August 23, 2012
Thursday 23rd August 2012 – circumnavigation of Mallorca well underway!
Woke in my usual place on the padded seats on deck, with the powerful sun beams just breaking the hilltop near the marina – the second those rays hit you, the temperature sky rockets. It was interesting to see so many people jogging around the marina, many in pairs, enjoying their holiday i suppose.
Cala Dor Yacht Club Infinity Pool Breakfast breeze, shade, sun, contraband swim!
In dribs and drabs all of us woke and wandered one at a time to the stunning Cala Dor Yacht Club house that dominated one hill above the marina. It was a beautiful new building with gardens, grass, deck chairs and an absolutely stunning blue infinity pool where the water trickles over the rim of the pool (over the side closest to the cliff / hill edge). COffees and teas were ordered, and then various breakfasts. I threw off my shoes and shirt and waded into the utterly beautiful luminous blue pool, and immersed myself, paddling around hapily for a few minutes. Sadly, however, the lady from reception came out and informed us that the pool was for members use only – and we were not alowed to swim (we could buy a 1 day membership, but we didnt bother to investigate this). So out I hopped.
Tonys Breakfast Surprise!
Bacon and eggs and toast were what most of us ordered, although Tony selected something from the menue that was caled a “Cala Dor Full English, CLubhouse Premium Special” without really looking too deeply into the menu – Lo and behold, and imagine his amusement when it arrived with a large glass of sparkling Cava drink along with his Full English!
Elia leaving the boat, for a taxi back to Palma airport.
With some commitments back home, Elia had to leave us early, so after a coffee and brekky, we prepared the boat, and with a few quick hugs, Elia was off to get taxi back across the island. We did look up bus timetables, but none of them were suitable for the flight times, so it was the expensive option, alas.
Refueling 210 euros
After motoring this far, we decided to take the opportunity to refuel at Cala Dor. Annabel paid on credit card, and it came in at 210 euros. As James took care of the refuelling, Jules and Kirstin went grocery shopping. Damn hot. Sweating buckets as I walked around the marina to collect 4 more bags of ice.
Marinero motorbike and his radio walkie talkie – we forgot to give him back the shower keys – which meant we would lose our 40 euro deposit – so I texted the yacht and James motored back with the dinghy to bring the shower keys, and to colect the groceries.
Good sailing! We headed out of Cala Dor and the breeze was good enough to get the sails up fairly quickly. We had some fun with different sail configurations, and had a good run with a goose wing, where the main sail was out to starboard and the genoa was out to Port side. Its a difficult line to hold, and Tony made an excellent helmsman, sailing with goose wing, the wind behind us, for many miles. Not once did he lose the boom far enough for it to swing across to the other side. Tony was thrilled, and we al enjoyed this peacfeul run, and took loads of photos, played some music, and relaxed thoroughly.
Cala Santanyi -the 10 metre rock jump – Kirstins special landing.
We dropped anchor in this beautiful Cala, and I immediately spied some kids jumping off a cliff which I estimated to be about 8 metres high – it looked wonderful! Swimming over to join them, and scrambling inelegantly up an EXTREMELY precarious rope ladder, I climbed the rocky stairs to the ledge where the kids had been.
I quickly discovered that there were three ledges – I estimated their heightst at 8 metres, 10 metres and 12 metres, so of course, I decided to jump from the middle one first (10 metre), and hurlted joyfully down to the water, feet first. To be fair, I did a lot of river jumping whe I was a kid growing up, so a ten metre is not scary for me. The others soon followed, and James, Mark , Julia, Krys and Kirstin all climbed up the precarious rope ladder. All jumped bravely, except James, who climbed right back down again! Jules and Krys did a tandem jump from the 8 m ledge, and it was great. Go-Pro Video camera ready to film his jump – but he forgot to charge the battery up, and whist he was waiting for the kids to clear the ledge, the battery dies. So no video.
Then it was Kirstins turn. Shes never jumped before, and certainly nothing as high as this! But bravely she was determined to do it today. one – two – THREE – Kirstin stepped bravely off and plummeted downwards – but as I watched from above, I saw, with dismany, she brough her feet out in fron of her, legs outstetched, and instead of hitting the water feet first to break the impact, poor Kirstin hit in a sitting position, so her thighs and bottom slapped flat against the water from a great height. OUCHOUCHOUCH! As soon as I was certain she was resurfacing,I jumped in to grab her hands, and the brave girl had a few tears in her eyes, but didnt make a sound. We bobbbed and floated in the water for 5 mins while the pain subsided a little, then swam slow back to the boat.
Kirstins bruising was on a large scale – really painful – all the back of her legs went every shade of red and purple. Im not sure she would want me to post a photo here – I shall check. Brave girl – didnt make a single word of complaint!
Lunch this fine Thursday was a selction of bread, salami, cheeses, olives, parma ham, pickled gherkins, tomato, and fabulous company.
Sailing into Colonia Sant Jordi – tripping buoy on the anchor it was not Thursday afternoon – This was to be our final night out in the wild before we sailed back to the marina in Palma (we had to be back in Marina by Friday night), and we were headed for Colonia Sant Jordi – to get there we had the wind behind us, so we enjoyed another gentle sailing run as we rounded the south-eastern tip of Mallorca, then back up to our
destination. The sailing almanac suggested that the bottom was rocky in places, not grat for anchoring (anchors can get stuck), and recommended we set up a sailing tripping buoy in case we need to manually free the anchor from a rock. We did this by tieing a string to a large coke bottle, as he floting buay, and the other end through a loop hole in the anchor head – this then bobbed about directly above where the anchor was resting. It didnt need to be used, but it was fun to set it up, like good boy scouts.
Chorizo, onions and mushrooms for dinner – then dinghy ashore for cocktails#
James and I started to cook dinner, and did a delicious fry up of choriza, onions and mushrooms in various pans – we kept them separate so Krys could enjoy the vegetarian option. We actually filmed a cooking video this evening, and hope to edit it and get it up online at some stage soon.
