2003 – DARTMOUTH TO TURKEY
Chapter 2 - Towards the BalearicsThe fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
Benalmadena is a very large, expensive marina village with "Moorish" style flats, numerous boutiques and tourist restaurants and hardly any room for visiting boats. Still, they fitted us in with good grace.
Benalmadena and its architecture
We next anchored in a bay, Ensenada de los Berengueles. This turned out to be a mistake. We should have called at the excellent Marina del Este nearby but we were keen to prove to ourselves that we were not dependent on marinas. The bay was a bit roly poly and in consequence the breakfast coffee pot leapt off the cooker and poured scalding coffee all down Mags' leg; rather dramatic, and very painful. We immediately dunked her in the sea for 15 minutes while I looked out to ensure that she did not die of shock, read the first aid book and tried to remember our RYA course. We covered up the wounds and set sail after fighting with defective anchor gear for 20 minutes. Two days later the healing process was well under way, although Mags said it was still uncomfortable having a leg covered in crackling. She really is indomitable in that kind of adversity.
Almerimar was interesting because it is where Joe McPeake, the previous owner, kept JJ Moon for three years. I enjoyed a good long talk with the Dutch broker at Yes Yachting and her husband who handled the deal very efficiently. Just the usual agreeable chat about personalities and the problems and opportunities of running a business. They sell 35-40 boats a year and were particularly interesting about their web-site and advertising generally. We liked Almerimar although there is nothing in the hinterland except vast acres of polythene where much of Europe's vegetables are grown. We were told that they have 4 harvests a year. Mags had her hair cut for 11.2 euros by a very competent Swedish girl and I was able to buy another freshwater pump because the original had finally failed after two brilliant repairs.
We then realised that if we hurried we could meet up with Rita and Patrick, Irish/Swiss friends who had moved on retirement to Denia in eastern Spain, on the same latitude as the Balearics. They were planning to leave for a cruise round Ibiza in mid-June. We undertook a 260 mile "over-nighter" which had its moments but went off generally successfully. We arrived at their home in time for a quick aperitif on Saturday and a look over their house. We anticipated waving them off from the marina on Sunday morning but in the event they invited us to stay the night, fed us regally and put us to bed with air conditioning. Bliss! Patrick had fallen victim to a nasty bronchial cough so we stayed for three wonderfully comfortable nights. Their house is lovely with a swimming pool at the back and a grove of orange and lemon trees at the front. Very freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast each morning!
Orange and lemon grove at the entrance to Patrick and Rita's lovely house.
Rita and Patrick have met up with a delightful Irish couple; he keeps a 26ft boat that he built himself at Howth, near Dublin and they now have a flat in Denia. They crewed for our friends for the trip to Ibiza. The arrangement was that the two boats would set off independently on the 18th June to rendezvous and share a barbecue in the delightful Cala Salada, recommended by the locals. Unfortunately there was one of those inexplicable navigational mix-ups and the two boats ended up 10 miles apart. Our sadness was ameliorated by the knowledge that we had most of the supper in our fridge.
We decided to stay in Cala Salada for another day, swim, mend the anchor windlass (another success for our engineering genius) and deal with correspondence and administration.
We pottered round Ibiza to Santa Eulalia on the east coast arriving a few days later. On the way we developed a serious weakness in the genoa along one of the seams. We spent a happy afternoon making a temporary repair with duct tape and sailmakers' stitching. It lasted until the end of the trip but the whole of the tack area is delaminating and it means a new sail for next year.
At Santa Eulalia we were introduced to new friends with whom we shared some great times including a wonderful lunch at a beach restaurant at Port Roig, starting at 3 o'clock and finishing about 6 with fresh fish cooked in salt, lemon pie and far too many digestifs.
On the other hand we also embarked with them on The Great Fiesta Fiasco. On Formentera each year they hold a fiesta to celebrate San Juan (the Baptist). It was said to be an experience not to be missed so we arranged with the hire company to pick up our jeep at 9 pm to drive up to the village where the famous festivities were held. We arrived at the car hire place just before 10 to find, to our outrage, that the car hire people had gone home for the night. These Spanish! How unreasonable can they get! Instead of pressing on with our plans we settled down for drinks as it now turned out that the fiesta did not begin until midnight. The drinks place seemed very comfortable and we considered forgetting the fiesta and having supper. This wimpish behaviour was out voted and at 11.15 we looked for a taxi. One was summoned after some to-do but the dastardly driver refused to take us! After much arm waving and a full and frank exchange of views the taxi driver finally got his point home. He was willing to drive us anywhere at any time but forbidden by law to carry more than four people in his cab. All we needed was a second taxi. No problem. When we got to the village there were people milling about but no sign of festivities except for a sound stage set up next to the little church. A man was doing an execrable disc-jockey job. While waiting for the main event we went into a scruffy bar where Mags and I had two of the nastiest pieces of pizza that had ever been called supper. At midnight there was a general exodus so we dashed out asking for directions. We wanted the best vantage point for the colourful procession and the fireworks. In the event the only real attraction was a large bonfire burning an effigy of John. Why John? I thought he was one of the good guys. It was a good bonfire but the only other entertainment was the disc-jockey man, now disguised as a gipsy, telling very weak and feeble (according to one of our party with good Spanish) one-liners in a thick Romany accent. They were a bit lost on us but we refused to be down-hearted and were rewarded when red wine in plastic mugs was produced and we got on our mobile to summon two more taxis from town. It was a good job we were on our toes because when our cabs arrived twenty minutes later there was a stampede and we had to arm-wave, gesticulate and elbow our way past scores of fierce Germans to claim our rightful prizes.
We were very sorry when our friends had to sail off towards their home port