August 1993 - Al Kantoui to Mar Menor

1 August 1993 Al Kantaoui
We’ve been living on the boat for 1 year and we have done 4238 miles. Glenys went horse riding and spent half of the time fighting off the amorous advances of her guide. We went to a pool, but got kicked out, so went to beach and then to another pool.

2 August 1993 Al Kantaoui to Hammamet
We were awoken at two o’clock in the morning by a blood curdling scream as Craig fell out of bed - gave him a bit of a shock, which is not surprising considering that he fell about 4 foot down to the floor! It was absolutely boiling all night, so we were very glad to get a small breeze when we set off this morning.

The engine started OK. Perhaps there was some air in the system from when I changed the fuel filters in Malta? We had a very boring trip, motoring all the way. We anchored about ½ mile from the Ribat and ¼ mile off the beach in 4.5metres of water, surrounded by six French yachts.

3 August 1993 Hammamet
We had a very peaceful night. I love being at anchor (providing that it’s calm!) We went swimming before breakfast; I swam around and found an old fisherman anchor half buried in the sand (about 12 ft from tip to tip). There is a fairly large octopus living in a hole underneath the anchor – needless to say, I couldn’t get it out.

We all went over to a wreck in the dinghy and I did a 20 minute dive while the others snorkelled around on the surface. The wreck is just a carcass but ranges from 7 metre to 1 metre below the surface. It isn’t buoyed and a real danger to navigation. Hoards of tourist boats visit the wreck and it’s quite dangerous swimming about over it.

We returned to the boat for lunch and then went to the beach with the windsurfer. There wasn’t quite enough wind but I had fun. Swimming, diving, windsurfing and beach – it was an ideal day! The only bad part is that teenage boys swim out to the boats at anchor and are a nuisance hanging onto the dinghy. I’m paranoid that one of them is going to cut the painter and steal the dinghy.

I told one guy to leave the dinghy alone and that I didn’t “want him here” to which he replied that he didn’t want me here either and it was their sea! I’ve just put Anglo-Tunisian relations back 5 years!

4 August 1993 Hammamet to Kelibia
Absolutely flat calm this morning. We motored until noon and then sailed into a light head wind. By four o’clock, it was blowing 15 knots and we were just pinching on the right course. The wind started to back and I lazily motor sailed for about 20 minutes until Glenys pointed out that we could tack!

By five o’clock, the wind had picked up to 20 knots and I insisted on leaving a reefed main up, much to Glenys’ annoyance. After 5 minutes of heeling over and after Glenys had picked up all the things off the floor down below, I relented and dropped the main – we went ½ knot faster! The approach to the port is quite pretty with a large fort on the hill behind. The yacht quay was very busy and we ended up on the outside of a raft of four, next to Ip and Oola on “Evita” from Denmark.

5 August 1993 Kelibia
Too hot to move today. I just about cajoled Brett through his school work. Glenys went to the local supermarket and came back 15 minutes later like a limp, wet rag. We lounged around gasping for air until four o’clock when I cycled into town on Ip’s bike. The town is “functional” with very little tourism – there seem to be a lot of useful shops, but it's about 1 mile from the port.

We went out for a meal in the evening (fish and chips again!) and then looked around an exhibition of paintings which has been set up in the car park next to the port. The yacht quay is like Piccadilly Circus with about twenty French and Italian yachts crammed into rafts four and five deep. About ten leave in the morning and ten more arrive later afternoon. We walked along to a beach and had food on the first floor of a cafe with locals drinking coffee below.

6 August 1993 Kelibia to Sidi Bou Said
We set the alarms on both of our watches to go off at half past five. We were actually awoken by Craig at six o’clock! We jumped up and ran around like headless chickens. We managed to clear customs and extract ourselves from the raft by twenty past six. Thank goodness that we were on the end raft with only one boat on the outside of us!

We motored all day and arrived at four o’clock at the Sidi Bou Said marina, which is packed. We had to raft up right next to the main entrance into the marina and they want to charge us 18 dinar (£12) per day.

We decided to stay one night and went up to the village of Sidi Bou Said. It is very pretty and very touristy. Apparently, the property owners are fined by the “Town Council” if they do not whitewash their walls and paint their doors blue at least every year! The walk up the hill tired Craig out probably because he was up at six o’clock in the morning.

