Friday, 13 June 2008

Rocking and Rolling 2 - Thank Heavens for Dolphins

We woke up at 4am, even though we had decided not to set off then, then at 6am,cos we were nervous, and at 6.30am, thought let’s get going, and by 6.45am we were pulling away form Tarragona, not sorry to be saying goodbye, and not expecting to go back there. But on the way there, the day before, we did spot a beautiful campsite right down by the beach, nestled under a striking tower, with several campervans parked along it. A place called Tamarit. We made a note to look in on it one day, and by the end of today I think we both wished we could swap the boat for a campervan, and the busy roads for the empty, endless, swelly, choppy, miserable, boring sea!!!!
Steering 150deg all the way, with wind gradually increasing form 12k to 16k to a consistent 20k most of the way, and that’s about as interesting as it got for 9 hours!. Fortunately the wind was on our beam, so we were getting up a good speed of 6-7k all the way. It’s also not so scary because you’re being chased by the waves. But, and it’s a very big BUT, the swell was horrible. There’d been some terrible gales in the Gulf of Lyon, blowing F7-9 for a few days. An American couple we met in Tarragona, who I’d asked to join us when he said that he was relieved to hear English voices, recounted the tale of how people had been sick, as the cruise-ship they were on, had swayed around in the swell. (We felt quite smug that our decision to go nowhere near the place had proven to be the right one!)

Only trouble is the Med is just a dirty big pond, with the water sloshing around. A big wind 200 miles away can make the sea very uncomfortable. Not unsafe, but just very unpleasant for a very, very long time. “When I get back to Mallorca, I’m not going anywhere for a long time”, “If it calms down a little bit, we’ll make a cuppa in shifts!”, “Oh, I’ve really had enough now. I thought this wind was supposed to calm down!”, “Have we really only been sailing for 4 hours!”. Just some of the thoughts that spring to mind during our 18hours at sea!

Just as we were reaching a complete state of misery, only half way, at 55mls, after NINE HOURS, we saw bouncing towards us at speed, a pod of 6-8 dolphins, splashing about in the surf, gliding to and fro across our bow, almost touching the sides. Absolutely wonderful! The rougher sea seems to make them more athletic and frisky, shame I can’t say the same for me! They stayed with us for a good ten minutes. I sat at the bow of the boat, getting absolutely soaked as the boat ploughed into the waves. This was followed by another 4 sightings and close encounters with other pods of dolphins, and holding on tight, I managed to snap some photos of these lovely, playful mammals. Other than that, NOTHING TO SEE. Two distant tankers, a rig of some sort, Balearia ferry, but no other yachts, because they’ve all had the sense to stay in the Balearics. Don’t get me wrong. Barcelona was wonderful, and it was great to get there under our own steam, but next time we’ll go on Easyjet!! In our most fed up moment, Ian chirped up with “It takes Easyjet” half an hour to do what we’re doing in 18 hours!

Giving Isla Dragonera a wide berth, we finally arrived in Port Andraitx at 11.30pm. We’ve been here twice in total darkness, so we knew what to expect and where to go. Without this knowledge, you’d never come into this spot at night. But “seeing” places in the dark though a bit scary at first, is quite comforting after a long passage. Counting the flashes of lighthouses- 1 flash every 7 seconds- that’s Dragonera, 1 flash 5secs and then 3flashes- that’s the entrance to Andraitx. Red lights to port and green flashing lights to starboard coming in. We’re nearly there, and not a moment too soon, with the wind getting up in yet another thunderstorm, lightning flashes over in the West! Anchor down and plenty of chain out. All we’d eaten all day was biscuits, crisps, sweets, KitKats, and one of those wonderful stick-in-the-pan-and-leave-for-ten-minutes- tortillas (remember those Anj!). Whilst I had a wonderful shower, we made pre-cooked, partly-thawed paella with some added cooked chicken left over from the day before. Great meal at 12.15am!!! Both of us with our inner ears telling us we’re still on the move and rolling around! Slept really well and glad to be back on our favourite island again.

Woke up to heavy rain and thunderstorm with the prospect of more of the same tomorrow, with associated indigestion, aching and lethargy! Actually the rain’s past over now and it’s warming up nicely. Better make the most of it. Thought I’d attach photo of me at the helm, having a “bad hair day”, just to show my kids that life at sea isn’t all G&T and Skittles!


Hola Amigos said...

Alright scum bags.

Long time no text. Just spent the last 10 hours catching up on your blogs! Very entertaining mum, yet no words from father - still sorting out the toilets? Hands a bit too grubby for the keyboard??

Yesterday evening i started my garden...i went to Homebase with Alma's mum and bought three terracotta pots. I potted the plant you gave me, an oriental lilly and planted some sunflower seeds - with the aim of growing the sunflowers more successfully than Alma's mum ... any tips?

Lillies look great, just hope i can keep them alive!

I'm in college at the mo, being bored rigid!! Alma is rushing around, off to NY again on Sunday. Off to Cambridge tmw for an old vs new Blues football match - looking forward to a change from studying.

Fish tank is almost full of water - reckon plants and fish by the end of the month - getting excited!!

Alma says thanks for the rug - we are snuggling our toes into it as i write this blog.

Anyway got Big Brother to watch so off to better things...adios amigos :) xx

Anonymous said...

Just read your blog Marie, sounds like you are having some very bad weather, in contrast to us where it is generally okay. Mum staying with us this weekend and we are going down to Ed's school fair to do some climbing on a portable wall and a fun run. Things sorted themselves out quickly after the operation and I am now running as fast as before which is really encouraging. See you in about 4 weeks
Keith & Mum