VI - Moving East, The Balearic's, Ibiza, Formentera and Mallorca.
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V - Benidorm & Altea, Costa Blanca, Spain.
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VII - Moving East, Sardinia.
Log Entry Wednesday 14th September - 0400 Hours we leave for Sardinia, 3 days off!
We have a forecast giving us 4 days of good westerly, south westerly winds at around 10 - 15 knots, perfect. Come Saturday evening, much stronger winds are forecast so it is either leave today or be stuck for another week - today it must be! The route, speed etc to ensure we arrive before the strong winds set in on Saturday. The winds were due to swing in our favour in the early hours of the morning, that is exactly what happened, the build up to about 15 knots woke us around 0300 hours, we were ready to go so we decided to leave "asap" and utilise the winds, up we get and off we go!
To view our next log entries please use the following link: VII - Moving East, Sardinia.
Log Entry Wednesday 7th September - A calling to the local Doctor.
Well after a good nights sleep, after yesterdays events, we wake stiff and sore, we had thought of leaving again this morning, but decide on a couple of days rest, peace and quiet.
While here, Ann had been having trouble with one of her ears, we had been to two Pharmacists, the lotion recommended in each case not solving the issue, so time to try again. We tried the normal routing, off to the Pharmacist with the two lotions that had not worked previously, the Pharmacist advised us to seek help from a Doctor.
We sort out a Doctor, who prescribed an alternative then ripped us off with his fees, I passed over our Governments E111 Medical Card, I was not exactly laughed at but was told it was of no use to them, €100.00 thank you very much! We spent a couple of hours in the coffee shop, then picked up fruit and salad, then returned Sailaway.
Log Entry Tuesday 6th September - Our second try at Sardinia!
We were up early, the weather was updated at 0600, it was still a go, 10/15 knots for the whole trip, looks great! There was little to prepare as we had been "good to go!" The sun was just starting to rise in the east as we made ready to lift the anchor and head east.
We made our way out of the anchorage around 0730, there was already a couple of nutters sitting on the beach chatting away, it looked like they had been there most of the night? We turned and made our way towards "Pta Salinas" the most easterly point of the island.
We were greeted by light winds, 6/8 knots, up went the canvas and off went the engine as we headed into the sunrise, our destination the south west corner of Sardinia.
We continued on for a couple of hours, set for the trip, the wind a little unsettled, but that kept us occupied, keeping our speed up to a maximum. Then around lunch time, we were around 20 miles off shore, the wind just literally disappeared, we were left bobbing like a cork in a bath tub. As I looked ahead looking for wind I noticed what we call "whites" the top of the waves being blown of the small waves ahead - wind was coming back! We thought "great stuff!" until I realised how fast it was coming towards us, Ann was sitting on cushions on the outside of the cockpit, I called her to get back into the cockpit straight away. Poor Sailaway was hit by a gust of wind, we had full canvas up so we were pushed over somewhat. As I looked at the wind instruments the wind stayed at 25 knots minimum, gusting 30/35 knots, we took Sailaway close to the wind and dropped the mainsail completely and then began to reef the headsail. The waves had in minutes built to 4 meters plus, we were struggling to maintain coarse and speed as the wind was on our beam, each wave pushing us off coarse. We need more drive, so we took her close to the wind again, getting very wet from breaking seas, at least the water was warm, we raised the mainsail again, this time heavily reefed to a minimum. We then rolled up the headsail and brought up our small jib, our speed and coarse was now good, doing 6-7 knots, balanced well. The wind stayed steady at over 25 knots, now for over an hour, the sea continued to build, we were looking up at the tops of the waves then sliding down them as they passed underneath us. I spoke to Ann about my intension to turn back if the wind did not fall soon and the seas begin to fall.
It was now just a case of waiting to sea what was to happen, we were far from the forecast of 10/15 knots and maximum 2 meter swell? We were now in our wet gear as waves would break over us, the wet gear kept us warm and life jackets, "just in case!" The wind did not give at all, the seas continued to build, we still had over 200 miles to go in open water, then the top of one of the waves deposited itself over us into our cockpit, that was interesting? I looked at Ann, who looked at me, then we were hit by a second drenching, we both said to each other "time to turn back!" - so we did!
