Finally … we managed to sail the boat!

•Monday, 4 October 2021 • 2 Comments

After a month or so in the marina, we were finally able to get away in the boat for the weekend – ahead of a week when we are pulling it out of the water for work on and around the hull. We left in the pouring rain – the only boat to venture out at 4 o’clock on a wet and windy Friday afternoon. We motored to Portal Vells – a gorgeous little bay we haven’t been able to get into so far this season as it is always crazy busy. Of course, not so, in the wind and rain! Saturday saw the sun shine again so we stayed for the day, swam, read, swam again – a lovely day at sea. We sailed around the Palma Bay on Sunday – faith restored in our beautiful boat!

Portal Vells – busy on Saturday!

Monday morning and the rain came again but we were up bright and early to get the boat to Cala Nova where it was being hauled out. Successfully on hard standing, we checked into the Joan Micro Hotel just up the road – fab swimming pool and best of all – a bath!

A week in port …

•Sunday, 26 September 2021 • 1 Comment

We have been in the marina for a week whilst a variety of workmen come and go. Slowly the jobs are being ticked off the list and we do feel as though we are in the hands of experts. We continue to learn a lot about the boat and how to look after it – I have been re-varnishing port lights (the small hatches around the side of the boat) as well as cleaning holding tanks and waterproofing the Bimini. Chris continues to splice and dice – making soft shackles to replace many of the metal ones on the boat. One of the riggers has offered Chris a job as a splicer! We are becoming real boat people. Cleaning duties continue as a southerly wind brings red sand and dumps it all over all the boats … and we’ve had a bit of rain this week too.

Sunset from our berth in Port de Mallorca

I’m making myself at home here – I have signed up for Pilates classes at a fabulous studio about a mile away from the marina. Have also found a hair dresser and beautician – body maintenance still a priority I’m pleased to say! We have a regular bar where we now know the owner and continue to discover restaurants. Making the most of life in port!

Soft shackles

A lovely week with Jane & Janice

•Sunday, 19 September 2021 • Leave a Comment

Jane & Janice arrived to have a one night cross-over with Shirley – lots of chat! Fond farewells to Shirls on Saturday morning and we set off for Sa Rapita on the east end of the Palma bay. In spite of Jane’s worst fears of sea sickness, all was well! A relaxing couple of days in the bay before heading back to Palma for a couple more days of maintenance.

The boom is separated from the mast whilst the furling mechanism is at the workshop so we can only motor very gently in flat seas until mast and boom are reconnected. The boom is held up, down and at the sides by tight lines but the thought of it falling in some way has me with butterflies in my stomach each time we are out at sea.

Feels a bit precarious!

A fab couple of days in Palma – shopping, eating, drinking, biking and exploring. Palma is delightful … could definitely live here for a while … exploring real estate options as long term option?

Glad to say that we managed another couple of days at sea – off to Port Andraxt for the night. As ever, beautiful sunsets, great gin and super paella. More lovely memories.

Major maintenance!

•Tuesday, 14 September 2021 • 1 Comment

Nobody told me that I had to find joy in maintenance, cleaning and repairing a boat as well as sailing it! Good grief … the work goes on forever. Scarily (and sadly?) I am getting into some sort of routine with all the cleaning – very focussed on getting the right product and spend an increasing proportion of my time in the chandlery cleaning section. I have also seen sense and paid lovely day crew to come on board for a couple of days and polish the chrome! Love welcoming all the various specialists onto the boat – boat riggers to sort the furling mechanism out, electricians to sort electronics, sail makers to service the sails. Another week of learning!

Fortunately, first mate to the first mate, Shirley, was still on board last week so we managed some shopping, biking, lunches out and an afternoon zipping around the bay in the tender … Shirls officially checked out now!

And last news to report but definitely not least, we had a lovely day celebrating Shirl’s birthday … another big number but who’s counting!?

Birthday girl!

The second half of the island – to Port Pollensa, Portopetro & back to Palma

•Thursday, 9 September 2021 • Leave a Comment

Not too much sailing round the rest of the island as the breeze was light and often directly behind us. Still, the scenery was glorious and we found a safe spot to anchor in La Pollensa after we had rounded the most northerly point of the island. The wind blew up a bit just as we were set to take the tender into town (of course it did!) so a wet few minutes before shopping and cocktails! Setting off from La Pollensa, we made our way south – hoping to stop in one of the many beautiful bays half way down the east coast. First stop saw an altercation with an eco warrior over our anchoring inadvertently over sea grass. Hard to avoid in these waters but we will definitely try to do better in future. However, we felt very unwelcome and moved further south to find a beautiful little bay where we picked up a mooring buoy for the night. Swimming and paddle boarding ahead of moving the following day to a really stunning swimming spot as we round the coast one more time, heading toward Palma. Dolphins en route – first time this trip so quite a treat.

