Cruising 2006

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From Barcelona our first stop of the new season was Mallorca, we headed for Pollensa on the Northeast coast, which we hadn't previously visited.  Our first choice anchorage was full of mooring buoys, so we moved on.  A common theme of this summer was to be anchorages full of buoys.  These fell into 3 types, some (the majority) were for local boats - to which our reaction generally is, that's a real shame for us, but they've got to moor their boats somewhere.  The second type were where someone has a license to drop buoys in what had previously been an anchorage and charge passing boats to use them.  These were a lot more irritating, but I suppose that's free market economics.  The third type we were to meet in Pollensa bay - in fact we watched them being screwed into the sea bed around us  and can vouch for their security. These are being placed by the Mallorcan Government, with EU funding, in an effort to protect the sea grass meadows which are being destroyed by over anchoring and are amongst other things a spawning ground for large numbers of fish.  They're free to use, but you are limited to one night if they're busy, and they are well policed.  It goes without saying that, although its always a shame to lose an anchorage, these still get a thumbs up from us.

Pollensa is also a major seaplane base and we never tired of watching them taking off and landing in plumes of spray.  Nor did the pilots seem perturbed to find that their runway was in a slightly different place each day, because of the different pattern of anchored yachts.  There was quite a lot of pilot training going on and we sensed that the instructors were quite happy to have a bit of variety for their students. 

In Pollensa our brand new generator broke down with only 12 hours on the clock - hurrah.  It turned out to be only a broken wire and with immediate help from both Franco Volpi ( the main man at Volpi Engineering who make our Paguro generator) and the local rep it was all sorted in 24 hours.  As we gained experience with the generator, we soon realised that we needed to increase our battery charging capacity.  Victron, who supplied our existing kit have always been right there at the end of an e-mail whenever we needed them so, with a bit more advice, we ordered an additional Victron charger via the local boatyard.  It would take a week or so because it had to come from - you guessed it - Barcelona!

We'd moved from our original anchorage to be  closer to the town, but also because the barge planting the buoys was clearly going to plant one right where we were any time soon.  Additionally, it was quite rolly and we could see 'Sooty Albatross' through our binoculars, neighbours of ours from Barcelona, and they didn't seem to be rolling at all.  Actually, once we got over there it was just as rolly, but then, it always is!

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We were to return to the buoys very soon, but not because of the rolling:  we were watching a DVD one evening - it was Goodfellas with Robert Dinero.  This film title seems burned into our minds and we still haven't seen the end of it.

We'd had a forecast of winds coming round to the south overnight and strengthening, so as we heard the wind build we would freeze the film and poke our heads above deck, just to check everything was OK.  And then it hit!  It was as if someone had turned on a giant hairdryer.  The wind went through 180 degrees and leapt to gale force and the temperature rose 10 degrees - all in seconds.  Our anchor tripped and we started to drag alarmingly quickly towards the outer wall of the harbour.  Even more alarming were all the other boats around us also dragging, and like us trying to get anchors up so as to be able to manoeuvre.  Barry was on the wheel using loads of engine to try and hold us in position while Lindy was harnessed up, lying on the foredeck getting drenched, bringing in the anchor as fast as she could every time Barry was able to take the load off the chain.  During this time the French yacht 'Zogo' shot past us going in the opposite direction with no lights - he was single-handed - how  was he managing.

Well, two hours later it was all over, we'd re-anchored back on the other side of the bay,  and it was as if nothing had happened.  The following morning we spoke to another British boat who had been moored on one of the new buoys and their 20mm mooring line had snapped like cotton.  He told us the wind had reached the high 50s - we'd been too busy to notice!  We also read that we'd experienced a "meteo tsunami".  As well as the wind, in Ciutadella a few miles NE on Menorca, the sea had risen by 4 metres before falling again with equal rapidity and 100 small boats had been destroyed with waterside restaurants flooded.  Certainly, when we visited Ciutadella a few weeks later, large sections of pontoon seemed to be missing!

 

Up North??

 

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