Kurukulla at Codolar de Torre Nova

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Almeria to Gibraltar

Aguadulce Marina
Nick having arrived from the airport (he chose to do the journey by bus not taxi; not realising it involved three changes of bus) we decided on a mid afternoon departure for Punta de los Banos, an anchorage some 19 miles away. Although open to the south it was relatively well protected from the east and it was from the east the remaining swell was still coming. The wind was light but enough to sail. A reach initially broad, but tightening as we approached the headland, where we could head straight west, “joy, let's get the spinnaker out!” The spinnaker lasted until a mile short of the anchorage before the reach became to tight to hold it and we were forced to resort to the genoa for the last leg. Fun all the same.

Anchored at Punta de los Banos
The night at Punta de los Banos was uneventful and the following day dawned clear and bright, ….. and almost windless! By mid-day we were bored with waiting for wind; ghosted off the anchor, turned west and set course for Calahonda, a quiet bay 25 miles away; it was downwind (in what there was) hence out came the spinnaker again. Within 30 seconds of being ready to hoist it the wind had changed, without warning, and was on the nose; back to plan A; the start engine! In the last few miles we managed to motor-sail and eventually sail again but not for long.
Anchored at ensenada de Zacatin
By 1720 we were sailing in, dropped the anchor and settled for the night. In fact so pleasant was it that we decided to stay a second night and enjoy the solitude (well almost, there was a main road at the top of the cliffs but it was almost deserted due to there being a new motorway 200m further inland).

From here it was a dash across the bay to just beyond Almunecar, the anchorage at Herradura. We departed at 1000 but again the wind was almost non existent and what there was was against us, just our luck. For three and a half hours we motored along taking it in turns to keep watch, read books or otherwise be bored; how do motor-boaters put up with it? By 1330 we were on the anchor in the eastern end of the bay at Herradura, off of the well populated beach but it was a very pleasant anchorage; again open to the SW but sheltered from the persistent easterly swell. The following day we relaxed the day away and then motored the 1.5 miles back to Marina del Este, which was the other side of the headland that was protecting us from the swell.
Marina del Est, near Almunecar
There we were well received, booked in with the marinaios at the fuelling jetty and were berthed on the waterfront next to the restaurants and bars, Oh joy! Fortunately they were not too noisy and didn't stay open late.

We had decided to stay here two nights in order to hire a car and visit Granada however, “the best laid plans!” There was not a hire car to be had anywhere within a sensible distance! The alternative was public transport; hence, next morning saw us getting a taxi to Almunecar and a bus from there to Granada. The journey was amazing, through a pass in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and then over the flat plains surrounding Granada.
Alhambra, Granada - Moorish part
We arrived at mid-day, booked ourselves entry to the Alhambra and a walking tour of old Granada, and then set off to look at the cathedral and find some lunch. The cathedral is spectacular, totally resplendent, having been the burial place of Spanish Royalty for many years. From lunch it was on to the Alhambra and yet more fantastic architecture, including the Royal Renaissance Palace built inside the Moorish fortified palace in an attempt to out-do their predecessors, sadly we were unable to get into the old Moorish Palace with its Harem etc. but even so it was an amazing experience.
View of Granada from the Alhambra
Next came the walking tour of the old city, the old Jewish quarter and the caves; these were originally inhabited by gypsies, when they arrived from the east and were denied residence within the city walls, and they are still used today as residences. By this stage we were all wilting. The tour finished at 1730, we stopped for a cold drink by the side of the river, below the walls of the Alhambra, and then set off for the 1900 return bus. I think all of us slept for most of the journey!
Self at Alhambra
Dinner on the waterfront in Almunecar, a taxi back to the marina and we all slept soundly for the next 9 hours.

