Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Destinations so far.

So since nics been bloggin its all a bit muddled up.

I left of last in Albufiera in portugal, nic had left to go to australia and jamie and steven were on the boat, we left to head to gibraltar but the marina in albufiera had no fuel, so we stopped at villamoura for fuel, this cost us time and we would have hid bad currents at the strait of gibraltar so we anchorder at isla du culatra.

We got to gib thge next day and jamie left back for scotland the day after.

Steven spent a month in Gib, doing lots of things to the boat, nic returned at the end of june, we left gib for estapona, where we filled up all the gas tanks. Then headed to mar menor where we got robbed, then torrievieja, sanantonia in ibiza, portanatx in ibiza. Next majorca where we anchored at santa ponca, magaluf, andratx and palma nova before heading to sardinia.

We have been anchoring non stop since leaving Gibraltar since we are now in expensive marina land. the kobra 2 anchor has been great, only once did it not set immediately and when we pulled it there was a bin bag wrapped around it.

The second hand watermaker I bought has packed in ( a katadyne powersurvivor 40e ) I think it is some one way valve that has went ,as the water in the output sucks back into the membrane , apparently not user serviceable according to the manual. I don't think I will be getting it repaired. I might just get a spectra unit, which uses far less power and produces enough water to keep up with nic pouring it all down the sink after I've made it.

The boat rolling in anchorages is a pain, but you eventually get used to it in all but the worst of conditions. I am slowly getting used to the med style of dropping anchors almost on top of each other, but some still bug me when they do it when there is no real need for it, just to be in a slightly more sheltered part, but bloody close should the wind kick up, shame on them!

The rudder bearings are playing up, they have always had a bit of play in them since I bought the boat, but as time goes on it is getting to the stage where they have to be done, lots of nasty noises coming from the rudder stock in the rougher weather and a gentle knocking in the calm.

On of the backstay chainplates has a small crack in it, some crevice corrosion, I will get it replaced at the same time as the bearings and the boat will be ship shape for the Atlantic. The engine has been significantly less smoke and used much less oil after a few oil changes, just shows the difference regular servicing makes! All in all the boat is doing very well, it's had a hard live and is standing up well to it!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Balearics Ibiza Majorca - Nics diary part three

Nics Diary – Part 3 18/7/12

We had fun in San Antonio, Ibiza. We anchored in the bay for a few nights, and I got really drunk and enjoyed a wee boogie on the Saturday night. Poor Stevie had to stay sober whilst I enjoyed myself, so he could help me home (on and off the dingy) Thanks xx. San Antonio is pretty much what you would expect – full of young ones partying all night (terrible!!). Not as big as I expected though.

San Antonio bay Ibiza
We are pretty much self-sufficient these days with regards to power and water. (I have also planted my little herb garden on board, growing parsley, basil, and most importantly mint for my mojitos!). To save a fortune on marinas, we now live at anchor and only go to that ‘hot land place’ on occasions. Unfortunately we haven’t really met anyone at anchor – It has tended to be rich people with their fancy big power boats, or charter boats with a million Spanish squashed on them. The Balearic islands seem to lack cruisers and sea gypsies (like ourselves). The charters have given us a good laugh though. Just watching how little they know about boats  - in particular anchoring (says nic the sailor!!). We had a good laugh at one particular charter boat that squeezed 9 people on their 3 man dingy. The top of the dingy sat about 1 inch above the water level. We watched and waited for one of the power boats (tidal wave makers as we now call them) with a lot of wake to come along and capsize them, but lucky for them it didn’t – gave us a good laugh though!
We bought ourselves 2 lilos (lazy and lilly) with arm chair backs and drink holders – a perfect way to spend the afternoon. Stevie tried to tow me on mine with the dingy but I kept going under – haven’t giggled so much in a long time. We must have looked like we were having fun as a nice neighbor took a photo and emailed it to us.

After a few nights at San Antonio, we moved around the corner to Portanatx in Ibiza, then crossed to Majorca and stayed at Santa Ponca, for a couple of nights. It is a wee bit bigger than San Antonio and caters more for families and couples – but still really busy. I was looking forward to a beach BBQ and a nice fire, but both islands were far too busy. We stayed a few nights in a couple of different anchorages at Majorca, and found Magaluf a little more fun than expected. A power boat advertising Bombay Sapphire anchored near us and 2 girls on a dingy came over and offered us a couple of free promotional gin and tonics. Very posh! It was funny though cos when they came over I was in the middle of shaving Stevies head as we had bought some clippers.  I think they got a bit of a shock!

