Saturday 27 October 2012

Calpe and Altea - Sailing the Costa del Blanco of Spain

October 1-2,   2012

If you want to get a bird’s eye view of Calpe, its white beaches that give this coast its name, and the surrounding countryside, then the way to do it is to climb the famous Penon D'Ifach, the huge rock headland dominating the landscape. It was high on Rob’s agenda on this stop as he didn’t get a chance to do it when we were here earlier in the year on Moksha.

Marc decided a gentle walking exploration of the town was more in order while Karen wisely decided the climb may not be advisable given the track to the top is described in Lonely Planet as very physical with the warning that you ‘take your life in your own hands.’
Morning coffee looking out at our boat still has us pinching ourselves to check it's real

After a coffee stop at a beach front café we all headed off on our separate adventures with the plan to meet for lunch two hours later.  

The going up the rock proved to be quite varied and ranged from easy paths lower down until a rough, unlit tunnel through to the seaward side is reached. There’s a sign in multiple languages at the entrance with the English text simply stating that ‘It is dangerous to go beyond this point’. Very reassuring. It’s very steep and the limestone has been polished to a slippery sheen by all the feet that have passed through over the years. The ropes strung on each side are needed to pull yourself up and onwards in a number of places.
Beyond this point things get very interesting
Tthe famous Penon D'Ifach rock at Calpe is not the place to slip off the trail
This is the widest and safest part of the track up Penon D'Ifach rock at Calpe.

Emerging into the light you’re greeted with a very narrow path of equally treacherous polished rock and need to hug the cliff face as you make your way across to where the trail becomes a little less frightening for a short while. The climb continues to be quite steep as you progress upwards and the path splits into various trails different people have blazed. It becomes necessary to stop and take a good look at what goes where before choosing a route. It’s all quite steep and by the time you eventually approach the top some rugged bolder hopping is required.  Grab ropes are very few and far between. Australian health and safety officers no doubt would have a nightmares if they ever saw this place.
WOW FACTOR PLUS. The white speck nearest the breakwater is Alcheringa.
However, if you survive to crest the top, WOW! If you aren’t already gasping for air from the climb the 360 degree views will definitely take your breath away. Sea views to the south, the Spanish coast stretching both east and west plus dramatic mountain ranges to the north. A definite, Oh my God moment. Rob found it easy to excuse the 20 minutes or so spent at the summit as required to take it all in but the reality is every minute of recovery time was needed before facing the equally challenging decent. Maybe a pair of sneakers that didn’t have totally worn out soles may have helped limit the amount of slip sliding away on the downward trek.

Every minute of the twenty minutes at the top was needed for re-oxygenation.
OK - Time to go down, down, down.
Meanwhile Karen and Marc were sipping drinks waiting for lunch on the beachfront
 The up had taken 90 minutes. Add 20 minutes sucking in big breathes and he had all of ten minutes to make his luncheon appointment with Karen and Marc. Mmmm! That wasn’t going to happen. A quick ‘I’m going to be late’ text message had that covered. An hour later he emerged from the tunnel with another couple of kilometres to go but had a very good view of Alcheringa anchored out in the bay dancing very energetically up and down on her anchor chain as the wind was now blowing at 15+ knots straight in to the beach. Another text suggested to Marc and Karen that maybe it was time to meet back at the dingy and get out of dodge or face a very uncomfortable night bouncing around again. Having sat in the restaurant for an hour reading the menu while waiting for Rob to descend from the heavens this was not a proclamation that was all that well received but a quick look at the building swells hitting the beach soon had them on the move back to the dingy.

Karen in control as we say goodbye Calpe
So half an hour later we were again upping anchor but this time it was just for a short, mid-afternoon move 8 miles across bay to Altea in the protection of the big cape Punta del Albir. Comfortably in time for sundowners, we were re-anchored just off the beach where it was both very beautiful and very calm.

Cruising past the church on the hill at Altea peaked our interest to have a look
So calm, so peaceful, so nice.
Alcheringa with Calpe in the background
Next morning we took the dingy in to the beach and set off on a long walk along the sea front to the old town. This part of the coast provides a pleasant contrast to high-rises and over development that has marred much of the Spanish Mediterranean Coasts and we quite enjoyed our brisk stroll.  

