Summer Cruise – Week 13 – ‘Stay warm and dry’ becomes ‘stay cool and wet’! Majorca and beyond

Judith Hankey, Richard Ash and Simon Smith joined Dean and Helen Colegate in Palma Majorca, on July 26th as Andy Bowerman and Jon left Quartette following a lengthy crossing from Sardinia. We had some plans for serious chilling out around Majorca and unanimously decided to change the guidance in the safety briefing from stay warm and dry to stay cool and wet.

Following on from Andy’s report we did find the pencil sharpener, and no Majorcan marina wanted to see the ships papers at all!

We stayed in the Palma marina of L’Arenal on the Saturday night too, since we needed to be certain of arrival times, and a very nice spot it was to chill out in too, since it had a swimming pool. L’Arenal itself is an 18-30 party town that continued to have beach raves till 6am.

We had a booking in the Marine Reserve of the island of Caberas for the Sunday evening and stopped off for an additional lunch swim in Cala Pi on the way. This island had buoys in a sheltered bay and is strictly booking only and a one night limit in July and August, but there were a couple of vacancies.

An intrepid crew went ashore to explore the little castle on the headland, thus disobeying the stay cool and wet guidance, since it was pretty warm on the up-hill walk. Some of you will have noticed the phone around to previous skippers with the question ‘where did you last see the kill cord for the out board?’, and every answer was we did not use it.  So a kill cord was improvised with a piece of cord and careful holding. A later visit to a chandlers sorted this out with a correct kill cord, one is now attached to the out board and a spare one in the chart-table.

Weather: the Majorcan pilot describes Mediterranean winds as 9 days of flat calm and then a gale, and this was not much of an exaggeration.  We were on the South east of Majorca and so our forecast was reduced to NE 5/6 from the gale warning of NW7/8 across the sea areas of Lyon, Balearics, Minorque  Caberas, and Gibraltar Straits too. This forecast took everyone into marina mode (including us) and we could find no space in our first choice of Porto Petro, so we were forced to go into Cala Llonga the gin palace centre of Majorca, with two fancy boutiques before we reached the marina office or the Spar.

We found weather forecasts were accurate for the stronger winds, and all in agreement. We had the Navtex, a number of web sites, marina notice boards and the Caberas reserve warden warning. The following morning the forecast was down to NE 4 occ 5, so after ensuring we had reserved a space for the night attached to a nice piece of concrete we had a short hop up the coast. The other question on the wind was direction, easy answer: on the nose nearly every time. The only forecast that had the resolution for the lighter winds at the end of the week was the one that some marinas subscribed to (meteosim), which makes you realize how good a service the metoffice gives.

Swimming from the boat was feasible on the lunch stops and in Caberas. Simon got some decent traiinng swims in whilst avoiding some unpredictable other boats. So we had short hops, Porto Cristo, then Porto Petro (both interesting real towns with superbly sheltered deep Calas, and all shops were shut and the streets deserted at 11pm) and then Porto Rapita (a huge marina with nothing much other than a huge sandy beach, outside it) and back to L’Arenal for the Friday evening. All the crew left on the Saturday except Judith who stayed on for the crossing to Barcelona.

Porto Cristo gave us the 2nd (also unsuccessful) attempt at repairing the steaming light. This did however succeed in eliminating other causes, leaving only the in-mast wiring which can be repaired when the mast comes down.

AIS: Andy B advised us to switch off the dangerous targets in AIS since the alarm was annoying and every other boat is a target, obviously. So I put it on ‘silent’ on the Sunday 27th. When Richard got back to UK on Sunday 3rd he found we had stopped transmitting then too. So I took it off silent and phoned home, could he see us now? And yes Quartette could be seen again, which would be a good plan for the crossing to Barcelona. So it does not mean silent but ‘stealth’, and a different control removes the dangerous targets alarm. Does anyone know how to dim the plotter display for night vision on passage? Or how to activate the button lights?

Judith Hankey

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