From Marina del Este it was onwards westwards but not in any haste as we only had to reach Malaga before dropping off Nick and that amounted to 45 miles in four days. Our first overnight anchorage was Cala de los Canuelos and again the attractions of a pleasant beach, lightly populated and a sheltered anchorage led us to remain here two nights. Then we moved onwards towards Malaga.
Old Granada

Our next anchorage was to be in the Ensenada de Velez-Malaga, 20 miles distant; which, despite its name, is also 20 miles east of Malaga. We sailed, on the wind, for the first half of the passage but the wind then died completely and refused to return. Exasperated we motored the final 6 miles and final anchored near Punta de Velez-Malaga. This was a mistake!
Departing Marina del Este
We should either have kept going to Malaga or pulled into the Puerto de Caleta de Valez. As it was, although our anchorage was quiet on arrival; we were lying head to wind and the slight swell; it turned into a very uncomfortable anchorage when the tidal stream changed (yes, tides in the Mediterranean; I had forgotten all about them after 10 years in the eastern and central Med!). The current held us beam on to the slight swell and beam on to the wind. The swell was exactly the wrong wavelength for Kurukulla (her natural roll frequency) and thus we rolled and rolled; the consequence of which we all had a very disturbed night's sleep. Finally in the early hours of daylight we gave up and sailed off the anchor in the direction of Malaga.

The passage to Malaga was upwind but a very biased beat. We enjoyed the sail immensely finishing by beating along the foreshore of Torremolinos and Benalmadena before arriving at the marina. The entrance was well marked but shallow and given the rather lumpy seas outside I decided to sail in and hold in the marina whilst we stowed sails and got fenders and warps ready.
Marina at Benalmadena
This involved avoiding the dredger which was working in the entrance! As we approached we rolled up the genoa, gybed the main, and then sailed in somewhat to the surprise of the marinaios! Five minutes later we were alongside the reception jetty which was awful! The swell was running in and making life very uncomfortable. Despite my encouragement to complete the formalities quickly the process took 20 minutes during which time a catamaran returned to the reception jetty having failed to manage to get into his allotted berth but having damaged another boat in his efforts.
Departing Estepona
This made it look, judging by my one burst fender whilst waiting, as if we had gotten off lightly! Eventually we were offered the berth where the catamaran had been, managed to get in without problem (we are much smaller!) and set about holding ourselves off the jetty whilst the surge in the marina did its best to throw the stern against the concrete. We succeeded but not without some cost to my berthing ropes!

In the two days we spent in the marina the seas subsided and we were able to leave the boat and go do some sightseeing in and around the area, visit our favourite supermarket, and prepare for the next leg. From here it was going to be Estepona and then Gibraltar. For this entire distance we were without wind and motored continuously.
Supper with Bob and Joy at Estepona
The only pleasure was meeting up with friends in Estepona whom I hadn't seen for 10 years. Joy & Bob Hall. The last time I had seen them was on their boat in English Harbour, Antigua. Now they spend their summers in Spain.

On the morning we approached Gibraltar there was a heavy sea mist. The first sight of the Rock was the top 160m poking above the mist. This burnt off as we got nearer and by the time we rounded Europa Point all had cleared. We motored into the harbour and berthed in Queensway Quay Marina, later receiving a very pleasant surprise when I discovered that for Kurukulla it was only £19 per day.
First view of Gibraltar, through the mist!
The cheapest full service marina I have ever been in!

More when we leave Gibraltar.......
Europa point, Gibraltar

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Alicante to Almeria

Departing Alicante
After three days in Alicante, and dispatching Yorgos back to Paros, we were ready to head west again. Alicante marina had been so accommodating that we extended our stay by a day in order to do a bit more sightseeing and to catch up on some maintenance. Our stay also coincided with an international fireworks competition, hence each night we were treated to a different and impressive 30 minute display.

By the end of day three we were ready to go and hence at 1400 we motored out of the marina and sailed south west looking for a decent anchorage along the coast.
Cabo de Santa Pola
It was soon evident that if we rounded Punto Espato we were not going to find shelter in the next very long bay hence we anchored in the very open but nonetheless calm area off the beach at Cabo de Santa Pola, just short of Espato. The night was quiet, the anchorage stayed calm and we awoke to a freshening onshore breeze from the south east; time to go!

