30 July to 1 August Pollensa
On reaching Pollensa, our first stop in Majorca, we encountered the overcrowding issue that we had been warned about which causes problems for yachties around the Balearics in July and August. The Islands are expensive at any time of the year, but in high summer most of the privately-owned marinas would be charging around 100 Euros per night for our 11.6 metre yacht. Consequently a month of marina dwelling would cost around 3000 Euros: fine if one has very deep pockets, but for the average yachtsman it is prohibitively expensive. However, there are alternatives. Ports IB, the Iberian Ports Authority has berths for approximately half the private marina rates. These berths have to be booked online and getting registered is difficult. We did everything that we thought we had to on the computer, but it still took a couple of phone calls before we were able to get the system working properly. Another alternative is the fixed mooring buoys which are laid by Baleares Life Posidonia, an organisation dedicated to protecting the extensive sea grass beds which help to keep the water clean. The mooring buoy that we had used at Fornells was laid by that organisation. Again these bookings usually have to be made online but the cost is less that a quarter of the private marinas. Anchoring of course is free, but we found on some occasions that our planned for spot was so full of boats that there was not enough space to anchor safely. We even heard stories of people anchoring with all their fenders down in case they touched in the night.
It was with some relief therefore that we found our first night in Majorca, if not snuggled up in a marina, at least in a sound anchorage with room to swing.
30 July 2016
The following day we took Tommy across to the town to dump our rubbish and buy some provisions. The town proved to be more populated by German and English tourists and expats than Spanish people, but it served our needs. This was the first time that we had left the boat unattended while at anchor and we became a little apprehensive when the wind and chop in the bay started to pick up. We quickly jumped back into Tommy and motored the half mile or so back to Synergy to find her all safe and sound still with the anchor not having dragged an inch. So far so good and we were starting to develop some faith in the effectiveness of our ground tackle.
31 July 16
The morning’s entertainment was provided by water bombers. On the shore at the western end of the “Night Manager” peninsula stands a water bomber station. Because of the prevalence of forest fires in Spain during the summer months these aircraft are based in many sites and airfields. We had encountered these big yellow aircraft when they were fighting a large fire near A Coruña. The water bomber base must have been changing aircraft because one came in and landed and, as amphibians can do, taxied over to the shore and up the ramp to park outside the hangar. Later another aircraft taxied into the water and took off across the bay. Neither aircraft was far from us and it is a mystery to me how they avoid collisions between the water bombers and the pleasure boats. They must have some close calls.
In the afternoon we talked to one of our neighbours who was also an expat Briton. He recounted a nasty incident from the previous evening when he and his family had been coming back to their boat in their tender in the dark. A motor boat with no lights, being driven by a couple of young English lads had run them down in the dark. The lads hadn’t seen them and stopped to help. Miraculously no one was hurt and no damage done.
Later in the evening of 31 July the wind and swell really picked up and, even tucked behind the peninsular, we were having a rough time of it. We had laid 5 times the depth of water in chain, which had worked to date, but we were not sure that these conditions were going to cause our anchor to drag. We decided to mount an anchor watch so Jac and I did 4 hour shifts keeping a constant check that the boat was not moving. Day dawned with both of us quite tired but again, we hadn’t moved an inch despite the boat having swung right round through 360 degrees.
By now we hadn’t been near a marina for nearly a week and our water in the tanks had come to an end. We had drinking water but nothing with which to wash and we were worried that other boats might avoid sailing downwind of us. We called Pollensa Marina to see if we could refill our tanks, but they couldn’t even give us access to a hose pipe for half an hour. We had not been able to access the online booking system, but we called Alcudia Marina on the phone and they said if we arrived around 1200 then they might find us a berth. At least they had water on their refueling pontoon so we should start to smell a bit better.