Saturday 20 October 2012

Cala Portals (Porto Veile) Mark IV

September 8 - 13  -  2012

Now that the boat’s damage had been assessed we needed to wait for the quote to be provided, then it had to be approved by the insurance company then the actual work had to be booked in at the boat yard. Rather than spend 60 Euro a day to sit in the marina we happily returned to Cala Portals to wait for the bureaucratic  wheels to turn in much more pleasant surroundings.

With all the charter boats still in port on the Saturday it was very tight getting out of the marina at lunch time. Alcheringa doesn’t have a bow thruster so isn’t quite as manoeuvrable in close quarters but after a ninety-seven point turn and a bit of pushing off other boats we cleared La Lonja marina and eased over to the fuel dock to fill up for only the second time since we bought the yacht. The boat has a turbocharged, 75 horsepower Yanmar diesel which so far has proved extremely economical to run. Once out of the harbour we got the sails up as there was a good 15 knot breeze blowing. Of course it was coming from the direction we wanted to go but it’s not far to Cala Portals and we were in no rush so we tacked back and forwards and had a very enjoyable afternoon sail back to our favourite place to veg out on Mallorca.
One of the many classic yachts that called in to Cala Portals

We then had six more great days of swimming, snorkelling and soaking up the sun as we waited for arrangements to be confirmed for the repairs.  The water is so clean here it’s fantastic. You can almost always see very clearly all the way to the bottom. One of our amusing pastimes is feeding our food scraps to the fish. They’ve obviously become very used to having all the boats around and have developed an uncanny ability to know when food’s going to be on offer. Sometimes we’ll look around our boat and hardly see a fish. Sit down in the cockpit for a meal and by the time you’re finished eating the boat is surrounded by eager mouths waiting for any leftovers. When you throw anything over there’s a piranha like charge to the spot it’s heading long before the titbit even hits the water. We also struggled to find anything they wouldn’t eat. We learned good sport is feeding them something to big to gulp down in one mouth full. The sight of the fastest fish to it grabbing a wedge of lemon then watching the yellow streak created he charges all over the place underwater trying to keep his hard won prize away from the pursuing pack of his cousins provided much merriment when we had nothing better to do.
Karen throws a handfull of noodles for the fish. (seen beside Marc's shoulder)
Gone the second it lands
As always. The place was nice and quiet at night but really hopped during the day with boats coming in and sunlovers all over the rocks and beaches. With a mix superyachts, some magnificent classic sail boats, charter and cruising yachts plus lots of runabouts of all shapes and sizes, it does get very crowded on the water but there’s a such a good atmosphere in the bay we saw very few dramas. If someone anchored too close, they would simply move a bit. One group came in with four boats plus jet skis and all rafted up together near us then proceeded to have a floating birthday party complete with a saxophonist, singer and PA system for entertainment. Very cool.

A floating birthday party in Cala Portals - Mallorca
Complete with saxophonist and vocalist on the flybridge

We did however explore a nice, very small cove just inside the eastern headland that could only be reached by dingy. What had once been a fisherman’s stone hut was built into the cliff face but long since abandoned. It was quite secluded and always had it to ourselves as we spent a number of afternoon’s there reading and soaking up the autumn sun while Marc occupied himself onboard. No wonder we love this place.
Our hidden spot in Cala Portals.
A change in wind direction and strength was predicted for Thursday night so we moved over to the corner of the bay near the ancient tombs early in the morning while we still had the pick of the place. We would be more protected here for our final night before going back to Palma as we’d now got everything in place for the boat to go into the boatyard on Friday morning.

We anchored near tombs from time of the Phoenician period around 300BC.
Through the day Cala Portals began filling with far more yachts than usual, obviously heading in to shelter from the coming wind change. Late afternoon a charter yacht came into the bay and dropped anchor between us and a catamaran beside us but closer in to the beach and put very little chain out. We indicated to him that we felt he was a bit too close for when the wind direction changed that night but he simply said something in German and ignored us. He and his crew then proceeded to get stuck into a couple of litre bottles of spirits. Not a good sign. An hour later another yacht came in which turned out to be their mates and our German friend directed them to anchor even closer to the beach. That was fine while the wind was offshore and we were all hanging bows to the beach but wouldn’t be smart when hanging the other way. The crews of both boats then loaded a mile of booze into their dingys and a small bbq and headed into the beach to party. Things looked like they may get interesting if the wind shift came in as predicted later in the night.