We made good time for the first 10 of the 20 miles, the wind then disappear completely, swinging around 180 degrees, but did drop to about 20 knots, the last 10 miles was a bit more of a challenge? We returned to the anchorage we had left this morning around 1900 hours, I best described our experience today as "being beat up!" still all part of our way of life!
Log Entry Monday 5th September - Time to move on, our first try at Sardinia!
The weather is starting to look somewhat positive for Sardinia, the north/northeasterly winds coming in a day or so. First we have to travel the length of the south coast of Mallorca, very little wind ever reaches this coastline as the winds are predominately from the north, to get to the south coast they have to cross the island. It's mountain range diluting them significantly, so, we reside ourselves to motoring to the southeast corner of the island. If the winds are good as we cross the south coast, we will continue on to Sardinia, if not we intend to hang out somewhere and wait for them.
The morning is dull and grey. it will take us about three hours to motor across the Bahia de Palma, it is about 15 miles across.
To the west of the bay "Pta de Cala Figuera", it's bright light was our first sighting of Mallorca during the night hours when we arrived from Ibiza.
As we rounded "Capo Blanco" it was clear there was to be no wind as forecast today, continuing the 250 miles to Sardinia under engine was of no attraction to us. We decided to head for the anchorages around "Colonia de Sant Jordi" where we had first landed from Menorca as we made our way west all those weeks ago.
We dropped anchor off the main beach, "Playa des Carbo" behind "Isle Moltana" as we had done previously, the anchorage was quiet, we were able to take a good position on a sandy area, staying clear of the weed.
The winds were coming just a case of when, a check of the evening weather update made tomorrow look very good, winds on the beam from the north east at 10/15 knots for the whole 250 miles, in theory - perfect!
Log Entry Wednesday 28th August - We head ashore, according to "Google Maps" there is an Aldi nearby!
We headed ashore early the next morning, for our coffee and breakfast, to our further amazement the water noise and activity did not begin until around 1000 hours, so again, to our gains the noise and activity at at all intrusive at all! After my full English and numerous coffees it was off to Aldi in Magalluf, Ann was so excited, and I was curious as to what gadgets would be on offer?
With Google Maps to assist the 10 minute walk took us straight to Aldi, nearby "Katmandu" a resort and theme park was of great interest.
As we returned to Sailaway we used the promenade route, by now the beaches were full of people frying themselves!
Log Entry Tuesday 27th August - We settle at Palmer Nova, in the west of Bahia de Palmer.
The next morning we decide a more permanent change of scenery was needed, we had unfortunately just missed, due to my back injury missed a near perfect set of winds for Sardinia. From what we see the systems appear almost weekly, strong winds developing north toward Leon, France, they are accelerated past Menorca providing good northerly winds down here. Perfect for the south coast of Sicily, we move back over to Palma Nova.
Palma Nova backs onto Magalluf, it is as you would expect a thriving tourist resort, beaches, bars, water toys etc. We arrived early around 0930 hours and dropped anchor to the south of the main beach area. Within an hour the whole area was alive with activity and noise, we began to wonder if we had in fact made the correct decision?
To our amazement, at around 1830 hours, everything stopped, the water toys were backed away and the water became silent and flat. As darkness fell music could be heard from the hotels and bars but nothing to complain about, other than we were missing all the fun!
Log Entry Tuesday 27th August - A trip around Bahia de Palmer.
It is 13 days since we arrived here, my back is now gaining strength day on day, the last couple of days I have been swimming around Sailaway as an additional form of exercise to strengthen my back. I have noticed that the two weeks had resulted in a light dusting of growth on our hull and propeller. A trip around the bay is just what's needed to keep her clean.
We took these shots of this great bay, it is full of coves and bays most suitable for anchoring. Over our time here we have seen many of the same vessels come from the Palma and local marina's anchor out for the day and then in a lot of cases, return back to their marina's for the evening. Many do stay out all evening but most appear to return to their respective marina's.
The bay is utilised by vessels of all sizes, models, the above British flagged vessel had two storage areas for support vessels, jet skies and other toys.
The Bay at it's widest is about 5 miles across, we head due west over to Palma Nova/Magalluf and back passing the local marinas at Puerto Portalis & Porto Palma Nova, return back to Las Illetas again for the evening. A further inspection revealed a lovely clean propeller and a lot of the dusting removed from the hull!