On the way back down, I foolishly picked a fruit from a prickly pear cactus and 3 hours later, I’m still picking out the fine spikes. It feels something like glass fibre – you think it’s all gone, but...! The fruit tastes like the inside of a honeydew Melon with loads of pips.

7 August 1993 Sidi Bou Said to Cap Farina
Glenys went shopping first thing in the morning. She took a taxi and went through Carthage, but didn’t see anything of the ruins! We filled up with fuel and ran away. I was glad to leave - although it’s a pretty setting, the marina is too crowded and too expensive.

We went around Cape Carthage into a N15 wind, so we decided to motor all the way because we would have to take down the awning if we put up the main (lazy sods!). The wind dropped completely but picked up again at two o’clock in the afternoon. An hour later, we were getting 30 knot gusts. We anchored in 4 metres of water about 100 metres from the shore in a relatively calm patch of water. After dinner, we were still getting gusts of 20 knots, so we re-anchored a lot further out.

The herd instinct of yachtsmen never ceases to amaze me. We were anchored in splendid isolation, at least 1000 metres from the other yachts, when this Italian boat appears and proceeds to anchor about 40 metres away from us – not good when I have 40 metres of chain out! There must be 5 miles of coast here and the idiot anchors within my swinging circle, thank goodness the wind has dropped. They drive me mad! We sighted a couple of dolphins surfacing about 400 metres from us.

8 August 1993 Cap Farina to Bizerte
We all went for a swim before breakfast (great!) The Italians didn’t hit us last night, but we came within 10 metres of them as we weighed anchor. We motored around the corner and anchored off a lovely beach. Glenys rowed Craig to the beach in the dinghy while Brett and I swam the whole way which was about 400 metres.

I had just sat down when we were asked for our papers by two policemen on horseback. We told them we were only staying 1 hour, but they still made me row back to the boat to get our papers. We motored all the way to Bizerte where we saw “Honey Hush 2” (Aus) who we saw in Sidi Bou Said. We went towards the yacht club and saw “Bonnie Day” and “French Mistress”. We moored bow to dock, went over to “Bonnie Day” and got drunk with Neville and Margaret.

9 August 1993 Bizerte
It’s blowing 20-30 knots from the north west.and we're nursing our hangovers. Glenys walked into town, while I looked after the boys and then went windsurfing in the port. I had a wonderful five minutes with three dolphins swimming along just in front of my surfboard.

I had a relapse in the afternoon and did nothing. “Bonnie Day” and others on the floating pontoon were ordered to move because the “Jasmine Route” rally is expected with 50 boats from France.

10 August 1993 Bizerte
It’s gusting 35 knots from the north west again. The rally arrived and gave us hours of entertainment as they “badly” manoeuvred about.

11 August 1993 Bizerte
I went windsurfing in the morning. In the afternoon, we decided to get away from the noise of the rally party and go out to anchor. We had the devil’s own job getting away from the quay – the boats either side of us had mooring lines out to buoys blocking our exit. We eventually warped our way out at half past six and anchored. We went for a drink with Kevin and Carol on “Honey Hush”.

12 August 1993 Bizerte
I topped up the oil in the engine. It’s still blowing 15-20 NW, so we decided to stay another day. I went across to “Honey Hush” for a couple of hours and picked their brains about East Australia and the route they took to the Mediterranean. I then upset Glenys by becoming totally obsessed with planning a circumnavigation when I should have been tidying up ready to go tomorrow.

13 August 1993 Bizerte to Tabarka
It was only NW5 first thing in the morning. We managed to start sailing at noon, beating at first and then ended up running with the jib poled out. It’s really nice to be sailing again!

We arrived at Tabarka at half past six. Unfortunately, it’s another bloody marina charging 13½ dinars (£8.70) per night. I am disgusted because I thought that this would be a fishing port like Madhia. Apparently they won’t even let boats anchor in the old port! They are still building an Al Kantaoui clone, tourist shops and pizza restaurants – which is a shame.

14 August 1993 Tabarka
I was up at two o’clock in the morning killing mosquitoes the size of bees. I eventually rigged up two 12 Volt mosquito heaters in series, so that we could have one in the back cabin and one in the saloon. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it earlier - our 24 volt electric system is a nuisance sometimes.

I spent an hour getting fuel from a petrol station about 1 mile away. I rigged up the shopping trolley to be a trailer for the bike. We met an Irish guy called Harry who lives on 20 foot bright green yacht “Wild Rover” with his dog who hates Tunisians! The dog barks and snarls convincingly if they come within 6 ft of him. I think that he’s trained the dog to do it. The heat is killing Glenys.

15 August 1993 Tabarka
I did a dive which was very mediocre, while Glenys and the boys went to the beach. I did some jobs on the boat in the afternoon. Brett’s front tooth finally came out and the sight of his own blood on it made him burst into tears. We’ve run out of beer and wine, so we’ll HAVE to leave Tunisia tomorrow.

Glenys will be very glad to get away from Tunisia. She tries hard to wear long skirts and sleeves when she goes anywhere public, but the Tunisian men still stare and click their tongues at her. It’s worst when she walks past coffee shops where there are always lots of men (what do they do all day?) The locals all wear sandals and the sound of them shuffling their feet is driving her (and me) raving mad. We’ve called it the “Tunisian Shuffle”.

16 August 1993 Tabarka to Mahon, Menorca (Day 1)
The tooth fairy arrived last night and changed Brett’s tooth into a 100 peseta coin – he’s amazed that the tooth fairy not only knows where we are, but where we are going! We cleared out of Tunisia without any problems.

We motored for about 1½ hours and then got a nice NE breeze, so I put up all sails including the mizzen stay-sail. By mid afternoon, it was gusting 15-20 knots and the stay-sail was backing the mizzen which was then affecting the Hydrovane, so I dropped the mizzen which helped a bit.

At five o’clock, it was blowing a lot harder, so we dropped the staysail and put up the mizzen again and the Hydrovane started to behave itself. We put the clocks forward to Spanish time at seven o’clock. As night fell, the wind picked up to NE 20-25 with quite a big swell which rolled us unmercifully.

17 August 1993 Tabarka to Mahon, Menorca (Day 2)
It was a really black, misty night with a persistent cross swell making the night watches a bit of an ordeal. The Hydrovane didn’t cope very well with swell and gusting wind, so we had to concentrate on helping it by constantly adjusting the steering. The rolling caused by the swell made it difficult to sleep.

The wind started to drop during the day and we had to put on the engine in the afternoon. Glenys is now running out of provisions – mayonnaise, Fanta, mars bars, and we are on our last bottle of camping gaz. She’s had to use up her stocks of items not available in Tunisia, but has now got lots of spices. I lost my tuna feather lure during the night – I suspect that my knot came undone.

18 August 1993 Tabarka to Mahon, Menorca (Day 3)
Motored all night and arrived at ten o’clock in the morning. Mahon is fairly busy with yachts 3 or 4 deep at the quays. We managed to sneak in alongside the Town Quay, so that we can be settled for a couple of days.

The distance over the ground was about 275 miles, our logged distance was 258.1. There is a SE going current but ignoring this the log is under reading by 6.5% even though I’ve fitted a new log impellor. It’s irritating. We’ve averaged 5.7 knots over 47.5 hours.

The Spanish authorities don’t seem to be concerned about checking into customs, so I’ve just filled in the Port Authority Form and taken down the yellow customs flag. Our mail hasn’t arrived yet which is a bit of a pain.

19 August 1993 Mahon
We went to S’Algar by bus. I did a dive and Glenys and the boys spent the day by the pool. Craig made his first attempts at swimming without arm bands and was confident enough to swim 2 metres from the side in the deep end of the pool. Martin and Kay from “Maid of Zenor” came for a drink. We last saw them in Gibraltar – an unfortunate situation, he loves sailing and boats and she “is not impressed”. We gave him what help we could.

The mail arrived today, so we are moving on to Cuidadela tomorrow. Craig’s comment of the day, “If I was a seagull, I wouldn’t each much …….. they only eat fish”.