Which it did. Marc had stayed up to keep an eye on things while we went to bed but he woke us about 1.30am. The wind had turned 180 degrees and strengthened up to the predicted 15 to 18 knots. The boats in the bay were all turning to swing stern to the beach. We had a suitable amount of chain out ready to deal with the wind expected but the two charter boats had very little. As we turned and began moving closer to the beach we were also getting closer to the first of the charter yachts. We’d anchored first and had also indicated our concerns about them being too close and the protocol was it was up to them to move if there was a problem, which there now was.

Their boat was swinging back and forwards in an arc that took it very close to the catamaran on one side and us on the other. The crew of the cat were on deck looking very concerned as were we. The last thing we needed was another collision at anchor the night before going into the boatyard so we decided to do something about it. When the boats were at their closest and only a couple of metres apart we began hailing them with a few simple ‘ahoy theres’ with no result. We then began calling them loudly saying that our boats were too close again with no result. We then brought out our very bright spot light and began flashing the portholes trying to wake someone up. The crew of the catamaran joined in with their light with both sides of the yacht now being well and truly illuminated. There was still no movement to be seen. Karen then went for the big gun and appeared on deck with our compressed air fog horn and gave it a single blast. Oh my god! Wasn’t that sucker loud.

At last a head appeared through one of the forward hatches and we yelled to him that they were too close, we were going to hit and they needed to move. He had a look around at us then at the catamaran, promptly disappeared and pulled the hatch closed. We now expected someone to appear in cockpit and get things happening but instead were incredulous when all we saw was the curtains being drawn on their portholes to block out our flashing spotlights.

People who know Karen will be aware that when riled she is not one to ever take a backward step and the tranquillity of Cala Portals was now shattered by a staccato of ear shattering blasts from the fog horn echoing of the cliffs that went on until the air cylinder was exhausted and our ears were ringing. In contrast to Karen, Marc is normally the epitome of British reserve and very quiet. However the arrogant reaction of our neighbours had apparently got under his skin and as the fog horn finally ran out of steam Marc emitted a roaring shout of ‘You! Germans! Move your f..king boat! Now!’ Oh my. We didn’t quite expect that. Funnily enough the whole anchorage seemed to be up and awake by now, that is except the crew of the charter boat. Nothing we could do would elicit any further sign of life aboard it.

In the end we gave up and decided all we could do was keep watch and take action when the boats inevitably came together. Marc was way to riled to sleep and volunteered to stay up for a while longer before handing over to Rob later. We returned to our bunk and set about trying to get some more sleep and did eventually manage to doze off.

That all ended abruptly a couple of hours later when we heard a series of loud thumps right beside our heads prompting us to get on deck pronto. Here we found Marc sitting on our stern rail, holding off the charter boat and kicking its hull as hard as he could.  It was loud outside so it certainly must have been booming below their decks. At last this was something that even our drunken Germans couldn’t ignore and finally the skipper appeared in the cockpit . Marc had the honour of verbalising our vindication with a loud shout of ‘So! Are you going to move your f..king boat now?’ Obviously our mild meerkat was still miffed. However his challenge elicited nothing more than a meek ‘Ja. Yes’ from the German. Not another word. No apology, no anything.
Our normally mild meerkat finally drove off the evil hun.

We watched as they finally up anchored and moved. Unbelievably they went over close to the rocks and simply dropped the anchor and a minimal amount of chain and went back to bed without waiting to see if they were actually going to hold or not.

Proving that sometimes there’s simply no justice in the world, when we arose with the sun just a couple of hours later, his boat was bobbing up and down and while closer to the rocks it was not in contact whereas his friend’s boats was very close to the beach and no doubt tangled in the swim line ropes. Not that they would of known as they slept off their previous night’s booze up.

We sent Marc back to bed and motored out of Cala Portals and headed to the yacht doctors at Audax Boatyard in Palma.

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