From here we sailed the short distance to the south-western side of Espato and anchored in the shallow bay of Santa Pola town, just in from of two enormous brilliant white mountains of salt, product of the adjacent salt pans.
Santa Pola
With the exception of a short half mile move to achieve better shelter here we stayed for the next two days. We had plenty of time in hand and the anchorage conditions were good.

With the wind set fair for the passage we set off from here for a 45 mile reach, in calm seas, to Punta de Estacio, the only navigable entrance to the Mar Menor (one of the few inland seas along this coast which is connected to the sea by a navigable channel). Here we anchored in the lee of Isla Grosa for the night before setting off at 0715 for the canal leading into Mar Menor.
Isla Grosa at the entrance to Mar Menor
The canal is straddled by a lifting bridge with insufficient clearance for us to get under unless it is open. The pilot book gave the opening times as 1100 and 1700, fortunately we phoned ahead to check and discovered it opened at 0800, 1200 and every two hours through the afternoon until 2000. Loitering in the narrow canal for an hour waiting for the bridge to open would have been particularly tedious, especially given that Kurukulla has no bow thruster. Once in the Mar Menor we headed for the anchorage at San Javier, conveniently situated at the end of the airport runway where our next guest, Stephen, was due to land in two hours time.
The lifting bridge into Mar Menor
Sure enough the 'On time airline' delivered him without snags and I went ashore in the dinghy to bring him onboard. That achieved it was a swift shopping trip for Christoph and I, whilst Stephen settled in onboard, before we sailed off the anchor and headed south to the anchorage in the lee of Isla Mayor (not surprisingly, given it's name, the largest island in the Mar Menor) where we spent the night.

On Tuesday morning the waters of the anchorage were still calm but the wind was gusting 30 kts hence we decided to remain in the Mar Menor another 24 hours and simply tumbled downwind, under genoa alone, into the anchorage at the southern end of Mar Menor, anchoring off the sailing club at Puerto de la Manga. Anchored adjacent to us was what was obviously the end of some-one's dream; a yacht, unkempt, genoa in shreds and looking particularly sorry for itself; a tragic sight.
The end of someones dream
I was tempted to swim over and have a look onboard but the potential for finding the owner, dead in the cabin, was sufficient to deter me! That evening we sailed back upwind to the entrance of Mar Menor and anchored only 100m from the entrance to the canal in preparation for leaving the next morning via the 0800 opening of the bridge.

The following morning we were one of five vessels queued up in the canal waiting for the bridge which, once open, allowed us to head out into the open sea.
Puerto de la Manga, Mar Menor
Our destination was Cartagena, some 25 miles downwind, to the south west. After the winds of the previous two days it was a somewhat “rocky / rolly” passage but otherwise uneventful. We sailed into the harbour at Cartagena, stowed the sails and motored gently into the Puerto de Cartagena marina where we were greeted by a very cheerful marinaio who berthed us on the most convenient berth possible, inside the cruise-liner berth where sat Britannia, the P&O liner, (aka. a floating block of flats!). Once the formalities were complete, and given that it was only a degree short of 40C, we opted for a cold drink, in the adjacent arts/convention centre terrace overlooking the marina, before retiring aboard for a quiet siesta.
Cartagena Amphitheatre
By 1900 it was time to hit the supermarket to re-victual and by 2100 we were back on the terrace for a G&T before heading into town for a Tapas dinner. All of this was capped off with a late nightcap in a small nightclub before we wandered back to the marina via the historic part of the town.

By 0900 next morning we were on our way back to the historic centre to do the tourist bit before our departure; planned for 1400. Cartagena has a vast array of Roman remains, all very well presented.
Cartagena harbour
There is also some amazing Spanish architecture which they are desperately trying to preserve; the town is littered with building facades, held up by scaffolding, but where there is no sign of the new building being built to incorporate the original facade. Perhaps a symptom of the Spanish financial crash; many of the approval notices were dated 2006/7.

