Spain and our Scariest moment yet

3rd Octsober 2015 At 10:30am we crossed a narrow bar into Port D’Aro, this decision was made in very rough seas as Stormvogel had a continual bilge alarm going that they could not access, so it was decided to take shelter in the marina in Port D’Aro.

The charts said the entrance was dangerous in SE to NE winds, the wind we had was coming from the South, but as we got closer to the marina entrance the wind dropped, the waves, however, did not! A coast guard vessel passed close beside us but he carried on past the entrance. (Wish we would have too!)

We checked it out, it was a very narrow entrance, with natural rock on the Port side, and the manmade rock wall on the starboard side, and there were certainly waves rolling in but they weren’t breaking and the decision was made to enter the bar. We got about half way in when a large wave picked up our stern and pushed us toward the rocks on the starboard side. Robbie was driving from the fly bridge, and I was sitting in the pilothouse chair. I yelled out “robbieeeeeeeeeeeee” and he yelled back “yeah I know”. I could have touched the rocks, but thankfully Robbie got control and was able to make the 90 degree turn to Port to enter the marina.

The problem with Southern Star is that she is a heavy slow boat and in conditions like that we would have been better staying out in the ocean. We were both very shaken and very relieved that we made it through without any incident. We both agreed we will never do that again.

4 octsober departed Port D’Aro at 9:30am for Barcelona (after first walking to the entrance of the Port to check it out and make sure it was safe!) We arrived after the uneventful passage, into Port Forvm at 5:30pm, where we were welcomed at the entrance with about 50 remote control sailing yachts, which were racing. We were assisted to a berth and then taken by duck to the marina office to pay. 32 euro per night including power and water. Not too bad.

5 Octsober Robbie walked into town and got a new sim card for the internet. This is the first priority in a new country, to get our communications for phone and internet. Luckily the marina is very close to a big shopping centre. It is also surrounded by buildings and structures that we presume would have been built for the 1992 Olympics. Heidi and Jo went shopping and got our hair cut. There was an excellent supermarket in the shopping centre the only hassle is carrying it back to the boat!

 6 Octsober Heidi and I had a girls day while the boys did boat jobs. We went into the centre of Barcelona exploring on the tram, subway and by bus. We saw the Sagrada Familia Basiilica, one of Barcelona’s tourist highlights. We had a wander around and had a nice lunch and then headed back.

7 Octsober on the parts hunt we hired a car and with Heidi (Peter had to stay on Stormvogel waiting for an electrician to repair their heater) drove to Tarragaona, where we visited numerous boy shops selling tools, O rings, gaskets and a huge German hardware shop that makes Bunnings look like a corner store, called Baus Haus.

After a wrong turn driving and walking for half an hour the wrong direction, we finally found the Tarragona Aquaduct, a very old stone multi-arch bridge constructed across the valley, hundreds of years ago. It was built for water and sewer and is very picturesque.

8 Octsober Robbie is on the aluminium hunt for some bar to attach our storm windows with. We didn’t have much joy with that but we went and had lunch with Colin from Albatross another Nordhavn 47. He was in a marina only 20 miles South of us. It was cool seeing another boat like ours – same same but different! It’s a really lovely boat with gorgeous black granite kitchen benches and real terracotta tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. Very nice! Plus, they have Tilly – the cutest Lhasa Apro dog. She was so friendly and loved a tickle and scratch, I wanted to take her home with us! Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet Carole she was back in the UK. We eventually got the aluminium sorted but couldn’t collect it until tomorrow.

9 Octsober I was sick all day and spent all day either in bed or on the toilet. Not nice. Robbie had to go and pick up his aluminium and then take the hire car back. Robbie thinks I am trying to poison him as he got sick too but I am not that evil! Not sure what made us sick, it wasn’t the restaurant meal from yesterday as Colin ate the same food as I did so maybe it was my cooking…

10 Octsober We had a real quiet day trying to feel well again. Mostly read all day which is very unusual for us. I am reading the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child on my kindle and Robbie is onto the 3rd book in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Because I am such a fast reader the kindle is great, I can download a book and be reading it in about 1 minute. I have also started the David Baldacci series John Puller, it’s also quite good.

