Sant Antioco, Sardinia

Sant Antioco is the larger of the two islands of the southwest coast of Sardinia.  We visited the town of Sant Antioco.  Yachts don’t as a rule go down here (so of course, we did!) as it’s a very narrow, shallow channel but it is marked with buoys.  At one point we went aground (our draft is 1.1m) but that was due to the fact that the port buoy (that’s the red one and should be to the left) we realised we had to leave to starboard (that’s to the righthand side).  There were a lot of windsurfers about on this particular day and one of the locals took pity on us and told us to follow him around this particular section.  You could see the sandbanks, and there were a lot of them.  I was all for going back to deeper water, but no, we are from the East Coast of England, we are used to this, I was told.  It was, I have to admit, worth it when we got there, very picturesque.  It was very sheltered and we anchored in 1.5m of water.  Just a few hundred yards away though there was a guy walking in the water only up to his knees.   The local were very friendly the fishermen gave us an enthusiastic wave each time they passed us.

It was a very small town but surprisingly there was more to see than the usual church.  We went off in search of the Villaggio Ipogeo which are cavernous tombs which were taken over by the islanders in the middle ages and were lived in until the 1930’s.

We followed the directions on the map, but only came to the Fort Sabaudo which was locked.  I was sure that it didn’t shut in the middle of the day.  We eventually found the ticket office.  We paid for our tickets to three venues, the Villaggio Ipogeo, Fort Sabaudo and the Ethnographical museum.  We were told “uno momento”, not quite sure what we were waiting for, after five minutes one of the ladies from the office took us and one other couple off down the street.  We came to a gate which the lady unlocked and in we all went to the Villaggio Ipogeo.  The village had been dug by the Carthaginians since the 6th century BC to create tombs to bury their dead.  It is calculated that there were more than 1500 underground tombs here.

Then we leave the village, the lady locks the gate up and off we wander along a couple more streets to the Fort Sabaudo, where she again unlocks the gate and in we go.  Fort Sabaudo, which is known locally as “su pisa” started construction in 1812 and was completed in 1815.

Once we had finished looking around here, the gate was locked up behind us and we are taken through several streets back to the ticket office which is where the Ethnographical museum is situated.  Again the door was unlocked and in we go.  The museum contains objects that were used in the 19th century.

D3. Strivers for the Virgin Strive Challenge - Aug 2018Looking across to the quayside I can see some banners flying and a blow-up arch, then lots of shouting in English.  People were coming through on bikes.  Hmm something is going on, so good old Google again and it transpired that it was the “Virgin Strive Challenge” which started in Cagliari and their first stop was the town of Sant Antioco on the island of Sant Antioco which is joined to the mainland of Sardinia by a bridge.  The challenge is in five stages and finishes at the summit of Mont Blanc.  Amongst the participants was Richard Branson himself, his son Sam and daughter Holly who are part of the Core Team and will be joined by up to 200 stage participants.  The Big Change Charity is raising money through The Strive Challenge for projects working with young people to thrive in life.  Wandering around town in the evening the group were having dinner at a local restaurant.

We were due to leave Sant Antioco on Sunday 2nd September but we’d heard our Cartagena neighbours on Arctic Fern were heading across from Menorca to Callasetta on the north of island, so we decided to stay another day and meet up with them the following day.  we were so glad we did.  As with most events we have discovered along our trip, it’s normally been by seeing people or boats starting to gather.  Earlier that morning one of the small motor boats alongside us had come along and put some bunting on his boat, I rightly or wrongly assumed this was to keep the birds off his boat, as there are a lot of them.  Off he went and then about 5 o’clock he appeared again along with some other people and motored off.  Then another boat appeared.  Couldn’t find anything on Google so out came the binoculars and I could see further into town there were crowds gathered.  Not wanting to miss the action we jumped in the dinghy and off we went to see what the commotion was.  It transpired it was a procession for Santa Maria.  We stood about waiting with the rest of the crowd for the effigy of the Virgin Mary and baby to arrive, which was by boat, as is the case with a lot of these festivals.

The start of the parade was waiting ahead of us, so we decided to get to the beginning so we could see all of it.  Now Ian has taken to walking slower than a snail, which means I have to keep stopping as it’s really hard to walk that slow!  Today he was a man possessed and he was faster than a hare and I struggled to keep up with him.