At 1400, after a light lunch ashore, we set off for the next anchorage 15 miles away at Ensenada de Marazon. Again a rolling passage, almost all dead downwind, until we rounded Cabo Tinoso, after which we had a gusty and challenging ride into the anchorage; not helped by an extensive tunny net fishing ground right across our path. As we entered the bay the winds were varying in direction by 80 – 90 degrees and gusting from 0 to 40 kts, not easy!
Ensenada de Mazarron
We eventually anchored under sail, just short of the swimming markers off the beach, on pure sand; put out 30m of cable in 4m of water and sat it out. It gusted up to 40 kts throughout the evening and into the following morning, the only compensation was watching a solitary windsurfer virtually flying back and forth across the flat waters of the bay. Naturally it dropped to light airs from the south 15 minutes before our departure next morning; just what we didn't need.

The next morning had dawned grey, misty and overcast and, having sailed off the anchor, were were almost immediately becalmed and subjected to light winds for most of the day. As a consequence we motor sailed south-westwards, doing 6 – 7 kts, towards our next destination, Cala San Pedro, some 60 miles away. The only compensating factor was that we were joined by a pod of seven or eight dolphins en route who played under the bow for 5 minutes or so before becoming bored and heading off to find more fun elsewhere. The first dolphins for several weeks. After the first few hours it became apparent that with no or contrary winds we were going to have to motor most or all of the way. Three hours from our destination I decided we would need to make a slight detour to refuel (long distance motoring is a rarity in Kurukulla!) hence we diverted to the Puerto Pescaro de Carboneras where the pilot gave an easily accessible fuelling station and, being a fishing port, it was likely to be open in the early evening. By 1800 we were 5 miles short of the port with contrary 10knot winds when the engine gave an initial splutter. Oops! We shut down and sailed the final 5 miles anchoring as close to the harbour entrance as we were able. From here it was a trip into the harbour by dinghy with a 25ltr jerry can to top up. That would have been great if the fuelling station had been open. It was not! It was firmly closed (notwithstanding the sign on the door that said open until 2000 each evening) and there were no signs of life. Fortunately a local, who happened to be nearby, took pity on us and ran Christoph plus jerry can to a fuel garage, some kilometre away, where 25 litres of diesel were successfully procured. Having proffered our sincere thanks we returned to Kurukulla, siphoned the diesel into the tank, and set off again for Cala San Pedro.
Las Negras
It was now nearing sunset and as we approached Cala San Pedro it was obvious it would not be as protected as we had hoped; this was not a good day! However, a mile and a half further on was Ensenada de Las Negras which offered better shelter and became our chosen refuge for the night. Dinner was served at 2300!

Next morning we discovered that the bay at Las Negras is very pleasant place and rather reminiscent of Santorini with it's white block architecture and black sand on the beach. Thus we decided to take a coffee ashore and have a look around before heading off again to our next anchorage. Las Negras is obviously a place that is popular with the locals, with several busy cafes and a launch service serving other local bays.

By 1300 we were ready to go and sailed off the anchor heading southwards. The light winds very quickly gave way to 25 knots of headwinds hence it was a somewhat wet and lumpy sail to windward to cover the 9 miles south to Puerto Genoves, which despite it's name, is and open bay but offering protection from the southerly winds we were experiencing.
Puerto Genovese (why do they do this?)
By 1500 we were anchored in 4m of water in this idyllic bay and setting about preparing lunch. After a swim, siesta and supper we passed an enjoyable and mostly calm night here but not before having to invite a motor boat, who insisted on dropping his anchor 20m in front of us, to up anchor and move!