Up, up and up some more at Altea

We then climbed up through the steep lanes and narrow streets to reach the big church on the hill that dominates all views of the bay. The church is fronted by a delightful square lined with cafes that we soon discovered were all priced for the Northern European tourist market. As usual, we were required to drop the obligatory gold coin in the box at the door to enter the church. Rob still struggles with that concept. After all, the churches of the world aren’t exactly doing great business these days and charging at the door is unlikely to encourage new clients.

Time for a breather halfway to the top

After viewing more beautifully decorated altars, idols and some magnificent art we wound our way down through more delightful cobblestone streets devoid of motor vehicles and discovered the Cellar Bar. It was hot. We’d walked a long way and we needed some rehydration plus it offered free WIFI and Rob had been lugging his lap top around all day waiting to upload the latest chapter of our travels. The appropriate blog sacrifice was soon offered up to the gods of the cyberworld  while we consumed 2 beers, 2 wines and 4 tapas all for a grand total of 5.50 Euro ($6.85). We had a hard time keeping a straight face as we paid the bill. How can anyone be making money at that?
All roads lead to the Celler Bar - well eventually they do.

Our next task was choosing one of the many beach front café/restaurants to have lunch at. In the end we settled on a huge bowl of steamed mussels each accompanied by lashings of fresh crispy bread all washed down with the obligatory bottle of vino tinto (red wine) for the price of a Big Mac Meal at home in Australia.  This was developing into a very good day.
It was a long way back to Alcheringa anchored up in the lee of the point

We then embarked on our ‘great march’ mark two to return the five kilometres back to the beach  where Alcheringa was bobbing gently in thankfully still very calm seas just a hundred metres from the sand.

Some people have asked how we get any exercise cooped up on a 13.2 metre long yacht. Well apart from cranking winches, pulling on lines and constantly working muscles to balance ourselves to the constant movement of the boat when underway, if you think back on our activities in this chapter of the blog you’ll get an insight into our fitness regime. Other than the very, very occasional taxi ride, we walk everywhere.  We haven’t actually driven a car since being in the UK in early June. Hopefully this will keep us fit enough to sail the globe for many years to come.

For more about our travels check out and 'like' our Dreamtimesail facebook page at
Altea turned on an awesome sunset to cap off a fantastic day

Friday 26 October 2012

Sailing Mallorca to the Spanish Coast

September 27 – 30,   2012

Although the head winds of the previous couple of days had eased and swung a little more to the south, the weather wasn’t really doing us that many favours as we began our 480 nautical mile trip from Mallorca to Gibraltar. The wind direction saw us motor sailing with just the mainsail up providing us a little bit of lift to boost our progress towards Ibiza. The sky was leaden with dark clouds and we were surrounded by showers. The sea state had not yet settled after the recent winds so we were having a bit of a bumpy ride punching into it more than we’d like to. However the forecast for the next few days was far worse so it was a case of go now or wait, wait, wait.
Grey skies and drizzle for much of our trip to Ibiza

There was 25 to 30 knot wind and storms predicted for the following day so our plan was to get across to Cala Portinatx on Ibiza and hide in there. Our previous months travels around Ibiza were invaluable as we now had experienced many of the anchorages and could make informed choices as to where would be safest in what conditions. If not comfortable it was at least an uneventful 51.7NM trip which saw us arrive on Ibiza with plenty of good daylight up our sleeve. We managed to get anchored in nice and secure and well prepared for the winds to come. With just a few boats in the bay, grey skies and almost empty beaches, it was a very different place to when we visited just a few weeks ago. The seasons were definitely changing.
This storm missed us in Cala Portinatx but later turned on a big lightening show out to sea.

