Captains Blog 38 – José Cabrera!!

Marina Arenal nestles in the Bay of Palma, approximately 10 miles from the capital. Our decision to head there was not confined to engine and iPad issues. There was a storm forecast, so it meant that we’d be safe and able to head ashore, rather than being confined to Gianti.

First on the lists of jobs, staring at the engine. This incorporated chin stroking, occasional eyebrow raising and shaking of head in a dismissive, slightly disappointed way. It did nothing to resolve the issue, so after consulting my Dad and working through various possibilities, I decided the likely cause of the overheating issue was a faulty heat sensor. I cycled to Palma and returned with a new one which was promptly installed and smugly dismissed from the jobs list.

The next day we both rode into Palma to explore and follow up on the iPad replacement. We narrowly missed a 45-minute drenching by nipping into a large Chandlers before heading into the city centre. We crossed the aptly named Torrent da Sa Riera, which was channelling 1000’s litres of water resulting from the cloud burst, out of the city and into the sea.  The tech store confirmed that a replacement iPad wouldn’t be ready for a week or so, but we didn’t mind being stuck on the South of Mallorca until it was ready!

When the weather settled, we set off to Torrenova and Palma Nova for a couple of days before sailing down to the large bay N/W of Colònia de Sant Jordi. The bay provides a great anchorage and is popular with day tripper boats as well as motor cruisers and sail boats so is busy by day, but peaceful at night.

A short dinghy ride took us to the beach from where we could walk to Colònia de Sant Jordi. It’s a lovely spot, that’s not too busy and has a nice chilled feel to it. The ideal place to relax and do nothing much more that swimming, snorkelling, drinking coffee and pottering.

A couple of days into our stay, I was in the bathroom (heads) one morning and noticed our neighbour step from his boat into his dinghy. He untied from the boat and began to drift away. He had neither an outboard or any oars. The wind was blowing from the N/E, not too strong, but enough to carry him slowly away!

He seemed unphased and as he drifted away called out to one of his sons to throw him an oar. His son scanned the deck and quickly found one, paused a second to gauge the distance, then hurled it towards Dad. It landed short and Dad’s frantic attempts to retrieve it almost led to an unceremonious dunking. The oar was aluminium and sank quickly out of reach.

Dad had opened up quite the gap by now. No problem, Son 1 had already grabbed the second oar and was about to launch it. Dad was now frantically waving his arms and shaking his head anticipating the likely outcome of a second oar hurling attempt and the prospect of committing another fine section of aluminium tubing to the ocean floor.

At this stage I wondered if I should untie Hannibal, which I’d hoisted and lashed to the stern the previous night. It seemed like an awful faff. Maybe best to just monitor for now!

Dad had drifted a long way as both sons busied themselves making the boat ready before starting the engine, weighing anchor and heading out on a rescue mission. I don’t know what Dad’s intention had been when he got into the dinghy, but the whole incident and rescue proved too much, so rather than returning and re-anchoring, he sailed Northwards, never to be seen again!

Our stay proved both relaxing and occasionally entertaining. We met Ingo, the German Aquaman who interrupted his training swim for a chat about the cost of buying Gianti, while the first mate and I sipped Gi an Ti on the foredeck! We caught up with him on land a few days later enjoying a lazy afternoon, which would be our last visit to Jordi, before heading to Cabrera, a small island, South of Mallorca and part of a national park.

The next day we had an Easterly blow and building swell. We set off at a sedate pace from behind the headland before the exhilarating 12-mile sprint to Cabrera. The bay we sailed into is superbly protected. You can’t anchor so booking a mooring is essential.

We picked up one of two moorings, but weren’t there long. The park ranger told us we needed to move onto one of the smaller moorings, which were already fully occupied by local boats who’re allowed to use them up until around 6 pm. He told us to wait and set off to free some up.

We now had our choice of location and headed to a lovely spot just off the beach. We’d booked 2 nights so needed to make the most of our stay. The following day we explored the accessible parts of the island before arranging a guided walk with José, one of the Park Rangers. As we were the first to book, we had the choice of route and opted for one that took us around part of the island perimeter.

At 6, we met up and discovered we were the only participants so, had a personal tour with José who proved an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide. We had a great time and very grateful for the tour, which was completely free!

We left at around 10am the following morning, after a stormy night, with a plan to head straight back to Jordi or, towards Arenal if conditions allowed. It was windy and we were making good progress towards Arenal so opted to maintain course. Both wind and swell continued to build and things became thoroughly miserable as the sky turned slate grey and heavy rain began falling. We steered past the Mallorcan cliffs, which now had numerous waterfalls cascading from the cliff tops into the sea, looking like some kind of prehistoric landscape. We battled to keep on course as moral started to wane as we got wetter and colder.

Conditions eased as we turned more Northerly towards the bay just south of Club Nàutic l’Arenal. We anchored and retreated below deck to dry off and get warm. We slept well and re-located into the marina the following morning to prepare for a crossing to Ibiza in a few days’ time.

We motored out of the marina the next day in beautiful sunshine and winds amounting to nothing more than a fairy’s fart. All was going well until the engine heat sensor sounded. My engine fix hadn’t fixed anything! Luckily, we were just exiting the bay and the wind was just sufficient to make 2/3 knots, so the engine went off and sails were raised. We drifted into Santa Ponsa and anchored, while I pondered the next step to resolve the engine problem.

It’s not the wisest thing to work on your engine while at anchor, but I knew that I had to remove the heat exchanger, a job I’d been dreading, so big boy pants on, it was time to get stuck in. It was one of the easiest engine jobs I’ve ever done. It was caked in gunk, indicating that this was the most likely source of the problem and indeed time would confirm this. After a thorough clean the heat exchanger was re-fitted and all was set for the grand depart.

First light the next day we left Mallorca for the best sail of the year to the tip of Ibiza. Fifty-one nautical miles in super quick time averaging over 6 knots per hour and all under sail. Superb!

If you fancy seeing Cabrera & even catching a glimpse of the now infamous José you can check out the video:

Captain Mac

One Reply to “Captains Blog 38 – José Cabrera!!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Sailing Éalú

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Skipper Jenn

POOP DECK: Because we give a SHIT

S/Y Maggie

Living the dream onboard our Beneteau 473 with our sailor dog

%d bloggers like this: