The Voyages of Disco Volante: Mallorca - Menorca

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September 30th 2014
Published: October 26th 2014
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How time flies, another month has gone by with no blog. We have been busy though, our busiest month for visitors since we set sail back in June. We have really enjoyed seeing our sailing life through others’ eyes. Sailing is certainly highs and lows in the Med. A lot of motoring when there is no wind and we potter along, drink in hand, then other days, out of nowhere the winds pick up and we have a spritely glorious sail. But there are also some rough days with buckets of water hitting us in the face, lunch at 35degrees and the odd green faced friend. Luckily regardless of the winds, most days are sunny and hot – which helps. Being cold and wet sucks on a 12hr sail.

It’s fair to say we have had an unusually sunny October, even for the Med. If it rains it tends to be overnight and that helps bring the humidity down. The skies are still blue, with occasional clouds and we have yet to see the temperature fall below 24 degrees. The cruising guides all promise us an Indian summer in November in Italy, so hopefully the weather will hold and keep our tans going until we are back for two weeks in December (1st-14th approx.). Then it’s off to Thailand for us; 14th Dec – 14th February.

Friday 19th September

We arrived back into San Antonio Ibiza late last night. So after a nice lie in we headed North, ready for our crossing to Mallorca. We decided to go back to a bay we liked called Cala Portinax in the North of the Island. We are certainly noticing that the sailing season in coming to an end as the number of yachts has seriously gone down and we are one of only a handful of yachts in the bay, which is a real difference from last time we were here. It’s very calm weather so we enjoy a restful night on the boat, not even bothering to get off.

Saturday 20th September

Fernanda (Sam’s wife) has arrived in Ibiza to visit her brother Marcel so we plan to meet up with her. We spend the morning doing some work on the boat – patching the main sail where we have worn a small hole and mopping out the bilges (yuck). Fernanda arrives in the early afternoon with her brother Marcel and his girlfriend Angelica. We have some beers on-board and a nice swim, then Marcel has to head off to work, so the rest of us sail over to Santa Eulalia for a meal at the restaurant he works at. We have yet to go into Sta Eulalia on this trip. Captain Fernanda drives us all the way (No wind again) – that girl is a natural sailor!

We manage to anchor off the beach, pretty much opposite the restaurant. Mike rows the girls in to get ready and we all meet later at the restaurant to belatedly celebrate Marcel’s birthday with them.

It’s our last night in Ibiza, so it’s fitting that it is a Saturday night and spent with friends.

We had a fab meal at the restaurant. I had sea bass baked in a salt crust and Mike had suckling pig – yummy. Not to mention when the bill came it was all on the house – lucky us!

After the meal Marcel joined us for drinks at a neighbouring shisha bar. Alas we couldn’t join them for clubbing as we had an early start the next day. It was fab to get to know Fernanda’s brother. We waved goodbye to both Fernanda and Ibiza from our dinghy..

Sunday 21st September – Ibiza to Mallorca (Cala Portal Vells)

Distance sailed – 57 miles (10hrs)

Up early with slightly thick heads from the mixtures of drinks we consumed the night before.

I am really sad to see Ibiza disappearing behind us. We had such a fantastic month on the white isle!

Fortunately we have some wind today, so make quite good time to Mallorca.

It was a nice sailing day, though the sky was cloudy and it looked like something was brewing. We enjoyed the respite from the heat though, with our minor hangovers.

We arrived into our anchorage at about 6:30pm. The wind was picking up by this point and we started to see lightning in the distance. Mike had found a lovely anchorage for us, surrounded by cliffs on each side. We could also see lots of ancient caves dating back to the Phoenicians. It was busy in the anchorage, but boats soon started to leave as the day trippers head home for the day. After a quick dinner we both hit the sack and watch some DVDs. I think the mental stress of the last week or so had finally caught up with us.

