Oh guilt guilt guilt! I can't believe that the last communication from us was back at Easter! Where has all the time gone? We have certainly had a few adventures since then and I lose track of how often we have changed our minds and our plans!
Things that have happened:
Jan kept an old Greek tradition by spit roasting a whole lamb on board "Survival". Actually to do it on a boat is not part of the tradition but Jan doesn't' understand the word "impossible". Charlie the lamb was a huge success and even the weather behaved that day. It then rained for 3 days solidly.
We got the boat fixed and amazingly the day we went back in the water a space became available on the public quay - so we nabbed that as it was cheap and much more comfortable than life at anchor without electricity for another month.
People started asking us if they could visit in May, where would we be, so we decided to stay put on the public quay for another month and have visitors.
Lynn, Nairn and 5-year-old Caden were our first visitors and we had a lovely week starting with a barbeque at John and Sheila's house, then visiting Marineland, Palma and various beaches. A highlight for Caden was getting to drive around the bay in Jan and Lynn's dinghy - all the time grinning from ear to ear. The Burns then departed for a week in Puerto Pollensa in a spacious apartment (Lynn had thought she was coming to live on a 75 foot boat, so was slightly taken aback at (a) having to walk a long wobbly plank to get on board and (b) the compactness J of a 43 foot boat).
Hector got his room back and Fergus and Julie were our next guests for a week. First off we abducted them up to Puerto Pollensa to meet up with Michele, Tom, Trisha, John, Michele and Trisha's Mum and the lovely smiley 10-month-old baby Sean for a delicious lunch at their villa. One of our plans had been to sail round to Pollensa and host a bbq, but the weather was a bit turbulent then, so we opted to stay at the quay and run around by car for that week. We had a very entertaining week, Jan was on the loose as Lynn was in Greece for a fortnight, so he dropped by regularly to quiz Fergus about life with Hugh as a dad! Just when we thought it was safe to relax with a quiet game of Scrabble and then to bed we heard a disturbance outside at 1.30. There was Jan wanting to introduce us to his Irish pal Maurice. Julie got back out of bed to cross verbals with the man and after more drink, they left in some disarray but we are hopeful that Maurice's scars will all heal!
By the end of May we were still in Puerto Andraitx. Michele, Tom, Trisha, John and Sean came to the boat for lunch since we had failed to sail round to them, but unfortunately the weather was a bit wild and the boat was rocking and rolling on the public quay to the extent that only Trisha was brave enough to jump on board and there was no way we could eat lunch on board. Luckily we still had the keys to John and Sheila's villa, so we piled lunch into bags, Hugh launched the dinghy and we got lunch and Trisha and ourselves back on land to drive up to the villa and make use of their rock steady terrace - it was a very lucky break and fun.
Visitors all departed and Hugh promptly fell ill with horrible flu like symptoms and took to his bed. Our pal Brett from Memphis Belle arrived over from the UK and informed us that Hugh's bug was a baddy and likely to last for 3 weeks - which it did despite mucho medication and my best nursing!! It turned into full- blown bronchitis very nasty and kept us in the port for a bit longer.
By this time it became a fairly widespread opinion that we were never going to leave the Port - we started leaving in January when the prices in the Marina went up and it was now June and we had moved twice - once to the public quay, then out to anchor in the bay. Hugh's cousin Richard and some pals sailed up from Palma in Silver Darling and joined us on board for our 4th or was it 5th farewell dinner with Jan and Lynn! We were having a bbq and Jan did the cooking as Hugh was still a bit grotty and we didn't want to infect anybody.
About a week later we decided we had better make a move or we really would be staying there forever. We went over to the fuel berth and discovered it was blockaded by some angry Spanish boats who had been promised berths when none were available and then we were hailed by Jan and Lynn and invited to hang off their anchor for some fabulous homemade Swedish meatballs. That was fun, Hugh had to manoeuvre our 20 ton boat alongside Jan's wee motorboat without damaging it and attach ourselves with a couple of ropes. How their anchor held both of us I don't know, but it did and John Lister zoomed over in his dinghy to check if we were ever going to leave as he was planning a party in July that we could go to otherwise. There are always more temptations to stay put but with enormous willpower we ate our meatballs and then finally left the port.
Hector of course had by this stage completely forgotten that the boat could move and so was very upset at our first choppy outing round to Port Soller in the north of the island. Fortunately he calmed down quite quickly and has been fine on all our trips since even though we have had some seriously lumpy seas.
There was a bit of a swell in the north so in Soller, we took a place on the public quay alongside a couple that had almost bought our boat 4 years earlier in Largs. Small world huh. The couple had made an offer, but it hadn't been accepted and a year later we bought it.
