Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ibiza to Cartegena

Hi from Clare,                                             Friday 26th August 2011

Bye Bye to Ibiza
When last I wrote we were heading to the holiday destination of Ibiza town. I was eager to compare it to the party town of San Antonio. Well Ibiza town is the capital of the island and a full on city – there was no comparison. We stayed for two days to see the town and then we escaped back to peaceful days in quiet anchorages.  For the following week we had lots of social gatherings with our friends on ‘Tactical Directions’ (Tony, Jacqui and guests David and Karen) and ‘Blue Banana’(Sam and Bill).

Early Sunday morning we left them at Ibiza and sailed to Cartagena Spain arriving around lunchtime Monday.  It wasn’t the best trip as we had a big swell behind us and we rolled for most of the way. I didn’t know anything about Cartagena and I was a little disappointed sailing in here. There is quite a lot of industry here, a large ship yard, shipping containers, warships in the bay, dust swirling off the bare hills, black smoke rising and distinct smell of petro-chemical; I thought oh no!
View from the sea - not so inspiring

City Hall
However as soon as we went into town I realized how wrong I was. The people of Cartagena are eager to share 3000 years of history with visiting tourists. Throughout the 20th Century they have spent a huge amount of money to preserve buildings and excavate archaeological sites as well as restoring the more modern architecture – even Gaudi has one of his designs here.  A lot of the archeological sites have an air conditioned building erected over them. This is to help preserve the site but as it is really hot here, it helps to preserve the tourist as well.


                    Inside the Punic walls                                             The Roman Theatre

We bought a ticket giving us access to nine archaeological sites ranging from Rampart walls built by the Carthaginians in 227BC through the Roman period (roads, houses, theatre) to a mediaeval castle and the 1930’s Spanish civil war air-raid shelters  This occupied us fully for three days.

                Roman road 4th C AD                                          and the building above it

      A fine old house by Gaudi                                            Spainish Civil War air-raid shelter

The Audi MedCup yachts in harbour
As we arrived the Cartagena leg of the Audi MedCup was starting and was to go on for our entire stay.  This is a grand-prix style series of races held in 6 Mediterranean cities for TP52s and Soto 40s.  Very high-tech light, fast and expensive looking one design crewed racers.  The courses were several miles out but live video and English commentary was available on the wide screen back in the harbour.  There was even an Australian team in the 40 footers.  At the same time a regatta for about 30 Optimist dinghies was being run and if all that was not interesting enough there were two foiling Moth class scows sailing inside the harbour too.

Today we have been busy cleaning the boat and preparing to leave tomorrow for Gibraltar.  At the moment it is blowing from the south west and we are hoping to leave early tomorrow when the wind turns to the north east. The trip will take us 2 days all going well. 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ibiza part 2

Hi from Clare,                                                   Saturday 13th August 2011

Well we are having a quiet week enjoying the long awaited sunshine and crystal clear 28 degree sea water.

We are slowly circumnavigating the island of Ibiza. Each day we sail for a few hours to the next anchorage.  We usually leave around lunchtime when the wind comes up which makes for good sailing and a few friendly competitions with our cruising buddies on ‘Tactical Directions’. Basically we can beat them to windward especially in light conditions and they can beat us off the wind especially in stronger winds.

Sailing round West Coast Ibiza

We spent two days together in San Antonio which is one of the Ibiza’s famous holiday destinations for the young. Without exaggeration we were some of the oldest tourists in town. In San Antonio the Henna Tattoo is a thriving business and it would be fair to say that the young wear more tattoos than they do clothes. In the day the streets and outdoor cafes are packed with bikini clad girls and boys in board shorts. At night the restaurants and bars are well patronized and there are street markets and carnivals along the foreshore. We watched a ride at the carnival called ‘The Slingshot’. How anyone (and some under ten years old) could go on this ride is beyond me. Two people sit side by side in a chair held by a slingshot contraption which shoots them up into the air at great speed – it was truly terrifying. I ran and took cover under a nearby umbrella incase the occupants threw up.

San Antonio
We have watched a few television shows at home showing Ibiza as being the ‘anything goes’ holiday destination. San Antonio is very vibrant but everyone is well behaved. We anchored in the harbour expecting to be kept awake all night with doof doof music but it was very quiet. We did see a few sorry sights in full party gear making their way home around lunchtime the following day. But apart from that it was pretty tame.

San Antonio was our place for loosing things. Firstly Andrew lost the key for the dinghy outboard. We think it fell out of his pocket and so  we retraced our steps in search of the key but to no avail. We will have to buy or make a new one. At present Andrew is starting the engine by using a piece of string in the kill switch.

