May 1993 - Almerimar to Mahon

1 May 1993 Almerimar, Spain
A beautiful day with light winds – we should have left today. Ah well! I got the sat nav working - I just dismantled the antenna and reassembled it and it worked! I also worked out that a 0.364 metre dipole will do the job of the Navstar 2000S antenna because it works on 400 MHz. Glenys finished off the mosquito netting for the hatches.

2 May 1993 Almerimar to Mar Menor (Day 1)
We left on a beautiful morning with five or six other boats. We motored to San Jose and decided to continue overnight to Mar Menor. A school of dolphins visited us during the night.

3 May 1993 Almerimar to Mar Menor (Day 2)
We ended up motoring all the way. It was a pleasant approach to the canal entrance to Mar Menor. I really liked having a swing bridge opened for us. We motored to Mar De Cristal where my dad and mum had their boat for a while. We left a note on “Red Blazer” from my dad. We filled up with fuel.

The wind was causing a swell on the west side of the Mar Menor, so we motored across to La Manga and anchored there. The Mar Menor is an amazing huge lagoon about 12 miles long and a mile wide with several small islands. The water is very shallow never exceeding about 15 metres. The La Manga side is a heavily built up strip of land between the lagoon and the sea.

Unfortunately, Glenys has developed severe toothache from a dodgy crown and had to go to see a doctor who gave her some painfillers for the infection - they don’t seem to be working.

4 May 1993 Mar Menor
We had a 20-25 knot wind all day from the east, but the anchorage is pretty calm and the holding is good so no problems.

Glenys went to a dentist who told her that the nerve is causing the trouble and needs to be removed. It will take 4 days so she will get it done in Ibiza. The dentist said throw away the drugs that the doctor prescribed (£30 down the drain) and he prescribed some more (£30 well spent!)

The outboard played up while I was taking Glenys ashore, so I had 10 minutes rowing exercise against the strong wind and the outboard got its death sentence! I will buy a new one as soon as possible. I tidied up my Mediterranean charts and we decided to go to the Ionian for July/August. At ten o’clock, the barometric pressure was down to 1015 and two hours later had dropped a further 2 millibars - I guess that there’s bad wether on the way.

5 May 1993 Mar Menor
It was gusting 30+ knots and raining all night. At eight o’clock in the morning, the pressure was down to 1009. It rained cats and dogs all day. The wind backed to the north in the evening.

We stayed in all day – I typed an astronavigation program into my pocket computer. Glenys’ tooth has stopped troubling her, thank goodness.

6 May 1993 Mar Menor to Ibiza Town (Day 1)
We woke up to a beautiful morning – blue skies and NW 15 knot wind. I underestimated the time it takes to get to the swing bridge and we missed it. (Very slack!) We hove to under mizzen alone until half past nine and then arrived at the bridge 5 minutes early.

No wind again, looks like we will be motoring all day. We stopped the engine just before lunch, so that we could all go for a swim! The wind picked up at about five o’clock and we had a downwind sail all night. The wind was 20° from directly behind and no more than 15 knots, so the main bashed and banged with the swell all night.

We had an interesting encounter with a fishing boat at eight p.m. He appeared to be going to cross in front of us, but about 1 mile away he headed straight for us. I stood on, because I was under sail, but I was very apprehensive. He veered off about 100 metres away from us and all the crew started to shout “Hola” accompanied by the hooting of the ship’s horn – we all waved back and had a good laugh. I suspect that they do this a lot!

7 May 1993 Mar Menor to Ibiza Town (Day 2)
We sailed until six o’clock in the morning, when the boat’s speed finally dropped below 3 knots. We motored through the channel between Ibiza and Formentera then sailed to the harbour entrance.

We initially went into Marina Neuva, but they charged £23 per day (mid season). So we asked for our money back (got charged £4 for the trouble) and went to the Club Nautico at £12 per day. We moored bows to the concrete dock.

8 May 1993 Ibiza Town
Glenys cleaned the boat and I built a gang plank. Called a “passerelle” on fancy yachts, mine was built from old bits of wood and uses the spinnaker halyard to lift it up and down. We need this to be able to get Ceris on and off the boat when she arrives in a few days time.

9 May 1993 Ibiza Town
We looked around Ibiza Town which is very nice. Neville and Margaret from “Bonnie Day” arrived - so we just had to go for a drink or two with them.

10 May 1993 Ibiza Town
We did jobs on the boat and generally lurked about Ibiza Town. Glenys and the boys went over to look at the cruise ship coming in.

Neville from Bonnie Day owns a 3.6 hp Mercury outboard just like our heap of crap. He listened to me moaning about mine and bragged that his outboard is fantastically reliable and has never failed him. This morning, he decided that he would take the dinghy across the bay to a fuel station. I was sitting in our cockpit talking to Glenys when I noticed someone rowing a dinghy about 400 metres away. Looking closer, I saw that it was Neville rowing in a wide circle around us back to Bonnie Day, obviously trying not to be seen. The telephoto lens came out and there was a wry smile on his face when he got closer and saw that he had been caught out.