Once the parade had finished we decided to get something to eat.  I decided to have a pizza, which was enormous and really would be sufficient for two, but I struggled through.  We then wandered back into the main square and there was a jazz band playing just to finish the evening off.

The following day we headed off for the short journey to Callasetta.

 

 

September 2018

Stormy Sardinia

Beautiful Bosa

The next place we visited was Bosa.  We anchored just off the breakwater opposite Porto de Bosa.  The town of Bosa is a 15 minute dinghy ride along the River Temo.  There is a bay on the other side of where we were but you can’t anchor overnight so we settled down or so we thought.  Along came the Coastguard and moved us and five other boats round to the bay, and we managed to understand that we could come back at 9pm, puzzled as to what was going on but we did as we were told, yes even Ian.  From 8.30pm onwards small motor boats started arriving, “heads up” something is going on.  All was revealed when we heard the first loud bang, fireworks.  Very nice of them to welcome us!  We stayed the night here and moved back to our original anchorage the next morning.

 

 

Bosa is a very picturesque town, with brightly coloured houses up the hillside and Serravalle Castle at the top.  It was a very steep walk up to the top (and hot) but the views of the river were stunning.

A Carnival is held in February and they revive it in August for the tourists, so we thought we’d stay and watch this.  We found ourselves a front row seat in a restaurant.  However, it isn’t the same as the February one, it wasn’t a parade just people dressed up wandering around, but always interesting to people watch.

We spent a week here and had a few more thunderstorms and plenty of rain.  At least the boat was still nice and clean.  It could be lovely and within minutes all hell broke loose.

Tharros

The anchorage at Tharros was part of a national park and had mooring buoys laid which you needed a permit for which is available online.  The only issue was the form to download was only available in Italian or French, how did we manage without Google Translate.  So for €32 we were able to use the mooring buoys for no additional charge.  This area had Posidonia sea grass and you must not anchor on it as it is protected.  You can be fined if you do.  The police regularly cruise this area, it was a first to see them on jet skis.  We stayed here for longer than we had wanted to but more on that later………………..

We were anchored opposite the Ruins at Tharros which is believed were probably founded by the Phoenicians at the end of the 8th century BC, then by the Punics followed by the Romans.

There was a very small village just a short dinghy ride away, San Giovanni, where there was a beach and little else but two restaurants and of course, a church.

We had more thunderstorms here, one particularly bad one with 35 knots of wind, torrential rain, thunder and lightning on our second day but we were on a mooring buoy and it held fast.  When we arrived Ian had dived down onto the mooring buoy to see if it was ok.  The lines looked ok but couldn’t get far enough down to check the concrete block.

D1. Thunder clouds, Tharros 14.8.18.

After being here we realised there was a bus from San Giovanni into Oristano about 35 minutes away.  So off we went to have a mooch around on Saturday morning.  The weather became a bit overcast and we had some rain but nothing major.  We were just waiting for a museum to open and sheltering from the rain when Ian received a phone call, an Italian number.  It was someone from the Marine park who we’d got the permit from to say “there is a problem with your boat”.  Shocked was an understatement.  We were asked to get ourselves to his office in the next town, then a few minutes later he told us to stay where we were and he would come and collect us.  Thankfully he spoke fairly good English.  We got back to the boat where the coast guard was waiting for us.  The boat was now anchored in the seagrass.  We never quite to the bottom of exactly what had happened, but someone had jumped on the boat and stopped it drifting and dropped the anchor.  It transpired that the ubolt cast to the concrete block had rusted away.  It was a scary situation and very unlucky for us.  Thankfully there was no damage to the boat.  We had to send a statement to the Coastguard about our movements on the day and were told we also had to report to the Coastguard in Cabras on Monday morning.  Monday morning we checked that we had the correct address and was told no need to now go to the Coast guard, so we could have left Tharros the day before.  Lovely place but we were glad to move on.

Carloforte, Isola di San Pietro

In Carloforte there is a town quay where we were able to moor up alongside which was a relief after the incident in Tharros.  It is also nice to be able to step onto dry land straight from the boat once in a while.