When the swell died down we sailed round to Puerto Pollensa about a month after our original plan and anchored in the bay for a few days. Hugh then received a text from Jerry and Robbie asking if they could join us for a week. Fantastic- I thought, some rufty tufty crew for the crossing to Sardinia. They had planned a week's holiday to take part in a Scottish classic boat event in Robbie's 100-year-old open boat, but unfortunately it was letting in too much water - actually it sank - and the weather in Scotland has apparently been unseasonably cold and wet, so joining us looked like a good option. We agreed to meet up in Mahon on the Sunday 24th June with Robbie having to depart from Alghero in Sardinia on Friday 29th and Jerry leaving from Bonifacio in Corsica on Sunday 31st. As usual we had agreed to quite a tight schedule, which meant that we were sailing no matter what the weather forecast said!
The trip from Mahon to Alghero is about 200 miles which for us is usually a day, a night and a day of sailing or motoring. I provisioned the boat and cooked a lamb curry for the overnight passage and on Monday morning we set off in high spirits and in fine weather. The forecast looked reasonable except that at midnight the light southwesterly wind was forecast to become a northerly 6 and remain strong for about 8 hours before reverting back to light southwesterly. I made lunch in calm conditions while Jerry sunbathed on the deck and Robbie steered. We had lunch, then Jerry who had arrived pale, turned slightly pink in the course of the morning turned pale again, then green, then lost his lunch and fed the fishes. However you can't keep a good man down and Jerry pronounced himself fit and joined us for the lamb curry dinner and pronounced it to be excellent----- both on the way down and when he brought it up again. Anyway let us not dwell on this difficult time. Robbie meantime was hanging on to the wheel through the night in Force 7 winds, waves breaking over the bow and the boat tearing along at up to 8.5knots. It was just like the North Sea but warm! The interior of the boat looked like at refugee camp at the end of all this as stuff had been thrown around including poor Hector, who was using his litter tray until he was launched into the air with the tray and landed nose down and splattered with litter. That poor cat - how he ever forgives us I don't know!
Things did calm down and we entered Alghero on the west side of Sardinia. After our rough crossing we had a lay day and Alghero is as nice a place as you could choose. So nice that Anne fancies wintering there.
On then, with Jerry on top form, to the Fornelli Passage which is an interesting bit of navigation at the North of Sardinia with forward and rear transits. We then anchored and Robbie went for a swim; not so much with the dolphins but with the jellyfish. We guided him away from the little devils but on his last dive he nearly took one on the top of his head as he surfaced. Jerry and Hugh were poised to administer the urine remedy but luckily for some, it wasn't necessary.
We entered Porto Torres with some trepidation. It's the Grangemouth of Sardinia. It was however excellent ; a lively town with a public dance going on in the main square. The announced the Gay Gordons and we were tempted to show off but held back as the dance was nothing like the real thing with dips and hops and things. Some education is required here. We had a really good meal in the pizzeria starting with seafood risotto and followed by delicious pizza although one who may remain nameless had a shergar pizza!
In the morning Robbie took off for the airport and we took off for Corsica. We had a birthday bbq for Jerry in the Baie de Figari and next day went on to Bonifacio which was as spectacular as ever. We had a good meal there and Jerry set off next morning with the knowledge that there might be air chaos because of the terrorist attack at Glasgow Airport.
In the event he had delays but got home that evening.
We then departed for our old haunt of Cannigioni in North Sardinia, went to our favourite pizza place and visited the market. In fact ,what with being a bit lazy and with unfavourable weather forecasts we stayed a week there.
We are now on to the 9th of July and we eventually set off for Porto Vecchio in Corsica. We had a nice cruise through the Maddalena Islands and arrived at Porto Vecchio in the late afternoon?and it was busy. We listened on the radio to boats being refused entry to the marina so we settled for anchoring in a nice clear empty of the bay. Empty that is until an Italian catamaran anchored too close to us .Hughyelled at him but he did lots of "it's OK" hand gestures. At least that is what I think. With hindsight we should have moved because in the morning there was mayhem. We had pulled or dragged back when the wind changed direction and strengthened and the anchor chains were entwined. Hugh was working out a solution when their skipper just powered up and went along the side of our boat without fenders. Bad move for him as white gel coat came showering off his topsides as he engaged his hull with thenice little steel plates Hugh has installed so that the fender ropes don't chafe the wooden bulwark. We ended up with a small chip out of the wood but he has more extensive scrapes all along his smart new boat.
We then spent several hours trapped behind his boat as he tried to sort out the anchor problem??and eventually did .We then re-anchored far away and that's were we are now.