Log Entry Monday 22nd August - A trip into Portals Nous.
A troublesome fall on deck (sober) had left me with a sprained back, the last week has seen us work on it and improvements have been achieved over the last week. We take the dinghy along the great Bahia de Palma in which we sit a couple of kilometres to the west to Portals Nous. Clearly not frequented must by water, but it does have a marked channel through the buoys protecting the swimming area. The first problem is finding somewhere to leave our dinghy, the small beach is very crowded.
We enquire ashore and are pointed towards the town for a supermarket. The first thing you notice is the amount of shade offered to people and property from the sun by large trees everywhere. The town and immediate area has a large British element, most of the properties in the small town are to do with real estate, buying, selling or maintaining. There are two English pubs, "The Ship & The Heros Sports Bar", the two newsagents sell English papers, in fact in the one we went into we were served by an English lady!
We decided to have Dinner ashore, every type of food you could want, British, Chinese, Japanese and some Spanish? Even the Spanish restaurant we chose had roast dinners on the menu and this was Tuesday? The venue had about thirty people in, all British from what we could could make out, we had not seen this concentration of Brits since Benidorm!
Log Entry Sunday 21st August - A race around Sailaway and the Isola Illetas.
The first thing Ann noticed this morning was a couple of guys dropping red buoys into the water along side us. Our discussions are now based on why? Some of the guessed reasons were ridiculous, a clear indication that we have been here too long! Once my back is strong enough after my fall, we will move on.
Ann's patients paid out in the end, although I have to say I had guessed correctly the reason behind the red buoys - a local race around the island.
Ann even had some of the locals trying to get into the action?
The race, for whatever reason was well attended and supported, all the safety gear and people to support the entrants. Clearly there was great competition at the front buy the guys in the canoes stuck with the stragglers, just out for a swim.
Log Entry Wednesday 17th August - A trip into Palma "Old Town" and "Plaça Major".
When we arrived a tumble on deck in the early hours of Sunday morning injured my (Kevin's) back, that has kept us on board, 5 days since we last stepped ashore, that was back in Ibiza. Our supply of fruit has gone, as has our fresh, refrigerated produce - time to go shopping.
Illetas, the area in which we sit is basically a coastal area of small islands and coves, very busy especially this time of year. It too, like many of the other places has changed since our last visit in 2008, more commercialised - shame! Our first problem was where to leave the dinghy, there are lots of visitors to our cove but very few go ashore, we were about to learn the reason why?
The whole beach area is cordoned off, but we find a break in the buoys and pull our dinghy up onto the sand. Before we had left the beach area, an elderly couple had arrived and laid down a lounger and towel on the sand adjacent to it, claiming the immediate area? You could see from the look they gave us they were not happy it was there, still time to move on.
We walked through the covered car parking area and down the lane to the beach and the beach bar. The small beach bar we knew had gone, it was now a private beach club - "Ministerio de Defensa" no less, who else could afford "covered parking". We chat to the security guard briefly explaining who we are in broken Spanish, he allows us to enter for refreshments, every one else had to there passes. It was an amazing place, it had everything and the prices were heavily subsidised, we paid about 30% of what we would have paid in a street cafe for our drinks!
Palma was only 7km's away, we decided to make a day of it and bus into the centre, eventually picking up our shopping there, first we had to find a bus?
We thanked the staff at the club for allowing us in and bid our farewells, following the coastal lane, every cover and square meter of sand was utilised. We were pleased to see a beach restaurant we had tried back in 2008 was still there, as busy as ever, the short walk brought back many memories.
We eventually found a bus and made for the centre of Palma, we got off the bus just after the very pedestrianised area, we immediately found the "Commercial Centre" a mall full of everything we needed. We grabbed lunch in a street cafe, and made off into the narrow streets around the centre.
It was an interesting, completely pedestrianised area, many cafes, churches, of coarse, every small square had a band or musicians.
We wandered into "Plaça Major", a large square of typical Italian style, it reminded us very much of Venice, lined with cafes, but the artists by far were the most interesting to us - fascinating and creative.
We mad our way back to the mews of the Commercial Centre, time to shop and a taxi back to Sailaway!
Log Entry Sunday 14th August - We leave Ibiza and head north to Mallorca.