We had to report into the Coastguard to get authorisation to stay there and we had to buy “una marco di bolo” which is a stamp for tax which was €16 from a local newsagent.  We liked it so much and there were some strong winds coming through so we decided to stay a few more days so we had to go through the whole process of getting more authorisation but happy to do that for a total of €32 for a week’s berth.  Marinas are ridiculously expensive at this time of year plus us being a Catamaran makes it even more so, which means we don’t use them as a general rule at this time of year.  Carloforte is the only town on the Island and has ferries from the other island and the mainland of Sardinia, which brings in lots of day trippers.  Again we had more storms here, with some terrific thunder and lightning.  So much for no rain in August.  Carloforte is a pretty town with narrow cobbled streets.  While we were here there was a beer festival with live music one evening and a fashion show the following night.  It still surprises me how often we’ve found events going on while we’ve been somewhere.

August 2018

Sardinia

Alghero

So, we are anchored outside the harbour at Alghero, along with Copy Cat, Karen and Ronnie.  We can hear someone shouting from the harbour wall, we couldn’t quite make out what he was saying to start with but he was telling us there was space on the Town Quay, which we had heard was free.  The next thing the guy is holding up a Union Jack.  We’d heard about the infamous “Christopher” who helped British people get a place on the Town Quay, much to the annoyance of the marinas.  Karen asked him if he was Christopher and he was very pleased to confirm he was.  Christopher loves everything British especially a cup of tea.  We hadn’t expected there to be any space in July so hadn’t bothered to go in.  Karen and Ronnie went off first and said they would let us know if there was room for us as well.  Shortly we got the nod that there was.  There is only room for two boats, as the rest of the quay is day tripper boats, so we were chuffed we got a space.

A3. Mahe Mates Alghero 25.7.18.

Before leaving Mahon, Menorca we had stocked up with provisions as far as possible, water and fuel as we’d been told that it wasn’t so easy to access these in Sardinia.  So here we are in Alghero on the Town Quay, a public water tap just 20metres, a petrol station 50 metres and a large supermarket just a five minute walk.  Couldn’t be easier!

One downside to being on the Town Quay is that it’s a bit like being in a goldfish bowl.  Lots of people stop to have a look and peer in, so we kept the cockpit nets down to give us some privacy.  The evenings were particularly busy.  The traders set up just outside the boat on the quayside.  We went for the dinner the first night with Karen and Ronnie and then came back and sat on a bench opposite the boats watching people looking at the boats, it was quite amusing particularly when they walk past the first one and then realise the second one is the same, they did a double take.

Alghero old town is very quaint with lots of little streets decorated with lanterns.

Alghero is a very old town and we had a walk around the medieval city walls.  The bastions are dedicated to great explorers – Columbus, Pigafetta, Magellan and Marco Polo.  Of course we had to have a look around the cathedral, I’ve lost count of the churches and cathedrals that we’ve visited on our travels.

While we were here there was a Beer Festival, with live bands.  The festival was held in the Forte della Maddelena, which is the only surviving fort of three built at the end of the 16th century to bolster the city’s land battlements.  The lighting behind the bands looked amazing

C1. Band at Beer festival, Alghero 26.7.18.

Pellosa

After a great time in Alghero we were heading up to the Fornelli Passage, well actually we went into the Pellosa passage which is south of the Isola Piana. Karen took a picture of us as we rounding the Cape from Algerho, it gives you an idea of the sheer height of it by the size of us alongside, our mast is 55 feet above the water.

C7. Cuffysark rounding the cape 28.7.18.

The water at Pellosa was like a swimming pool so beautifully blue.  Copy Cat had arrived with us but they only stayed the one night so we parted company with our Mahe Mates who we would probably see next in Sicily later in the year.

Porte Conte

Most people tend to go across to the East side of Sardinia, but no not us.  We decided that we would go down the West coast, as we have some friends visiting in September who we will meet in the South, we will then go up the East side and onto Corsica after that.  The west side is much quieter than the East, mainly locals and French.  Fellow sailors were finding that the anchorages on the East side were rammed.  This wasn’t the case for us.  So, we left Pellosa and headed back the way we’d come and found a very sheltered anchorage in the NE corner of Porto Conte.  The area we were in was large and we only counted seven boats at any one time, mostly it was just three or four but as can often happen when there’s plenty of room to anchor, a 65ft Catamaran came along and anchored right next to us.  Quite bizarre really but they were only there the one night.

All that was ashore was a couple of hotels, with a few restaurants and a bar which did have loud music one night.  We found just one restaurant behind the water front called Ile Galeone.  They were very welcoming and the food and drinks were very reasonable.  If you wanted fish you could choose what you wanted from the tray she brought out to you.  I watched the waitress holding out the fish for the table in front to have a look at including a long eel, so I decided on steak!  I was a bit taken aback at the size of it when my plate appeared.

