October 21, 2011
We’d heard a lot of, mainly uncomplimentary, things about Palma but were quite excited about going there. Years ago, shortly after becoming self-employed, we’d visited Majorca and went almost everywhere, except Palma.
The Real Club Nautico de Palma was efficient and welcoming. They even gave us a small discount for staying a few nights. There were a number of German registered boats in the marina as well as British. It could have had something to do with the Oktoberfest, the sounds of which carried on into the small hours every night.
Unfortunately(?), we weren’t there to party but to get our Perkins engine running well before setting off for Sicily. Via Perkins UK and their agent in Gibraltar, we’d arranged for a mechanic, who turned out to be a non-English speaking Bulgarian whose Spanish wasn’t very good, to come on the day of our arrival, thinking we would be on our way the following day (ha! ha!). The “Yachtsman’s Ten Language Dictionary” doesn’t include Bulgarian and even when we found the right word in our Spanish dictionary he couldn’t understand it.
We showed the mechanic the problems and his first encouraging remark was that it might be a cracked cylinder head! After a while he thought inspecting the injectors might be a little less drastic than removing the head. Unsurprisingly, the word from the injector specialists was that they’d seen a lot of service and should be replaced. Eventually, only the nozzles were, complete injectors being unavailable on the island. A compression test, after a shaky and demoralizing start due to incorrect fixing bolts, showed good compression in all cylinders.
Meanwhile I changed the fuel filter and remade a low pressure fuel pipe connection that might have been letting in air. When the engine was reassembled it ran perfectly (apart from the oil leak). In the end, we weren’t sure what cured the problems.
The mechanic only seemed to work an hour a day and so had taken an age to finish the job. So much so, that we had misgivings about rushing past Sardinia to winter in Sicily, only to return again next year as we particularly want to explore the island, having heard what a good cruising area it is. So we made enquiries both in Palma and on the mainland about wintering there instead. We also had a day free of the boat and any worry and cycled along the coast, past Portixol, towards El Arenal. We were amazed at the number of cyclists and impressed by all the cycle routes (chicken and egg?).
With the engine fixed we left the marina and headed for Illeta, a nearby anchorage in the bay of Palma, which proved to be lovely and very well sheltered. We stayed there a couple of nights and them moved west, first to Camp de Mar, then Cala Marmacen and finally Cala Llamp before finding an anchorage we were both happy with. But that’s the beauty of the Balearics, there are so many to choose from.
We finally decided to winter in mainland Spain. When there was a favourable wind, we sailed the 100 Nm or so overnight, arriving at lunchtime the next day, after an uneventful crossing.