Log #19o Back to Pollensa

May 11, 2001 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 19 Spain, The Logs

Log #19o Back to Pollensa

Pollensa, Mallorca
May 11, 2001

Hi Folks,

Just a short note with this log as I hope to be able to send it out in a few minutes from a book exchange shop where the owner spaeks English. We have had a difficult time with the phone lines and sending E‑mail from here. I hope this one works.

All the best,


Log #19o Back to Pollensa

Port Pollensa, Mallorca
May 9, 2001
Covers the period April 21 to May 27, 2001

We had a delightful time in Port de Soller, and took the wooden tram into Soller a few kilometers inland for laundry, and a cyber cafe. The cyber café was a lost cause as, as with others we have found, they do not have telephone lines accessible to laptops, just computers for cruising the internet. We can access our AOL account on the internet to see our mail, but have not found a way to save prewritten E‑mail on disc and then send it out. I think it can be done, but we have not had available anyone computer‑literate enough to help us save on a Mac disc, and load it to send from a PC, especially in a foreign language. Sending and receiving E‑mail is the most consistently frustrating experience in cruising. I wish the computer and mobile phone nerds would get their act together to give reliable roving service here in the EU. All we need is to be able to plug our laptop in to a standard telephone jack for a local call. Fantastically difficult! Then when we find an office reluctantly allowing us to do so, either our laptop or the phone connections act up, and a call that should take less than 5 minutes takes a half hour of fiddling around with cords, outside lines, and AOL line complications. AARRGGHH!

Our cooking stove developed a few flames in the burners which should not be there. We had to get a new stove. West Marine did not deliver overseas for the model we wanted. We needed to go to Palma to order one. So we rented a car for a day and shared it with John and Laurie on Dany II who had to go toPalma as well. We checked at a couple of chandleries and finally ordered a Plastimo 3 burner Pacific 3000 that could be delivered next day to us in Soller. Good show! However a cockpit table we were going to order turned out to be twice as expensive as originally quoted ($450 for the table and another $400 Cdn. for the mounting hardware, plus tax). No Way! However we were finally able to get the proper spark plugs for our Mariner outboard. They are an odd number not readily available except at Mariner or Mercury dealerships. We still haven’t been reimbursed for warranty work done by Mariner last October, but that’s another ongoing story. I’m not happy with Mariner.

On our way back to Soller, we went over the mountains rather than through the tunnel, and Gilles counted 29 hairpin turns going up and 36 going down. Rather than going straight back to the boats, we went up from Soller to the delightful mountain village of Fornalutx, with its narrow streets, cobblestone walkways, and all the houses and buildings required to have traditional stone facades. It is claimed to be the most attractive village in Mallorca, a claim that we would support. We had pizza on an elegant bougainvillaea‑bedecked balcony overlooking a terraced valley festooned with orange and lemon trees, with goats and donkeys meandering the hillside. The setting sun bathed the cliffs and mountain summits in deeper and deeper tones of yellows, turning to golds, then purples as the night sky darkened the few pink clouds to permit the stars to come out. A couple of times we had to look quite closely to separate stars from lights higher up the mountain sides. A lovely evening and end to our trip into Palma.

The stove did not come next day, a Friday, and so we had to wait until Monday. However, we moved over to an anchorage farther inside the point and closer to the docks as a NE gale was forecast, and we found it rolly out where we were. We moved alongside the fuel dock to await our hoped for stove delivery for the afternoon and evening as it was closed at noon hour. Then we found out it was closed for the whole weekend, and stayed there until Monday. We were still having problems with our alternator and so plugged into shore power, free of charge, as well as being able to top up with water.

Late Saturday afternoon the French Beneteau that was damaged a couple of days earlier asked if he could raft outside us to escape the gale. Sure! No problem, and so we had company at the fuel dock. However during the late afternoon the winds were rising and the swells were working up in the anchorage. We had a call from Soleil Sans Fin out in the anchorage asking if there were any obstacles should he come in alongside the fishing boats for refuge. I checked it out and identified a red fishing trawler that did not have any lines or anchors out, where it would be safe to come alongside. Bill said he would be right over.

Gilles, Judy and I went across to the fishing docks by the administrative building of the military base, and helped him alongside. Shortly after we helped Dany II come alongside Soleil Sans Fin, then returned to Veleda. By that time the winds were at least force 8, howling over the administration military building, keeping the boats off the wall. On Veleda across the harbour we could feel the spume blown off the water from the 45 knot winds. By the time we were back on board we noticed a third boat had come in from the anchorage and was outboard of Dany II. A large 50 foot plus ketch in the anchorage seemed to drag and had to re‑anchor itself.