20 August 1993 Mahon to Cala Teulera
Glenys went shopping in the morning and I tidied up ready to leave. Glenys rang her mum who said that she had sent a letter to us at the Club Maritimo. The letter hasn’t arrived, so we decided to go to Ilas De Aire to go swimming. The snorkelling is excellent but the holding for the anchor is crap, so we decided to go to Cala Teulera for the night which is a mile and a half from Mahon Town.

When we’d anchored, we were approached by two guys from the Port Authority who asked us to fill in the normal form and then we had to pay £5! I gave him the outraged captain act, but after he gave me the receipt, he gave us a little gift set of some Mahon gin and four small glasses. That took the wind out of my sails and I’m quite happy now.

Craig went for a swim off the back of the boat without arm bands – I think that he wants to be better than Brett. I spent a “lovely” 10 minutes fishing one of Glenys’ contact lenses out of the toilet where it had inconveniently fallen.

21 August 1993 Cala Teulera to Islas Colom
We called into the Club Maritimo, but the letter from Ceris still hasn’t arrived. We decided to go to Islas Colom for some swimming. We anchored on the south side of the island, did a lot of swimming and then took the dinghy across the bay to do some snorkelling. At six o’clock in the evening, the wind was SE10, so we decided to go around to the west side of the island, which is lovely.

22 August 1993 Islas Colom
We decided to stay here for the day. We were anchored in 7 metres of crystal clear water and I was immersed in paperwork until four o’clock sorting out our mail and associated problems. Brett did school work and then we all swam and enjoyed ourselves. The weather forecast is for strong winds from the SW, so we expect to stay in Menorca for a few days.

23 August 1993 Islas Colom to Cala Teulera
The weather forecast says that there’s a low over North Balearics giving SW in Alboran and variable over the rest of the Mediterranean, so we decided to go back to Mahon, get fuel, shopping and use the phone before to going towards Mallorca tomorrow. When we arrived at Mahon there was a huge oil tanker blocking the fuelling station. We have been told that hopefully it will go this evening, so we will try again tomorrow.

Ceris’ letter arrived and we sorted out everything we needed to. I bought another fishing lure and trace for £15 to try to improve my chances of catching something. We went to a small beach in Cala Teulera and windsurfed, etc. We had to fill another form and pay again but they gave us another gin gift set!

It’s very pleasant to sit at the cockpit table after dinner while the daylight slowly fades. We are swinging on the anchor, the children are playing in the back cabin (all we can hear is the chink, chink of Lego) and we slowly sip our glasses of wine.

24 August 1993 Cala Teulera to Cala Degollador
Got up fairly early this morning to go and get fuel. The tanker had gone, but there was a queue of 5 boats there, so it took us 40 minutes to get the fuel. We had a nice sail up the coast. We headed toward Cuidadela looking for a Cala to anchor in.

All of the Calas on the south coast had the swell shooting straight in, so we headed up the west coast to Cala Degollador which is just before Cuidadela. It is a very narrow Cala, so we had to drop the anchor in the middle of the cala and take lines ashore from the stern. It was a bit of a rock climbing exercise, but I managed OK. It’s the first time that we have moored like this.

Before we went to bed I said to Glenys that we only had 13 metres of chain out in 4.5 metres of water and I wouldn’t swing to an anchor with so little. I hoped that it would be alright. I’m coming down with a cold and my throat hurts - I think that I’ve caught it from Craig.

25 August 1993 Cala Degollador to Bahia de Pollensa
It wasn’t alright! At five o’clock in the morning, we were woken by Glencora bashing into the rock face behind us. The anchor had obviously dragged, so we threw the aft mooring lines into the water and motored away. We pulled up the anchor and then hovered about in the dark wondering what to do.

The Cala is only about 50 metres wide and our prop wash caused a French boat’s anchor to drag a bit too! We decided to go to Cuidadela and managed to leave the Cala safely by using our search light.

Once we had rafted up on the town quay, I jogged back to the Cala to retrieve the ropes. One of the ropes had disappeared into the water, so I put that down to experience. We escaped with no damage apart from the top broken off the flag pole!

We had an uneventful sail to Mallorca. There was an easterly swell coming into the Bahia De Pollensa and we spent about an hour looking for a suitable anchorage. We eventually anchored west of PTA De La Avanzada in about 3 metres depth.