We had our first Sardinian thunderstorm here, which was to be the first of quite a few over the next few weeks.  We are also trying to get used to a different language, our Spanish isn’t great but we were both begining to understand a bit more but it’s back to the drawing board again even with some words being the same or similar.

Arrivederci for now!

 

August 2018

 

 

Bye Bye Balearics, Buongiorno Sardinia

We left Alcudia, Majorca on 19th July and headed over to Mahon in Menorca. The first few hours we had to motor as there was very little wind but by midday the wind was about 10 knots or so and now a south easterly gave us enough wind to be able to switch off the engine and sail. After 10 and a half hours we dropped the anchor in the small and only anchorage in Mahon.

All great, out the way in the very shallow water, which we can do as we only need 1.1metres to float. The wind had got up and was blowing about 25 knots but that is not normally a problem. All OK until 3.30am and then an alarm rings out. S**t it’s the anchor alarm, we must be dragging. Oh boy, yes we were. We hit the boat behind with our bowsprit and managed to pull his anchor out and so he was now dragging too and then there were three of us all together. Ian sprung into action and managed to get us out the way quickly and so we dropped the anchor again. We waited to see if all was ok but after 15 minutes we were dragging again. Up the anchor comes and then dropped it again, it still would not set, this is a Rocna anchor (we only bought it in Gibraltar in October) that everyone raves about. We have another anchor, an aluminium Spade, which we have for occasions when you want an anchor to hold you in one direction so it’s dropped off the back of the boat. So out this came but we dropped it over the bow as this was going to be our primary anchor for the night. The Spade set with no problem whatsoever. All this in the pitch black. Ian and I took a turn to sit on anchor watch we weren’t taking any chances.

A0. Mahon Anchorage 22.7.18.

Mahon Anchorage – July 2018

Before the excitement of the night before we had already decided to go into one of the marinas in Mahon for the following night as we wanted to do a final stock up, fill up with water and fuel before our trip across to Sardinia. We’d been told it was not so easy to get provisions and water plus the diesel was a lot more expensive at €1.75 a litre. The marina was a few pontoons with one electric supply and one water supply on each of the pontoons so it was a bit of a fight to get use of them, all this for the princely sum of €83! We met up with our Mahe Mates, Karen and Ronnie on CopyCat who we’d last seen 9 months before in Faro, Portugal. It was great to see them after all this time. It was also reassuring being moored up after the antics of the previous night.

A1. Mahe Mates in Mahon Marina 22.7.18.

Mahe Mates, Copy Cat & Cuffysark, Mahon July 2018

We’d had rain which had lots of red sand in it so the boat was looking the dirtiest it had for a long time. Before we left the marina we gave the boat a clean and she was looking lovely again. We left shortly after to go back to the anchorage. A couple of hours later the clouds started building and yes you’ve guessed it rained and not just a little it was torrential and whilst raining the sun had the cheek to show its face, like it was smirking at us. Thankfully no red sand, so at least she stayed clean and we did get a rainbow.

A2. Rainbow at Mahon anchorage 22.7.18.

Rainbow after the rain, Mahon – July 2018

The guy, Ingmar, whose boat we had hit, was still there so we invited him and his partner, Elvyra over for a drink. Ingmar had been very understanding about our dragging and he had managed to polish the mark out of his boat and there was no other damage. We discovered they will also be in Licata for the winter so we will see them again.

Bye Bye Balearics

The time had come to say Adios to Espana and head off to Sardinia. We’d seen a lot of different parts of Spain and it’s a fabulous country, we will look back fondly at our time there.

A3. Ian watching the sun rise from Mahon 23.7.18.

Ian watching the sunrise after leaving Mahon – 23 July 2018

We left at 6am on Monday 23rd July 2018 with Copy Cat. We anticipated the trip would take between 30-35 hours, so this meant sailing overnight, my favourite pastime ….. NOT! So far, of our friends who had already done the trip no-one had managed much sailing. Well there has to be a first and yes it was us! By 7.30am the Asymmetric was up and it came down at 7.30pm. I didn’t want it flying at night, if there are problems it’s not a sail you want to be dealing with in the middle of the night in the dark. We had a full 12 hours. We were flying, we were getting regular speeds of between nine and ten knots for quite a lot of hours. There was quite a swell though 2 metres across our beam. We did a 100 nautical miles in 11 hours and 47 minutes, averaging 8.5 knots, hitting a top speed of 13.4 knots. Ian was in his element, and I quote

 “one of the best sails in years”.