Of course, no blog post of mine would be complete without some drama. Sure enough, as we headed for home, the furling line that takes in the main sail failed. Shirley was allocated helm whilst Chris and I struggled to manually drop the main sail. Thank goodness it was fairly light winds and quite protected water … trying to do the same things in heavy winds would have been really tough. So … yet another job to add to our ever growing list of things that are broken!

Soller

•Friday, 3 September 2021 • 3 Comments

We spent 2 nights in Soller – having needed an extra night because of our anchoring adventure. A beautiful bay but super busy – one of the few well protected harbours on the west coast. We arrived at the start of a thunderstorm – pouring rain and hard to find a spot where we were safe from other boats. Captain P had words with a french catamaran captain who abandoned his boat far too close to us but we were set on night 1. Night 2 was a different story – a gusty storm and all the boats swing in different directions at different rates. 4am saw Chris on deck with engines running just in case any of the boats around us came too close. Some near misses!

Also some exciting developments! We had some sunshine and calm seas too … so much so that I launched my new paddle board for an inaugural paddle! All a bit wobbly but I will improve with practice – brought back great memories of times with friends Mandy & Simon!

Another Parker adventure

•Thursday, 2 September 2021 • 2 Comments

It had to happen. Shirley arrived Saturday night – so lovely to see her. After a leisurely breakfast, we set sail (so to speak … no wind so we were on the engine) to circumnavigate the island of Mallorca. First evening in Port Andraxt (south east if the island) – glorious. We’re starting to know the bars and restaurants there – is this a good or bad thing??

Monday we actually set sail for Soller on the west of the island doing a recce of Deia and Sa Foradada Bay en route – the location of a fab restaurant above the beach only accessible by sea. A really lovely sail but in gusty conditions so we steamed along at 8 knots on the Genoa sail alone.

Tuesday we met up with lovely friend Amanda and her mum Valerie … destination Sa Foradada. All went well until we dropped anchor in a beautiful little bay just below the restaurant … our anchor caught between 2 rocks and would not budge. An hour of pulling, diving, directing, swimming and we couldn’t move it. Captain Chris was a true gentleman – sent us all off for the most fabulous lunch whilst he stayed with the boat trying to get divers out to help.

Lunch was an experience to remember – stunning location and best paella ever! Meanwhile back at the boat … no divers. Later that evening (after a swim and G&T) Shirley and I dropped Amanda and Valerie off at a little beach under cover of darkness – felt like we were dropping smugglers off in the night. We then faced a night of rock & roll as the winds rose and the boat rocked in waves slapping at the nearby rock face. Divers arrived the next morning and by 11am we were free … what a lunch – another Parker adventure!

Jobs, jobs and more jobs …

•Saturday, 28 August 2021 • 4 Comments

For those of you who have followed my blog over time, you may well have been surprised that there has been no mention yet of work required on the boat. Fear not … there is plenty of it going on! In between social, we are cracking on – so much that we are learning every day! We have been lucky enough to find Mike – super knowledgeable and experienced project manager who is helping us to get the boat ready for our round the world travels. Sails are being serviced, tender repaired (new engine needed after our debacle last year when the tender got dropped into the water), bilges cleaned, vang repaired, servicing of the water maker (I took the precaution of taking a video of the engineer demonstrating how to use it properly!). My head has been in the bilges more often than I’d like … I keep reminding myself I am living the dream! Also of course … the cleaning goes on and on … discovering new products every day and sadly, getting excited about them. I spent 50 euros yesterday on 2 super cleaning cloths – Mistral will be immaculate but my OCD symptoms are getting steadily stronger. Happy days …

Sailing with the Nicol family … an adventure

•Thursday, 26 August 2021 • Leave a Comment

What a great week we have had – lots of fun with 3 gorgeous girls and their ever patient Mum & Dad – Ceri & Calum! Lots of snorkelling, swimming and exploring. We’ve been west and east of Palma. Last night madness in Port Andraxt – a very charming little fishing town with bars that make totally fabulous G&T’s!

Based in Palma!

•Tuesday, 17 August 2021 • 3 Comments

I have neglected my blog … too busy sailing and having fun! We took 5 days to get to Palma with our lovely friends to help – Bill, Sheila, Laura & Rory. Our sail from Barcelona across to Soller (on the north coast of Mallorca) was due to take 14 hours but with force 6 winds, gusting up to force 7, we stormed across in 12 hours. What a day’s sailing … 3 – 5 m waves (seemed v big) and a good old soaking every now and again … can’t help but feel this trip might have been some preparation for our Atlantic crossing next year?

We’ve now been in Mallorca for a week. Our base is Palma where we have a berth for 3 months. We’ve been joined by my lovely friend Laura (H) for a few days and managed a day with Tom & Ash who are in Mallorca on holiday. Oh so lovely! We have plenty of guests coming to see us and hoping to meet other friends who are holidaying here for day sailing, cocktails and dinner. Palma is charming – what a lovely place to be. We’ve scooted around the city and already discovered new bays for sailing and swimming. We will venture further around the coast as the summer continues. Truly living the dream!!