Log #19p Problems in Pollensa

May 15, 2001 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 19 Spain, The Logs

Log #19p Problems in Pollensa

Port de Pollensa, Mallorca
Started May 10, finished May 15th, 2001
Covers the period April 25 to May 4th, 2001

As mentioned in my last log, we arrived back at Port de Pollensa on the 24th. After dragging anchor near midnight, we re-anchored closer in, still in only 10 feet of water. Next day we met Francis from Lambrusco, whom we had met last month in Andratx. He advised us that Nadine’s mooring buoy would not be used for a few days and suggested using it, which we did for the 25th. Next day we went inside to the economical public docks in order to access shore power, as our alternator was still not putting out what it should and our batteries were running down. (Judy and I have an ongoing battle about leaving the refrigerator on all the time as it draws so much power. She is concerned about frozen meat, and my concern is about the amount of battery power used.) So, we went alongside.

We checked out all aspects of our charging and electrical systems after an electrician from Maritime International came on board to check it. He advised us to check out everything rather than use his expensive time to do such. With no success at finding or identifying any fault in the wiring, we had to conclude it was either the Alpha regulator or the heavy duty 100 amp alternator at fault. We removed them, put on the 55 amp alternator that came with the engine, and took them to a local electrical shop for testing and repair. Manana! In the meantime the 55 amp alternator was working OK.

However, another problem cropped up – our new cooker (a top of the line Plastimo Pacific 3000 purchased through Merca Nautic in Palma for 134,000 pesetas [about $1100.00 Cdn] on April 19, promised delivery in Soller for next day, the 20th, but not delivered until the 23rd). When we installed it, everything seemed to work, except the piezoelectric lighter. We put in the required new battery but it still did not work. OK, we could live with that, starting it with a lighter as we did with our old stove. However, the first time we seriously used the oven (we had lit the oven and it went on when we first installed it) it did not heat up enough to bake a store-prepared pizza. We ended up putting the pizza into the barbecue to cook it. In addition we noted the flame went out spontaneously a few times and had to be re-ignited. We bought an oven thermometer, and verified it would not go above 120 degrees C. It was set for the highest setting which should have heated up to 275 C. We were not happy!

We called Peter at Merca Nautic, and he said it sounded like the thermocouple malfunctioned. We asked him to order one on warranty from Plastimo, and we would be down to Palma on May 4th when we were taking Gilles back to the airport to get it.

So we had a few days in hand and sailed 36 miles over to Menorca on the 28th. The landfall was interesting as the cliffs north of Cuitadella are only 50 metres as opposed to the 300 metre peaks on the north coast of Mallorca. Judging distance off was ….. different. We coasted from our landfall at Cabo Binicous, southeasterly past Cala Forcat, Cala Brut, and Cala Barcelo, in which we were reluctant to anchor. We settled on Cala Blanes, a long narrow cala in which we anchored at the inner end (39 60.0N, 003 48.8E), 100 metres off a lovely sand beach in 10 feet of water with a sandy bottom for good holding. We stayed on a single anchor in mid cala, with 45 feet of chain out, giving us just enough room to swing through 360 degrees without touching the low cliffs on either side.

We stayed two nights there having the cala all to ourselves. It was as attractive as any of the calas on Mallorca, crystal clear water revealing every ripple in the sandy bottom, the shore lined with the cave etched cliffs, and a few lovely private homes with stone steps and terraces coming down to the rocky shore. At the end of the cala at the beach was a park and hotel complex. A beach bar was carved into the rock face, and extended into the cliff in an intriguing cave formation. It created an interesting monastic atmosphere with the natural rock walls and ceilings with stone sculptures hewn into the outcroppings, creating grotto-like rooms in this subterranean establishment.  The park had a long avenue with twin rows of mature palm trees spreading their fronds together to create a shady bower for the stone picnic tables awaiting vacationing families. The beach was scattered with padded pairs of empty chaise lounges as, although a sunny day, the cool breeze kept the sun bathers from disturbing the splendid isolation of the cala, with only Veleda gently resting at anchor to indicate human habitation.