26 August 1993 Bahia de Pollensa
My cold is a lot better today, the anchor didn’t drag last night and life seems brighter – which is more than one can say for the weather. It’s actually raining for the first time for months. I spent the day doing administration again, so that we will have things delivered to Carol’s house ready for Glenys to pick them up when she goes back to the UK in a few weeks time. We received a letter from Gareth saying that they will probably be in the Grenadines in December, so we will make either Grenada or St Lucia our port of entry into the Caribbean.

27 August 1993 Bahia de Pollensa to Porto Cristo
We had a nice downwind run for the first three hours with a NW wind. However, when we rounded Cabo De Pera, the wind dropped to nothing and the sea was very confused. We motored for a while and then hit a SW20 on the nose. We had an unpleasant bash to windward under engine for about two hours. We arrived in Porto Cristo and got charged £18 – we will leave tomorrow!

We berthed next to Don and Liz Adams on “Wild Rover” with their two children Samantha and Natalie who unfortunately are going back to the UK tonight. They are booked into the ARC Rally, but are very disillusioned and may not go. Brett and Craig went onto “Wild Rover” and watched their TV and video, they want one too! Brett and Craig haven’t been on dry land for 4 days and we had to persuade them to go to a playground 100 metres away! We went out for dinner.

28 August 1993 Porto Christo to Porto Petro
I couldn’t get a decent weather forecast. There seem to be strong winds in Lyon and Provence, but looks OK here. We decided to sail, have a look and if it gets bad then call in to Porto Petro.

We went into Porto Petro which is very pretty. All of us have sniffly colds now, so we just sat around reading and playing. The anchorage got very crowded in the late afternoon. I put the last of a litre bottle of oil in the engine - we’ve used 1 litre of oil in 52.5 hours motoring.

29 August 1993 Porto Petro to Islas Espalmador, Ibiza (Day 1)
Rough night with swell rocking us about. We went into town but nothing much there. I went windsurfing, but gave up after an hour because the wind was coming over houses into the Cala causing violent wind shifts and downdrafts.

I hate planning to leave somewhere in the late afternoon because I have loads of time to get apprehensive about the journey. It kind of spoils the whole day. It’s blowing 10-20 knots in the anchorage and I don’t know what it’s doing out there. I’ve looked at the sea through binoculars (several times!) and I can see white caps. Oh worry, worry!

We left at six o’clock in the evening, poled out the jib and had a wonderful downwind run. When we got to Cabo De Salinas, we poled out the second jib and rolled downhill under a bright full moon.

30 August 1993 Porto Petro to Islas Espalmador, Ibiza (Day 2)
I got up at midnight, dropped the mizzen to help the Hydrovane and started to read a book. At one o’clock, I looked up and it took me a few seconds to realise where I was. The scene seemed very surreal with nothing in sight except the moon, stars, sea and the two jibs goose winged out. Fantastic - sometimes I love sailing!

At seven in the morning, we were approaching Santa Eulalia, but since we had only used 1 litre of fuel, we decided to press on to Islas Espalmador. The anchorage has about 20 boats and several day tripper boats – a far cry from the quiet anchorage back in June. We went to the beach with the windsurfer – good place for windsurfing.

Quite a few people were going to a lake just behind the beach and coming back smeared all over with mud. I remember Margaret from “Bonnie Day” asking the Tourist Office about the “therapeutic mud” and being told that the control of sewage on the island isn’t very good!

I talked to a couple on “Red Angelina” who have a Hydrovane and are pleased with it – what am I doing wrong? “Red Angelina” is going to the Caribbean as well – there will be thousands of people there!

31 August 1993 Islas Espalmador to Mar Menor, Spain (Day 1)
We had a great night’s sleep. We just passed out after all the windsurfing and the night passage. We left the anchorage at ten o’clock and started off motoring for a while to charge the batteries. The wind was 45° abaft the beam, so we put up main, mizzen and poled out the Genoa. I put a block on the end of the pole to lead the sheet and put downhauls to fix the pole in position. This works really well since we can roll away the genoa (or part of it) without any acrobatics.

As night fell, I ran the engine for about a hour to charge the batteries – I’ve been using the autopilot because the Hydrovane was struggling and I was too lazy to change the sail plan.