally passed out from the excitement an hour from Ciudadela in Menorca. I am always amazed how situations change…one minute your in an anchorage sipping a coffee, the next your soaking wet on the bow of your boat thumping through waves re tying your anchor down as its come loose, then the next minute your down below wondering why there is water in the bilges. It’s a diverse and interesting, but not always easy life ;-).
That said, when the sea is not beating us into submission we are defiantly in the chilled zone now. Days drift by checking out monuments, villages and Cala’s. We dine on squid, sardines and prawn tapas and sip on the local beers. Life is good, and finally (touch wood) Vega has settled down too…Next stop is Mahon in Menorca to meet my parents who are coming for a week…and a windy week its going to be!