Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Pelagia’s cruise 2017 part four Menorca to Alicante

 Pelagia’s cruise 2017 part four Menorca to Alicante

 Leaving Mahon harbour after a few days was quite sad as we had enjoyed it tremendously but with our latest crew on board, Beverley and Ann, it was time to move on. The first leg was to be about 40 miles across to Mallorca. Once out of the long harbour and having waited for a Costa cruise ship to enter we set sail for the south east corner of Menorca in a pleasant following wind. Having sailed between the main island and the offlying Isle  de Bel Aire we set course west. The wind remained astern and stable so we set the cruising chute and sailed gently for the next three hours. The wind then died to a whisper and we had to motor the remaining  half of the way to Cala Ratjada harbour, a logged trip of 46.2 miles.  As we entered we were waved to a berth on the outer harbour mole and it was obvious that a swell was rolling in the harbour and all the boats were rolling from side to side. Where such a swell was coming from was a mystery as the wind did not seem strong enough to cause it, however it rolled all night but a little less by morning. The town was pleasant with reasonable facilities and the harbour staff friendly. It was incredibly hot behind the harbour wall and we all sat in the harbour side bar with a beer until the sun started to sink.
    A shorter trip the next day took us south west along the coast of Mallorca . Firstly we sailed but the early breeze died and we motored. A breeze came up on our beam about midday and we started to sail beautifully. The breeze gradually came further south and we had to put in two tacks to sail to our destination of Porto Colom where we had sailed 25 miles although the log was stuck again so did not record.  I had chosen this place because of the enclosed nature of the bay where no swell should get in. The entrance was enchanting with fine houses and a stately lighthouse opening on a beautiful if somewhat crowded bay. A club Nautico boat and sailor met us and informed us we could not anchor as we wished but could use their buoys for mooring which was simple and easy and we were soon moored in a most delightful spot. It was very sheltered, calm and good swimming in the water which was now 26 degrees. We intended to push on the next day but decided to stay another day and explore the town especially as we could get the club boat to give us a lift ashore for free. Also we met another Hallberg Rassy owner moored next to us who was sadly now alone after his partner recently died and he told us how nice the place was when we shared a gin and tonic with him on our boat.  We spent the second day walking to the local town and church which was being bedecked with netting decoration for their forthcoming festival of the boats service. More swimming occupied the afternoon to cool us down again.
   Leaving Porto Colom the next morning there was a lively north easterly wind and we ran down the coast with the Genoa sail giving us good speed in the somewhat turbulent sea and force five to six winds. The first fifteen miles was all with the Genoa set on one side but the wind was such that we were getting set in towards the coast as we approached Salinas point. We carefully steered the yacht so that we avoided having to gybe just before the point and still stayed clear of the shallows . As we came round the point the wind was more on the beam and we ran up the coast with the wind gradually dying towards Rapita. We had been told that berths were difficult to get in this marina at this time of year and we certainly could not raise anybody on the radio so we went in and tied alongside a signed waiting pontoon. It was some time before a marinero came and ordered us out saying we would have to anchor outside until 4 p.m. then radio for a berth. The anchorage was a bit exposed and uncomfortable and we also needed a supermarket so we hoped we could get a berth later. Sure enough at 4 p.m. we were told to come in and were given a berth tied stern to the quay right at the harbour entrance. This was not easy or particularly comfortable as the now strong wind was blowing straight in on our beam. At least we berthed without a hitch whilst a Swiss boat coming in later alongside made a right hash of it and had no ropes or fenders prepared and all four persons on board seemed to have little idea what to do. With our crew and the marineros it  all ended safely. However, we had a nights berth and we could shop even if the fee was the highest we had paid to date! The showers were very good so that made up for a lot. Rapita looked to be a very modern and unappealing place so it was good to leave early.
   Another 20 mile sail was planned next up to El Arenal bay which is part of the great bay of Palma. We had little wind on the way but when we came to anchor the sea breeze set in and made it rather lumpy. The backdrop of town along the coast was continuous blocks of houses and hotels in high rise stretched along the wide  sandy beach. At least we had plenty to watch as the sea thronged with water sports . The highlight was to see  one of the Americas Cup catamarans racing up and down the bay sometimes up out of the water on its winged keel. There were also kite surfers alarming us by their desire to go so close to our rigging even though they were very good. A windsurfer also had a board with a keel such that it would ride up out of  the water and fly at an incredible speed. The wind died at night and we were calm but a bit rolly all night.
Another 20 miles the next day across the bay of Palma took us to Santa Ponsa bay where a very sheltered anchorage allowed us to enjoy swimming and relaxing in fairly beautiful surroundings albeit with many other yachts. 