The forecast was good today for out trip, about 65 miles to the north to Mallorca, not so sure on the destination, that would depend on the winds?
We left Talamanca around lunch time, that should guarantee our arrival on Mallorca in daylight, the promised winds were taking their time developing? We motored out in light airs, raised our canvas and put our trusty diesel to sleep, perfect!
We were only able to do 3 knots or so but that was fine, more worrying was that ahead you could see patches of no wind on the water's surface - not good. We had noticed a square rigger a little further off shore, the wind appeared better off shore, so out we went to use the clearer winds. As we got closer we noticed that it was in fact motoring, the sails up for it's paying guests - what would they know?
In time the wind left us completely and on went the engine, it would remain on for the next 12 hours. As we left the northern tip of Ibiza behind us we were visited by a group of dolphins, so fast they were difficult to catch on camera. We noticed them first about 300 meters away, jumping into the air, they then shot over to us and just as quick disappeared!
We saw a lot of traffic, it was now just a case of keeping the mind occupied, I played with our Radar and A.I.S, Ann read her kindle.
Motoring we made good time, arriving a lot earlier than expected, our destination was now "Playa de Las Illetas" a small group of islands in the "Bahia de Palma" just to the west of Palma. Getting into the bay was interesting as we entered, passing "Pta de Cala Figuera" just after midnight we at one point were aware of 7 large commercial vessels within a couple of miles of us, plus fishing vessels of coarse. That was more than enough to keep our minds occupied!
Once to the west of Palma all became quiet on the water, at Las Illetas the anchorage was busy, only a couple of the larger vessels displaying any form of lighting. We dropped anchor in open water, secured Sailaway and retired to bed around 0300 hours.
We woke around 0730 as we do, looked out at our position in daylight, all was good. We had breakfast and returned back to bed to catch up on those missing hours.
Log Entry Friday 12th August - A trip ashore, a bit more relaxed than the last one.
Talamanca is a very relaxed place, a hotel lost about 40% of it's beach to guys like us pulling our dinghies up while visiting ashore - they do not seem to mind at all.
It is a pretty little area but only 5 minutes by taxi from the centre, marinas and harbour, our first point of call was a beach bar we had seen the last time we were ashore.
We had to sit in side, those were the only seats available, the coffee turned into lunch and so on. The only thing we had to do today was to pick up some more fruit and a couple of bits for our next trip north to Mallorca. Talamanca has a "Spar" but Ann was not happy with the fruit and salad so we went in search of an alternative supermarket with the help of Goggle Maps.
We found it with ease, thanks Goggle, out side was a cafe overlooking a rather elegant development, clearly targeted at the young business like, it also had a nice view of the old town across the harbour. It looks better from a distance. When in town we had a brief look around, it has been completely redeveloped, more of a modern town than old town.
Log Entry Thursday 11th August - We move back onto the island of Ibiza and anchor in Cala Talamanca just north of Ibiza City.
Time to move on, a couple of days of strong winds, then nothing, that is just the way it is in the Mediterranean, "Feast of Famine!" Our trip today is a short one, only 10-12 miles, no wind expected so motor on all the way, so short we even towed our dinghy, rather than lifting it up. As we motored north along Formentera beach peninsular it was impressive to see so many boats at anchor, there must have been at least 100, all shapes and sizes too, some quite impressive! At the upmost northerly point there is only a mile or so of water between Ibiza and Formentera.
We pass through "Freu Grande", the large or main channel, as do all of the ferries. It felt a little like playing chicken at times but no real issues as long as you kept out of their way. You can understand their position, if they altered coarse for every small craft they could not run a business.
We are heading for Cala Talamanca, an anchorage just to the north of Ibiza City, a place we had last visited in 2007. Talamanca is close enough to access the city but quiet enough to step out of the hustle and bustle, or at least it was back then? We need the city for a Vodafone shop, we were having problems with our mobile data plan, without that, no weather or internet access from on board. When we first began travelling we would have to find an internet cafe ashore and download weather and email, now it is all done via mobile data and, on a monthly cost, cheaper than buying coffees in a cafe! A real positive is that you are always using the latest weather data, not one a day or two old.
