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September 2000 Diary

30th of September 2000 AMBERELLA anchors still in Cala de Portals. The holiday of my parents is over. We did make an excursion to Port de Soller, took the old tram, used the scenic drive up in the mountains and went into a dolphin show, Nastasja favorite attraction. A short visit at the main beach of Palma de Mallorca "Ballermann"/Bolinario" showed us, what the favorite spot of German tourists was about. Loud music, Sun and beer, Sangria drinking with a straw. Half naked drunkards bawling after passersby. That was tourism in perversion. "Yeah yeah!"

Now we get ready to cross the Strait of Mallorca to Ibiza. It is obvious, the winter is near. Cold front and weather changes are on an almost daily routine. We hope that we make the 50 Miles to Ibiza in perfect weather.

12th of September - 29th of September 2000 Menorca, Mallorca. Mahon, the capital of Menorca offered everything in abundance. Supermarkets, Bars, Cafes, Music, just no Internet Cafe for my website updates. At least I could not find any. Mahon by itself is a beautiful spot. The natural harbor is one of the best I have seen so far. It must be hard to find an anchorage or mooring in summer, because the Balearic island are home to 20.000! boats!

We spent a few calm day in the Bay of Teulera and were waiting for the arrival of my parents, Monika and Norbert. A first attempt to leave Mahon had to be canceled due to bad weather. My mother was seasick as soon as we left the protected bay. After 4 hours we turned back. The next day the swell calmed down and we were able to anchor in the south of Menorca, the Cala Covas. The water was crystal clear and only spoiled from the debris which the latest storm had pushed into the bay. As well there were many little jellyfish and Nina was quickly out of the water, after she had tied Amberella stern to one of the rocks. We explored the nearby caves, most of them were locked by the authorities, because mostly in summer a lot of young people try to live in these caves. There were caves, with little kitchen and fireplaces.

The next morning we sailed 12 NM westward to the bay Macarella, one of the most beautiful swimming bay of Menorca. I was wondering how many boats would anchor here in summer, when even now in the low season, the places was packed with sailing boats. There was no sign of the dreamy bay, as the prospect had suggested. The strand was packed with people and the nearby restaurant offered all kind of food and refreshments.

Nastasja had a bad afternoon, for she was stung by a jellyfish. She was crying for about an hour, as we tried to cool her hand and clean the wound with vinegar. But after she calmed down, she was right back in the water. She is a real big girl now, and a sailor girl to:)

At night the wind direction changed a few times and the swell came right into the bay. Poor Monika was sick most of the night and the worst part for her started, when we realized that there was no safe place to go for the next 15 Miles. So we decided to cross over to Mallorca, 25 Miles away. When we reached Playa Mesquide north of Mallorca. My mother went right into the dinghy and off to the beach. We decided that it was better for my parents, especially Monikas holiday if they would travel overland and meet us on board when we reached a safe bay.

Well now we were in Mallorca, Hotel buildings lined the beach, most of them of the real ugly kind and people fried like hamburgers in the sand. The bay Playa Mesquide was not too bad, as the buildings were at least moderate build into the nature and the beach was not as crowded.

The wind seemed to follow us because the swell was again rounding into our anchorage. We had fought northwesterly winds most of the time coming into the western Mediterranean , and now that these direction would be our favorite for sailing, we got the wind right on the nose again, with southerly winds, damned. We made a short stop in Rajana, dropped off my parents and Nastasja who would travel by car and kept on sailing to Porto Colom. The harbor of Porto Colom was as well a good protected natural bay, like the one in Mahon. We took a mooring line and felt for the first time comfortable at anchor, no swell... We used the rental car and paid a visit to the nearby Monastery San Salvador. There were the Crew of "Moby Dyck", Monika and Reinwalt, Michel, from "Nomad" and we from Amberella, plus my parents, Monika and Norbert. So we I had to drive twice up the mountain with the 4 wheel drive Jeep, we had rented. Our travel guide suggested to visit the monks restaurant, which served hefty meals and traditional beer. Instead we found a cafeteria which offered canned beer and ordinary meals. I have to admit that their Paella was waving the first impression.

Most of us would use the old road walking down the mountain, while Nina took the kids and drove the Jeep. We collected bread corn and plenty of fresh almonds on the way down.