Monday 22nd September – Anchored in Cala Portals

It was a really stormy night, thunder, lightning and rain. The winds were picking up too so we decided to have a lazy duvet day and hang around in our pretty anchorage for the day. Due to the weather being overcast and the high winds, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We quite often don’t leave the boat for a day or two to go onshore, something I never thought possible before I became a sailor. Although admittedly it is partly because that way we don’t spend any money and use our on-board stores. We try to have a few days a week where we spend nothing, to subsidise the days we go into a out for dinner or sightseeing etc… We knew we wanted to spend some time in Palma, so this was the compromise. Lovely lazy day, despite the winds and later on a big storm. Mike assured me we were safe from the lightening – Looking up at the 15m tall metal mast I didn’t quite believe him!

Tuesday 23rd September – Cala Portals Vells to Puerto Portals, Palma

Distance: 10nm

Today we headed off towards Mallorca’s capital Palma. We had a lovely sail (Motor) hugged right in to the coast so we could have a nose at all the expensive villas on the cliffs and also a little look at Magaluf. There are some amazing villas along this stretch of coastline. Magaluf was as you would expect, we certainly had no desire to venture on land there anyway. Once we arrived on the outskirts of Palma we started to scout anchorages as we knew we couldn’t afford more than one night in Palma’s marina. Palma itself is covered in marinas, Mike was instantly excited by all the masts. Again we are a tiddler in comparison to most boats. We scouted out a few bays and decided to drop anchor just outside the VERY expensive marina of Puerto Portals. Loving the fact it hadn’t cost a penny. We needed to head over to Palma to sort out our internet dongle and I was hankering for some sightseeing. We left the boat and jumped into a taxi into town. Once all the admin was out of the way we found a fab little restaurant in one of Palma’s pretty squares. The theme of the restaurant seemed to be shiny pink, the food was authentic tapas and the owners were gay Germans. We managed to find a bottle of Mallorcan Riesling to wash a nice meal down with before heading back to Disco. We rowed out to the boat just as it was getting dark, only to hear strange noises from what we assumed was a local bar when we had seen it earlier.. There was squawking & screeching, followed by the unmistakable honk of a sealion. It appears we had moored next to an aquarium, complete with aviary full of parrots!

Wednesday 24th September – Puerto Portals to Real Club Nautico, Palma

After a brief e-mail exchange we were happy to find out we could get a berth at the RCNP for just 40EUR (We had feared much more). So motored over just before lunch. We needed to find a sail maker who could repair our main sail and via a chain of very helpful people we were put in touch with a German Lady who could get it done by the following day & for only 120EUR which was very good news indeed. So spent a bit of time getting the sail off the mast/boom and then went exploring Palma properly. We started with the open bus tour, which was a really fun way to see the city. Palma really is a lovely place. Really clean and it feels really spacious, a bit like Barcelona with wide avenues and sculptures and beautiful building everywhere. We finished the day with a humungous burger and chips at a grill restaurant. We then used the wristbands we had been given by the yacht club to go for a drink in their clubhouse. We enjoyed a very nice 2EUR glass of wine on their terrace before bed!

Thursday 25th September – Palma to Cala Llamp

Distance 22nm

Luckily the marina said they wouldn’t charge us for another day as long as we left by 7pm, which was very nice of them. While we waited for the lady to return our sail to the rather naked looking Disco Volante we had a wander around the marinas – There were some stunning wooden yachts with acres of teak and little canvas covers on everything! After a quick shop for provisions we headed back to the boat and got the sail back on, rather harder than taking it off – Mike impressed with all his the knots he needed to pull off to get it all secured back to the boat. Just before 7pm, we were ready to go, heading to an anchorage further around the coast, ready to meet The Granthams the next day. Luckily the wind was 20knts in the right direction, so we had a frisky sail down the coast averaging 8knt, which was exhilarating in the dark. The anchorage Mike had chosen was not quite wide enough for us to swing on our anchor so we went with a less pretty one, a bay up the coast instead. As much as we wanted to wake up somewhere nice, a worry free sleep was more important!