We arrive in Talamanca, what a change since 2007, a large clutter of boat moorings, a clearly marked entrance/exit channel, but still a large, busy, anchorage area. There were far more hotels and building especially along the north shore. We dropped anchor a couple of times before we were happy, the seabed resembles a large dead coral area, full of trenches, ditches etc. Once happy we settled down for the afternoon wind to develop, that would confirm our anchor's security.
Once our minds were at ease about our position, we went ashore and took a taxis into town to the Vodafone shop. As is normal in these places we find, the issues are always resolved fairly rapidly, getting to talk to an assistant took just over an hour.
We were prepared to eat in town, we stumbled along on a Chinese Restaurant "Hong Kong", this was to be our first Chinese meal of 2016! The food and service was great, we even assisted with the staff's English lessons.
Log Entry Wednesday 10th August - Ashore again, strong winds coming, here for a couple of more days!
I was up early this morning, because the anchorage is so large and full, the anchor lights, well those vessels that display anchor lights looked like stars in the night sky. I tried counting them twice but eventually gave up.
We are going ashore again today, we have strong winds starting through the night and carrying on through tomorrow, we will sit those winds out here before we move back to the island of Ibiza and then on to Mallorca. We thought we would stretch our legs ashore today as tomorrow could turn out to be a long day! We are looking to head to the beach bar that sits on the shore behind Sailaway, we leave the dinghy at the quay as it is not possible to land it on the shore because of the wash from some of the ferries, damage would definitely occur. Our first stop is for coffee at Formentera Yacht Club just off the harbour, we had there the ability to not only people watch, but also view the crazy activity on the water, a couple of interesting examples of "water, not road rage" kept us busy as they wrestle for fuel. Across from where we were sitting us there was also a charter sailboat, it had come in with it's bathing platform down. As it had reversed into it's berth it had hit the quayside and smashed, a shame, but great to watch. Service in the yacht club was very slow but we were in no hurry, before we knew it it was time for lunch. By now there were a number of regulars/members in, they were clearly driving the staff crazy, demanding, this, demanding that. The staff, were clearly extremely frustrated, complaining to a gent (manager?), in support all he would do is "shrug" his shoulders - all great stuff to watch, but as far as trying to order a sandwich? I walked away in the end as one of the female customers kept pulling away the waitress's attention, we paid for what we had and with apologies from the staff, we left, life is too short! They clearly believe they are of far greater important than any one else for some reason?
We followed the cycle trail around the harbour coming eventually to the fishing boat section, most vessels out. A hand full of guys sat in the middle of the nets, repairing and chatting, nice to see.
We continued our short walk up onto the side of the beach, the beach bar in view ahead. A rather large guy had made himself a shade and was sleeping. " He was big enough to sleep where he wants!" I thought to myself.
Behind us was a clear impression of life and housing behind the tourist front.
We came across the second, derelict, salt manufacturing site, now also closed in the last ten years due to lack of demand. The large lagoon is land locked, lying dormant unlike the other, which had been turned into small boat moorings. The only attachment to the sea here were the remains of the old sluice gates, some one had built a lovely property adjacent to them. I suppose the salt reclamation was quite an employer at one time?
We arrived at the Beach Bar, we were quite impressed, it had a magnificent restaurant attached, but the menu was just too large and expensive, "starters" being the only option for a light snack, no sandwiches or anything that resembled such a thing We had a quick look, but "starters" priced between €20 to €30 - no thanks!
We had a soft drink and an ice-cream, and took in the view, we were even able to keep an eye on Sailaway.
Log Entry Monday 8th August - We take a look ashore into Puerto de Sabina.
As we sat up on deck this morning the ferry activity had already started by 0900 hours, they arrive and depart every 15 minutes I estimated, amazing to watch, most from Ibiza. There, in the lower picture I show the two most important vessels, a Pilot Vessel, with the black hull to guide the larger ferries in, those over a certain tonnage by law. The yellow vessel is the guy who clears the garbage from the water and unfortunately he is greatly needed, the water is full of plastic & glass bottles, plastic bags etc! We were woken last night by a glass beer bottle banging off our hull, unfortunately it was empty!
We drop our dinghy and head ashore to see Puerto de Sabina and what it holds, apart from the "nudest beaches"? The harbours is small and quaint, especially considering the vessels that use it.