Later that same day I lost a bifocal lens from my sunglasses. This was a real blow as I wear my sunglasses every day. We had been shopping in the local fruit and vege market and I changed glasses whilst there as it was dark under cover. It wasn’t until some time later I found that a screw had fallen out and one lens was missing.  We debated whether it was worth retracing our steps for the second time that day.  However the stakes were higher and so we went back into town and returned to the market.  When we arrived the busy morning trade had lulled and a staff member was sweeping the floor. I showed her my sunglasses, she disappeared out the back and returned with my lens – I could have kissed her.

We have spent quite a lot of time with Tony and Jacqui from ‘Tactical Directions’. The boys have helped each other with boat maintenance and passage planning and we have spent enjoyable evenings sharing drinks or playing Rummy. The competition is to be continued because at present the girls are winning, that doesn’t sit well with Tony – however it is all in good fun.

We are currently anchored off the beach at Espalmador.  It is a renowned beach and certainly the best beach we have seen in the Med. The beach is shallow with a sandy bottom. The water is bright aqua, very clean and lovely and warm. It is very popular, each day there are hundreds of people and hundreds of boats. The women are mostly topless but we have seen very little nudity beyond that. Last night there was a mass excitis of boats around sunset with only a scattering of yachts staying overnight.  This morning they all returned to enjoy another beautiful day.


                                         Beach scenes at the main beach on Formentera

Tomorrow we will continue on to Ibiza town which is another well known party destination. It will be interesting to compare it to San Antonio. I will let you know what we think in our next newsletter.

Love Candy xx

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Hi from Clare,                                         Saturday 6th August 2011

When last I wrote my parting words were “At the moment it is lovely and sunny, I just wish it would stay that way”.  My wish has come true and we have enjoyed a week of sunshine and water temperature as high as 28.6 degrees.

We settled with “Tactical Directions” in a bay at Santa Ponca Mallorca. It is a twenty minute bus ride into the capital city of Palma.  Our intention was to buy a new hot water heater but our model has been discontinued.  The replacement model is a different shape and doesn’t fit in the spot. Andrew found a welder who put a patch over all the old cracks and now it looks like new again and we saved about 400 euro.  The new patches were not without some downside though as the welding further distorted the thread where the electric element screws in.  Andrew mentioned that he needed a Dremel.  At the next “Dragnet” sked ‘Blue Banana’ offered theirs. So after a quick bus ride into Palma with the tank on his back, Andrew sat on the dock in Palma grinding the tank until it fitted.  It is now all back together and so far producing hot water without leaking.

                     Santa Ponca anchorage                                        Santa Ponca Beach

After buying a new dinner set last week I took advantage of the access to city shops and continued with the ‘Eye Candy’ make over. We now have new quilts for the cabins, new tea towels and place mats for both tables.  After seven seasons it is great to spruce things up and add a splash of colour.  I spent a whole day reorganizing the boat and generally clucking around in my nest as happy as a lark; everything looks great!

                      The new dinner set                                                 The new quilt 

As you can see by the photo of the anchorage, Santa Ponca is a popular place. There are power boats coming and going each day. Some of the kids enjoy racing around the anchorage in their boat’s dinghy.  I understand it’s fun but they cause so much wake.  By I’m grumpy and sick of chasing the plates around the kitchen. We start yelling at them to slow down; or better still go play around their own boat.

Fortunately we escaped daily spending time in Palma with Tony and Jacqui either shopping or catching up with Sam and Bill who are stuck in the marina having generator repairs done. So it was a pretty social week with the six of us having lunches together in the city. In the evenings, back in our bay at Santa Ponca, Andrew and I would get together with Tony and Jacqui for drinks and or dinner.

We left Santa Ponca yesterday and sailed 50 miles to Ibiza. It was another great sail averaging 6 knots. I either snoozed in the sun on the deck or read my book.
We have anchored in the large bay on the north east corner of Ibiza.  There are   fewer boats here and the bay is large, so peace at last – or so I thought!
We anchored near a power boat with a husband and wife with two small children. The ten year old son spent hours racing around the anchorage in the dinghy.  Trying to relax in the cockpit and read I found myself calculating how long his fuel would last. At he asked Dad if he could turn on the navigation lights and continue; thankfully the answer was “No”.  However the two kids on board jumped in and out of the water squealing and giggling until around .   

This morning Andrew was talking to the father and we discovered that last night was the first over-night on their new boat. What a paradigm shift – I immediately felt a bit ashamed of myself for being such a grumpy old woman.  It was lovely to see the young family having lots of fun together. First thing this morning they all went swimming then lay naked on the back deck in the early morning sun. You can see from the photo they need to do a bit more sun baking before they fit in to the Mediterranean scene. 

The new toy

I guess the boy would have loved to go for another spin in the dinghy, but Dad’s desire to have a spin in his new toy was greater. So they disappeared from the anchorage all waving goodbye with Dad at the helm with a big grin on his face.

We plan to be in Ibiza for about two weeks and we will circumnavigate the island.
The weather is perfect and the water is crystal clear and cozy warm for swimming. We are looking forward to a two week summer holiday – woo hoo!

Love Candy xx