Friday 26th September – Cala Llamp – Andraitz – Isla Dragoneras

Distance 10nm

We were up at 10am for a quick motor around to Adraitz (A pretty port almost impossible to find a berth in, in the summer months). We had given Beej and Helen the task of finding a fuel pontoon so we could grab some fuel and pick them up at the same time. We timed it (Accidently) to perfection and much to the amusement of the pump attendant the Granthams were aboard. We motored over to a little bay for a welcome aboard drink – time to get the party started – it was their wedding anniversary after all! It was a gorgeous day – 30 degrees! Once the suncream was applied and we had all compared our tans with Helen’s white arms – we were off for a spot of BBQing at the nearby Isla Dragoneras. Tourists were being dropped off on little boats as we started to make a dent in the on-board wine supplies. We unpacked the floaters (Inflatables we picked up in Ibiza) and all had a nice dip and snorkel it the turquoise water. We then sparked up the BBQ, using the now infamous flameboy tool (Boys - buy this immediately -

As the sun went down we began the task of destroying Disco Volantes wine reserves with great gusto. An awesome first day/night with the Granthams!

Saturday 27th September – Dragoneras to Puerto Sollers

Distance 25nm

We wake up to hear that poor old Helen has been up all night puking.. Delayed seasickness, which we later realised was actually wine induced! (Beej had been holding our mixing bowl for her all night as she puked (extremely quietly) into it in the early hours) We were all pretty tender it has to be said. Especially when we counted the empties (see photo). Even Mike has had a bit of seasickness brought on by hangover, so we gingerly got underway after some brekkie consisting mainly of diet coke & crisps. We all felt pretty rough, but it was only a 4hr sail to our next port of call – Puerto Sollers. No wind again so we motored the whole way, which was probably best for all concerned..

We got a nice little anchorage close to beach, but none of us felt like doing much. Bravely Beej & Hels went to shore for supplies. Early night all round!

Sunday 28th September – Puerto Sollers to Puerto Pollenca


Distance 40nm

The biggest test of the Granthams sailing yet. This was an 8 hour sail, but luckily we were all well rested. (And not hungover!) We started early as we were keen to get to Pollenca early so we could begin celebrating Michael’s birthday. Unfortunately it was overcast and windy, the sea was very choppy and threw the odd wave on to the unsuspecting sailors. We were happy to get into the marina and get ready for our night out! We had a nice berth side on to the quayside, Disco was sitting pretty and attracting lots of attention from passers-by. Glad rags and war paint on and we were all ready to check out the sights of Pollenca old town to celebrate Mike’s birthday and also say goodbye to Beej & Hels who were heading home the next day.

We found ourselves a taxi with a charming old guy called Lorenzo, who despite his protestations to the contrary, spoke great English. There was a small shower while we were on the way in the taxi, which only added to the charm of Pollensa old town, with it lovely flagstones and cobbled streets. Let the birthday bar crawl begin!

We started off in the main square for drinks at the social club & tapas natch.. We then got a message from Matthew Doel to say he had been to Pollenca before and for us to try to track down a bar (and barman) called Neil – Actually called U Gallet Bar) (, where he had once had an excellent night, culminating in a lock-in! The only description we had to go by was that it was up some steps and Neil had long hair…

Next stop was a random Jamaican bar, where we had some very large gins and some cake tapas (Must have known it was Mike’s birthday). Then we were on the hunt for the legendary Neil’s bar! After a few wrong turns we found a group of young Mancunians carrying wine glasses. We asked if they had heard of Neil – They had, in fact they had just come from the bar as Neil was a friend of theirs – RESULT!!! Well result until we found the place… Neil looked like he hadn’t slept in a while, to be honest he looked grimy. Most of the customers propping up the bar looked like they had been there a while. Neil’s t-shirt was ripped, displaying the small tattoo on his chest. His hair was wild. We knew we were in the right place.

