Another weather window said go now, so we went the 240 miles or so in one big hop. It was a very easy journey, nice winds behind us, we sailed most of the way. 4 on board to share the watches so sleep was good. We had a lot of dolphins on the last day and saw another sunfish. The wildlife highlight, however, was of a most grisly nature. I was fitting the windvane steering blade, which involves kneeling at the back with arm deep in water and threading the blade back up it's shaft, then securing with a bolt, all with water rushing by.. it's really quite fun. So I notices an eel like tail brushing my arm back and forth but ignored it till the job was done. Manu was determined we should catch the tail's owner, so I pushed the landing net under the stern and brought out this lamprey. A nasty piece of work. They make their living by latching onto fish, grinding through the skin with those toothy things in it's mouth, then sucking out the juices. You would think other fish would bite them in half to rid the sea of such a scourge, but…. Lamprey produce copious slime when irritated, and not just any old slime. Then they tie themselves in a knot, pull through and leave a big glob of gill clogging slime to kill the fish. So only birds and mammals can eat the lamprey. Apparently they only attack humans when starving!
I'm sorry your honour, but I was feeling a bit peckish.
Not sure how many more photos of rugged coast this blog can stand….. but that's what we see out here! Captain is looking pretty rugged too these days. Cooking standard is lower without the family, just a piece of Sardinian dry bread and a lump of Menorcan Coinga cheese.
Captain might be brave when it came to jelly fish, but it was Andy who went up the mast to investigate the faulty wind indicator. He found two wires and rubbed them together and now it works again! Thanks Andy.
Boat is full tonight, as Manu and Nadia have hitched a ride.
So we had some nice days at Mallorca, moved to Las Illetas for a couple of nights and bused into Palma for some shopping. The big low gave in and we sailed (and I mean sailed, not motored) overnight to Espalmador where we anchored for a little sleep, then sailed another night to Cartagena on the mainland of Spain. Great sailing, first night was only gentle breeze but we went on a flat sea at 4 or 5 kn all night, very easy. Next one we did 6 to 7kn all night and half a day on a mostly calm sea, and the last few hours had a gently breeze AND a current behind us to help into Cartagena. My highlight was seeing a sunfish, swam right next to the boat! Sorry, no photo, you just had to be here!
Andy and I have made it to Mallorca, Porto Colon. About 60 hours, a truly horrid crossing, 25kn behind us with 3m seas for the first day and a half, no moon, so a rather tough start for Andy! Then no wind and 3m swells which gradually died away so when we arrived it was nice and calm.
We are sitting here in the centre of a huge low, often there is a nice circle of sun on our harbour, but all around are huge clouds and lightning flashes every night. A bit of swell is starting to work it's way in and the harbourmaster wants us all to leave before the next big wind so he doesn't have to pick up the broken boats. Daryl, our neighbour on 'No Rehearsal', a rather comfortable and flash catamaran, says harbourmaster just wants to drive us into the marina and we should all stay put. It's nice to have a range of opinions! This is the apparently rare Audouins Gull, he seems quite relaxed about it, perhaps the rarity is exaggerated?
Anne and Sabine hopped on a plane to Germany to visit the big Sabine and Andy arrived the evening before to take over. A weather window was calling yet again and this was a long leg, so with no chance for Andy to get his sea legs we set out!
This is Andy pretending to wash up so Anne won't worry about the boat's hygiene.
This bird stayed with us for a night and a day, hopping all over the boat and us, picking up bits of food and paint. Philip… what kind of sparrow is this?
UPDATE Philip says it's a SongLark....
And here is the tattered genoa, still moving us as we arrive at our port.
We made it to Sardinia, Villasimius, 4 days and nights from Reggio
It's very beautiful where we are, granite bolders, salt pans with flamingos. Anne is looking very happy to see land, partly because we haven't told her that the gale warning had just been updated to cover our area…. but we made it to sheltered waters before the wind, so she can keep smiling.
Spent two nights in the marina cleaning up and recovering, then moved just outside for a wonderful evening. Lauro, Francesco, Francesco, Roberto, Josephe and Fabrizio (hope we got the names right!) invited us over to their boat for spaghetti. They all work at a big petrochemical plant and were just out on the yacht for a weekend. Entertained us in magnificent style, wonderful simple food, great cheese and sausage, excellent home made wine, the best melon we've ever tasted and a heavenly drink, Myrto, made with some fruit and leaves of a bush from the forest. Best of all was their cheerful camaraderie. We will always remember Sardinia as a wonderful place now!
Finally got away and motored to Vulcano, where we had the first jellyfish block of the water intake. Who was the brave one who dived in to clear it away?? Motored again day and night to Ustica. We called in there at 4am to fill up with diesel, a very crowded little harbour, had to move twice. Would have loved to stay there but the weather window beckoned (and it was not easy to berth) so we moved on.
Sabine thinks we are a bad family, as instead of a nice freezer pack for bruises, we have a nice frozen tuna pack...