Log #19Q Pollensa, Cala Formentor & Mahon

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

Log 19Q Pollensa, Cala Formentor & Mahon

May 5 – 17,  2001

While in Palma on the 4th, we picked up our new Navtex, a dedicated weather receiver covering all of Europe including the Med, and in English. We had addressed it to be sent to Paul and Mary in Andratx, but as their address is a post office box, the delivery service could not deliver it, nor did they leave a note there saying the parcel was in. They phoned us, speaking no English, and our Spanish is extremely limited. However, we put them in touch with Mary who sorted it out and gave us directions to their location in an industrial park outside of Palma. We got it, and it seems to work well.

However, we had to return the stove. Fortunately we suggested that we return it directly to Plastimo in Barcelona, and for it to be returned directly to us here in Pollensa, we were told, within a week. We found Maritime International, a local yacht broker, quite co-operative in letting us use his address for sending and receiving back the stove. So we shipped it off on May 5th. Three days later we phoned Plastimo in Barcelona to find out that it had to be transhipped to the factory in France, and no replacement or repaired stove would be coming for three weeks!

The alternator was still in the shop, and would take a couple of days to check and repair. In the meantime, at least the original 55 amp alternator was working well. I was getting frustrated sitting around Pollensa waiting, so we took off a few miles out the bay to Cala Formentor, where the luxurious Hotel Formentor is nestled beneath the mountains extending out to Cape Formentor. While sailing those few miles, our roller furling seized up.

Oh no, not problems with our new furling system!

The extrusion had come out of the base, but was easily repaired after we anchored, a problem with our original installation. We got it right this time.

The anchorage was lovely, good holding in 15 feet of clear water on a sandy bottom. The scenery was spectacular, with a long sandy beach, pine covered hills with the mountain peaks as a backdrop. The Formentor Hotel was a long low structure nestled in the pine trees. We strolled the beach next day, with a scattering of early season visitors brought from Pollensa and Alcudia by catamaran glass bottomed boats, as it was a Sunday. There was a good wind blowing. We watched a dinghy sailing about two hundred metres off shore, and had a good view of Veleda at anchor with a few other sail and power boats.

Below the hotel was an unused stone pier that we explored in case a boat could moor alongside. No luck, rocks nearby, and an absence of bollards made it inhospitable to boats. While out there we noticed the dinghy sailor was having a difficult time trying to go upwind to get back to the rental spot on the beach. He saw us on the pier and waved in distress. Judy and I went the hundred yards or so to the bar where rentals took place and informed a chap of the dinghy’s difficulty. He did not seem too concerned until we pointed out that it had just capsized. Then he got mobile and went off in an inflatable to tow it in. The operation took the better part of half an hour. The poor guy in the dinghy was exhausted by the time he got ashore.

We spent a second lovely night at anchor there, a full moon illuminating the rocky peaks, and the water so clear we could see the ripples of sand on the bottom by the moonlight. As we were the only boat in that area of the bay, I put my CD’s on in the cockpit and just luxuriated in the beautiful music on deck in that tranquil moonlit bay.

Next day back to Pollensa. The alternator was ready. It had to be replaced, as the bearings were worn in a warped fashion, possibly because the al ternator had been a bit out of line. That would also explain the difficulty we had in going through alternator belts. The Alpha regulator was OK. When we tried to install it the day after, it would not fit our engine mounts! Back to the shop. To try to explain to Tony, who spoke little English, we went back to Veleda and got the original heavy duty alternator to illustrate how it had to be attached. We were at the point of saying “Return our money and we will try for another alternator at our next destination”. He asked us to leave it for the day and he would see if he could modify it. Next day he had done so, but it still did not fit. Back to the shop. We helped him measure with calipers the attachment points, and finally with a few well placed washers got it all to line up.

Back to Veleda to put it in. It fit! However when hooking up the wires, Judy found out the positive terminal from the alternator was within a couple of centimetres of the engine’s metal fuel lines (negative grounded) after a dramatic shower of sparks. At first we thought it was no good, but I placed a piece of plastic hose over the metal fuel lines, insulating them from the positive terminal. We completed the hook up, and it worked!

On the 8th, our English neighbours in Red Marlin had departed out to a buoy in the anchorage behind Club Nautico, to be replaced by a gigantic wall of motor yacht which dwarfed poor little Veleda. It rained quite heavily overnight, and in the morning our new neighbour was hosing his decks down and some spray was falling on Veleda. Then I noticed our deck was sprayed with a reddish mud I thought from the yacht next door. However, it was red rain from the Sahara, blown across from Africa. Fine particles of red sand splattered the deck and made red rivulets along the lines on deck, and along the edge of the deck at the toe rail. I borrowed the yacht’s hose to hose down Veleda. It was almost claustrophobic beside that behemoth. There was no view for half the horizon area.

We departed for another buoy in the anchorage we knew belonged to a boater who was unlikely to use his mooring buoy for a while. So, unknown to Cutspan, we enjoyed the free use of his mooring for almost a week. It was lovely to be out in the anchorage with a full spectacular horizon in view, mountains on two sides behind Pollensa extending out the craggy Formentor peninsula to the north, and the lower hills over towards Alcudia to the south with more mountains at the outer end of that peninsula at Pointa Negra, and the open waters of the bay stretching out to the Menorca Channel. This was a comfortable mooring on which we stayed for a week.

We got to know Pollensa fairly well, and were able to find a carpentaria from which we bought a couple of pieces of nice marine plywood to make a cockpit table. It is now in process. We’re not sure how we will attach it yet, but will keep the logs posted on our progress with it.

On the weekend I wanted to take off for a day or so, while we were awaiting word from France regarding the repair or replacement of our stove, so we went around the southern peninsula to Porto de Alcudia. The mountains going around the point were impressive, with their craggy peaks, honeycombed caves,, and one good cala that we stopped at for lunch enroute. However the cala was in a military area and we were not allowed to land the dinghy. A pleasant lunch stop anyway.

At Alcudia, the long beach was buoyed off so we had to anchor outside and not even the dinghy could land on their luscious sandy restaurant, beach chair bedecked shore. We had an enjoyable time in Alcudia next day viisting the local market and some Roman ruins. On our return to the beach we found Veleda being towed in as she had dragged, and they didn’t want her near their beach area. When we went out in Sprite to board her, we went into the marina alongside Elifthiria, a Canadian Alex and his partner Sally. Alex is the author of a Canadian book called “Take Your Money and Run” about being declared a non-resident for tax avoiding purposes. Before we departed a couple of hours later the marina sent around a person to collect 1000 pesetas for the couple of hours rafted off. Oh well!

We went back to Cutspan’s mooring for a few more days before being able to arrange to have the new stove shipped to Pedro’s Boatyard in Mahon on Menorca. While in Pollensa we met Ken Erlich of Galahad, flying a non approved Cornish flag with a Union Jack in the upper corner. He was surprised I recognised it, but I indicated we had made our European landfall in Falmouth, and so were familiar with the black flag with a white cross. We enjoyed a social evening on Galahad with some of the other boaters in the moorings.

On May 17 we left for Mahon, a 60 mile trip half under sail and half motor sailing. We moored at an interesting floating island called Isla Clemintina, where we met up with Soleil Sans Fin, Dany II, Mindemoya, and to our surprise Two Step, Paul and Sheryl Shard’s boat from the Port Credit Yacht Club.