From Porto Colom we sailed to Porto Petro. There was too much swell in the bay and so we arranged for my parents a lift to Palma, where they would take a hotel and we would meet the next day. This time we had a perfect sailing day. After we had rounded the Cape de Salinas, we had calm seas and wind on our beam or astern. Since we had no information about possible anchorage's near Palma, we decided to sail across the Bay of Palma and anchor in Cala de Portals. This place was nice, there were no hotel complexes lining the beach, with sandstone rocks surrounding the bay and small beaches with turquoise waters. There were caves to visit and it was mostly quite and comfortable. Just a few glass bottom boats would cruise by at lunchtime and left later in the afternoon. We spend some more time with my parents and Nastasja played with the kids on the beach, while Selina continued to eat the sand:)

3rd of September - 11th of September Crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Sardinian Sea

We left Ustica early in the morning and took course Sardinia. 175 Miles ahead. Waves and wind were not perfect, but there was no point of sitting at anchor and being uncomfortable too. First we made good speed westward, the wind direction changed and we could steer ideal to Sardinia. The wind force increased and soon reached gale force, but now the wind turned once more to westnorthwest direction and we had the weather again on our nose. We reefed and tacked, were more comfortable, but made no course good. All night sailing and tacking was rewarded with only 10 miles!. That was frustrating and Nina was already suggesting to turn back to Sicily. There was heavy lightning further south and that was not an invitation for us to sail back.

We were constantly in radio contact with "Moby Dyck" and "Nomad". The MSS "Moby Dyck" had a powerful engine and was miles ahead, beating against the weather. For our 30hp engine it was no point of beating the waves. Michel from "Nomad" was in even more bad luck. The night before,he was about 25 miles in front of us, but at night he had overslept the change of wind direction and his wind vane took him right back to our position. He was very tired and angry at himself, because he had just lost 25 miles. But around lunchtime of the second day we had another wind change, more fortunate for us and AMBERELLA was flying above the waves with up to 7.5 knots. As well the swell was calming a little and we had no water in the cockpit. Soon we could count the hours for our arrival in Sardinia. We got there, in Porto Guinco (Villasimus) at night and it was a bit worrying to navigate to our anchorage, because we saw too many lights, but none of them made sense to us. But we made it, that was important...

I send the news of our arrival the next morning the e-mail read:

"position: 39 07' 4'' N 09 31' 9'' E porto Guinco, south Sardinia, Italy AMBERELA reached porto Guinco, south Sardinia, yesterday night. Three day at sea and nothing was left out, from no wind and mirror like sea, to thunderstorm. Lightening and gale 7 with 4 m waves. The whole repertoire of weather possibilities. In the second night we beat against huge waves and made just 10 miles in 10 hours, but after the storm passed through we were on the lucky side with the wind on our beam, we made up to 7 knots. 213 nm on our log, we had a nerve breaking approach to porto Guinco at night. We have a break of a day, visit the island and clean the mess in the boat. I wish we would anchor in a fresh water lake and clean all the salt from Amberella. We plan to sail to Menorca Island, Spain. In a few days. Frank for the crew of AMBERELLA "

The following day passed another bad weather pattern, but we were safely at anchor. The swell made the anchorage uncomfortable, but I did not feel like sailing away. Michel boat "Nomad" dragged it's anchor across the bay at night. I had to go over and help him pulling up the anchor, changing to another kind and re-anchor. The second day we had enough of this and we sailed the passage between Isola Cavoli and the mainland. The waves were pushing our 15 ton AMBERELLA like a wave board and I had to watch the helm with concentration, in order to not knock down. We sailed some 30 miles to Capo Pula and the next day kept on to Calesetta. We could go alongside the town quay and prepare for our crossover to the Balearic Islands (195 nm). Renata my mother on law left Amberella to keep on traveling overland. She had visited us for about 7 weeks, traveling more than 800 miles and developed from a novice sailor to a professional "mother in law sailor:)" She was of great help during the long hours at sea and helped taking care of the children.

The cross over to Menorca was planned at our last long trip this year. We would keep on sailing the Spanish coast in day sails. But for now we had 195 nm in front of us. The Sardinian Sea famous for it's heavy north westerly Mistral storms. The fisherman in Calesetta were very friendly, helping us to get diesel and water and gave information about the town. The weather forecast showed another bad weather pattern arriving. We had about 48 hours to cross over. So we decided to go for it and it was becoming our easiest sailing leg on the whole trip from Turkey to here. In very light winds and flat sea we were making 2-3 knots using the diesel for a long distance, only to get out of the Sardinian Sea as soon as possible.

My logbook after the arrival in Mahon wrote:" We anchor in Port de Mehon, Cala Teulera Bay position N 39 52. 6 E 04 18. 5 . The crossing was the most feared of us, because the Sardinian Sea is famous for it's strong Mistral winds beginning in September. We experienced only a few gales of the Mistral, when we crossed the Tyrrenian Sea. We were lucky and logged 221 nm in light winds, mostly very light winds using the engine for about half of the distance. I have never seen so many sea turtles and dolphins on a single sailing day. The turtles were sleeping on the surface and only few of them made the effort of diving away, when we passed close by. Mahon is my very first Spanish town. The place looks surprisingly British influenced. For the next 14 days we have no rush and expect my parents for holidays. We will sail to Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera in short day sails. Frank for the crew of Amberella"


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