After two nights there, we went around the corner to Ciutadella (pronounced, I think, as “tchew ta day ya”), the old original capital of Menorca before the Brits moved it to Mahon (or Mao as in Menorcan). It is a beautiful old Spanish/Mediterranean style town with narrow cobblestone streets, sandstone buildings, a large main park and plaza area dominated by an obelisk commemorating the destruction of the town and the inhabitants by the Turkish “pirate” (actually, an admiral, under the orders of the Sultan) Barbarossa in 1558. The park is overlooked by the period architecture of the former royal administrative buildings and palaces, behind which is the cathedral.

The harbour is a long straight but picturesque cala terminating two kilometres inland at the 17th century Bastio De Sa Font which overlooks the cliffs of the torrent which were honeycombed with burial crypts from the Talyotic period preceding the Roman era. Many of these caves have been reworked into storage sheds or left as gaping holes in the cliff side, mute testimony to the necropolis of those ancient inhabitants. However, as the harbour is straight, a heavy swell can inundate the docks making mooring a bumpy experience, even at the expensive Club Nautico docks, in winds from the southwestern quadrant. We were moored at the public docks well inside of the Club Nautico docks, and found it quite comfortable even though the swell at the Club Nautico was heavy.

These few public docks are right downtown, below the main square. They are lined with good restaurants with patio enclosures extending to the dockside. We were about 50 metres from the bow of the ferry as it turned around from its dock on the far side ready to head back to Mallorca. When it leaves, it secures a stern line and uses its bow thrusters to pivot it around 125 degrees to its starboard until it is angled towards the harbour entrance, then slips its line and motors out. It makes its run twice daily in the morning and evening.

We enjoyed wandering the narrow streets, watching petanque played in the park, feeding the pigeons, sending some E-mail, having ice cream cones, and doing some miscellaneous grocery shopping. Gilles and I went to an enjoyable clarinet concert. The second day there it rained, to Gilles’ frustration as he wanted to work on his tan to show off when he returns home in a couple of days.

May 1st was a holiday and nothing was open. The rain we had was all over Europe, to the relief of police in several cities, especially London, as it dampened the demonstrations of the anarchists and anti-globalization demonstrators. We left May 2nd under cloudy skies, periodic light rain, and no wind for an uneventful motor trip back across to the public docks in Pollensa.

Next day, Gilles and I took an enjoyable hike through a valley and over a saddleback across the peninsula to Cala Boquer. The paths rambled through dry scrub brush, below dramatic rocky outcroppings and high peaks on both sides of the narrow valley. Goats wandered aimlessly, bleating. As we ascended, we had a panoramic view down the valley towards Pollensa on one side, and on the other the waters of the north coast of Mallorca as they quietly surged around the island just west of Cape Formentor and into the isolated bay of Cala Boquer, embraced on both sides by the majestic peaks of these mountains of the north Mallorcan coast. It was a beautiful secluded cala, with no buildings, other than a fishing shelter on one side. No people, as the beach was a shale and rocky foreshore, with some sandy spots to be seen out in the crystal clear water. I enjoy such isolated spots; the tranquility, the ruggedness, the only sounds those of the waves as they swell against the beach and froth as they dissolve against the outlying rocks and the crevices in the cliffs. There was a zephyr of wind silently sighing over the waters of the small bay, creating cat’s-paws of ripples across the glistening surface.

We took Gilles back to Palma on the 4th to catch his plane back home. It was good having him with us for the month. It was the most we have seen of him since he was a teenager. We took in the Palma Boat Show. I would rate it as only OK. There was a large contingent of boats in the water for inspection. But after two hours we had seen as much as we wanted, and so left to go to Merca Nautic for our thermocouple for the stove. No luck! Plastimo wanted the stove returned. At first it was how do we get it back to the store in Palma, and then would we have to rent a car or sail back to Palma to get it when returned? Fortunately the store allowed us to return it directly to Plastimo in Barcelona from Pollensa, and said a new one would be shipped to us in a few days (like May 8th or 9th). We were not happy!

I’m writing this on May 15 and the stove is in France and has not been shipped back yet! More about it and our problems with the alternator in the next log.