11 May 1993 Ibiza Town
The water is totally undrinkable in the marina, our tanks are getting low, but we will wait until we get to Formentera.

12 May 1993 Ibiza Town
Ceris arrived on her 71st birthday. She brought loads of mail and we went out for a nice meal in the evening.

13 May 1993 Ibiza Town
Glenys had her third and (hopefully) last visit to the dentist today. She has had to have the nerve removed from the tooth that she had crowned before we left the UK! Total cost £175. Glenys, Ceris and the boys went up to the Citadel and Ceris got her handbag snatched by a gipsy-type man. Not much in it fortunately – credit card and about £12. I received a fax from Rob (Managing Director of Feedback) about the earn-out and sent a reply this afternoon.

14 May 1993 Ibiza Town to Formentera
We tried to sail away from the quay. We started off OK by backing the main. The boat swung 90° to the wind, but wouldn’t bear away to go downwind and we had to use the engine. We had the mizzen up and I think that it was the problem (again - when will I learn...)

We had a nice sail upwind to Formentera, but the reefing hooks snapped off the main gooseneck on the way here. I managed to reef with a bit of rope around the tack. Ceris is most impressed with the port at Formentera - very clean and tidy.

15 May 1993 Formentera
Glenys and Ceris went for a walk to San Fransisco Javier and were disappointed because there’s nothing there. All the good beaches are miles away from the port. We ended up on a small beach next to the small Estuary De Peix.

16 May 1993 Formentera to Ibiza Town
We motored to small bay on Espalmador and went to the beach. The outboard keeps cutting out on me – I must get a new one, but they are £850 here and only £500 in the UK. I made a Treasure Map for the boys using vinegar to colour the paper brown and burnt the edges to make it look old. Brett had a great time following the map and found some treasure (toys), buried by us earlier.

We sailed to Ibiza Town to see if I could get a replacement gooseneck pin. The pin fell out on the way back and the boom actually fell off! I rang Mark and Neil about the earnout and it looks like we won’t be getting £150K.

17 May 1993 Ibiza Town to Santa Eulalia
I couldn’t get a replacement goose neck pin and couldn’t find a long enough bolt, so I made one out of the old blipper bracket bolts – rubbish box to the rescue!

We had a very pleasant beat to Santa Eulalia. Yesterday was westerly, today was easterly! We filled up with fuel once we got here. I cycled about a mile to look at a Scuba Diving Club in Cala Pada. Unfortunately, it was German so I’ve decided to wait until we get to Menorca. There is a BSAC club near to Mahon. We did our 3,000th mile today.

18 May 1993 Santa Eulalia
We walked up to the church on the hill above Santa Eulalia, had lunch at a café and spent the afternoon on the beach. Santa Eulalia would be a very nice place to have a holiday.

19 May 1993 Santa Eulalia to Cala San Vicente
We started to sail around the island to Cala Portinatx, but the wind changed from SW to NW as we rounded Punta Grosa. So, rather than beat to a Cala that is open to the NW, we turned back to Cala San Vicente which is protected from the NW. We anchored and within 30 minutes the wind backed to south, which of course is blowing us onto the beach! I dived down and checked the anchor. I wasn’t happy so we re-anchored further out. The bottom is very hard packed sand (which the anchor won’t dig into) and little “weed reefs” which it should snag on if we drag – I hope! Cala San Vicente is very nice!

20 May 1993 Cala San Vicente to Cala Portinatx
What a night! The SW wind died and left us with no wind, but with a SW swell, which rolled us most of the night as we veered around the anchorage. Then the wind came from the NW and settled us down. I hate hanging onto the bed in rolly anchorages.

We had another beat upwind. We stopped at Cala Serra to have a look - there’s deep water quite close to shore, but it is protected from NW. We continued to motor around to Cala Portinatx, where we anchored, had lunch and went to the beach (again!)

I dived down to check the anchor - the sea bed is sand with the strange “weed reefs”. Our anchor has dragged across the sand and then embedded itself into the side of a weed reef.

21 May 1993 Cala Portinatx to San Antonio
It was a slightly less rolly night. The wind picked up from the NE early in the morning, so we decided to take advantage of the fair wind and head west. The first two hours were unpleasant because of the swell, but the last half of the sail was great. We went into the Yacht Club for the night. I rang Mark for update on the Feedback contract – looks like we might get over £60K now.

22 May 1993 San Antonio to San Antonio
We went to Port Torrent where Glenys and Ceris had gone for a holiday about 30 years ago. We tried to anchor, but the bottom was poor holding. We decided not to waste too much time looking for a better spot and went to Ilas Conejer for the nice beach. We got there and found that there is NO BEACH!

We decided to go across to Cala Salada. We had two attempts at anchoring with the CQR with no luck, so I dropped our old, bent Danforth anchor which held well. The trick in sand & weed appears to be to hit a sand patch and let the anchor drag to the edge of the weed. We went to the beach (yawn!) and then returned to San Antonio. It took 4 attempts to get the CQR to hold. All I seem to have done all day is drop and weigh the anchor!

Ceris ate half a bar of chocolate, offered a piece to Glenys who refused because it appeared to be mouldy. Ceris examined the last piece and found a small maggot - at least it wasn’t half a maggot!

23 May 1993 San Antonio to Cala Horts
We sailed the long way around Ilas Conejera. There is very spectacular scenery on this side of Ibiza with lots of off-lying islands. We went into Cala Vedella, but it was very crowded and seemed too much trouble to drop an anchor and pick up a buoy. We sailed on to Cala Horts and decided to stay the night. I caught 2 bream and then we went to the beach (yawn!) The bay is nice with good holding in sand on the sea bed. The two islands (Vedra and Vedranell) look very impressive.

24 May 1993 Cala Horts to Ibiza Town
We had a nice sail until we got to the channel between Ibiza and Espalmador when the west going current was nearly as much as our 3 knot boat speed – engine on! We returned to the Club Nautico Ibiza and were invited for drinks by Mike and Sue Harris on “Lady of Avalon” an Oyster 46. Ceris looked after the boys while Glenys and I went out for a Mexican meal, all alone – luxury!

25 May 1993 Ibiza Town
Hangover recovery and visited an aqua park in Ibiza. We went out for a meal on the dock front and got ripped off.

26 May 1993 Ibiza Town
Working on boat. I tried to see what is wrong with the autopilot. I realigned the steering wheel and the autopilot motor and cleaned the autopilot relay contacts. It all seems to work OK.

Ceris caught a taxi to the airport at six o’clock in the evening. She very kindly bought us a pilot book for North Africa.

27 May 1993 Ibiza Town to Playa de Palma Nova, Mallorca
We left Ibiza Town at half past four in the morning, motoring because there was practically no wind. The autopilot is still very “moody” - I went to bed at six o’clock and Glenys ended up steering for 2 hours! The wind picked up later allowing us to run with twin head sails for 3 hours before veering to give us a fantastic reach.

It was very difficult to locate Bahia De Palma when we approached because the north coast is very mountainous and the south very low. We ended up going too far north and then had a horrible downwind run (complete with banging sails.) We decided to motor for the last 10 miles and finally anchored in a large bay about 5 miles to the south of Palma.

28 May 1993 Playa de Palma Nova to Puerto de Palma
We motored into Puerto De Palma. The autopilot still being moody, but I got it to go in a straight line eventually. It seems like the course setting knob/pot is slipping. We went into the Club Nautico but they had no fuel, so we went to Marina De Portopi and filled up there.

We were going to anchor just off Paseo Martimo but, as we approached, we saw that a German boat that had been anchored had been moved. We went alongside Muelle De La Pedera, checked in with Guarda Fiscal and went bows to the quay (£6/night). There was no mooring line, so we dropped the Danforth off the back as we motored in – worked very well which was a relief.

I talked to Len on “Joleo” who said the drinking water is bad in all Mallorca – I hope the water in our tanks lasts until we get to Menorca. I stripped the autopilot control box and I think the problem was a loose allen screw holding the shaft of the synchronous transformer (direction knob).

29 May 1993 Puerto de Palma
Brett and I went up to the castle in the morning then we all went to look at the magnificent cathedral but unfortunately it was shut! We went to McDonald’s and ambled our way back. Brett and I went fishing, I caught a little one and Brett very expertly gutted it and chopped it up as bait!

30 May 1993 Puerto de Palma to Cala Barca
We motored across Bahia De Palma – autopilot seems to work OK (fingers crossed!) We had strange weather all the way - motoring, sailing, motoring, sailing… The wind went around 360° during the day. I actually had the mizzen staysail up twice – once on starboard and once on port tack!

We decided to look at Cala Barca as a night stop and it is beautiful. Totally deserted, sandy bottom, crystal clear water and caves at the edge. We all went for a swim and rowed the dinghy into a large cave. There was very little wind and a slight swell, so we were rolling at anchor. I put out the Danforth anchor from the stern to pull us in line with the swell which seemed to work well.

31 May 1993 Cala Barca to Mahon, Menorca
I got up at six o’clock this morning to beautiful blue skies. I just had to go for a swim straight away and, while in there, I put a tripping line on the Danforth. The wind was behind us so most of the load was on the Danforth and I wanted to pull it up first. Having fore and aft anchors seems to have minimised the rolling last night – but we still did some!

We set off for Menorca with the wind 30° off the nose hoping it doesn’t veer during the day. The wind dropped and, by eleven o’clock, we were only doing 3 knots so I put the engine on and we headed further north to get back on track.

I’ve still not managed to catch a fish by trailing a line - I’ve decided to stop using tuna feathers and went back to a yellow Eddystone Eel – I’m determined to catch something soon! We motored all the way into Mahon and picked up a buoy next to Neville and Margaret on “Bonnie Day”!