We continued to sail through the night. Eventually by 5.30am we had to switch on the engine as the wind had died so much. We’d been under sail for 22 hours. We finally arrived in Alghero at 8am on Tuesday 24th July after 26 hours, so a pretty speedy crossing and we only burnt 8 litres of diesel. We averaged 7.5 knots and covered 190 miles. We dropped the anchor outside the harbour wall and hopped into bed to catch up on some sleep.

BTW I FORGOT TO MENTION ….. in my last blog the mini tsunami. This occurred during our time in Alcudia. We did notice the strong winds, so much so that we didn’t leave the boat that day, in particular because we had had problems setting our anchor. Anyhow we didn’t actually notice it, the only thing that was odd was that the boat at one stage didn’t swing into the wind, which is the norm. It transpired that some of the restaurants on the beach front were flooded and there was a boat in the harbour that we saw on YouTube looked like it was on an ice rink as it skidded sideways on the water, but a bit of a non event for us, thankfully.

July 2018

Around Majorca we go!

Santa Ponsa

B1. Santa Ponsa 29.6.18.We left Palmanova and took a short hop westward to Santa Ponsa which is a popular holiday destination.   We met up with yet another couple from Cartagena, Colin and Maggie, there were a lot of us there!    Ian spent some time cleaning the green slime that had accumulated on the bottom of the boat. It’s a hard life I know.

 

The Puig de sa Morsica Arachaelogical park is here, so off we went to explore!  It gave great views of Santa Ponsa and the surrounding areas.

Banyalbufar

From here we were making our way up to Soller but on the way spotted a lovely village on the hillside called Banyalbufar.  There was only room for one boat in the bay so we dropped anchor.  We went ashore and walked into the village which was a very steep incline.  There were terraces of vineyards.  It was a beautiful.  The area was famous for the cultivation of the Malvasia grape variety for wine production, which modern vintners in Banyalbufar are now successfully re-establishing. We stopped for a glass of local wine and I can confirm it was very nice and so much so I had a second glass!  Very reasonable too.

Soller

Our next stop was Soller on 5th Jul.  This was the first place we had arrived the previous month, 2nd June, from the mainland, Mataro (Barcelona).  We met up with Mark and Nikki here who live there in the summer (we met them in Cartagena, yes more from our winter community).  Maggie and Colin were also here.  We stayed a few days here and watched more football, England v Sweden in a local bar.

Every Thursday and Friday night here they have a “FoodFest on Wheels” at La Base.  We wandered along the far end of the marina quay side, through a car park and then behind large containers was the bar with small sofas laid out and a big screen to watch more football, this time the Brazil v Belgium.  We wondered where our map was taking us but so glad we found it.  There were various vans selling tapas, burgers and fish and chips.  Once the football was finished the band began which was jazz.  They were playing in front of the Superyachts, AKA “Gin Palaces”.  It was a great night!

Cala da san Vicente

Time to make tracks again, so off we went.  The coastline is quite dramatic along here.  We anchored in Cala de san Vicente, which is small tourist resort.  This was a beautiful little cala with crystal clear blue water.  We spent two nights here.  Ian put up his big sunshade, which I was bit wary about as I was thinking I might have to sit in the dingy to get any sun!  Any way it was fine as one half of the front was nicely shaded and the other half not, so were both happy!  I don’t sit in the sun as much as you would think I do, now that we have pretty much unlimited sun, but when we are in anchorage as stunning as this it’s nice to catch some rays.

Pollensa

A1. Port de Pollensa 14.7.18.We next headed to Puerto de Pollensa, which was quite different to where we’d left.  It was a big bay and quite windy that day.  We needed to get water and we’d been advised to tie along where the lift out crane was.  As we hovered, along came the marinero on his bike and directed us to the fuel berth in the marina.  The guy there told us he was too busy and to come back later.  Ian smiled nicely, yes I know, and he changed his mind and directed us to a quay on the other side and told us to wait over there.  As we tied up another marinero arrived on his push bike, connected us to the water and took our €10.  We filled up the tanks, our water carriers, solar bag and whilst this was happening we both had a shower so we would replenish the water we used and also gave the boat a wash over which is a luxury when you’ve been on anchor as you can’t use precious fresh water it has to be salt water.  We don’t have a water maker and you don’t know where the next place will be where you can get water so you have to be careful with it.