We ordered our drinks, which Neil promptly forgot. We tried again.. Neil frowned, Helen & I’s espresso martini request had not gone down well. We watched with amusement as Neil grappled with the espresso machine, ran upstairs for milk, twice. Finally he got to the all-important shaking phase. But what was this, he held a slightly manky tea towel over the top of the shaker. Where was the top of his shaker?? Well he explained, he used to run the bar with his girlfriend, when she left him she took the top of both of his cocktail shakers. That was last year, he hadn’t got around to replacing them. Helen and I look at each other – hopefully the vodka would kill any germs?? Finally some 20mins later Neil does what I can only describe as half moonwalk / half Elvis move over to us with our drinks. He puts the slightly soap-suddy martinis in front of us and gives a cheeky wink. The four other people in the bar start trying to order drinks, some resorting to pouring their own as they wait for Neil to find some glasses. ‘Hey Neil, where are the boys drinks??’ Helen shouts across. ‘Oh, I thought you only wanted drinks..’ . ‘No Neil, we asked for the drinks together’.. ‘Well I wouldn’t have done the dance if I had of known you hadn’t finished ordering…?’ WTF.

As soon as Neil heard it was Mike’s birthday he said he was going to make him a very special birthday cocktail. All of a sudden he was transformed into a slightly grubby Tom Cruise, grabbing bottles off the shelves, shaking the topless cocktail shaker with all his might. Slightly scared, Mike tried it, it was very nice. Fortunately it didn’t taste too strong and Mike’s fears of a dirty pint were unfounded, or was it..

Turns out Neil and his mate had slept in the bar the night before.. He certainly smelt that way. We were served some ‘lovely’ warm wine in beer glasses for the rest of the night. We couldn’t put him through the cocktail making again. Time to move on for dinner me thinks…

We were recommended a lovely restaurant very close by. We had a hankering for paella. Literally as soon as we set foot outside the bar, the air hit Mike, OMG that cocktails must have been stronger that we thought, he was hammered, slurring and grinning – but still looking cute.

We had a fab meal, courtesy of Beej & Hel’s (THANK YOU) and a lovely end to the few days we had with them.

Monday 29th September – Mallorca to Menorca (Cala Blanca)

Distance 38nm

The Granthams were picked up at 7am to go back to the airport. We had a big day ahead, sailing from Mallorca to Menorca. After a last minute provisions run, we set sail for Menorca.

We motored most of the way and I let Mike go off for a nap as the cocktail had given him an ickle hangover. It was an uneventful sail, but as Menorca came into view the wind picked up and we got the sails going for the rest of the way. Right away we could see Menorca was a lot more low lying than Ibiza or Mallorca. The wind blowing as forecast, so as we are coming into land we have to change our destination to a tiny horseshoe bay, the sun is starting to set and we start to feel the pressure of getting the anchor down asap. A very rolly time getting the sail down. Luckily the bay works out OK, not too rolly, but it’s a tight fit for Disco Volante and rocks on both sides to we have to get the anchor down just right and make sure we have plenty of swinging room as we know how much she likes to sail around an anchor! Luckily it works out and after a quick dinner we both hit the sack.

Tuesday 30th September – Cala Blanca to Cala Teulera

Distance 33nm

We haven’t got time to stop for long in Menorca as we are due to meet Anna & Tom on the 3rd October and we needed to allow for delays due to bad weather. So we are having plenty of 30-40 mile sails to keep us on track. Mike had picked an anchorage for today and I wasn’t really paying attention, so it was a lovely surprise to find the sheltered spot he had chosen for our last night in the Balearics. We squeezed down a narrow channel, into a mini estuary, which was like a mill pond. The perfect place to spend the night before our big crossing to Sardinia. It was such a tranquil place, we spotted people fishing on the banks, a father teaching his dinky son how to fish, lots of bird life. Another anchorage we will be back to! (Check out the photos)

So its bye bye Balearics and hello Italy - Sardinia to be exact. Where we met up with Anna, Tom, Phil, Emily & Gwyn. Won’t be long I hope for the next instalment, although we do have rather a lot of sightseeing to do as we are currently just about to arrive in Palermo, Sicily.

More soon

Love Sarah & Mike xx

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