A big storm passed us by that evening and we were treated to a spectacular lightning show out to sea which seemed to go on forever. The wind was obviously building the sea state as a reasonable swell start to roll around the point and reach right into the bay making all the boats roll a bit through the night. We were still very pleased that we were merely mildly uncomfortable at anchor rather than getting bashed out there at sea. We sat things out onboard as the predicted winds blew right through the Friday before easing overnight.
Leaving Cala Portinatx on Ibiza
For us it was now a case of keeping on top of the ever changing weather as we upped anchor in the morning and motored west along the coast towards Cala Basa. Through Saturday morning the wind returned 180 degrees different  from Friday’s strong south easterly, this time with 18 to 20 knots of north westerly. It was another bumpy ride under broken overcast skies until we entered into the protection of the rocky headlands at Cala Basa.
Karen watching the big swells splash up on the rocks of Ibiza's north coast
Almost immediately the sea was flat and the sun broke through in a brilliant blaze of light. The DJ’s music from the Cala Basa Beach Club greeted us as we anchored and all the clouds rolled away. No wonder we love this place. It even turned on a great sunset for us later. We had a great week here on our last visit. You can catch up with the story at
Beautiful Cala Basa turned it on for us again
Another great Cala Basa Ibiza sunset

Unfortunately this stop was going to be far more fleeting. The ever changing wind was due to swing to the north east at 18 knots next morning providing us with great conditions for a reach across the 65 nautical miles to Calpe on the Spanish coast. If the forecast held true we would be able to sail a fast and direct course all the way from anchorage to anchorage, something that had been very rare on our travels in the Med so far.

Enter Murphy and his law again. The change came early as instead of next morning the wind swung about midnight and started to blow straight into the bay. Being a light sleeper, Rob woke at the change in behaviour of the boat and sat up on deck to keep an eye on things. The wind strength kept building and was soon gusting over twenty knots as he watched a motor boat and charter yacht begin to drag anchor further out in the bay. Both attempted re-anchoring before giving up and heading off in the direction of San Antonio harbour about six miles away.  Our yacht and a small ketch were the only boats now left in the bay. We were anchored side by side close into shore and were now hanging stern towards the beach. The ketch appeared to be edging closer to the ropes of the swim line buoys and eventually decided not to risk fouling their propeller in them so joined the exodus to San Antonio.  

A little after 2.30am it appeared our anchor may have also been in danger of dragging and as the beach loomed near we’d have very little wriggle room. Seeing that running aground is a sure fire way to spoil your day we decided we’d better do something about it. There really was no option to re-anchor here as you need to see sand patches amongst the thick kelp or you’re simply dropping and hoping which is not a particularly good strategy in 20+ knots.

Our options were to follow the rest and head five miles away to San Antonio making our trip next day that much longer or head straight for Calpe now instead of waiting for daylight. If we went to San Antonio we’d only be there a couple of hours before turning around and getting going anyway so we elected to head for the coast. We got the anchor up and motored away from the shore but stayed in the bay so we could get everything set before heading outside into even rougher water. With the wind now constantly in the 22-25 knot range and appearing to be building further we decided to go with a two reefs in the mainsail to be on the safe side.  

Getting the mainsail up in lumpy seas and 20+ knots of wind is a task at the best of times but in the dark it’s even a little more challenging. With Marc forward at the base of the mast and Karen on the winch, our first two attempts saw the mainsail batons get caught in the lazy jacks so we had to drop it all, circle around into the wind and try again. On the third attempt we successfully avoided this problem but a reefing line became hopelessly jammed in a block (pulley) preventing us from getting the sail to correct tension so down it came again. A quick inspection of the jam while hanging at the mast on the wildly bucking deck made it clear that it wouldn’t be an easy fix in the dark. It would be much safer and simpler in the daylight so we secured the mainsail to the boom and away we went, motoring until sunup.

