Monday, 7 September 2015

Another Balearics cruise

We have decided to base Mango on the Spanish coast for a couple of years as we realised that we need to keep working for a while but have enjoyed the Balaerics so much that we decided to sacrifice being able to sail every weekend to be able to have longish holidays in the Med.

This year we went out for July and August and sailed out to Soller (on Mallorca), which was as beautiful as we remembered and from there went up to Pollensa and then to Menorca and managed to sail round to Mahon.  We had hoped to do more but the weather was unsettled and as we avoid going to sea when a Force 5 or thunderstorms are forecast so our sailing time was constrained.

Mahon was well worth the visit.  We did not get ashore as the weather turned and we decided to head back to Mallorca rather than get weather bound by a NE gale.  We had heard that it was difficult to moor in Mahon, but the anchorages had space and there was loads of empty spaces on the pontoons we saw near the islands.

We had driven out to the boat on our new (to us) motorhome and came back via Vielha (which took us roughly through the middle of the Pyrenees).  It was (almost) worth the loss of sailing time as the scenery is so dramatic.  We were particularly impressed by the amount of hydroelectric plants there were on the rivers - nothing wasted.

Biggest surprise of the trip was another Tiki 30 moored across the pontoon from us.

Biggest anxiety of the trip was a wheel bearing starting to make a noise after descending the Pyrenees, but after a check by an wonderful French mechanic and following his advice on driving slowly we got back without any problems.

Some photos from the trip are below.

Puerto de Soller 

Torent de Pareis

Passing Ile de L'Aire, Menorca
Clouds being sucked into a thunderstorm over Valencia

View over canal running alongside the river Ebro

Lake behind dam

Dam in Pyrenees (sorry, forgot to note the name)

Half way up

Rest area before Vielha tunnel (all downhill from here)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Back home

We have added pictures to the posts and will add stats to this page when we have worked them out.  We spend a lot more time motoring and a lot less time in marinas this year than last year so it will be interesting to compare the stats.

For UK sailors one of the most amazing things about sailing around the Balearics was the clarity of the water.  When we were crossing the south side of Formentorar we could make out sand patches on the bottom through about 18m of water!  We could always check the anchor by going swimming, and if the water was still just looking could be sufficient, below are pictures taken when anchored in 6m of water, the anchor is directly underneath us.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Left Balearics

After a brief cruise down to Binirassi, which was too croweded for comfort, we spent a few days watching the weather whilst in Cala Blanco and then Cala Charracca until we saw what looked like a settled period, so after a long restraunt lunch in Portinax we set of on a night sail to the Columbretes, a small group of (ex)volcanic islands of the Spanish coast.
Cala Charraca

The wind was stronger and the sea nastier than forecast, but both died away on the approach and we arrived in sunshine. The main anchorage is in the bowl of the defunct volcano and is spectacular.

After 2 nights we left and the predicted wind materialized giving us a wonderful fetch and reach to the Spanish coast where we will be laying up for the winter.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Completed circumnavigation of Ibiza and Formentorar

Went the whole way round Ibiza without going ashore until the last couple of days as the anchorages were all very full. Formentorar was more pleasant to visit with nice anchorages and we did go ashore and met a Tiki 26 owner who is able to keep his boat in the lagoon in La Sabina.
Cala Sahona

To look at Ibiza is attractive with pine hills, fantastically shaped rocks and loads of little coves with clear water; but the whole area suffers from an overabundance of super yachts and big motor boats which in turn mean loads of wash and a plethora of jet skis and ribs all going flat out. The nicest bit is the NE corner which does not seem to suffer so badly.
We would only visit again well out of season.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Why we do not wave at power boats

We sail to enjoy the challenge of making the boat go as well as is comfortable for the conditions and to enjoy peaceful anchorages.
Both these objectives are frequently disrupted by planing and semi planing power boats with noisy engines kicking up huge wakes which affect other boats a mile or more away from where the power boat passed.
The wakes are the worst problem as they shake the wind from our sails in light weather and in stronger winds create nasty cross seas that fling the boat around.
And then there is the smell of diesel or 2 stroke exhaust.
All the above applies whether sailing or at anchor.
So we do wave at traditional displacement motor boats but we do not wave at power boats as we are usually busy preparing to cope with their wake.

In September there was an article in the Huddersfield Examiner about 2 men from Huddersfield being hospitalised and flown home following the small motor boat they were in in Ibiza being overtaken by a large power boat and the wash being so extreme that they  thrown up in the air a number of time of times and suffered serious injuries when landing back on their boat each time.

Visiting Ibiza

We sailed back to Soller from Pollensa and from there headed to Ibiza. The coast line is spectacular.

Sailing from Pollensa to Dragonera Island showed how variable Mallorcan weather can be with it changing from fast sailing to motoring or vice versa in a few miles or a few minutes.
By the time we go to Dragonera the wind was on the nose and there was a nasty sea so we postponed crossing for a day and spent the night of the 22nd on a buoy in San Telmo.  The sea was still nasty the next day but the wind was behind us so we persevered with the crossing and anchored that night in a lovely Cala Blanco in Ibiza.

On the 24th we continued down the lovely North coast of Ibiza and round to the west coast where we could not find a space to anchor in a cala so are anchored in St Antonio Bay putting up with music from various bars and the wash of the foot passenger ferries that ply across the bay.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Back in Mallorca

Our stay in Cala Son Saura was pleasant; especially as we found (from another cruiser) a farm shop selling really fresh local produce and, for future reference, that there is a bus service to La Cieutdadela.  It was also amusing snorkeling there as a school of sea bream was based near the boat and would follow us when we were swimming.
The snorkeling high light to date was in Cala Molto where we saw an octopus.
We had a fantastic sail back to Pollensa where we are doing the laundry and shopping and catching up on administration.  We also met some people circumnavigating the island in a traditional llaut using only sails and oars for propulsion.