Leo and The Spanish Pour
We dinghied ashore for a wild night on the waterfront and dug in at a nearby cafe. The drinks were delivered by a friendly giant of a man named Leo, and when it came to spirits (gin, vodka etc) he simply brought over the entire bottles and left them on the table, peridocially pouring ENORMOUS triple or quarduple measures into each glass. It was a wild night, and soon enough, Mark was teaching people how to do cartwheels, handstands, and even an Arab Spring. I will try to link to a video of Leo doing his Spanish Pour of Vodka – check it out! Here it is:
Interestingly, the bill for drinks, for 8 of us, and we caned it, and I REALLY mean caned it, only come in at 180 euros for the night – thats about 23 euros per person. Can you imagine a night out anywhere, with virtually unlimted rounds of drinks, shots, free pours, beers and wines, being so cheap? Scary, but a nice low bill for our evenings entertainment and frolics.
All made it safely back on board the boat, and that was a MONSTER of a night.
End Day 6, at Colonia Sant Jordi.
August 22, 2012
Day 5. Porto Colom, Cala Ferrera, Cala Mondrago, Cala Dor.
Wednesday 22nd August 2012
Porto Colom 9.am Croissants.
Once again I slept up on deck on the cockpit lounge – I am really getting used to sleeping outdoors under the bimini (to stop the dew) and loving waking up with the sun.
Mark and I motored ashore in the dinghy for some fresh croissants and stopped off for an espresso at a waterfront cafe – it was already baking hot by 9.30am, but we knew that a round of fresh croissants and a litre of chocolate milk would soothe several sore heads when people eventually awoke. Mark and I also ordered what we thought were tapas plates of cured Iberian ham, but turned out to be ham sandwiches – even so, they were delicious.
Jules and I were keen for an early swim, but to be honest, they slightly murky green water of Porto Colom held little appeal when we knew that we could motor the yacht a few minutes out into the stunning deep blue of the Med – so we upped anchor and got out of the bay without waiting for anyone else to get up. Within ten minutes Mark had us “motor swimming” in deep water, maybe 35 metres of depth, where he keeps the boat engine on, idling in circles as we swim about – its quick and fun and fabulous, and very soon, everyone was in the water for their morning wake up swim!
Cala Esmerelda, Cala Ferrera, Cala ? Triple bay, gorgeous and clear
With little or no breeze this morning, we motored nly a few nautical miles to the stunning triple pronged bay of Cala Esmerelda – theres effectively 3 fingers to this bay, 2 with beaches, but all join at the same deep water entrance – it was truly beautiful. Deep and clear water, with shady corners under the cliffs for us to escape the powerful sun.
The girls swim to an island and hijack a pedalo.
After seeing the girls disapear into the distance and swim around a jutting cliff face, the rest of us paddled or rested near the boat, and forgot to monitor what they were up to. Sure enough, it was hijinks and mischief!
Krys, Julia and Kirstin swam out to an island at the mouth of the bay we were in – then Krys got stung on the elbow by some kind of jellyfish, so the girls hailed a passing pedalo lesire floating paddle boat and climbed aboard with three english lads, and had them paddle back around the bay to our yacht. We captured some great photos of the girls climbing al over the pedalo, and using the slippery slide to plunge into the water, whilst the three lads nodded shyly, too polite (or thrilled) to object to taking orders from the girls. It was quite a nasty welt from the sting on her arm, and Krys was in some discomfort for an hour or two. Beer therapy and a brave attitude kept her fortified.
Cala Mondrago – gorgeous cave to swim through – scorching hot beach
From there we decided to sail down another short hop to Cala Mondrago – which James swears is his favourite bay and beach on the whole island (this is his third saling week in Mallorca over the years, so hes seen a lot of them). Cala Mondrago is a double beached bay, which splits dramatically in two directions, with some fabulous cliffs and caves to swim in and through.
It was so hot we were all lathered in sunscreen, and hats were the order of the day, and when it came time to swim, it was all overboard in a flash. Mark and I were working on our backward dives from the deck – something I’ve never actiually tried before, but by today i’d almost mastered it as well as Mark, and quite possibly better!
We swam or dinghied ashore depending on mood, and some found a shady cafe to share a few salads. The beach was beautiful, but the sand was so hot underfoot, everyone was standing in the water.
Outboard Motor dead again!
As I was motoring back to the yacht to pick up some stragglers, the engine just stopped suddenly (at high revs) which was very frustrating. The oar locks were not in place, so I had to start single blade paddling, which in an inflatable dinghy tends to spin you around in circles. That drew amusing looks from many of the nearby anchored yachts, but eventually I made it back to the boat for a rest under the shade of the bimini. We then pondered how on earth we might get the rest of the crew back to the boat, given that they had taken cameras, phones and towels ashore, it was not exactly a swimmable option for the equipment.
So I swum back ashore – it was about 250 metres, out of sight around a cliff bend, and gathered up the crew and told them we had to find a boat or hijack another pedalo. Eventually we spotted a Spanish chap with a dinghy and outboard and asked him to take Kirstin and all of our equipment and dry gear back to boat. he simply said “Si. Why not?” But I’ve got to tell you, this fellow was a rugged sight! Unshaven for at least a week, salty grey stubble and long black hair, sporting a loose red button up shirt and baggy grey cotton trousers, he was the exact image of what you’d imagine an old time Spanish pirate to look like! And so we handewd Kirstin and all of our valuables over to him.
Swim Back – James and Jules board the supercat
The rest of us swam back (Simon, Elia, Annabel, James, Julia), and it was a big fabulous swim for Elia, who declared she was up for the challenge. And so we were off like ducks in formation for the long swim. James disappeared ahead of us and before we knew what he was up to, had boarded one of these touristy day-tripper-super-catamarans I mentioned earlier, and climbed up the back to the second story – and then bombed off jumping in the water beside us!
Julia followed his lead and climbed aboard also, and found a slippery slide, hurtling down into the water just ahead – lots of fun. Soon enough we were all safely back onto our yacht, rinsing salt off our hair and faces using the fresh water deck shower, and ready to be on our way. Thankfully, the Spanish Pirate did return Kirstin and all of the equipment safe and unharmed!