Next morning was perfect. Brilliant blue sky, light southerly wind and calm seas. We stayed until 1300 before, after an early lunch, we set off for Puerto Aguadulce, near Almeria, from where Stephen was due to depart the next day.
Puerto Genovese by moonlight
Needless to say this time the winds decided to die away to almost nothing, hence after three hours covering 6 miles we were forced to resort to the engine once again and motor sail the remaining 18 miles to the marina. Somewhere along the line this month we must have offended Neptune! By 1900 we were berthed in the marina and having booked ahead had been expecting to be greeted by the marinero on arrival. As it was we loitered for 10 minutes in the entrance, having received no reply to our call on VHF on channel 9, and eventually selected a berth for ourselves conveniently near the facilities, where we were assisted by the fuel station attendant to moor up. Eventually the marinero arrived, grumpily accepted that where we were was where we were going to stay, and then took forever to process our documentation and payment. He had obviously missed out on the charm school course!
Supper at Aguadulce
That said the ladies in the office next day were charming and very efficient.

From here Stephen departed next day and Nick was due to join the day after. More when we depart....

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Barcelona to Alicante, via the Balearic Islands

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The first full day in the Vilanova marina was spent relaxing with a few hours on the beach and sundowner drinks on the yacht club terrace. The following day was more productive! The first task was to cart a not insignificant quantity of laundry to the launderette, some distance in-land, and refresh our wardrobe. Two hours later all was done, dried and back onboard. Next stop the chandlery to get various odds and ends that we had identified since leaving Port Saint Louis; finally it was to the local Lidl supermarket (for yacht victualling they are ideal as most of their stock has a very long shelf life and their wines are good value!). Day gone!

The boys in Barcelona
Tuesday was the day for our next crew member,Yorgos, to arrive. We decided to meet him at the airport and then carry on into the centre of Barcelona to do a walking tour. On arrival at the airport, terminal 2, I was amazed to note that the main railway connection from Barcelona is single track! One train every half hour! Then I noticed there is also a metro link to terminals 1 and 2! Having made contact with Yorgos we then set off to Barcelona and walked from the Sants railway station to the Sagrada Familia cathedral (of which more later) and from there south to the 'Arc de Triomf', Catalan style. By now Yorgos was wilting, having been travelling since the early hours of the morning, and hence we took the train back to Vilanova, enjoyed a cocktail and tapas on the waterfront and retired for an early-ish night. The following day was to be our departure day for the 24 hour crossing to the Balearic islands.

Sagrada Familia
The city of Barcelona is bristling with traditional Spanish architecture but the Sagrada Familia left me rather underwhelmed, it seemed more of a folly than a place of worship with every form of adornment featuring somewhere on the facades. That said I did not see the inside (prior booking is necessary) and I am told the inside is even more spectacular. Even so it seemed to be more related to the days of Christianity when the splendour of the building was meant to put the population in awe of the religion it represented. Just my personal view! The Arc de Triomf was a brick version of its more famous cousin in Paris and almost as impressive.

Fortunately Wednesday dawned bright and clear with a very mild wind forecast. Notwithstanding the forecast lack of wind we decided to go and by 1300 we motored out of the marina and set off on the crossing. Initially we had a NE wind, enough to give us 4 kts in the right direction but as the afternoon drew on we were forced to resort to engine with ever lighter winds from exactly the wrong direction, SE. The lack of wind lasted for three hours but after that we were able to sail the remainder of the crossing until, when 2 miles short of Majorca, we were becalmed again.
Cala de Engossaubas, Majorca
Frustration set in and we motored the final two miles into Cala Engossaubas, our first anchorage in Majorca where we spent a quiet and peaceful night in the company of one other yacht.

Friday we set off for Minorca, sailing off the anchor and ghosting out of the Cala. The 30 mile passage was uneventful but for a couple of periods of complete calm and several 90° wind shifts. By 1900 we were approaching the NW point of Minorca but again the wind died to nothing. Against our better judgement we motored the last 1.5 miles into Cala Morts; however, on arrival we concluded it was too deep and with a bottom consisting of large boulders, hence too risky for anchoring; for this reason we moved one Cala to the east (500m) and entered Codolar de Torre Nova where we tucked ourselves right into the end of the Cala, buoyed the anchor and put a line ashore to hold us in position.
Codolar de Torre Nova
A delightfully rugged place to spend the night. The following morning Yorgos and I set off to scale the cliffs to get a photograph from the rim of the Cala leaving Christoph to look after Kurukulla, the results can be seen here!