Then we noted that the third boat, the one outside Dany II, was under way and coming over towards our mooring at the fuel dock! We also noted a major wind shift of 180 degrees. A VHF call from Soleil Sans Fin for assistance to get off the fishing trawler explained that the trawler wanted to put out beam anchors to prevent being bashed against the jetty with this wind shift that was now blowing them onto the docks.

Dany II got off OK, but Soleil Sans Fin was pinned against the fishing trawler by the 45 to 55 knot gusts, and could not manoeuvre clear. I ran across the harbour docks to help out. The fisherman wanted Soleil Sans Fin off as soon as possible so he could deploy his beam anchor to hold him off the wall. Bill wanted to wait for a lull in the wind before trying to warp himself off. No luck, the winds held at a steady 45 plus knots for over 15 minutes. I volunteered to run back to Veleda to get Sprite to tow him off. By the time I got back to Veleda and into Sprite, he had gotten clear. I stood by in Sprite to take his anchor as he came in stern first to the corner of the fuel dock. I took his anchor, using Sprite, out from his bow, about forty feet off, and dropped it. Trying to manoeuvre an inflatable dinghy towing heavy chain anchor cable is extremely difficult as it is difficult to steer and position the drop.

However, it was too close to that of Dany II, and John feared it would foul his anchor. So I manually hauled up fifty feet of chain and the anchor into Sprite, veered off sharply from SoleilÆs starboard bow, and dropped it again. This time it was OK. Exhausted, I went back to Veleda to help handle lines, as there were now the French Beneteau alongside us, plus three 45 foot sailboats on the mooring bollard astern of us with their sterns 10 feet from the corner and their bows held off by their bow anchors. All this in howling offshore 45 to 55 knot winds!

The first boat to come over was a Brit, who eased his boat alongside a large tour boat catamaran docked around the end of the fuel dock. Dany II seemed OK, but Soleil Sans Fin felt too exposed, and so backed up to come alongside the French Beneteau outboard of us, to form a raft of three of us at the fuel dock now. An exhausting evolution!

Gilles was of great help. The bowline and round turn two half hitches that I had just taught him came in handy as he had to take several lines and secure them to bollards. There were lines all over the place! We even hooked up the boats to shore power (more lines). The wind died down a few hours after all were safely moored.

Fortunately the fuel dock was not open on Sunday, and so we all stayed put. In fact another German 40 foot sloop came in Sunday morning and secured stern to on the corner bollard with a bow anchor out making a little flotilla of five other boats moored outboard and astern of us at the fuel dock. They all left Monday morning before the fuel dock opened. We were still expecting our stove to be delivered, and so left Gilles at the dock while I went out to the anchorage with Veleda, and Judy had gone into Soller on the local tram to pick up the laundry we had left there.

About 1100, after I had picked up Judy, a German boat that had been at the transient dock came by and indicated his space was available if we wanted to go in for it. We went. The stove arrived about 1400, and we installed it immediately. We stayed for the night and left at noon next day, April 24, for Pollensa. We had a quartering SW breeze for our easterly course, allowing us to fly the spinnaker for a while, then go wing on wing to show Gilles that a sail boat can actually sail without having the engine on.

While under way, we had a couple of phone calls from Canada with the unfortunate news that some of Judy’s old tax returns were being reassessed. That took the edge off a good day.

We anchored off the docks of Port de Pollensa inside of Soleil Sans Fin and Dany II. However during the night the wind came up and we dragged. So, close to midnight, we re‑anchored, an operation made difficult by a brilliant unshielded light from the Club Nautico which blinded us as we had to make our way towards it to anchor. It is ridiculous to have such unshielded lights around a dock that kill the night vision of sailors.

We will be in Pollensa for a while for two major reasons. One is that we needed to get our alternator fixed. We had checked the batteries, the belt, all the electrical connections, the alpha regulator, the echo charger, and the battery switch. We found a fault in the battery switch, but when it was taken out of the system, the low output still persisted. So we removed the alternator, and the alpha regulator and took them to a local electrical shop to test and repair. In the meantime we put the original alternator that came with the engine on, and it worked quite well. So we had to wait a few days for the results of the electrical shop.

The second cause for our  wait is the new stove. It doesn’t work properly. The oven does not heat up! More about these two frustrating delays in my next log.