Cala Dor 3 meters deep apparently!
It was a very short afternoon sail back to Cala Dor (we had bypassed it earlier so James could swim at Cala Mondrago), but we intended to take a berth at Cala Dor for the evening and see the town.
As we came into the harbour, it became really quite a narrow channel, with the red and green channel markers giving us not even a boat length between them to make an easy turn – Mark was at the helm, and relishing the control of the big boat.
The depth guage was calibrated “off the keel” of the boat, and we knew our keel was about 2.6m deep from the waterline. Armed with that knowledge, Mark was reading the depth gauge frequently as he chugged gently down the channel past all of the lines of yachts tied neatly to each berth. Depth 1.0..(under keel), Depth 0.9… depth 0.7… depth 0.5…. depth 0.2!!!!! This was alarming! NOt knowing realy how much leeway or accuracy in calibration of the depth, we were now quite concerned that the
instruments were telling us that we had just 20cm of clearance below our keel to the channel bed.
Mark gently ticked the boat into reverse and gave it a short blast to bring us to a halt as we pondered out loud the chances that the channel was too shallow for our 49 foot yacht.
At that stage, the local marinero arrived on his motor bike and started yelling and pointing for us to continue, shouting “IS OK! IS OK! IS 3 MEEEETRES!”.
And we stood stationery for a few more minutes as James did some mental calculations and also looked for yachts as big as ours, to see if they had gone further into the marina. We did spot a few masts that appeared as tall as ours, and so we collectively decided that if the Marinero was so confident, then we ought to gently chug forward and give it a go.
Depth 0.2…. depth 0.2…. depth 0.1… OK GUYSSTEADY! Depth 0.4… depth 0.6… Looking much better.. We motored at a snails pace all the way down the entire channel to the very end of the marina – this marinero was extremely confident and as he rode his motor scooter beside us from the bank, he kept on yelling encouragement for us to continue. Sure enough we made it to our assigned berth!
Marks reverse parked a 49 foot yacht – but not a car.
As smooth and surely as you could ever wish, Mark had all the crew into assigned positions or tasks – such as: stern ropes; lazy lines; move the trailing dinghy to the front; tie the fenders either side; and we were starting to work together very well as a team of mainly novices!
Then the grand finale – Mark reversed us into the berth in a single fluid arc, exactly in position, all the ropes were thrown and looped back, the lazy lines were caught (by gloved hand, as we still had not replaced the boat hook), and there we were, tied up beautifully, stern-to, in Cala Dor! Thats several BIG yachts that Mark has now reverse parked (last year it was a 54 foot Sun Odyssey in Italy) – even though he’s never done it in a car!
Watching other boats tie up.
Watching other boats mooring or tieing up stern-to can be outrageously exciting – its a bit of a guilty pleasure, because you know how nerve wracking it can be when its your turn to come in. You know you shouldnt watch with such amusement, but even so, its hard not to hold your beer and gape with voyeuristic abandon as some novice, nervous skipper tries to park a 40 odd foot yacht in a narrow space! Especially if theres a bit of a cross breeze…
Anyway, our fellow novice charter skippers did not let us down for the evenings early entertainment. It was still scorching hot, and the sun was low but not yet set – plenty of light for all the yachts in the marina to watch the last chap come in with his boat, intending to tie up for the evening. It was a Bavaria 44, and he seemed to take a late decsision to attempt a 180 degree turn in the narrow marina – not in itself a difficult thing to do, but he somehow hammered the revs into full throttle forward for a second or two, and the motor roared to life. There he was, hurtling towards an extremely expensive Wally tender that was already tied up in the next berth. He found reverse, but it was too late to stop the boats colliding.
Thankfully he had turned almost far enough to avoid any real collision, but the anchor and stern scraped up quite firmly against the Wally – and it certainly caused quite a stir amongst the marina folk, and whilst we didnt take any pleasure in the poor chaps misyhap, we found ourselves cringing slightly on his behalf at his extreme embarassment.
Cala Dor Stern to mooring fee 98 euros- great showers.
Not a cheap mooring fee by any means, but divided by 9 crew, thats about 10 euros each for a great night in marina with excellent showers and a washing machine. The crew were thrilled to be able to go ashore and have a proper wash and get the salt of the skin and wash the hair etc, and so we took our leisurely time about it. Cala Dor facilities are certainly as good as any we have found.
Lemon Scented Bodywash – Simons Washing Trip
I had a number of salty and weaty items of clothing needing a wash – so I rounded up all of the white shirts and white towels to do a machine wash. Not finding any obvious washing powder, I gave it barely a second though and grabbed Marks tube of lemon scented sainsburys body wash, figuring it sall the same really. I mean its just another tuype of soap, isnt it?
Well, the washing machine took 3 euros in coins to operate, and I set it running for the 70 minute cycle while the others were finihsing their showers, getting changed etc and fixing a few drinks. I popped up to the small supermarket and grabbed a few bottles of drinks and mixers and headed back to the boat. We had a few different drinks as we sat there – rum and coconut / tropical, or gin and tonic, and some had a beer. Very nice, fresh and clean – all a happy crew!
After about 70 minutes, I popped back to collect the washing, and brought back arfuls fo whites for everyone – only to find that they didnt think lemon scented bodywash was a v ery effective material for washing! We had quite an argument or discussion on the subject, but I do declare that my clothes were cleaner, fresher, and smelling beautifully of lemon, and were better then before the wash! The others were amused but not impressed…
Cala Dor Township – bigger than I expected.
I was here in 2007, but to be honest, I couldnt remember the layout of the marina nor the town – I am usually quite good at recalling locations, so I am a bit puzzled as to why I cant remember Cala Dor township. (Note, after a walk around, the next day, I realised we had come at it via car, and so it occupied a very different mental image in my mind – plus the marina has been massively redeveloped in the 5 years since I was there).
Its a rather sizeable town, and the masses were out for walks, drinks and meals in the restaurant district. There were african men non every corner selling fake sunglasses and fake Rolex watches etc – we see these guys in every Mediteranean port, every year.
Tapas but no chorizo.
We picked a cheep and cheerful tapas restaurant, but soon discoverd they didnt have my two favourite dishes: Chorizo, and fried green peppers (Pimento Al Padrone?). even so, it was all tasty food.
Rooftop club, game of pool, dancing 3am. Pumpkin seeds
We found arooftop bar that was quite busy, and settled infor a drink, a few games of pool and lots of laughs.
Everyone was a bit tired, but mellow. Kirstin and I danced for a few songs around the pool table, which was fun, but it was so hot, we were just sweating like crazy. James and I started munching on a bowl of niblles – pumpkin seeds actually. After several minutes and several mouthfuls, I commented:
“tastes a bit like chewing matchsticks”.
James said “yeah, theyre a bit tough”.
At that point, one of our group pointed out that the punkpim seeds were not hulled – the outer shell was stil on – and that we were supposed to slpit them first, and eat only the softer centre. Live and learn eh?
Back to the boat, a ten minute stroll down the hill, and all quickly asleep.
End Day 5, at Cala Dor.
August 21, 2012
Day 4. From Cala Ratjada to Porto Colom.
Tuesday 21st August 2012
Day Trippers – 3 friends join the boat for the morning
The sun woke me on deck early once again, so it was time to find a breakfast cafe. We had a few of James friends join us for a morning sail a few miles to a swimming spot (Nichola, Rachel and Glynis) and they went back ashore near their hotel before lunch. Nichola has sailed with us many times before.
Sails up for the afternoon.
Once again we were pleased to see the afternoon breezes begin to whip up, and it was time for motor off / sails up! This was defintely our best breeze so far, so we didnt even worry about our course, we simply sailed as fast as we could in whatever direction the breeze wanted to take us. Kirstin was particularly thrilled as it was her first time ever on a sailing yacht, and we were now moving along nicely!
A few good miles of sailing down the coast, and we were going to be within easy reach of Porto Colom for our evening, and decided to drop anchor there. Its a beautiful, almost fully enclosed harbour, with a relatively narrow entrance and very shallow base, considering its size. We had to stay well within the port and starboard channel markers, as it really was shallow. We meandered around for a while, before eventually dropping anchor near a beach we knew we could swim at.
Boat Hook Away.
We spotted an available mooring buoy and decided to pick that up instead of anchoring. A marinero cruised over in a dinghy and told us that the mooring buoy would be 33 euros for the night.
I reached down with the boat hook to pick up the buoy, and the handle (just a loose rubber sleeve over the metal shaft) came loose and the whole boat hook slipped into the water and sunk without a trace. Once again I was the muppet, although to be fair, I was still actually holding the handle, just no boathook attached to
it. I got the face mask goggles and swim fins (flippers) to try and dive to find it, but the water was a dark green, and silty or murky, and I simply couldnt see anything below 4 to 5 metres of depth. So were were down one fairly important item of inventory!
BBQ on the rocks! The illegal BBQ (before we knew it),
The girls had, in a stroke of genius, purchased several bags of BBQ coal in Alcudia on Monday, and James found a bbq grill on the boat, in one of the cockpit rope lockers, so we dinghied ashore in 2 groups, and the BBQ was underway! We found a great natural hole in the rocks at one end of the beach and filled it with coals, and so the fun began.
Mark and Simon walk to town for beers and Ketchup.
This evening we were a full complement of nine people for dinner: Mark, Simon, James, Tony, Krys, Julia, Elia, Annabel and Kirstin. Mark and I decided to try and walk to town and find beers and ketchup for the bbq – but we werent sure quite how far that would be, as the town was on the other side of the bay, and because of trees etc, we couldnt see much on our side. Anyway, we set off, Mark with camera in hand, happily
snapping away a series of great photographs. Several police cars passed us heading back towars our bbq, but we pushed on. Eventually the old town came into view, and we found the elderly residents of the town all sitting on comfortable chairs on the pavement in front of their houses, catching the sunset breezes. It was quite an interesting local phenomenon to see everyone sitting outside, mostly separately, just relaxing. We were lucky to find a grocery store and got all the tiems required including plastic cups.
The fishing boat beer trip!!
At that point in time, we were heavily laden with supplies, and I decided to cheekily chance my luck with the local fishing boats and beg for a boat ride back across the bay to our BBQing friends – the very first boat said yes! Before we knew it, we were on board the small fishing craft and motoring back across the bay, to the joyful amazement of all – and just in time for dinner!
Guardia Civil Police BBQ Gate Crashers
As it turned out, the police had visited whilst Mark and I were off hunting suplies. The “Guardia Civil” In fact TWO different cars had arrived at different times to try and prevent our motley crew from lighting fires
and bbq’ing on the beach. I was not there at the time, but apparently they ladies charmed and argued in equal measure, and insisted that since the fire was already properly lit, and the food on the grill, couldnt they just finish cooking the teensy bit longer officer? Pleeeeease?
And so we won the standoff – the police didnt give us a direct order to cease, so we cooked all the sausages and chicken legs – and they were wonderful! The drinks started flowing too, and by this time it was well and truly dark, maybe 10.30pm as we sat and laughed around our illegal coal fire on the rocks.
Outboard Motors – always a nightmare
We refuled the dinghy this same afternoon, and I suspect there was a quality difference in the fuel cannisters – because sure enough, the outboard started to fail. Up until this point, it had been by far our best outboard dinghy motor in recent years (a 4 horsepower Yamaha 4 stroke outboard) and we’d been happy with it. But suddenly it was running like a sick dog, refusing to idle and stalling at low revs. We got half the boat crew back to the yacht, but James and Tony had to row back for the other crew – and it was a good several hundred metres to the beach bbq! The curse of the outboard motor..