Our plan was to head eastwards along the north coast of Minorca over the next three days. All we needed now was some wind! By early afternoon the wind had filled in from the north west and we were able to enjoy a brief broad reach as far east as Cala de Algayerens where we anchored in 4m, on pure sand, in the eastern end of the main beach. A delightful spot where we spent the night at anchor.

Cala de Algayerens
The smaller eastern beach here had been full of motorboats on our arrival; however, the following morning it was deserted and offered better protection from the slight swell running into the bay. Thus we moved into the eastern bay and spent the morning swimming and exploring the hinterland behind the beach. After a leisurely lunch we set off eastwards again but this time with a moderate north-easterly wind, hence it was a beat to windward for us to get to our next objective, Fornells, where there is a natural harbour and good shelter from a forecast strong north-easterly blow. The forecast was right!
Fornells waterfront
We entered Fornells under reefed main and genoa, sailing up the harbour to pick up a mooring on the eastern (best protected) side and just short of the castle on Isla Sargantana. That night we had the first thunderstorm of the season and the following day did not disappoint with strong winds and heavy rain all coming in from the NE. Thus it was we stayed here for two days, biding our time until the winds abated.

Finally on the Tuesday morning it dawned bright and clear, we were able to use the dinghy to go ashore for some fresh victuals and to do some sightseeing around the town before getting under way again and heading for Cala Tamarells (which is now almost impossible to anchor in due to an anchoring exclusion zone) and then on to Cala Grao, a mile further south, to anchor for the night. Tamarells is the more secluded of these Calas but the north side of Cala Grao is the more secure anchorage, especially in north-easterly winds.

Mahon harbour
The next morning we set off for Mahon, the beautiful natural harbour on the eastern end of Minorca. It is easy to see why this natural harbour has been fought over so many times over the centuries. There are still many examples left from the British occupation of some 100 years. We initially berthed on the public quay and a helpful restaurant owner told us that the berth had not been used for some months. With this information I set off for the Harbour Authority Offices ready to pay my dues. They were having none of it! Vacant or not they had no interest in letting us stay in the berth! Hence I phoned the Royal Yacht Club of Mahon who could not have been more helpful, provided a berth for two nights and were less expensive than the adjacent marina. The added bonus was the use of all the club facilities as well.

The beach at Santo Tomas
After two days touring the delights of Mahon we set off to explore the south coast of Menorca. Mid day on the 8th of June, general election day in UK, we set off for an anchorage on the south coast. It was a splendid spinnaker run/reach all the way along the coast until we reached Son Bou where we started looking for a suitable anchorage for the night. In the end we settled for the very eastern end of the beach at Son Bou, in the shadows of two large hotels but protected from the swell and south-easterly wind. Here we stayed overnight enjoying a sunset supper and a peaceful night.
Sunset at Cala Santandria
The next morning we moved 8 miles along the coast and into Cala Son Saura where we anchored under sail and settled for a very pleasant afternoon, enjoying dinner onboard as the sun set.

Next morning dawned bright, sunny but windless and was forecast to remain so. As a consequence we decided to double back slightly and anchor off the beach at Santo Tomas for the day. In the evening we moved into Cala Trebeluja, a delightful Cala with good anchoring conditions and a sandy beach; an ideal place to anchor and spent the night at the end of an exhausting day of doing very little!

Stern to, Ciutadella
The following morning we sailed for Cala Santandria which is just short of Ciutadella. Our aim was to spend most of the morning getting there, lunch on arrival and then spend the night at anchor in the Cala before moving on to Ciutadella the next morning. We managed to get a place in the main part of the Cala, drop the anchor in the centre and tie back to the rocks on the northern side. Although on the doorstep of Ciutadella the Cala was pleasant, relatively quiet and a tourist draw for the spectacular view of the sunset that it offered.