The town of Pollensa was a short bus ride.  This is a very historic town with lots of little narrow streets with many of the houses having been built in the 17th and 18th centuries.  We climbed the “365 Calvari Steps”, one for every day of the year, which hopefully worked off some of our lunch.  At the top was the Calvario Chapel. and fourteen three-metre-high crosses, evoking the ordeal that, according to Christian tradition, Jesus Christ suffered on the way to his crucifixion on Mount Golgotha.

We took the road route down from the church to the Roman bridge, it is one of the few remaining examples of Roman presence and crosses the Torrente de Sant Jordi.

We watched the last of the various football games here but sadly football wasn’t coming home.  After the England v Croatia game we watched a great band in the main square, which was mainly instrumental and the lead was a guy on a saxophone.

A2. Band at Puerto de Pollensa 11.7.18.

Puerto de Acludia

A short trip around to the next bay, just two and a half hours.  The seabed was a mixture of mud and weed and our revered Rocna would not set.  After three attempts we dropped our Spade over the side and it was fine.  After a few days we thought we’d give the Rocna another go, but to no avail so in went the spade again.  You have to have confidence in your anchor as you don’t want to be drifting!

We met up with some friends from home here who were on holiday, Julian and Ned, their children and some of Ned’s family.  Ian, Julian and a couple of other guys decided to go Go-karting.

C1. lunch with Gary and June, Palma 19.7.18.

Our final day in Majorca, we took the bus to Palma to meet up more of the Cartagena Crew, Garry and June, for a spot of lunch and to wish them Bon Voyage as they are going in a different direction to us for the winter.

 

We’d enjoyed Majorca but as always time to move on.  A hop across to Menorca before leaving Spain behind and heading to Sardinia.

Palma, Majorca

As well as the Super Yacht Racing at Palma, World Cup fever was taking its grip so we did spend longer in some places than we probably would have just for the fact that some places had better access to watch some of the games.

We headed to Majorca on Friday 15th June 2018, we had to motor for most of the way as there wasn’t a lot of wind.  We anchored up for the night in the Baha de Arta which is where Cala Millor is.  This is where I had one of my first holidays, when still just a teenager, yes that was a long time ago!

We headed to Palmanova, which is in the next bay to Magaluf.  Palmanova is full of bars and restaurants with all your favourite food from home!  A bit of a novelty for us.  The bay was big and so didn’t get too crowded, but you got the usual jet skis, power boats pulling inflatables, so it could be a bit rolly during the day but settled down fine early evening.  It was easy to get to a reasonably sized supermarket too.

We left Palmanova bay to go and watch the start of the racing on the first day.  We were able to get up quite close.  The boats are so big that they start each one two minutes apart.

After the racing we decided to visit a lovely anchorage by the Ille de Torre, unfortunately a lot of other boats had the same idea.  It was the weekend and so is very popular with local day boats too.  At one stage I counted over 50 boats.  Boats are huddled very closely together which was a bit nerve wracking when bringing up your anchor as the boat in front of us found out when the bow sprit was coming towards them.  Ian did ask them if they wanted to move as they were sitting over our chain but they were quite insistent they were staying where they were and it would be OK.  The lady on the back had to grab hold of the bowsprit as it came towards her.  One guy took his dog over to the shore on a lilo which quite amused me.

We went back to Palmanova after a couple of days as we wanted to watch the England v Panama game.  The local sports bar JJ’s was buzzing and the atmosphere was fantastic, particularly everytime England scored and we won!

The buses are very good on the Island and quite reasonably priced.  We took the bus to Palma and visited the Cathedral and the Palace.  The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma has one of the largest rose windows in the world and is known as the “Gothic Eye”.

In a corner of the Cathedral was a contemporary art installation by Miquel Barcelo and it was a modern take on the New Testament parable of Jesus feeding the 5000.

The Palace de l’Almudaina, which is opposite the Cathedral, is the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain although they do not tend to stay there.  It dates back to the 10th century but was largely demolished by the Christians in the 13th Century and rebuilt.

There is also Belver Castle in Palma which we decided to visit on a different day, however, we were caught out by the Spanish opening hours again.  Mondays it’s closed even in the busy tourist season of June!  So we had a walk around the old town of Palma instead.  The windmills which date back to the 14th century can be found overlooking the sea on Barrio es Jonquet, an old fishing district.