Drinks and Dancing on Deck – quite a party
Everyone was well fed and in good spirits after our beach bbq went so successfully – the stereo was cranked up loud with good mix of music, and the girls took over the preparqtion of cocktails and various drinks for everyone.
Lots of jokes and funny stories, and 9 people dancing jumping and carrying on til well past midnight. Krys and Julia decided it was a good idea to swim to the nearest flashing green channel marker and climb up onto it. Perhaps the gin had been slightly more generously poured than we realised! Anyway, everyone kept safe and well, and a good time was had by all.
August 20, 2012
Day 3 – Pollensa to Cala Ratjada.
Monday 20th August 2012
Moving the Boat in the Morning – Breeze whipped up.
Mark and I were up for an earlyish start once again – and with the breeze changing direction, our boat had swung around and was much nearer to another yacht on a fixed mooring. Fixed moorings swing in much smaller arcs than yachts on anchor chains, so it took us by surprise – and whilst not in imminent danger, we decided to simply up and motor away for an early start while all the rest of the boat slumbered peacefully.
Motoring to Alcudia
Mark was keen to see Alcudia, so without any real consultation, we early risers headed in that direction, around the next headland – no breeze really, so we just ticked along with the engine at about 1500rpm, motoring along slowly once again. Another scorching hot day. Eventually everyone on the boat was awake, and so we stopped for a swim near the point that separates Pollensa bay for Alcudia Bay. It was time to test out the inflatable 3 person lilo style floating seat, and it proved to be a hit! The small cove where we had dropped anchor for our quick swim was suddenly over-run by a giant tourist motor catamaran, who brought in a boat load of perhaps 100 tourists for a 20 minute swim – and it was then followed by several more day trippers on other ferries and catamarans. On the East Coast of Mallorca, we soon realised that this was a frequent sight every day, in every bay. James has seen research that suggests Mallorca is the most visited small island in the world, and guess what? They all take day trips on motor cats!
Alcudia Close – rope drag and swim on the way!
We were a short distance from Alcudia where we had decided to try and find more blocks of ice and a few supplies – but it was just so hot, that Julia suggested a “rope drag swim” which we have done in previous years. Basically running a long dragging mooring line from the back of the boat, in which James ties multiple non-slipping hand loops, every 2 metres, we can drag up to 6 people along at the same time. Its always highly enjoyable and a cause of much amusement as people try to hold on, keep their heads above water, and not lose their simming costumes. Marks waterproof Go-Pro camera caught some good footage, and I will try to link back to this. At some stage!
Alcudia marina shopping stop – Marks espresso nap, the girls go shopping
We droped anchor just at the mouth to the Alcudia marina, and dinghied several crew to the fuel point (Julia, Elia, Krys and Tony) to go and hunt for groceries. Mark, James and I then went to find a postbox, and a cafe. It was just so hot, we were all totally drenched with sweat – this really is a low wind / ultra hot / high pressure system weather kind of week! AFter I found the postbox, I wandered back to the marina to find Mark having a nap in the shady cafe. No surprise there. The girls came back with a trolley of groceries, and we also added 8 whole bags of ice to the boat. After a lengthy gelato and cafe break, we got back underway, as our plan was to make it to Cala Ratjada by Monday evening.
This was particularly important, because we had to tell TWO more girls which port to go to after they fly in today (Monday – Kirstin was to arrive at Palma Airport about 2pm, and Annabel was to arrive at the airport about 11pm).
Swimming Pool in the Fridge
James had to do a draining of the ice box – manually scooping out the melt water – as there was no plug hole or auto drain! After 3 days, and a lot of ice blocks, the melted water can really get deep!
Where is Kirstin?!?!?!
We had sent a text to Kirstin to let her know to get transport to Cala Ratjada – but had heard nothing back from her. When caling, her phone kept going straight to voice mail. Ok, this is a slight problem, as she doesnt necessarily know where we are! Eventually she phoned to explain her mobile phone battery has failed, but she knew how to get to Cala Ratjada and would meet us there.
Cala Ratjada – Kirstin and Annabel Joining us at some stage!
Finally we had a nice breze, so the sails came up for a few hours and our first proper sail for the week.
We eventually noticed another boat ahead of us, and realised they were also making for Cala Ratjada – and having sailed into that port 5 years ago, we knew there were hardley any berths – so the race was on! We made some good ground on the other boat for a while, but there was a point where they clearly, suddenly realised that we were trying to beat them into port, and suddenly for both boats it was sails down, motoring in high revs and straight lines for a sprint finish! There is a small island near the entrance to Cala Ratjada as you approach from the north, and they went the long way around it. So after carefuly checking our depth charts, we cut inside it, and made up a lot of ground on them, and now had the inside track, as it was a 90 degree turn to Starboard as you motor around the sea wall, into the Cala.
It was not to be, however, as the Germans in their 50 foot Beneteau 509 was brand new with a VERY powerful engine, and they stormed around the outside of our 49 foot 2004 Bavaria in a photo finish. We had to yield, and back off, as we had now entered the 3 knot speed limited zone (Mark was ridiculously happy that the sign says “3 NUDOS” for 3 knots). We had lost the race, and the marinero said we would have to raft up alongside the baot that beat us. However, we pointed to the very end of the sea wall, and suggested to him that we were willing to go Port side to the last stretch of wall, leaving our bow sitting slightly out past the end of the wall – the marinero agreed, so it was mooring lines and spring lines from Port to pier. There was a climbing ladder attached to the pier there, so we had to use 4 fenders around this ladder as it protruded out the furthest towards our side.
Cala Ratjada 60 Euros port side to pier
The marinero charged us 60 Euros to tie up like that, but we got shore electricity, water, as well as access to the showers and toilets block, so we were happy.
Kirstin had – incredibly – also arrived at the marina at 7.15pm after catching several connecting local buses, for a total cost of only 9 euros (!!!) to cross the whole island, from Palma to Cala Ratjada, but it took several hours, and she had to really fight the queues for her seat. Her timing was perfect! She actually saw our boat come in racing against the Germans, and we found her within 60 seconds of tying up to the pier.