Ciutadella was the old capital of the island before it was moved to Mahon. This is definitely my favourite place in the Balearic Islands. Not unspoilt by tourism but similarly not overrun by it either. The yacht club was very welcoming; providing us with a berth in the centre of the harbour on the side nearest the club facilities, thus we settled to enjoy a very pleasant stay. Lunch was on the terrace of the Yacht Club and dinner was taken in a small backstreet restaurant by the name of Bar Saint Jean which offered a tasty selection of Tapas accompanied with a very agreeable local wine.

Monument to the defence against the Turkish invasion, Ciutadella
Next morning it was off again but this time for the transit to Majorca. We sailed at 1030 having done the usual routine of buying bread at the last minute and filling up with water, (which in a sailing vessel is more precious than fuel). Once clear of the harbour, which has had a very extensive new outer breakwater added since my charts and pilot were published, we set sail for the 24 mile crossing to Cala Molto on the eastern tip of Majorca. As luck would have it most of this crossing was downwind in light winds and the spinnaker came into its own.
Cala Molto, Majorca
By 1630 we were sailing onto the anchor in the Cala, quickly secured and settling for the night.

By next morning the wind had shifted somewhat and it was going to be a light airs, biased beat, south-westwards to our next destination, Cala Petita. With the wind in the southerly sector it was difficult to find a Cala, on the south east facing coast of Majorca, with decent shelter from the swell. Cala Petita, although small, as its name suggests, seemed to offer the best option, provided it was not fully occupied.
Cala Petita
In fact we were fortunate and on our arrival, at 1830, there was only one small motorboat anchored in the Cala; we were able to drop the anchor on the centreline and tie back to one of the exposed rocks further in. We had less than 0.5m under the keel and certainly no room to swing but because of the dog leg in the entrance to the Cala the seas were not entering in any significant way and we were very comfortably placed. Another quiet night....

From Cala Petita we moved on next day to Cala Mitjana, another Cala offering shelter from then swell but this time we were far from alone.
Departing Cala Mitjana
The Cala was full with other vessels from motor catamarans to yachts both larger and smaller than us. It was obvious on arrival that we would have to anchor and tie back to avoid swinging into other vessels. After a bit of research we found a spot, reasonably well into the larger northern arm of the Cala and almost out of the effects of the swell. A few minutes later we were secure and ready for a slightly delayed lunch followed by an afternoon of relaxing in the sun (again).

Next morning we moved on again heading to the southern tip of Majorca, this time to anchor in Cala Caragol; an open Cala but one facing south-west and so free of the swell which was still running in from the south-east. We were one of four yachts anchored there, each on their own patch of sand. The bottom is a mixture of rock and sand so care is needed to avoid getting the anchor trapped or dropping on a shelf of rock with little or no holding. The beach on the other hand is pure sand and lightly populated making it an ideal spot to swim ashore for a bit of walking exercise along the half mile or more of beach. Given that the anchorage was calm and quiet we opted to stay here overnight and to set off mid morning next day.

Cala Portals from the restaurant
By now we were on high season tourist prices and for that reason not one of us was keen to spend too long in the bars and discotheques of Palma or to pay the very high prices demanded by Palma's marinas. Thus we decided to head for Cala Portals on the western side of the Bay of Palma and spend the next night two nights, Saturday and Sunday, there before heading into Palma for a single day. Sunday lunch was taken in the restaurant ashore at the head of the Cala and very good it was too. Saturday night had been calm and quiet but on the Sunday night, soon after darkness had fallen, we were forced to move further offshore, out into the centre of the Cala, due to the onset of an easterly wind. C'est la vie.