The free G n T's
Bombay Sapphire Boat

Bush fires appear to be quite common on Majorca, and I spent a good part of a day watching a wee yellow plane scoop up sea water then dump it on the hill side. (yes it’s a hard life on a yacht watching the world fly by!)

Crazy Diamond has developed a wee problem with her rudder. Apparently one of the bearings is going and it is starting to make a ‘clunk’ noise. Stevie spoke to a company about fixing it, but they were unsure exactly what is wrong and it could take anything from 1 day to 3 months to get the part and fix it, depending on which bearing it is. This isn’t very good news, especially when we could not live on the boat on the hard in this particular place, and the cost of renting an apartment in the height of holiday season is a bit much when you are on a budget. So after much consideration, the captain (Stevie) made an executive decision to continue to Sardinia. In Sardinia there is a Dufour dealer, who should have a better idea of the problem, and timescale to fix it. So, at present we are more than half way to Sardinia, and so far so good (fingers crossed)!

Yesterday, when we left Majorca, we participated in (gate crashed) a yacht race. We were doing over  8kts in 25kts of wind. We really should have reefed the sails, but we were having fun, and Stevie was determined to beat a couple of the other yachts. We were so heeled over that my hair was almost dangling in the water when I turned the winch – great fun! (Don’t worry mum – we won’t go that fast when you are here – I promise!)

The Yacht Race in Palma Bayadk 0 xxx????? .,;'[]-

There hasn’t been much in the way of wildlife in the last week or so. We are thinking that dolphins don’t like the med as much, or maybe they have fallen out with me cos I was so scared the last time I saw them (Nics Diary – Part 1). Although today we did see a turtle in the water. I was busy giving it ‘aww how cute’ then Stevie pointed out that it was dead – maybe not so cute!
It’s really dark and spooky on my watch tonight – no idea where Mr Moon is hiding, anyway I will not let my imagination run wild tonight. Approximately 21hrs to Sardinia – think I will occupy myself with some star gazing for the rest of my watch. Still having a ball – miss you all millions, talk soon, luv nic xx

Good Night xx

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Ibiza - Finally Nics diary part two

Below is Nics entry.

So we left albufiera, got to Estapona , filled gas tanks from a friendly german, next Mar Menor, then Torrevieja, now Ibiza, Jamie would miss the girls here, lots of scantily clad young females for him to hit on, so many he could not fail ;)

Nics entry below, hope to get a new camera soon...

Nics Diary – Part 2
We had a pretty rubbish first day in Mar Menor. Mar Menor is an inland sea that is entered through a small canal and draw bridge. The bridge only opens every 2 hours, and we just missed it after our 48hr sail to get there. We entered the sea when the bridge opened at 12 noon, hoping to find a nice anchorage and rest a little. No such luck – it was very windy and Stevie didn’t feel that our anchoring was safe. I hoped to get a wee hour rest, but it was far too hot in the sheltered sea. We would have loved to jump in to cool ourselves down, but Mar Menor is well known for being full of stingy jelly fish – so we waited another 2 hours, and left at 6pm. Really tired, and tempers a little frayed! We anchored in a quiet, secluded part of the canal, but not next to the other anchored boats, as we felt it was a little too close for comfort there. I now wish we had squeezed in, as our secluded anchorage resulted in us being mugged! We stupidly left 2 cameras, our hand held radio, and a chart plotter outside in the cock pit. The really annoying thing is that it took 3 days before we noticed! On the bright side – I am kinda glad we left such nice ‘gifts’ on the deck, as I could not even begin to imagine how I would have felt if they had entered the boat whilst we were sleeping! For the last couple of days we have been having a laugh – any time we see something nice we say ‘quick take a photo!’ he he!! Well you have to see the funny side!

So, Mar Menor was ok apart from the jelly fish and the mugging, we stayed four nights and then did a day sail to Torrieveija,  where we rested before heading overnight to Ibiza.

Funny things – snap, crackle and pop! Apparently there are little things like cray fish that eat all of the crap of the bottom of boats when they are at anchor. You lie in bed at night, and it’s like the boat is floating in a bowl of rice crispies – really weird!

Other funny things – on our sail to Ibiza we saw a bright orange flotation device in the water. We approached it and lifted it out of the sea (incase it was better than ours and we wanted to keep it!), but never guess what was written on it Costa Fortunia (the cruiseliner that sank recently). Pretty small sea this med!
I cooked and tried to eat my tuna that I caught, but it was very disappointing as it tasted really salty – nothing like the fresh tuna steaks you buy in the supermarket. We think that they must be treated some way before being consumed, and plan to google it to see. In the meantime fishing is on pause.