Pasta Shells and Bolognaise – Julia and Sous Chef Elia
We were in for an amazing as the girls got into their cooking – now for 8 of us – and they served us up with the most delicious pasta bolognaise with garlic and onions!
Drinks by the water and Annabel joins us at 1am. Taxi 120 euros, on a metered taxi!
That was an expensive journey, but there were no other bus options that late at night.
We found a waterfront bar called Bora Bora, and dug in for a few drinks. James met with a few friends that were also travelling on the isalnd, so there were about 12 of us having a drink. Cala Ratjada is a very a small bay with regards to available moorings / berths for yachts, but it certainly doesnt lack for nightlife and restaurants!
Sleeping on deck was once again the choice for me – and now that Annabel had joined us, we had 9 on board this 5 cabin yacht.
The Bavaia 49 had a good layout: 2 rear double cabins. 2 mid twin bunk cabins, and 1 forward double cabin, so we could easily accommodate the crew of 9 (or 10)
End of Day 3 – quite late.
August 19, 2012
Sunday 19th August 2012. Soller to Pollensa.
****NOTE: WE sail many trips each year, and ALWAYS need one to four adventurers to join us and help fill a boat. Usually take between 7 and 11 people for the week **** If YOU ever want o join us, or to be notifed of our upcoming sailing trips, please get in touch
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The morning glide out of Soller
Mark and I had decided late Saturday night that we would make an earlyish start and have the boat out of Soller by 8am. Mark kicked me awake at 7.50am this clear Sunday morning, and we were right on track! It was going to be another estimated 40 NM for us to round the far NorthEast tip of Mallorca, aiming to get to Puerto de Pollensa before evening.
For some reason the were two naval ships anchored in Soller – they appeared to have UK Naval Markings, and UK personnel on board, but they were flying Spanish flags – I’m not much up on ensign and flag etiqutte, but perhaps they were flying a Spanish flag out of courtesy? Anyone know about this kind of thing? We also heard what we think was the Spanish National Anthem at 8am, but again, not sure.
Jimmys Wax Ear Plugs
James loves his sleep. And he knows how to maximise it using eye mask (blinders) and wax moldable ear plugs, so he was slumbering happily, obliviously for a few more hours after Mark and I had got the boat underway.
Sadly though, still not a breath of wind, and we had a long way to go, so the motor was on. However, since we had a nice early start, we ticked over at much lower RPM than yesterday – probably about 1600rpm, and a much more leisurely pace.
Swimming by the “Skillion”
MArk and I both spotted a stunning cliff landmark at the same time – Ill try to include a picture – but it reminded me of a sloping cliff Ive often visited in Australia (Central Coast of New South Wales, near Avoca, the cliff is called “The SKillion”). Mark decide it was time to do his favourite type of deeep water motor swimming where we take turns swimming while one of us motors in circles at idle speed, without anchoring.
Love it! I swam ashore to the cliffs, but they were extremely sheer, and so it was all I could do to cling on to a small ledge for a few minutes, but there was nowhere to climb up any further. The water was a dark, clear blue, and deep – the sheer cliffs seemed to continue straight down below the water level, so the yacht could come right up close if we wanted to.
Jimmys Gym Routine
James loves his physical workouts, and he has devised a series of excercises that he can do using various parts of the boat. Pushups, situps, tricep dips, stretches, step-lunges, the works- its a really vigorous routine, and all of us drank tea and ate biscuits and watched him go through the gruelling gym regime for about 40 minutes. Inspired, Mark went and got some cold beers.
Not another Boat in Sight
We had been the only boat to motor from Palma to SOller on Saturday. And again on Sunday, there was not a single other boat in sight as we motored along the sheer cliffs heading North East – so based on not seeing anyone else for these two days, I’m tempted to suggest that we were the ONLY boat attempting to fully circumnavigate Mallorca in a clockwise direction this week. That made us all feel very adventurous and brave indeed!
Cala de San Vicenc
The Blue Water! Catching a lobster \ crayfish??
This good sized bay has some of the most wonderfully blue coloured water I’ve ever seen. White sandy bottom washed over by a glowing light blue sea – its really beautiful. Make sure you visit here! As we were swimming about, I noticed what appeared to be a lobster on the sand below the boat – and so James grabbed a champagne bucket, took a deep breath and swam down 5 metres to try and catch it. The creature swam backwards with a seried of body and tail flicks, out of the bucket and away from James, at quite a good speed.
Eventually, after several more deep breaths and a mesh washing bag, James was able to bring the lobster to the surface. He wasnt very big.. and sadly, was clearly missing a few legs. I suspect that our anchor chain may have originally dragged over him when we first arrived, so after a photo opportunity, we let the poor little fellow go.
A fairly strong local sea breeze whipped up as we swam and dawdled in this gorgeous bay – and we had been a little careless in not putting out much anchor chain initially – and soon it became clear that we were physically dragging our anchor and had moved a considerable distance over the hour or so – this was a bit of a shock and a wake up call – luckily we had dragged away from land and rocks, and into the centre of the bay – but it was a stark reminder as to how easy ones anchor can drag if insufficient chain is used, and conditions change. Imagine if that had been during the night?
Eventualy we rounded the northernmost tip of Mallorca, and turned around it to come into the bay to Pollensa, late on Sunday afternoon. We were expecting Elia to be joining us on Sunday evening, and texted her the location, so she knew where to meet us. We anchored in the bay, as close to the marina as we dared.
It was very shallow throughout the whole area, barely 3 metres deep. Mark and I dinghied ashore for a scouting mission to find a supermarket for new supplies etc, but our initial investigations were in an an area where everything was shut on a Sunday. So we then decided to try the more touristy centre part of the bay where shops and restaurants were all still open – success! We were a little surprised when a flying boat / aeroplane landed in the bay behind where we had anchored – but at least we then understood what all of the marker buoys had been there for!