I had decided on this bay as our last relaxing point in Mallorca because it was only five miles from Andraix port and we needed to get a berth in there as our last leaving place from Mallorca and we had to shop and water up for the trip to Ibiza. Again It is said to be near impossible to get a berth but we arrived early and got a good berth in the yacht Club. This again was eye wateringly expensive but it had excellent showers and a swimming pool included!

  We left at first light for Ibiza island heading for a marina on the south east coast, a trip of about 60 miles. The wind was mostly easterly starting at force five to six but gradually easing during the day to force four. It was a stupendous sail and we made good time of about 10 hours. We hoped again that we could get a berth as the bay outside was very lumpy and after tying up at the reception quay we were granted a suitable berth in Santa Eulalia harbour. The prices in Ibiza island were even higher than in Mallorca, but what options did we have. The town was a very scruffy heavily built up area and we  did not wish to explore too much. The aim was to do the 10 miles on to Ibiza town the next day where we hoped to get a berth to explore the beautiful old town of Ibiza. The sea conditions had deteriorated significantly overnight and we had a very wet bumpy ride downwind to Ibiza town. Apart from three cruise ships and many ferries in the harbour there were a plethora of other motor boats and yachts manoeuvring around. I called the marina for a berth, having received no reply to my e mailed request the previous day. After a long wait it  was confirmed we could have a berth in 10 minutes time ! Oh what joy! Whilst waiting for our time to go in we heard yachts pleading for berths on the radio even resorting to stories of sick crew and run out of water, all to no avail they were told all berths were full. Once we got berthed up the next shock was the price. I thought I might have to take out  a mortgage on the boat to pay the fee!  How all the huge motor boats and yachts pay this extortionate amount we did not know, but it is certainly a place for the rich and  famous. 

Ibiza old town is very beautiful and walking the walls within the old fortress and wandering through the narrow cobbled streets is a treat that made it worth the money as well as having a tasty Spanish style lunch served amongst the tree covered walkways.


  We had to leave the marina before 12 the next day or risk another extortionate fee and the marinero was around to make sure we had properly paid before we left. We motored out of he harbour amongst all manner of craft coming in or out and set course for the channel between Ibiza island and Formentera island. It felt worse than trying to cross the M 25 at rush hour with the added dimension of huge swell and wake from massive stinky motor cruisers. With all these craft heading the same way as us we began to wonder if there would be any room at all at our chosen destination anchorage. Luckily many of them found anchorages nearer than ours and it thinned out as we approached Sahona bay although there were still many boats anchored here. We found a spot close to the beach and dropped anchor into the unimaginably clear turquoise coloured water down into soft white sand. 

Here we stayed for the next twenty four hours except for having to move anchor position because of an unreasonable Dutch sailor anchoring his yacht too close and refusing to move before nightfall. This was a relaxing swimming day prior to our passage to Alicante and was only marred by Ann getting stung by jellyfish which were of the type ironically named "Pelagia Noctiluca"!
   Midday the next day we set sail for Alicante, an overnight passage of about 100 miles aiming to get there in daylight the following morning. Light breezes enabled us to sail a bit at first although slightly off our intended course. Periods of sailing were interspersed with periods of motoring when the wind  fell lighter and the sea remained very calm. There was a high number of ships around particularly during the night but it helped pass the time on watch. The last 30 miles to Alicante was flat calm and we arrived off the harbour entrance at first light in the morning having logged 107 miles. Although we had booked a weeks berth at the marina, we were a day early and as they were full we had to stay on the reception pontoon for 24 hours until our berth was available. After our 18 hour passage we were happy to have a shower, just go out for a meal and then sleep! At the end of this stage we had completed another 335 miles so totalling 1484 so far this year.


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