Mallorca and en route to Sardinia

Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Mon 25 Aug 2008 11:08

We have passed the half way point of the 220 nautical miles or 250 regular miles between Mallorca and Sardinia.  It has been quite an eery crossing overnight as there were no other ships at all on this lonely stretch of sea.  I did the 9 – midnight watch and saw the sunset behind us and after a fairly good sleep in the saloon I saw the sun rise from directly in front of us to the East on my next watch from 6 – 9 am.  The sea has been quite calm with only a light to moderate swell which is the good news, but the bad news is that in over 24 hours we have only sailed for about 2 hours without the engine running.

We left Palma early on Friday with the new parts fitted and The Admiral (George C) on board. Our plan was to follow the coastline north and then across to Mahon (capital of Minorca) for a rest before heading East to Sardinia, but before the end of the day the wind became very strong (heading towards us) and the sea very choppy, so Ian decided to shelter in an anchorage until the bad weather had passed.  George has a house on the island and knows it well and he recommended a bay called Porto Petri.  It was hard to find the entrance as it’s a narrow cut in the rocks but once inside it was very sheltered and we were in an almost circular bay.  The little port faced us with delightful old houses painted deep pink, ochre and yellow with green shutters.  Around the perimeter of the bay were villas hidden amongst pines and palms with steps cut into the rocks in front of them down to the sea.

We spent Friday and Saturday night moored in this idyllic sanctuary.  While I read, swam and did some laundry, Ian and George tackled the latest crop of on-board problems.  Ian can’t believe how many things can go wrong on a boat.  The latest is our bilge pump which no longer empties automatically, but a trickle of sea water gets into the bilges and it has to be emptied manually every hour.  George spent an hour in the engine room trying to understand this problem; that was after helping Ian re-install the new Duo Gen on the stern of the boat, and just before fitting a new fan belt on the alternator.

On Saturday night we dinghied ashore to a quayside restaurant and sat outside at a table under the trees.  George introduced us to a delicious local dish when he ordered pimientos del patron, which were small green peppers lightly fried in oil, then scattered with rock salt before being eaten whole, and then we feasted on squid, prawns, mushrooms and chicken.

I am happy to report the sighting of a sperm whale yesterday afternoon, about 25 miles east of Mallorca.  He or she was a beauty – about 30 feet long, pale grey with a squared-off nose and a fin in the middle of its back.   We saw the spout from far away and sailed across to take a closer look.

It will soon be time to change our Spanish courtesy flag for an Italian one.  Next report will I hope be from Sardinia.