The Dodgy Inflatable:
James, Jules, Tony and Krys had wandered off amongst the tat and tourist shops and found a big 3 to 4 person inflatable toy raft – always good fun – but the safety instructions were written as diagrams – and they were the most bizarre diagrams you could ever imagine! We had a good old time laughing about what each of the diagrams could possibly mean – Ill try to add a photo below, and you can see for yourself – let me know your various interpretations..
Elia Joins the Boat – Jammy Bus Ride!!
We were about to choose a restaurant when Elia called – she was already in Pollensa, much sooner than we had expected! Instead of paying for a private taxi, or taking the circuitous public bus routes, Elia had boldly marched up to a Thompsons Holiday Tour Bus, and offered them ten euros to take her – they said yes! WHat an awesome move by Elia – saving hours, and about 85 euros! I was super impressed – and she was in time to eat with us at a waterfront restaurant. Julia and I shared a mixed paella – it was delicious! James had squids stuffed with various items, which he seemed to enjoy, and the others had quite a random selection from the menu.
Disarrono and Drinks
Dinghying back to the boat in shifts (with Elia now on board, we had a total of 7 for this fine Sunday evening), it was time for an onboard glass of Disarrono on ice, and a very pleasant evening was had by all. It was still so warm and mild that once again, I slept on the cockpit seats above deck, in great comfort.
End Day 2 (Sunday 26 Aug 2012), at Puerto de Pollensa
August 18, 2012
Mallorca 18th August 2012, Saturday
Woke in the 5th floor apartment in the back streets of Palma Mallorca. James and Jules in room. It was a very small, cheap room we had found on AirBnB, Headache, but slept ok, considering the stifling heat.
The host had a well stocked breakfast cupboard, if you like bread and jam, but it served.
Hailing a taxi proved to be much more difficult than we had anticipated – the three of us standing on a street corner at 10am on a hot Saturday morning, with all of our luggage for the sailing trip. After attempting to phone the taxi company several times, with no success, and a full hour of of frustration, I decided to phone our sailing buddy Mark, who was staying downtown in a fancy waterfront hotel. Mark got straight on to his hotel concierge to book us a taxi. That worked a TREAT! Within minutes an airconditioned car was rescuing us from our sweaty dusty street corner. Mark was our favourite friend for today!
By the time we meet with all of our crew, there will be nine keen sailors on the 49 Bavaria, but on day 1, today, its just going to be five: Me (Simon), James (our eternal skipper), Julia (fellow Aussie living in London), Mark (our random Gumtree ad crew member, who has now sailed with us 5 times), and Krys (Marks friend, who has sailed with us once before).
The sprint from Palma to Soller.
We didnt know if we could get all the way around (clockwise) from Palm to Soller on the first Saturday afternoon, but if we could, it would make the rest of our weeks circumnavigation of the island so much easier. HOwever, since Tony was flying in at 5pm – it was touch and go to let him know whether to get a taxi to join our boat at Soller, or to the closer Porto Andraitx. Racing the sun!
All of the blogs we had researched online suggested that getting from Palma to Soller in one hop was not the commonly done thing. Our estimates using Google Earth and Navionics show it to be about 42 nautical miles around that Southwest route to Soller. Puerto Andraitx was less than halfway to SOller, and most suggested thats as far as you should attempt on the Saturday.
Supermercado – Mercadona!
It was a scorching hot Saturday, about midday by the time we got to the Marina. We’ve had disappointing first day experiences in previous years when the first day charter boat is not available until 5pm or later, so this year, we had been phoning, texting, emailing, and now visiting the charter company to BEG them to have the boat ready at an earlier time of day. We were pleasantly surprised to find that things were cleaned and ready for us, and it looked like we would have the papaers singed and technical inspection completed by 2.30pm, ready to sail. Jules, James and I decided to do our first big shoping, and dashed across the road, up a massive flight of steps and after 5 minutes walk found a big Mercadona for our shopping – but it was built up a big hill above the marina – getting back down was going to be interesting. (Shopping list was roughly: 30 litres of water, various other beverages, and then loads of chorizo, salami, cheese, bread, onions, and so on). First shop was 163 euros, but that should keep us wel stocked on food and essentials for
a few days. James looked at the google maps on his phone – there was no way we could get this totally loaded trolley down the staeps we came up – so we had to walk and push / cajole the wayward trolley along the road, and wind our way down the hairpins and turns on the hill – and a lot of card trying to pass us. It was quite a comedy, but a bit stressful and far too hot. It was 25 mins of trolley dragging before we made it back, sweating and exhausted, to the marina.
The Mythical Lifejackets.
Our wishful thinking had led us to bleive that a 2.30 start was possible – and it nearly was – until our inventory check revealed there were no lifejackets on board the boat. None at all! The marina staff were the best part of an hour trying to finf us a full set of lifejackets, so it wasnt until 3.30 that we were ready.
I forgot to check time until later, but I estimate we left the marina at 3.45pm.
Now the pressure was REALLY on! Sunset was going to be at 8.40pm, and we knew that with luck, the twilight would hold us safely until 9.15, so that gave us 5 and a half hours of motoring time to get all the way around to Soller – 42NM.
Heading out of Palma, the afternoon breeze picked up out of nowhere, and we regretted not having enough time to up sails and enjoy the breeze – but we were in a rush to get past Andraitx before Tonys flight landed at Palma, so we could let him know which port we had decided to make for. For the first hour, we were motoring at about 7.8 knots with quite a choppy swell on our Port beam. Once we rounded the southwest point, the wind moved around directly behind us, and combined with the swell, we were making a very nice 8.5 knots, up to an occasional 9.6 knots, as we surfed on the front of some swells.
Making the decision
AS we rounded another point and Porto Andraitx came into view, we played a mental calculation game where we each estimated the amount of time required to make it to Soller, given the distance, speed and conditions we had encountered so far. It was already 6pm, and we had about 24 nautical miles to go before SOller horbour.
James estimated 8.45pm. Krystyna went for 8.52pm. I suggested it would be 9.08pm.