11 OctsoberWe departed on the 150 nautical mile overnight passage from Port Forvm for Mallorca around lunchtime. We timed this so we would arrive in daylight. We had a good weather forecast but someone forgot to tell the weather that and it ended up being quite uncomfortable. The wind and swell were on our nose. We changed course 20 degrees to Port which helped a little. We then ran alongside the West side of the island and around the Northern tip, arriving into La Palma just after 12 midday. We got a berth in La Lonja marina, for gulp, 85 euros per night including power and water. It is a very nice location though and is overlooked by the magnificent Catherdral de Mallorca. Our friends David and Andrea Mackay, from Sydney on their yacht Diomedea were there and it was great to catch up with them again. We last saw them in Greece on Fournoi Island. Unfortunately we won’t see them again as they are wintering Diomedea and returning to Australia to work for a few months. Then they will return and continue sailing next season to England and Ireland.

We broke our Octsober dry spell for this special occasion and had sundowners on Southern Star with Diomedea and Stormvogel.Back on the bandwagon tomorrow though!!

13 Octsober A bit of cleaning and boat jobs and Robbie went to source new hydraulic hoses for the main engine oil lines. One of the hoses had started to bubble. Our Coffee machine has started playing up and only spitting out water in spurts and then stops. Luckily Andrea had mentioned there is a Nespresso boutique in town so we went for a walk and brought a new coffee machine and a stock of pods. We saw some very strange seeds, including Marijuana seeds. We got home and of course tried the new coffee machine and it wouldn’t work properly. Robbie doesn’t RTFM ever, and I did but it didn’t help as it was mainly Spanish and a few pictures. We were too tired to take it back then so left it for tomorrow night.

14 October Peter and Heidi hired a car and invited us to join them for a road trip round Mallorca. It was not a very nice day, drizzling and quite cool but the scenery made up for the weather. We drove inland almost across to the other side of the island to Soller. A very small town with a delightful old tram rambling through the village. We had a walk around and a coffee and croissant before heading over to Valldemossa, this was really nice. Beautiful old buildings, and narrow twisty paved streets. We had lunch here and then drove over to Port Andratx where there is another very large marina. We had a walk around and then drove to find the Lugger dealer in Portals Nous. Unfortunately we found out they had closed down so that was a shame. We headed back to the marina and we made the run to Nespresso with our coffee machine. Of course they guy set it up and it worked perfectly didn’t it!!! The next thing Robbie mentioned was that on our travels that day in Soller they were selling the exact same coffee machine for the same price, but with 50 euros of free coffee pods. Well long story short, but his response was “so sad but too bad!!” They don’t do the same deal and we should shop around before we purchase. Yep, you can’t argue with that!

We raced back to the boat where we were off for dinner with David, Andrea, Peter and Heidi. We went to a very nice restaurant overlooking the marina and again, we broke our Octsober pledge with a bottle of red wine. It was very nice though.

15 Octsober Departed La Lonja Marina at 12 midday, after sadly farewelling David and Andrea, not sure when we will see them next. We only had a 7 nautical mile stint to our anchorage, Portals Vells. A lovely bay with unusual rock formations, and more unusual NUDE bodies lying all over them!! Stormvogel anchored a lot closer in than us, so had prim perving position! It really was very busy with a lot of boats anchored and we stayed out fairly wide. We had a very relaxing afternoon sitting in the sun and reading.

16 October Departed Portals Vells for the 56 nautical mile passage to Ibiza. Fantastic calm conditions for us “Southern Star” weather. Not so good for our sailing buddies “Stormvogel”, only 5 knots of wind. Just after lunch I went down into the galley to make a cup of tea and we had a hitchhiker! A tiny sparrow like bird, he was quite green and pretty was sitting as large as life on our lounge cushion! Poor little thing must have needed a rest very badly. He was a long way from land. It amazes me how strong these birds’ wings must be, they fly hundreds of miles between land, and I think it’s incredible really. Anyway we didn’t shoo him out and eventually he flew out again.


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