Now when you have a strong wind and waves coming from just behind the beam, motoring on a yacht is about the most uncomfortable thing you can possibly do. The weight of the mast becomes a pendulum and the rolling action of the boat is much exaggerated. With sails up the boat heels with the wind and rides the seas but much of the roll is eliminated. Once we were clear of the coast and on course for the mainland Karen and Marc went below to try to get some sleep while Rob took the watch. The easiest way to describe the next four hours is ROUGH AS GUTS.
A most welcome sunrise halfway between Ibiza and the Spanish Coast

Rob was incredibly thankful to see the sky lighten and the sun finally make an appearance through the clouds. With Marc and Karen back on deck both were surprised to admit they had been able to get at least a little broken sleep despite the rodeo rides they experienced in their bunks. Marc's animated descriptions of waking a number of times to find himself weightless in mid air over his bunk as the bow dropped off waves had us in stitches. We could easily envision him wildly waving his arms like a flightless bird before he crashed back to earth. Karen meanwhile had been attacked by all sorts of items that are normally very secure on deep shelves in our cabin but flew loose in the more extreme conditions.

Now the sun was up, Rob went forward and was able to secure himself to the mast with his safety harness and a few minutes work in the light accompanied by only mild cursing had the block unfouled and things back in order. It was such a relief to finally get sailing with the ride settling down considerably. As we closed the Spanish coast we got some protection in the lee of Cabo de la Noa, the clouds disappeared, the wind eased and the sea state calmed right down leaving us with a beautiful run around the huge rock headland that rises vertically out of the water and right into the bay at Calpe early in the afternoon.
Great to be under sail approaching the Spanish coast
Even better to be leaving the crap weather behind

We anchored in the lee of the massive rock, just off the beach in the bay next to the marina, had lunch and opened a bottle of wine in the sunshine. All the previous night’s dramas quickly drifted away. Life is still good on Alcheringa.

For more about our travels check out and 'like' our Dreamtimesail facebook page at

At anchor under the rock at Calpe - Costas del Sol Spain

Sunday 21 October 2012

At the boat doctors in Palma - Mallorca

September 14 – 26  -  2012

From Cala Portals Alcheringa found her way home to Palma harbour yet again with no trouble at all. By lunchtime she was lifted out of the water and sitting in Audax Boat yard ready to have her repairs done. We were told the job should take eight days and as they didn’t work weekends September was going to be all but run and done before we got her back. Between the delays with the VHF radio and now the collision repairs, our planned schedule for the late summer of cruising Menorca, Corsica, Sardinia and then on to Monastir in Tunisia to bed down for the winter was looking well and truly stuffed. We were going to need to give some serious thought to what we were going to do now.

If you haven't read the story of how Alcheringa suffered her damage click back to the chapter here

You can’t stay on the boat while it’s in the yard so we also had to get some accommodation in Palma. Luckily enough we were be able to get an apartment in the same block we’d stayed in right next to the Cathedral back in June. It was in a great location, extremely well priced with its own kitchen and laundry facilities and had excellent wifi. All of which certainly helped keep costs down.
Karen at the window of our Palma appartment beside the Cathedral

As we started reconsidering our plans for beyond Palma a new factor also came into play. The release via You Tube of an anti-Muslim movie produced by an idiotic extremely bigoted moron in the USA had sparked Islamic protests in many parts of the world including Tunisia. We had loved the country when we were there earlier in the year and at no stage felt threatened by anything worse than our encounter with the rug mafia in Monastir. Catch up with that story at

But now things appeared to be getting a bit dodgy. There had been a couple protestors killed by security forces at a big demonstration in Tunis, the capital, and there were also reports of some extremist attacks on businesses catering for western tourists. As a result we began looking at possible alternative places to spend the winter in case things didn’t settle down in a hurry.

Karen embarked on extensive web research regarding facilities and prices at suitable marinas where we may be able to spend the winter months. One distinctly limiting factor is that as Australians we can only spend a finite amount of time in countries covered by the Schengen visa zone. Karen found a number of very good and cheap marinas on the Spanish coast but while Marc and Alcheringa could stay there for the November to February period, we couldn’t.
Couldn't resist this shot. Poor girl on the wall has had a serious brain explosion

Meanwhile Rob got stuck into a serious blog catch up and was getting a new chapter posted nearly every day. Considering we were approaching three months behind it was probably about time. It wasn’t all work though as Rob made the most of the wifi and caught up with some of the television coverage of Australian Drag Racing that was available to view online. He may have retired from it but  a lifetime addiction is hard to break. We also spent plenty of time on Skype catching up with family and friends back at home.  Of course Karen continued to wade through numerous books on her IPad.
On our self guided audio tour. If we had a cent for every tourist photographed in this
guard box we could retire and go sailing. Oops - too late, already done that.