The town is clean and bright, all traffic controlled from the tower, the streets literally full of bicycle, motor car and scooter hire shops, more in number than cafe's which is unusual. There are two very small marina's, a fuel quay, the boat yard occupies what appears to be an old fortress?
We drop into the only waterfront cafe for refreshments, the staff were great, clearly loved their jobs.
Walking around town is easy as it is extremely small, it is almost like people arrive, hire and disappear around the small island? There was once a Salt Manufacturing Plant here, the now, great lake is a mooring area for small vessels as it is so shallow. It was previously used, when there was demand to produce/dry out sea salt.
Even the single back street behind the front is full of hire shops, but we found two supermarkets which suited us, one more coffee, then back to Sailaway.
As we climbed into our dinghy there 11 ferries, most around 30 meters long within the small harbour area. When we returned to Sailaway we had a very near visiter behind us. I had to ask him to move because we could not get our dinghy between us and him, he moved without question!
Log Entry Sunday 7th August - We leave San Antonio to move on across to Puerto de Sabina, on the island of Formentera.
The forecast again this morning confirmed good winds for a sail around the south coast of Ibiza and south over to the Island of Formentera - wrong again! We are always up early when we are to travel, this morning was no exception, ready to go by 0800 hours, but, not a breath of wind to take us on our way?
Ann takes up our anchor after one week holding us steady, Ann never misses a photograph opportunity, she then continued to dry off the morning condensation from the deck, it creates footmarks on the deck if walked on wet? We motored out of "Bahire de San Antonio" and west to round the Isle Conejera, to the north the rugged east coast came into view. We had sailed down the east coast when we arrived here from Mallorca on our way to Benidorm, unfortunately in the dark.
We rounded Isle Conejera to see Isola's Bleda Plana, Bleda Major and Bleda Pequena to our west, Isola del Esparto immediately ahead and Isola's Vedra & Vedranell in the far distance. As there was only light, variable winds we would literally hug the coastline south, passing through the respective channels between the islands and the mainland. In this case the dramatic coastline we were following was a plus to the lack of wind, we were able to see a lot more. If there had been wind we would have sailed to the seaward side and missed the close proximity of the land?
As we passed bay after bay, all developed as some form of resorts it was interesting to try and imagine how isolated these small hamlets and ports must have been like before the tourist industry?
As we approached "El Maternet", the channel between the Isola's Verdra & Vedranell there was placed high on the cliff top (Cabo Blanch) a rather elaborate resort, in fact three or four resorts sat behind the primary one.
Passing through the channel, as we put the the islands behind us, it was good to see a couple of traditional fishing craft, these waters are extremely busy with vessels, but all of tourists, normal life must go on somewhere?
As we rounded "Capo Llentrisca" we could just make out the island of Formentera, approximately ten miles ahead of us. As we left the south west coast of Ibiza we were constantly passed by low aircraft making their way into Ibiza Airport to the north of us.
As we approached Formentera we could see the long north stretching peninsula, known for it's beaches, lined with vessels of all size, all at anchor. We have never seen such a large gathering of vessels but this is the way it is in the Balearics, there was a good 2 - 3 miles of boats at anchor, stretching from the port north.
As we crossed the busy open water, we came across this private vessel at anchor in about 60 meters of water, I "Goggled it!"
"WHO OWNS PRINCE ABULAZIZ JEDDAH?"
With a length of 147 metres (482 ft 3 in) at delivery, the yacht was the longest and tallest motor yacht in the world, retaining this status for 22 years when it was overtaken by "Dubai" in 2006. Designed by Maierform and built in 1984 by Helsingør Værft in Helsingor, Denmark, the first owner was King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. After his death in 2005, ownership passed to his son Abdul Aziz bin Fahd.
The 147-m-long ship has a beam of 18.3 m and a draught of 4,9 m. It is propelled by two 5,816 kW Pielstick diesel generator sets. Cruising speed is set at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph), but it can be raised to 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). At full capacity, the yacht requires a 60-65 man crew, it can also hold up to 64 guests onboard. The interior designer was David Nightingale Hicks.
A sister ship to Sailaway?