I have decided to occupy myself on my 4 hour watches by starting to plan my menu for the 3 wk atlantic crossing.  Stevie likes meat for every meal so weeks 2 and 3 of the menu may be a challenge as we don’t have a freezer so any suggestions would be appreciated.

Anyway nearly at Ibiza, so time to go and party! Luv to you all xxx

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

We got robbed!!!

You may have noticed the lack of photos. well we sailed from gibraltar to mar menor via estapona for a gas refill. While anchored outside of mar menor, the first night actually, we were both a bit tipsy, we had met our first Scottish cruisers , a boat called Scotia, steven had a few beers with them , nic got wrecked on the boat, both of us fell asleep and forgot to remove the valuables from the cocpit, several days later when we noticed we could not find out cameras, we realised someone had came aboard at the anchorage and helped themselves to our cameras, portable gps and portable vhf.

Lesson learned ,pack everything away before opening the beers!!!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Nics Diary - Part 1

Nic’s Diary

I was asked by many people who are close to me to start a sub section on the blog for my diary as mobile phone contact is poor and expensive, and so that they can read about my stories and adventures.

I arrived back to the yacht on 20th June after 5 weeks holiday in Australia for my sisters’ wedding. After a couple of days of unpacking and cleaning (again) we left La Linea and headed to Estapona for a 2 night stop over to refill all 5 of our gas tanks. We anchored both nights. The first night was fine, but on the evening of the second night the boat swung round 180 degrees and Stevie became concerned that the anchor had slipped. We reset the anchor and had a poor night sleep as we were worried about landing on the rocks!

We left for a 2 day sail, early the next morning and headed to Mar Menor. I became a little scared on my first night watch (in 5 wks) because of dolphins! Yes, as silly as it sounds, I was scared and had to waken grizzly bear, Stevie, a little earlier than expected. When I see dolphins swimming alongside the boat during the day, they are by far the most beautiful thing to watch. However, during a 4 hour night watch, in the pitch darkness, when you can hear swish – plop all around you, without being able to see a damn thing, it becomes a little freaky! Well Stevie did say I was to waken him with any problems – no matter what! Anyway, tonight I have decided to believe that they are here to protect me, and not to be scared! (Wimp – I know!)

Other scary moments in the last few days are thick fog. I decided to take watch at the bow of the boat, as it would give us approximately an extra 30ft view in front. Not much fun as we could only see about 50ft all around us. I kept having visions of a monstrous titanic style boat bow emerging out of the fog, and coming straight for us. (Yes I do get a little worried still being a very novice sailor). Of course, it cleared in around 30 min, and there were no other boats for miles!

Not all moments are scary. The sun has been out, and my tan is doing well! Today we caught 2 tunas – the first escaped, and the second is gutted and in the fridge for tomorrow nights’ dinner. Quite funny really – the minute I opened a can of tuna to make tuna pasta bake for dinner tonight, Stevie yelled to me that we had caught one! Tomorrow nights will be better – fresh caught, and will be served with a bottle of wine (been on a bit of a detox for the last week, as we have been at sea most of the time).

Sailing in the med is pretty much what they say – crap - wind wise. So far we have motored most of the way. When the wind comes, it very rarely stays. So I found out when I decided to hoist the main for the first time on my own. It took me about 20 mins as it kept catching on the lazy bag ropes. I ended up about 1 mile off course, just for the wind to die. I won’t be trying that again by myself for a long while – far too much hassle!

I have been practicing my chanter (18 yrs since I last played the bagpipes). It has kept me occupied on night watch. Who knows – I may eventually get the old bagpipes out and have a go!

The most WOW moment was one night when I flushed the loo with no light on and phosphorescence glowed in the pan! They were like fluorescent green mini shooting stars all firing through the pan - what an amazing sight! Last night (when I was having dolphin phobia) I shone the torch out of the back of the boat, to see millions more phosphorescent particles darting about in the sea behind. Well cool and definitely a WOW moment !

All in all I am having a ball! I am getting a lot more confident at playing with the sails, and Stevie has been great at teaching me! I am sure that my irrational fears of dolphins will pass – probably when I meet my first humongous whale! Will do my best to keep the stories coming so you can all hear the latest! Love to all of you - wish I could have a beer and catch up with you. Miss you all millions. Nic xxx