Off to Ibiza

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 16 Aug 2009 14:11

Although the wind was light, we managed to do some day sailing on Friday and Saturday, using the mainsail, the genoa and the cruising shute.

Sunday morning was very productive. Even before we left the anchorage, we unwrapped, raised and then refolded and packed away in its cover, the storm sail.

Once we were at sea we practiced man-over-board routines and then deployed the parachute anchor.

Unfortunately, on Saturday one of Michael’s twin seven year old daughters was taken to hospital. She subsequently had an operation on Sunday afternoon. This naturally, curtailed Michael’s involvement and he managed to get an early flight home. We are pleased that the operation was successful and that the little girl is on the way to recovery though still in hospital as I write.

After Michael left us, we set out again to sea, on a close reach, exceeding 7 knots. We then changed direction so that we were able to use the parasailor. The wind dropped so that at times we had less than six knots of apparent wind. Nonetheless, we managed to use the parasailor for an hour before making for the familiar anchorage at Las Illetas. An old favourite from the days we had the motor cruiser. Once again, we were surprised at how few boats were in this, once very popular anchorage, during August.

About 7pm, a motor boat, anchored very close to the yellow buoys designating the protected swimming area, was rescued by the Spanish equivalent of RNLI. However, unlike the RNLI, the rescued boat will be charged quite a hefty sum for being towed away.

Next morning, there were only 8 other boats in this large anchorage, half of which were motor boats. This is unusual. We find that generally, motor boats don’t tend to anchor overnight. We left the anchorage with full main sail and genoa and sailed out into the Bahia de Palma. The wind was force 5 gusting 6 and the sky was cloudy. By mid-day, the wind had dropped to force 4 and then we had a little rain.

After lunch, we dropped the mainsail and the genoa and raised the parasailor. This coincided with the wind dropping even more but we persisted and managed to sail on a broad reach for nearly an hour, with a following, apparent wind of no more than 6.5knots.

As we approached our anchorage, again at Las Illetas, the wind strengthened but we were not to be seduced. We dropped our anchor in 8 metres, in sand.

Next morning, we sailed all the way, on a close reach, to San Antonio, where Austin left the boat to fly back to Tenerife, via Barcelona. En-route, mid morning, as we crossed the Bahia de Palma, a porpoise raised the upper part of its body from the water

We have had a great time with Austin and Michael on board. It was a shame that Michael’s visit had to be cut short but we will all get together again in November.

Leaving San Antonio, we sailed across the Bahia de Palma and on to Andraitx, using the parasailor. We anchored, along with two dozen other boats, just outside the harbour in the bay.

We raised the anchor just before 8am next morning, to set sail to Ibiza. The sky was dark with cloud in the direction to which we were headed. Within half an hour we were sailing with the parasailor but by 11am, the wind had reduced to below 6knots and we snuffed the sail and switched on the engines. We had seen sheet lightening in the sky, some miles away and it started to rain lightly. Within the hour, we had sufficient wind to raise the parasailor and switch off the engines. The swell was 3metres but was going in the same direction as ourselves. A couple of planing motor boats traveled in the opposite direction. We watched their bows slam constantly into the water, glad that we were not traveling towards Mallorca in this sea.

The rain had started to fall more heavily and although there was thunder and lightening, it was not too close to us. When the true wind got to 30knots, the stitching came apart, in one of the stern strops, to which was attached a block, through which one of the parasailor sheets was run. The sheet was still attached to a winch at one end and through another block, located at the bow, to the portside clew of the parasailor. This provided some control on the sheet though the parasailor began to collapse. Quickly and efficiently, we managed to snuff the parasailor and drop the sail to the deck.

As soon as we had secured the sheets and stowed the parasailor safely, we unfurled the genoa and motor-sailed for a short time, until the wind dropped too much and we had to rely on the iron sail.

We reached Ibiza, 46 nautical miles later, after a nine and a half hours passage, despite our top sailing speed of 12.6knots.The swell was pounding into the anchorage where we had planned to spend the night so we hid ourselves behind the small Isla Tagomago, where we dropped the anchor and spent the night.

I was quite exhausted and once I had gone to bed at 10pm, I didn’t wake until it was light and even then, didn’t rise until after 8am. This is brilliant for me as I do not tend to sleep well. I didn’t even wake when Dick got up just before 4am to check our safety, after he heard the wind change and strengthen, during the night.

We traveled southwards at noon then, in less than half an hour we were anchored in 8metres, in Cala Boix, a huge area of pale blue transparent water, off a small beach. Surprisingly, there were no yellow buoys to keep boats away from the swimmers but there was a chap manning a Red Cross post who made sure, using a whistle and a lot of arm movement, ensuring that the boats did not encroach too much on the bathing area.

Although we had anchored in sand, the boat drifted away from the anchor and bobbed about over the seaweed. There were a lot of fish, though mainly they looked to be of the same type. Quite a few were about 30cm long and 10cm wide. Most were slightly bigger than large sardines, glinting light blue through the water. In the weed I spotted three pansy-like flowers, just like those we saw in Porto Conte, in Sardinia recently.

We had arrived at the anchorage at just the right time and although there had been a number of small motor boats here when we arrived, we were the only sailing boat. A monohull had departed, just as we arrived. By 2pm there were six other sailing boats and twice as many small motor boats, in the bay.

Two other boats stayed in the bay overnight, a small monohull and a large catamaran, though the latter left before we were up.

It looked at first as though we were in for another cloudy day but soon after 9am, the sun was shining brightly and it was another hot day. It was time to start preparing the boat for our next visitor.

Dick had offered to clean and polish the stainless steel but before he could even attempt that job, the electric toilet in our heads stopped working. He spent the rest of the morning sorting out the problem while I dealt with the stainless steel. Next job was to polish off the fiberglass, the marks which had built up since it was last done, just over two weeks ago, in readiness for the arrival of Austin who kindly helped me wash the boat, before we departed Mahon. Then the teak in the cockpit was scrubbed and finally the back of the sugar scoops were denuded of the seaweed and barnacles which had started to grow there. On the morrow we washed the boat, which was sparkling when Richard stepped aboard just after 7pm on Saturday evening.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into any of the marinas at Ibiza town so anchored just outside the port and waited for the arrival of the ferry from Denia. We planned to follow it into the port and wait for Richard to join us. While we waited, two large motor cruisers and a monohull anchored nearby. Just as we caught a glimpse of the ferry, the Guardia de Civil approached the anchorage. We didn’t wait for them to reach our boat, we raised our anchor and made our way forward behind the ferry, into the harbour.

We saw Richard walking alongside the quay and took the boat across, opened the starboard side gate and he came aboard. Very slick.

We made our way out of the harbour, noticing that the three boats which had been at anchor there, had moved on. A different, solitary monohull had replaced them and would no doubt, be moved on later by the Guardia.

We made passage to the next bay where we spent an uncomfortable night. The wind had dropped but the swell continued to come into the bay so, after breakfast, we moved a distance of nine and a half nautical miles to another bay.

There are a lot of jelly fish around. We first noticed them at Ibiza port yesterday. Light brown, about six to eight inches in diameter, with wart like growths all over their backs.

The sea is blue and transparent but no-one is swimming, there are too many jelly fish.