Palma de Mallorca

Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Wed 20 Aug 2008 18:06

We are in Palma doing our least  favourite thing – waiting for parts to arrive.  This time it’s a new alternator which is coming from Barcelona tomorrow, and a new bracket to re-attach our No. 1 auto pilot which has not worked since Falmouth.   Still, Palma is a great city and we have had lots of fun seeing our friends, Annie, George and Peggy and Peter who either live or holiday on the island, and eating out with friends of theirs in the fabulous restaurants of the Santa Catalina district of the old town.

On Friday we  leave for Sardinia.  If nothing goes wrong It will be about 2 days and nights to the islands on the south west of Sardinia and another day or two to Cagliari.  We have our friend George Collingwood helping us on the passage.  His nickname is ‘The Admiral’ as his ancestor was the great Admiral Collingwood who fought alongside Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.   (We saw Collingwood’s letter to the Gibraltar Chronicle announcing the victory at Trafalgar in the Garrison Library in Gibraltar.)

One sad thing is the disappearance of bird and marine life in the Mediterranean around the coasts of Spain.  The sea seems completely dead.  We know that the Med has been overfished, but I also think man-made pollution is to blame.   Swimming from the beaches along the Costa del Sol you soon realise you are swimming in raw sewage, as rubbish and waste are simply dumped into the sea.  Approaching any ports by sea you sail into a thick band of floating rubbish including plastic bags and bottles.   We have sailed in many parts of the world where the sea is clean and teaming with life.  There is technology to process waste efficiently.  It’s a tragedy that the towns of the Spanish Mediterranean have not invested in it.  In the Atlantic we saw dolphins, whales and turtles almost every day and a huge variety of sea birds, but in four weeks since leaving Gibraltar we have seen only four rather mangy looking dolphins and here in Palma even seagulls are a rare sight.