Navigating by Burger King
Several tourist maps had been collected when we landed at Palma airport – and it was interesting to open them up and get a feel for the towns and locations around the island – however one of the maps listed all the Burger Kings on the island with large symbols – whilst leaving off several key features and locations!
Still, the map did come in handy.
Fixing the Music
By this stage, Mark had attempted to connect an iPod to the yachts stereo system – and to our horror we discovered the external speakers didnt work at all – the music only played below decks in the saloon and rooms! Panic and dismay set in, until James pulled apart the instrument panels and found that the speaker wires were not even connect at the back! Who knows how long this charter boat had been sailed without being able to play good tunes from the cockpit? Unthinkable! We were al very pleased indeed when James was able to reconnect them, and enjoyed a spontaneous round of aplause when the first song came through, beautifully loud and clear!
Anchoring at Soller
The race was certainly on – the sun set at about 8.40pm, and we were still a few miles out of Soller – so the motor was kept on at about 2500rpm, buring more fuel than we would have liked, but the twilight was deepening. As we rounded the last headland and the Bay of Soler opened up before us, it was a truly beautiful sight. Several ofus had been to SOller at various times, but we had apraoched from land, and so it was a wonderful feeling to sail in from the sea – cameras were out and snapping shots in the dying light.
CHorizo and Onions
One of my favourite things is cooking. Im very basic, and badly self-taught, but I just love to cook.
Tonight I was lucky enough to have Julia showing me how she likes to do choizo, onions and Capsicums (most people call them peppers in the UK and Europe), with big slices of fried bread in olive oil – it was WONDERFUL!
Soller was a beautifu, almost circular bay – but we were not sure where Tony was going to be waiting. Tony had managed to situate himself ina cafe where he couldnt see any navigable landmarks, so when he phoned and spoke to Mark, they had an amusing, if frustrating conversation, along the lines of:
Mark: “Hi Tony, can you see the big Hotel Eden?”
Tony: “No, but im noear a guitarist who is playing some good Bob Dylan”
Mark: “Hmm ok… can you see the big white cranes by the boatyard”
Tony: “No.. I can see some boats and a boatyard. oh hang on, i’m under the cranes!”
It took a lot more to-ings and fro-ings before Mark and James dinghied ashore and found him, but Tony was finally on board the Merengue!
Tonys taxi from Palma to Soller
For info, Tony had opted for a private taxi, and it cost him 60 euros to get from Palma Airport to Puerto Soller (essentially 50 euros plus a 10 euro toll charge for a tunnel through the mountain. Good info for anyone self driving!)
The Muppet Rope
After dinner and a few drinks on board, we decided to dinghy ashore and wander the SOller waterfront – but after about 50 metres our outboard stopped instantly, without warning. Like a total muppet, I had let go of the mooring rope at th front of the dinghy but it had slipped forward of the boat and into the water… wrapping itself around the propeller! Luckily it came ndone reasonably easily, but James amed it the “Muppet Rope” and so it was known as the muppet rope for the rest of the trip. And I was the Muppet.
More Beers needed – no Supermercado!
Mark does take particular pleasure in sipping on a cold beer in teh afternoons, but our first shopping trip had not stacked up on many cold ones, and all the Supermarcado shops were closed in Soller – so we had a slight logistical problem. HOwever, we managed to find a bar / restaurant who was willing to sell us 20 cold cans of Heinekens at a very reasonable price, so our luck was in, and the fridge was going to be well stocked for tomorrow.
JUlias first brush with a “Spanish Pour” was in Soller – this is where they drop in some chunky ice cubes, and proceed to “free pour” the Gin (or other spirit) over the ice for several seconds, until it covers the ice – theres no measuring devices or nozzles, its just a scarily big pour of spirits, and can really get the party started.
Sleeping on Deck
It was such a warm evening, and the interior of the boat was still several degrees warmer again – so I decided to keep the bimini up and sleep on the cockpit long seats – it was just perfect! Cool enough and dry, I slept there up above for the entire week!
End DAy 1!
August 16, 2012
Its only a day until I fly to Mallorca. and I thought Id share a little trick I’ve discovered for finding cheaper flight options.
I like to check several websites, but then compare things to SkyScanner:
The TRICK is to select your flight dates and airports, hit search, then scroll DOWN the results until you see a hidden tick box on the left hand panel, saying “NONPROTECTEDTRANSFERS” and select this option.
If you are not in a ruch, and dont mind travelling via a third country and sometimes waiting a few hours for a transfer, this can save a LOT of money on your flights.
Worth looking at this option!
Not long til my trip – chat sooon
PS the photo attached shows a rainbow over the bay at Korcula, Crotia – I was sailing there in 2010 (on the way back from Dubrovnik heading to Split) when a sudden storm hit the town, and passed just as quickly – leaving the amazing rainbow over the harbour. Its just a shame my dodgy camera couldnt capture the colours in better quality!
PPS – the other amazing thing was that EVERY child in the town was down at the waterfront pools playing waterpolo and training for hours – no wonder that Croaita is so successful in Waterpolo!
August 13, 2012
James and I have been doing some research about sailing around Mallorca – we have found a few lightly worded web pages that suggest its easily achievable in a 1 week charter.
For example, this website has a sample 1 week itinerary for sailing around the island:
Suggested 1week itinerary
DAY 1 : Embark at the marina in Palma. In the afternoon sail to Puerto Andraitx (17nm)
DAY 2 :Puerto Soller (25nm) is carved out between spectacular mountains and the only port on the rocky west coast. Take the tram to the old town up in the mountains.
DAY 3 :Puerto Pollensa (35nm) is on the north coast where the wild rugged coastline gives way to many sheltered anchorages.
DAY 4 :Cala Rajada (25nm) is small fishing village and on a longer trip the gateway to Menorca, just 21nm away.
DAY 5 :Cala D’Or (18nm) is a beautiful triple bay with pine covered hills and white sandy beaches.
DAY 6 :Cabrera Island (30nm) is south of Mallorca, now a Nature Reserve with a beautiful bay for excellent snorkelling.
DAY 7 : Return to Palma (35 nm).