Steve & Chris
Fri 22 Aug 2008 17:28
We were quite happy to leave Mahon, Menorca. The town itself was pleasant enough
and we enjoyed a very nice and reasonably priced meal at one of the waterfront restaurants,
but we were not impressed with the moorings. They were (not unexpectedly) expensive. The overnight charge included 7 euros for water, but when we said we didn't need to use the water we were told we had to pay for it anyway. No shower facilities, other than an outdoor one on the pontoon, and no access to the shore other than by rib. Still, at 68 euros a night, it is apparently cheaper than elsewhere in the Balearics! We could have anchored for no charge, but after a long passage we both felt the need for a decent night's sleep.
We left a little earlier than planned after being told we needed to leave if we were not staying another night - friendly! The sea was lumpy at first but the winds were good and the sea settled down later at night. For the first time in ages we were able to sail the entire passage with good winds, making decent speed the whole way. We used the engine only once, and that was to get out of the way of a tanker whose officer on watch was obviously not. We had a couple of instances of large vessels that appeared hell bent on mowing us down, but either we or they eventually took avoiding action. It is difficult for a yacht to know what action to take unless the intentions of the large vessel are clear, and this was not the case on these occasions.
We did discover through these incidents, however, that our VHF radio is not transmitting, although it does receive. This discovery came about as we tried to radio the vessels in question to ask them their intentions. We finally made contact with one using the hand-held VHF. Since arriving in port we have tested the radio and it works with the emergency aerial, so it seems that the aerial is kaput. We only had it checked out in May. For the time being we will have to use the emergency aerial, then get a new one fitted at the earliest opportunity.
We arrived in Portoscuso in Sardinia this morning, to a yummy smell of pastries baking. We followed our noses and found a little place right by the marina where warm pastries were on sale, so had a delicious continental breakfast in the cockpit, before giving the boat a good wash down and tidy up.
We had worried about the red tape here and boat tax of 500 euros, although everything we read and heard suggested that this was only for boats of 14m and over. One occasion when we were glad we are 5cms shy of 13m! In fact, it was the easiest place so far to check into. As Steve got out the folder of boat papers to show, the guy simply waved it away and produced a single form for completion. No passports, boat papers, insurance documents - nada (actually that's Spanish, but I have absolutely no Italian!)
The town is next to an industrial area, and we had to smile when we saw the people on this beach - with the chimneys and cranes etc in the background. Still, I suppose if you are lying on the beach, you can't see them!