Posted by admin on October 6, 2020
From Palma our route took us clockwise toward the extraordinarily beautiful north coast of Mallorca; from Isla Dragonera in the southwest to Cap Formentor in the east; a series of dramatic cliffscapes dropping straight into deep crystal clear azure waters, remote bays, inlets and anchorages along the spine of the Serra de Tramuntana (Mountains of the 'Northern Wind'. Well deserving of its status as a World Heritage Site.
Along this spectacular coastline the bay of Port de Soller s a perfect and normally well protected natural harbour. It is understandably popular but space was found to drop the hook - luckily because we had an important calendar engagement to fulfil - Fiona's arrival to join us! Hence the need to tidy the boat - I exaggerate slightly although it did force the need to address a recent olive oil spill into the deepest recesses of the fridge.
Many thanks also to Petey and Roo owners of Bonnie Lass Charters for their warm welcome, an evening of pizzas and dits onboard their beautifully restored 1949 Weatherhead Ringnetter and (most helpfully) loan of a vehicle to pick Fiona up at an ungodly hour the following morning.
Posted by admin on October 2, 2020
Apologies for falling behind so disgracefully with our record keeping! The Ship's Log is up to date; our web blog less so.
We last left you as we set out from Port St Antoni and the unpleasantness of draining the diesel tank to eradicate the strange crude oil like deposits that have been found in our main engine fuel supply. Goodness knows where it has come from - it is not organic diesel bug which is the usual source of fuel contamination. This is clumpy, oily and impenetrable to fuel filters! Anyway, it is now gone.
Our route headed clockwise around Ibiza to the lovely little bays of Cala Compte, Port de St Miguel (and a chance meeting with the beautiful classic schooner Vixen - below - ask us the story of their dinghy hunt sometime!) before ending up in Portinatx at the north east tip of the island.
We'd intended to stay a night or two until an email from Palma de Mallorca interrupted our preparations for a dinner and a relaxing evening. Quite by chance, Andy's Watch Leader from the Whitbread Round the World Race circumnavigation he'd completed in 1989-90 got in touch to say that he was in Palma but, having concluded his most recent skipper contract, he would only be there for a few days more before returning to France. A quick check of the weather forecast confirmed that there was no time like the present so, by mutual agreement, heavily influenced by the persuasive powers of the skipper, we weighed anchor and set off for Mallorca.
It should be pointed out that Serge Guilhamou is probably the man whose seamanship and general boat awareness and knowledge are greater than any sailor I've met before or since. He is a previous skipper of multiple mega yachts including overseeing the refit of, and then skippering the magnificent 178' three masted 1902 gaff tops'l schooner Shenandoah twice more around the world.
Serge's quiet competence and the anticipation, sense of weather and wind and general practical skills are those I have sought, badly, to emulate throughout my own subsequent sailing career. I hadn't seen him for 30 years since saying our farewells at the end of the Whitbread. It was an opportunity not to be missed.
As it happened it was also a lovely night for a sail and we made good time - ending up in the picturesque Cathedral anchorage next to the esplanade in Palma.
We spent the day filling up fuel and then, for practical reasons, booked into the exorbitant marina. Later in the evening it was if we'd not seen each other for a week or two when, at last, Serge and I met each other again after 30 years! Neither of us had changed at all.
Posted by admin on August 1, 2020
We managed ourselves to get to Cala d’Hort in Ibiza with the only power of the sails. We could release the anchor and now we were safe. Time for an engine inspection. Andy realised it was due a contamination of the diesel. Perhaps the reason was not being able to start the engine during the lockdown months. With some spare diesel we could confirm that it was a problem of the fuel. The next step was finding a mechanic in Ibiza and somewhere to leave the boat for a couple of days. However this didn’t impede enjoying one of the most beautiful bays of Ibiza, with and incredible views of the sunset and Es Vedrà.
After getting some more fuel in , Andy could restart the engine, at least for a short period of time. With that we found ourselves on to the way of Sant Antoni de Portmany, one of the main three villages of the Island, and where a mechanic assist us to pump out the diesel (even though Andy make almost all of the hard work).
With the engine issue solved, we find ourselves with a week of time to discover Ibiza before heading to Palma de Mallorca, where we’ll meet Fiona the beginning of August.
Posted by admin on August 1, 2020
It was the first time for me in Gibraltar and despite the challenges of Covid, it was nice visiting the historical monuments without other tourists around. Saint Michael’s cavern was quite spectacular and I’ll be looking forward on visiting the WWII tunnels in a future visit. The city hasn’t received any tourists for the past 4 months, in fact it was the first working day of our taxi driver since March. While waiting for the winds to change we enjoyed the company of David K and a very nice meal on board his beauty "Back Soon".
We left the southern waters of Spain the 17th of July, stopping for a night in Playa de Maro, near Nerja, and then continued our way further west, crossing El Cabo de Gata the following night. The wind wouldn’t turn to help us until we were 4 hours away from Ibiza. Then we could sail properly, and what a fantastic 4 and a half hours we had. We made our way to one of the south west anchorages in the Island, a really nice place called Cala d’Hort with awesome views of Es Vedrà and an outstanding sunset views. Nevertheless, not everything was going so well, on our arrival we started the engine to make our way the final few hundred yards to the anchorage when it died and would not restart. Even though the surroundings were idyllic, the following days were perhaps not going to be quite so perfect.
Posted by admin on July 13, 2020
The effect and consequences of COVID 19 are still very recent.
The atmosphere in Cartagena is not what it used to be. You can see that something strange has been happening. The main touristic spots are not crowded and some of the local restaurants are closed or nearly empty.
We established our headquarters in a little place called “La Fortaleza”; a little bar/restaurant which supplied us with daily home-made croquetas (I would strongly recommend the “mushrooms croqueta” to be accompanied with a fillet of sardine).
Our first getaway was to a nice place at 8 miles from the port called “Cala Cerrada” [coordinates] there are three buoys to secure to and the bay is also frequented by kayaks.
But our main concern these last few days has been getting Atlantis ready for departure. We’ve been lucky enough to cross our paths with fellow marina residents Kevin and Mark who gave us a hand in getting her in shape. We really appreciate their valuable help on getting everything sorted on board. We have replaced one of the hatches and made several aesthetic improvements.
I’m writing these lines on my first night watch on our way to Gibraltar. We are going there to meet a friend of Andy’s, waiting for the wind to turn east and finally head to the Balearics. Three dolphins joined our way and left after passing El Cabo de Gata, in Almería. Andy pointed out the amazing effect produced by these creatures when swimming along the boat - it’s called phosphorescence . It is also unfamiliar to be at sea in these surroundings but I think it was magic. The sky looks clear and the Mediterranean is calm. It feels like the perfect beginning for an exciting adventure.
11th July 2020