|Is that Smoke??|
As Charlie's Windsurfing lesson was coming to an end we looked across at the Pine Forest to see some smoke coming up out of the trees.
Is that smoke coming up out of the pine forest?
Of course, it wasn't long before we'd had all the "That's a big BBQ!!!" jokes and we began to realise that the woods must be on fire. Afterall, there'd been no rain for weeks and the direct sunlight temperatures were almost reaching 40 degrees at the peak of the day.
More smoke and it appears to be getting more dense and very black. Looks like some oils burning in it but it must be the pine resins from the forest trees.???
Within 30mins of seeing the initial smoke the small spotter planes had arrived in the bright yellow and red colours. This was obviously a real live forest fire and you can just make out the spotter plane in the midst of the smoke in the centre of the pictures. It wasn't long before we could see flames and the whole situation appeared to be getting bigger and bigger.
I have to say that the Spanish are really set up for these sorts of situations because minutes later we heard the roar, literally overhead, of their fire fighting planes.
The fire fighting plane from Pollansa on it's way in to fight the forest fire - don't drop that water on us...????
If you remember back to previous blogs when we were anchored in Pollansa Bay, we mentioned the fire-fighting sea plane station and the constant practicing around us (See blog edition entitled "Time in Puerto Pollansa"). We never thought we'd get to see this equipment in action and SO very close to Watermark. The sea plane went straight into action
Having passed over the top of Watermark IV, the fire fighting sea plane dives down into the fire to release it's load of water.
Flames appearing out of the tops of the trees. Seems to be quite a big fire now.
The sea plane continues to drop its water, skimming across the surface of the sea re-filling and returning to fight the fire. Obviously the plane wasn't enough because then a fleet of bright yellow and red helicopters also arrived on the scene landing across the way to have their water buckets fitted ready for action.
Helicopters arriving at the fire to assist in the fire fighting - this is now a big affair..
At the peak we counted 4 helicopters and 2 fire-fighting planes in the area. It must have been a nightmare controlling the airspace but I guess the authorities wanted to get water in as quickly as possible.
Helicopters dropping their water buckets to refill with water just across from where Watermark is moored up.
Both helicopters and sea-palnes fighting the fire into the evening twilight.
After some 4 hours or so we had gone from massive dense black smoke and flames to just a light smouldering smokey cloud and finally nothing. I have to say that the spanish fire-fighting authorities were superb in their response, the equipment that they seem to have at their disposal and the sheer logistics of organising the airspace to keep aircraft coming in constantly one after the other!!!! Water was stacked up like a queue into Heathrow airport being continually dropped one after the other.
The next morning we saw the sea-plane back flying over the area, dropped one or two loads of water but was gone fairly quickly.
AND, it made for a great evenings entertainment....
Another miserable night
We'd had a very comfortable day in the anchorage but sure enough, darkness came down, the wind eased and changed direction and Watermark seem to lay side on to the waves. Well, you all know what that means - no detail this time but a night with interrupted sleep and the constant sound of water slapping harshly under the transom of the boat and the rocking greatly from side to side. Hey Ho - guess we are getting somewhat use to it now.