We also spent a day doing a fantastic, self guided audio walking tour around the oldest parts of the city. We downloaded the app (Mallorca Deluxe V2.0) from the Apple App Store direct to both Karen’s I Pad and Rob’s I Phone for $4.49, plugged in our headsets and were guided from spot to spot complete with very comprehensive historical information and even appropriate music selected for each place we went.  The Royal Palace,  Cathedral and ancient Moorish baths were great highlights but many of the lesser known spots were equally as interesting. We could move at our own pace and stop along the way and were enjoying it so much we felt sorry for the tour groups we passed being herded like mindless sheep from place to place by their guides.
The Cathedral is almost as impressive inside as out.
Another very serious set of doors.
The Moorish Baths and gardens dating back many hundreds of years
were a real highlight of our walk

Discovering parts of the old town we hadn’t previously been, we also found an amazing second hand book store run by a very eccentric old Brit. He had every form of literature imaginable spread over four levels was keen to tell us about much of it. We had over an hour’s entertainment just wandering through the lines and lines of floor to ceiling bookshelves. Karen stocked up on a number of cheap paperbacks but Rob had spied something he thought might be more interesting. Published in 1930, ‘Child of the Deep’, was an autobiographical narrative by a woman, Joan Lowell, who’d been raised from infancy to her late teens by her ship’s captain father in the totally male domain of a four masted, windjammer rigged, schooner engaged in the copra and sandlewood trade between Australia, the islands of the Pacific and the west coast of the USA at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

His interest waned considerably when our strange old host said he wanted 28Euros ($35) for it. When Rob balked at the price he said ‘You know books have a life of their own and become more valuable over the years.’ Rob explained he understood that but wasn’t a collector and simply thought it might be nice to read if he could of bought it for ten Euros or so. This produced a reply of ‘Oh well. You are Australian and seeing you chaps can’t play cricket too well anymore I’ll let you have it for a tenner. I suppose I’ll still have plenty of books left won’t I.’ Done deal.
The old parts of Palma Mallorca are spectacular
Add caption

Rob and Marc visited the boat yard most days to keep an eye on progress which thankfully was proceeding nicely on schedule. The only hiccup was that it would take four weeks to bring in a replacement section of aluminium toe rail from France. Seeing this particular damage was limited to a couple of dents and a long scratch and was in no way structural, we got agreement from the insurance company that it could be done elsewhere over the winter and struck it off the job list.

We’d been ashore a full week by the Friday but were all still finding it strange being off the boat. Discussing what we should do with ourselves we asked Marc what was a normal, pre-sailing days, Friday in London for him. He came back quickly with ‘Friday’s POETS day. (Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday). Let’s have lunch.’

So we did. A very loooong lunch at a quaint little outdoor café we’d come across during our wanderings. It was in a small plaza in front of yet another impressive old stone church but away from the main tourist areas. Lined with trees whose leaves were just starting to change colour and drop in the early autumn, un-intrusive flamenco music filtered through the square from a busking guitarist playing in one of the doorways. Three bottles of very enjoyable local wine disappeared along with a feast from the menu of day as we simply relaxed after our stressful week at work.
A fine way to spend a Friday afternoon

OK. We didn’t work and our week wasn’t stressful but it was definitely a great way to relax on a Friday afternoon. So good in fact that Rob thought maybe we should continue the theme. ‘So Marc, back in London what happens after POETS day lunch? Again he was forthcoming with a short but speedy reply, ‘Wine bar.’

Karen, being the practical one at this point, declared that faded t-shirts, sailing shorts and rubber flip flops probably weren’t appropriate evening wear, even in relaxed Palma.  It was a good call so we trooped back to the apartment to smarten ourselves up before heading out on the town. Karen jumped through the shower first but by the time Rob had followed she was fast asleep in the bedroom having a rejuvenating nanny nap. Very wisely the boys decided to let her have an hour or so to recharge her batteries. The wine bar would still be there and besides, pop!, there was wine in the pantry.