Palma marina
On the Monday morning we phoned ahead and were lucky enough to get a berth at the Real Club Nautico di Palma which offered us superb facilities and interestingly enough was not over expensive, well not in Balearic terms anyway, €100 per night for Kurukulla. Thus it was we spent Monday afternoon sightseeing in Palma, the evening enjoying dinner ashore and the following morning seeking out supermarkets etc. for our preparations for leaving.
Palma cathedral
By 1400 we were ready to go and by 1600 we were anchored back in Cala Portals but this time tucked into the southern arm of the Cala to avoid the swell which was again rolling in from the east. Although popular with many small boat owners and therefore occasionally crowded Cala Portalls is a beautiful Cala and one of my favourites.

Tuesday's forecast promised a speedy reach across to Ibiza and thus we confidently set off in the early to mid morning, sailed off the anchor only to find ourselves having to start the engine 20 minutes later, when beset by a still calm, and motor as far as the south-western tip of Majorca. From here we were able to hoist the spinnaker and reach across towards Ibiza touching 6-7 knots at times but mostly 4-5. By the halfway mark the wind had shifted and it was too tight a reach to sustain the spinnaker, thus we hoisted the No1 genoa and continued at a slightly more sedate pace but were still able to complete the 50+ miles by dusk and reach Cala del Lleo before it was completely dark. Cala del Lleo is an open Cala to the east, not difficult to find but has a significant number of rocks scattered around its fringes and some further out, many of which only just break surface.
Departing Cala del Lleo
It is not a Cala to enter by night! On arrival there was one other yacht anchored in the Cala. We sailed in and anchored some 75m further into the Cala but in the rapidly diminishing light this was as far as my nerve would take me. We anchored on a patch of sand, in 7m of water, and in the morning light this proved to have been a very good decision! The nearest submerged rocks were 50m away.

From Cala Lleo we set sail towards Ibiza but again our enthusiasm for the night life was somewhat lacking. Instead we headed for the anchorage off of the beach called Playa de Caballet which, given the westerly wind, was calm and quiet; well almost. What Neptune did not send our way the never ending succession of power boats did, passing at 20kts plus and putting up enormous wakes sending us rocking and rolling at anchor every few minutes. I am sure there should be a 6 knot speed limit within two miles of the shore to prevent the damage and discomfort they cause. None ever look backwards to see the chaos they leave in their wake, or if they do they don't care! After one night at anchor off Caballet we had had enough and we set off the following morning to find somewhere more tranquil. This was to be Cala Raco des Mares on the north shore of the main part of Formentera. Although well populated with boats few were surging past at speed and the whole place was calm and relatively tranquil; that is until a Portuguese registered super yacht pulled into the anchorage at midnight with a disco party going on on the after deck. Fortunately their near neighbours let them know what they thought of this idea and calm was restored after a short period.

The ugliest sailing vessel afloat! Anchored off Formentor.
The next day we returned to Caballet for a second try but this time we determined not to stay overnight but to head south to Formentera and anchor on the east side of the northern promontory near the northern tip of the island. Visible across the promontory was the most ugly sailing vessel I have ever seen. The modern equivalent of a very expensive folly?

From here we set off next morning to our final anchorage in the Balearic Islands at Cala Sahona, on the western side of the island, ideally situated to be ready for a late evening departure westwards towards the Spanish mainland again. Cala Sahona was also crowded with boats when we sailed in, hence we anchored as close to the beach as we could but even this was a long swim ashore. In the end we were not sorry to be leaving the islands; too crowded.

At 2230 we sailed off the anchor and set sail westwards towards Alicante, our next port of call and Yorgos's departure port. For the first five hours we were doing a cracking 6-8 knots on a port tack beam reach, fantastic sailing. Then the wind dropped but not for more than an hour and then we were on a starboard beam reach for the next eight hours doing a similar speed!
Alicante marina and Castle
Again, as we approached the mainland the wind fell to zero and came up an hour later from the opposite direction hence we found ourselves again on a port tack reach and surging along even to the stage where we had to reef for a pair of hours. In the end we arrived in Alicante at 1430, sailed into the harbour, and by 1445 we were alongside the reception jetty of Alicante marina negotiating for a berth. At €50 per day this was somewhat more reasonable than the Balearic prices and we settled on a two day stay.

More when we leave.............