Our first stop on the island was an anchorage just west of "Puerto de Sabina", unfortunately anchoring had been stopped and mooring buoys installed. We enquired with a Spanish flagged vessel who had occupied one of the buoys, we were told to secure one and await the arrival of the supervisor. They offered assistance but we thankfully declined the need. We settled down and waited for the guy, he turned up some twenty minutes later, he told us "all buoys were chargeable and fully booked". He helpfully directed us up to the anchorage with the many others, we slipped our lines off the buoy and anchored probably amongst 100 other vessels?
The anchorage runs the length of the beach which runs the full length of the peninsular. The close proximity of anchoring is these island takes getting used too? Usually little more than a boat length between vessels but more alarming is the vessels do not seem to test their anchor, we reverse hard to ensure it is dug in, pulling the chain tight? The vessel behind us, dropped his anchor, sat for 15 minutes, not using his engine to test it's holding at all? Within 30 minutes the whole family are heading ashore? We did see one catamaran drop his anchor, he did not test it's holding with the engine, but at least he used the windlass to pull the chain tight - some thing is better than nothing? "Captain Cautious" is not happy, but it seems to be the way it is, you get used to it or leave?
Log Entry Thursday 4th August - A look around San Antonio bay.
We have now been here for four nights, we have been ashore twice but there is not a lot of interest for us. It is all about lying around on "rock beaches" gaining a tan, then eating drinking - the normal holiday stuff. We have spent our days working on Sailaway, as there are always "stuff" to do and planning our next year! This winter we will return to Marina di Ragusa, Sicily and have Sailaway lifted out again. The hull to date is in fantastic condition, the best we every ever seen after six months and 1200 miles.
We now have a low pressure system forming slightly to the north of us, strong winds, cloud etc. Once this passes we will make our way south to Formentera, we visited the island on our first holiday together almost 25 years ago, a trip down memory lane! Our anchorage is already beginning to fill, probably in anticipation of the coming weather, it is a little unnerving to watch a boat arrive, settle a little more than a boat length away at anchor, they then jump in their dinghy and disappear? The next few days and the stronger winds should be interesting?
We take the dinghy down towards San Antonio Harbour, to be honest just to pass the time of day!
We did a complete circuit of the harbour and the nearby two large anchorages, it is very exposed to the winds, we turn around as we are getting wet from the chop and wash from wind and vessels. We feel we are definitely in the best anchorage. We were prepared for a trip ashore but abandoned the idea and return to our bay north of the harbour. We secure our dinghy in it's normal place and walk up the short section of promenade.
Our first stop is our waterside "Golden Budda Cafe", then into the town for salad and fruit and kill a few hours!
Log Entry Sunday 31st July - We leave The Costa Blanca for Ibiza, The Balearic's
With a couple of restful nights behind us today we begin the long trip back east to spend the winter in Sicily, at the moment that is? We are optimistic for a reasonable sail, the forecast giving us between 5 - 15 knots of wind in our favour, so the going should be reason over the expected 15 hour trip, or so we thought? We soon put Altea and the headland behind which sat Benidorm behind us and travelled east out into the open water.
The forecast wind was a little slow to appear, the horrible swell had fallen which was at least positive, should the wind fail to arrive we had taken on another 200 litres at Altea so we had all options covered.
The wind came, we had left our berth around 0930, by 1100 hours our engine was pleasingly off and would not be heard for another 10 hours! The sailing began in a very pleasant way, our speed 5 to 6 knots, the wind increased as did the swell. As required we reefed down, the deck and cockpit became very wet as the southeasterly swell would cause waves to break over the spray hood into our cockpit. We, as the wind increased to 25 knots plus, had to down our wet weather gear to keep dry, the issue then was being too warm. The options was "wet and warm, or too warm?" still it kept our minds busy, we were able to catch some sleep too, taking turns at getting wet.
Our destination, previously left to wind and waves, was now easy - to return to San Antonio on the west coast was a far easier option. We gained site of our destination through the low cloud around 1800 hours, as we came under the shelter from the wind we began to take out the previously required reefs, increasing our sail area and maintaining speed. Eventually the wind re-appeared as we rounded the headland, we had less than an hour to the anchorage so we motored through the darkness into the small bay we had sat last time we were here, the task not made easy by unlit boats at anchor. The traffic was busy as was the anchorage, we dropped our anchor and began to settle down for the evening.
We awoke this morning to a very humidity, heavy air, lots of cloud and no sunshine, unusual but at least you know it will not last long!