Bottle emptied, Karen woken and now wearing one of the two dresses she has with us with the boys in their best (read only) jeans-trousers and most respectable shirts, we made our way into an area of Palma below the Royal Palace. Narrow cobblestone laneways run between old stone buildings that have been given new life as boutique hotels, restaurants, apartments, clubs and bars. We made a bee line for an establishment we’d noticed previously but not yet explored.

 Wining’ is a wine and tapas bar with a difference. Three walls are covered with a fully computerised wine dispensing system. At the bar we were issued with a ‘Wining’ card and a large wine glass each. We were then able to browse the hundreds of inverted bottles mounted along the walls. If we’d had any Spanish language skills we may have even been able to read each wine’s accompanying description. Once we’d made a selection we simply inserted the card and chose whether we wanted to purchase a quarter, half or full glass of that particular tipple. The price of each was shown on a digital display and whichever was chosen was dispensed into your glass and the charge recorded on your card.
Karen and Marc sampling the good stuff at Wining

How cool. Try a quarter of this, a half of that. That’s nice, give this one a go. We were having fun here. Definitely a grownups’ version of filling your lolly bag at the cinema candy bar. Most of the wines were priced from about two or three Euros a glass but with some ranging up to 40 and 50, if you weren’t careful you could be in for a nasty surprise when you handed over your ‘wining’ card to pay the bill.

We were able to escape without any serious damage done to the back pocket and walked a little way down the lane to a bar that had been recommended to us by Will and Margaret off the boat Atlantia that we’d crewed on from Bali to Malaysia last year. They’d originally bought Atlantia here in Palma a few years ago and when we emailed them to let them know what we were up to Will responded with a few recommendations of things to do while we were here including describing Abaco as ‘one of the best bars in the world.’ Now that’s a big wrap so we thought we’d better take a look.

Located in the centre of the old town, you enter by swinging open a huge wooden door and are instantly transported to a different world. It feels like you have walked into a theatrical Seventeenth Century Mallorca house. The bar is ornately decorated with huge candelabras, sculptures and large overflowing displays of fruit and vegetables in the entrance area. The wait staff flitting around are all dressed in crisp black trousers and starched white shirts separated by bright satin cummerbunds adding to the extremely impressive visual impact as you enter.
Impressive decor - Unimpressive service

We found a table, sat and perused the menu/wine list with prices that produced a rapid decision to have one drink each and get out of the place just so we could say ‘been there, done that.’ We never actually got that far though. After being overlooked, ignored or deliberately avoided by the aforementioned flitting wait staff for almost half an hour we got pissed off enough and simply walked out. (We’ve since read a number of reviews on the tripadvisor website recounting similar experiences regarding the service so obviously impressive looks isn’t everything. Somewhere along the way, one of the world’s best bars forgot about customer service)

Instead of dying of thirst at Abaco we had a few pleasant nightcaps at the far less salubrious but much, much friendlier establishment around the corner, O’Briens Irish Pub.

Funnily enough, after our first and only big blowout in Palma we had a very quiet Saturday lazing around the apartment.
Museum of Contemporary Art is a very succesful fusion of new and old structures

We made the most of our time on Sunday though and while Marc headed to the beach we embarked on some more cultural exploration. First stop the Palma Museum of Contemporary Art. This fusion of a totally modern building into the original fortifications of the ancient town walls is an architectural masterpiece in its own right and a very cleaver melding of new and old spaces.

New meets old at the town walls

While Karen certainly enjoyed the rather out there exhibition of works by revered local Mallorcan artist Miro, Rob was underwhelmed and far more impressed by the building itself as we made our way from gallery to gallery with each displaying different facets of both the new and old structures. As you wander the building you’re lead to different areas and levels winding your way up to the parapets of the old walls and then back down to the lowest floors.

