Monday, 17 September 2012

South of France, Menorca, Majorca - Nics diary part 5

Nics Diary – Part 5 – 16.9.12

Places visited:
South of France – St. Tropez, Isles de Poquerolles, Cassis
South of Spain – Roses, Cala de sa Riera, Palamos, Blanes, Llorret de Mar
Menorca – Fornells, Mahon, Cala Granalda
Majorca – Alcudia, Pollensa, Soller, Santa Ponsa, Magaluf

Well, to begin with I (we) must hang our heads in shame and apologize to Mar Menor for cursing the town for robbing us (Nics Diary – Part 2). We had a thunder storm a few days ago, and decided to hide all of our electrical items (laptop etc) in the microwave for protection, and you’ll never guess what was in there – Duh - the 2 cameras, our hand held radio, and a chart plotter that we thought was stolen from our deck in Mar Menor!! Yes, as mentioned before, we were very drunk that night!! (shame the dinghy that was stolen in Corsica wasn’t in there too).

So moving on swiftly, as usual, the last month has flown in. One of the last places we visited in the South of France was some beautiful Islands called Isles de Poquerolles. These islands had real character. It looked like a wee village from back in time. It had palm trees, crystal clear waters, everyone cycled, and a lot of the young children came out in the night to set up wee street stalls to sell all sorts, like jewellery.

Isles de Poquerolles with palm  trees!
The South West coast of France had fascinating cliffs and rock formations. We managed to find an anchorage between 2 cliff faces – certainly different from the normal views!

Stunning anchorage!

Breath Taking Rock Formations!

Our travels then became all about getting to Blanes (near Gerona airport) to collect my mum, who has now been traveling with us for 3 weeks. I was really worried about her coming as she has a big fear of deep water, and the last thing she would ever imagine doing was traveling, full time, on a yacht – that was until I decided to travel the world for 3 years, on a yacht!! She couldn’t resist the ‘once in a life time opportunity’, but I have to admit, she has been coping really well, and has shown no fear, even though we have seen some of the worst Mediterranean  seas since she arrived.

Mum enjoying being a tourist of the sea!

 It turns out that the Gulf of Lyon area (where the South of France meets the south of Spain, and also dips down to Menorca), is notorious for big storms and heavy seas – so we have recently learned, and fast!! We have basically become’ storm dodgers’ (instead of ‘storm chasers’!). 

Being on a deadline to collect my mum meant that we had to keep a close eye on the weather. Crossing the Gulf of Lyon had to be well timed, and still we hit some really thick fog at 3am. Stevie was on watch, and wakened me at 7am as his fingers and toes were all wrinkled up (like when you have had a long bath), and he needed a well-earned break. I was worried when he left me alone, as I have mentioned before, I hate the thick fog, as I always picture a massive boat emerging and not having much time to do anything about it! However, I was lucky, and the fog cleared quickly. I was just left to steer around approximately 20 fishing boats that charged towards me, as they must have been waiting for the fog to clear.

Layer of thick black fog under the sunrise!
When we finally arrived at Blanes we tied up (illegally) to a harbor wall for the night. As it was Saturday night, no one was around to move us on. A young boy in a boat further along said it was ok to use his water hose, so we waited until dark, then spent most of the night twin tubbing all of my clothes, taking showers, scrubbing the deck, then filling the water tanks – all ready for mum coming. Oh how I miss a never ending supply of water (we are still trying to get the water maker fixed). We taped some money to his hose to say thanks for the water!

Twin tub day on the boat!

When my mum arrived (on Monday 27th August) we moved on to Menorca immediately, as the weather was due to turn again, introducing her to a 26hr sail on her first day with us!

Menorca is very different to Majorca, with far less British tourists, much quieter, and not much in the way of beaches. We assumed that Menorca is less popular due to the storms coming from the Gulf of Lyon. Our first stop was Fornells, which was nice and protected from the sea as it was situated in almost an inland sea, with only a small gap out to the real sea. This proved to be great for protecting us from the nasty sea outside, but also meant we were stuck there for a week, as once you get the boat in, it is really difficult to get it back out. We tried to leave one day, and had to turn around as there were rather large breaking waves (our rudder still hasn’t been repaired, so we have to take it easy). 

We have now storm dodged, our way back to Magaluf, Majorca, where my friend, Amanda, and her boyfriend, Steven, will be coming for a holiday tomorrow. Stevie’s mum, Lorraine, and her boyfriend, Kevin, will also be coming in a few days. It will be great to see them all. They both have accommodation on land, but I am sure they will be spending much time on the yacht. (Brace myself for yacht chaos as 2 on the boat can be cosy – never mind 7!!!).

Shreaded Scotland Flag from all of the storms

As so many visitors are expected, Stevie was anxious to buy a new rib that is a little bigger and more stable, than the wee soft deck dinghy we have been using since our last rib was stolen (Nics Diary – Part 4). We had a nice wee day out together, wandering in industrial estate trying to find a new rib, and success! We have a beautiful, smooth planing, extremely sparkly new rib called Snow White, and she is all ready to safely transport our guests (the 7 dwarfs!), and, of course, for Stevie to spend many hours playing on!!
Plans (time wise) are still coming along nicely for heading to Tenerife, to cross the Atlantic in November. When our guests leave, we plan to head to Gibraltar for some work to be done to the boat (including the rudder bearings getting fixed) and also so I can spend many days stocking up shopping at Morrisons!!

The new rib Ab VS9 well made and spacious (snow white!!)

We decided to buy (for a trial) a dried and cured full leg of ham to experiment using it in several meals for the Altantic crossing! (long life meat). We pigged (he he) out on it the first day, and sickened ourselves without trying it out for cooking. We then left it for a week, or so, in a sealed plastic bag, and when we went to get it, it was all mouldy. Lesson learned - as it must sweat! It was tasty though, so we will probably get one for our crossing.

I am a little worried about how much Stevie enjoyed carving it up!

Tastes really yummy - but you have to try not to think about what it is that you are actually eating!

My home baking has been coming along nicely. My soft dinner rolls turned our really tasty, as did my home made pizza. I just need to buy 100 bags of flour from Morrisons and we will be fine! (It will be handy to be able to read the writing in English and to know what type of flour I am using, as just now it’s a bit of a guess).

Anyway, I better get back to my final preparations for our guests arriving. It will be great to see some more familiar faces. I just wish everyone could be here too for a catch up. Luv to all, miss you millions, nic xxx

Stevie, me & mum

Some photos from our ‘stolen’ camera that match up with Nics Diary – Part 2 (Gibraltar & Mar Menor)

The Rock of Gibraltar - Cars and people crossing the runway!!

We took the cable car up the rock - scary!
Barbary Apes - the local residents of  'the rock'
Morrisons has a bar that you can smoke in - don't mind shopping here on a regular basis!
My wee tuna that I caught - was a bit yucky to eat though!
And extremely bloody to gut!

Draw Bridge opening to let yachts through - Mar Menor

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

More random pics

Is it a boat , no its a bar!

Sucking it in...

At least 4000 years old, zero maintenance
Another Scottish boat outside magaluf, they sailed from venezuela

Can't get any calmer!

Horst from puddle duck, donning the scottish hat

cheeky monkeys

The canal entry to mar menor

Some random pics that nics not put on

Scotia Brenda & Hughs boat we met outside mar menor
Sunset in the irish sea

Ilse du cullatra in portugal


Messy working on a boat aint easy

Best output from solar so far