B1. marinas, Palma 25.6.18.

 

When you go along the bay on the bus the boats sitting in the marinas go on and on and there are lots of very big boats.  Apparently there are approx. 3000 berths in the bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2018

 

 

 

 

Menorca

We were planning on being in Majorca later in June, there is yacht racing, so decided to head off to Menorca for a while.  We set off from Soller at a much more acceptable time of 9.00am on a beautiful sunny day again motoring.  Anchored just outside the bay at Soller was this yacht “Fountainhead” or perhaps we should call it a ship it was that big.  I guess we will have to get used to seeing large yachts in the Balearics. It was just the last couple of hours when the wind started to pick up that we got to sail.  We also saw a sea plane come in and pick up water and then fly off again.  Ten and a half hours later we anchored in Cala Fontanelles, which is a small cala on the north coast of Menorca.

We stayed just the one night and made our way to Cala Arenal d’en Castel, which is a horseshoe shape cala.  We bumped into friends from Cartagena, Cath and Ray who had visitors.  So we had a few sun downers with them onboard Cuffysark.  The following morning we moved onto an anchorage at Illa d’en Colom where more friends from Cartagena were Destination Anywhere, or at least Malcolm was, Nikki had to go off and do some work.  We left in a thunderstorm, we do have bad weather too.  That’s two thunderstorms in one week.  On arrival was another super yacht anchored up, a beautiful classic yacht called Nahlin which is owned by James Dyson, how did we manage without Google.  The history of the boat is really interesting.

You will notice the red Ensign flying on the stern, nothing unusual about that for British registered boats.  The tender to the yacht left to go ashore also flying a red Ensign.  A short while later and back it came but this time with a white Ensign flying and we then noticed the yacht itself was flying the white Ensign which means only one thing the owner is on board.  Members of the Royal Yacht Squadron may display the white Ensign when they are on board.  Sure enough when Mr Dyson left a few days later the red Ensign was back.

Our tender is a Walker Bay, which Ian took months to find.  The reason for this is that it also has sails, so for the second time, first time since we left last year, everything came out barring the gib and off he went for a sail around the bay.  Definitely multi-purpose, with the wheels on the back.  We spent five nights anchored in Illa d’en Collom.  There was a small village just a short dinghy ride away, all very unspoilt.

Nikki and Malcolm had hired a car so we joined them for a trip around some of the Island.  Menorca reminds me of the English countryside but warmer.  We took a trip down to the old capital Ciutadella which ceased to be the capital when the British arrived in 1708 and moved it to Mahon.

Naveta des Tudons

The Naveta is a tomb that is only found on Menorca and was discovered in the 1960’s. Inside there were over a hundred skeletons scattered around, male and female, many of which dated back to the 9th century.

Personal items that had been buried with the corpses were still close by: bronze bracelets, bone buttons and some bronze weapons. Also found were small pots, pottery vases and a carved bone stopper, which was part of a container holding the human hair of some of the dead, a common burial ritual in this period.

The shape of the naveta is similar to an upturned boat (“nave” in Spanish), hence the name given to this type of monument. It was in the middle of a farmers’ field where the cows were alongside us which I found a bit worrying.  Nikki and Malcolm thought this amusing as it was quite normal to walk through farmers’ fields in Scotland, us townies are not so familiar with nature.

Sheltering from the Mistral

The forecast was that there was a mistral coming through, it wasn’t the winds so much but the 3m swell so off we went to Port de Addaya.  This was a long channel and so very sheltered.  It was very busy when we arrived so we went further down the channel away from the majority of the boats.  By early evening it was like a millpond and you could easily have thought you were sitting on an English river in the countryside.  It was beautiful.

Addaya was a small town which was largely villas and apartments with just a few bars/restaurants and a supermarket.  We had a walk around up to the entrance of the channel to see the swell.

 

L. Cala Galdana, Menorca 16.6.18.After a few lovely nights here we moved onto Gala Galdena which is a nice bay and popular with the tourists.  There was quite a swell here where we anchored even though there was no wind which didn’t make getting into the dinghy very easy.  We arrived on the night Spain were playing Portugal in the World Cup so there were a few bars with lots of Spanish watching, so it was quite lively.

We had to start making tracks back to Majorca if we (or least Ian) wants to get down to Palma in time for the Super Yacht Racing.  So Sunday 18th June and we head off.

 

 

June 2018