The basement level of the Museum featured a spectacular exhibition by Joan Bennassar entitled ‘The Wine I Drink Tastes of the Sea’ made up of a number of large works exploring the history of wine in the Mediterranean. His work was very impressive, this time gaining a big thumbs up from both of us. This lowest level gallery also flowed through to join with what was originally a water storage cistern in the 17th century fort and now a multi use exhibition space.

The museum is much larger than it looks from the outside and what we thought would be an hour or so visit stretched far beyond that and proved to be extremely enjoyable.

With all the back and forth we’ve done by now we’d actually lost track of how many times we’d been in Palma this summer but there has been a constant running through each and every visit. Every time we’ve been here we’ve said ‘We really have to go and see that round castle up on the hill.’
Next stop, the castle on the hill

After out visit to the Gallery we were now in a taxi and finally on our way to do just that. The cab driver wound his way through narrow back streets at break neck speed and then gave his best hillclimb impersonation up to the castle and near screeched to a stop at the base of a set of stairs leading to the entrance. After handing over the 5Euro fare we got out and were considering kissing the pavement in thanks for our divine delivery from near certain death when we noticed a big sign indicating the ticket office was in the car park 250 metres down the road. Bugger! As we trudged along in 38C heat Rob was verbalising his displeasure that Fernando Alonso’s brother had dropped us at the entrance instead of the ticket office. That was until we got there. It was closed. There’s free entry on Sundays so we didn’t need a ticket. Double bugger! Turn around, walk back and no further mention of our racy driver made.

 The castle and the views over Palma from its upper levels were outstanding. Different areas contained a series of galleries dedicated to laying out the history of Mallorca from the its earliest human occupation right through to the current day including the origins, various stages and uses the castle itself had gone through. Again it was a lot longer visit than we anticipated because there was so much to see. We were extremely pleased we hadn’t sailed away and not got up the hill to experience it.
The stone masonary work is amazing

The castle featured an impressive collection of ancient sculptures
It looks like Lady-Boys might have been around long before the Thailand
This is a model of the stone walls of the oldest man made structure unearthed on Mallorca
dating back thousands of years. Mmmm! Would you like frys with that?
All in all a great day of playing tourists
Further disturbing reports coming out of Tunisia made it clear that it was too risky for us to be contemplating spending four months there at the moment so we had to finalise our winter location. ‘The weenner eeezz – Gibraltar.’ We will now head the opposite direction to what we’d originally planned and sail along the Spanish coast to spend the winter at Queensway Marina in the shadow of the towering rock of Gibraltar. The marina’s off season’s rates are not as cheap as Tunisia but still quite reasonable and, very importantly, it is not part of the European Schengen visa zone so we will be able to comply with our requirements to leave and then re-enter in the northern spring.

When we went to the boat yard on Monday morning we were pleased to find the repairs all but completed other than a few final fittings. However looking at the bright white areas of the bow and starboard side that had been repaired and nicely polished we quickly decided to get the entire hull cut and polished so everything was even. This meant another day in boat yard but what’s one more day now.

We spent that day on another massive provisioning buy up at the supermarket and transporting everything back from the apartment.
It was great to be underway and undersail again

After fantastic service by the crew at Audax Boatyard, the yacht was lifted back into the water late afternoon on Tuesday afternoon looking so very bright and shiny. We were able to spend the night aboard on the dock at boatyard which was also much appreciated. The following morning we were up early and had a spirited upwind sail up to Cala Portals where we sat out the day as the winds were far from favourable offshore.
Big seas smashing against the rocks outside Cala Portals while we sit out the rough stuff.
They love their big RIBs over here. This one's only functionality was as a
very expensive, high speed floating sunbed. Who said Spain is broke?
Alcheringa is proving to be a very popular backdrop for
photographers. The model didn't look too impressed in the bikini
shots later. It was windy and cold.

However, early on the morning of Thursday September 27th we finally pointed Alcheringa’s bows away from Mallorca towards Ibiza, the first step on our 480 nautical mile trip to Gibraltar. We certainly hope that her Palma homing device is no longer operational. We’re kind of over it.

For more about our travels check out and 'like' our Dreamtimesail facebook page at