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October 2000 Diary

3rd October 2000 After another breakdown of my computer I have to report most of my diary and try to rewrite some of the stories. I have a hard time to translate them. But I will manage somehow.

Mahon petrol station, Menorca Island, Spain

What had happened since my parents left us in Cala de Portals, Mallorca Island, Spain?

October 2000 Amberella sails via Ibiza and Formentera to the mainland of Spain. We are on our way to our winter Marina , Almerimar. We started for Ibiza from Cal de Portals. With a light breeze we made good speed and it was a very enjoyable sail. Early in the morning we arrived at a bay North of Ibiza, and had perfect weather, sunshine and light winds. Michel from SY "Nomad" who enjoyed our company since San Thurini (Thira Island, Greece) met once again a buddy sailor and disappeared for some time in a French sailboat. Later we set sail South to Ibiza town and there we met again.

We anchored in front of a little town beach and avoided the Marina, which was at this low season affordable, but we wanted to save some money. On the other hand the beach offered better playing grounds for the kids, than a crowded Marina. Nina who knows Ibiza from a holiday job in teenager years, went into town and reported little changes except a lot of new buildings outside the center of town. Ibiza itself is a charming town, with style. Visitors are mostly young people.

Amberella was only traveling trough, since we were running out of time. The weather at this time of the year gets worse. We were waiting for the right weather to make the short passage to the mainland, when I met an old buddy.

The entry in the diary wrote: "Amberella anchors safely near Port of Ibiza, waiting for better weather. There was a storm of force 11 near the Lion Golf and we just don't feel like pointing our nose into the wind.
The world is small, we know, but I did not know that it is that small.. Yesterday in Ibiza I looked over to an American Boat, called "Sarah" which was anchoring right beside us and the face of the Skipper looked familiar. So I looked with the binocular and saw Fred, crew member on board "Black Magic" the yacht Nina and me had sailed from Perth to Darwin, Australia and over to Ambon, Indonesia together in 1996. Fred had joined us for the 6 days race staring in Darwin. We both were talking about having our own yacht then and here we meet him, 4 years later, both with our own boats. Crazy, I still can't believe it. We both had a lot of stories to tell and spend most of the evening talking about the previous years

Such a reunion calls for a celebration and we immediately spent dinner at a nearby restaurant, told the old stories and the ones each of us experienced after we left Indonesia in 1996. Fred had bought "Sarah" 2 years ago in Cyprus and he made an arrangement with his boss, in order to sail her back to America. He lives in San Francisco and goes sailing 3 month a year, moving the yacht just a little closer home. What a chance it was to just meet him at the same anchorage was a subject we kept repeating in our conversation that very evening.

The next day the weather changed to the worse and we could not stay with Amberella near the town beach. The Marina was near by, but we decided to sail further south and anchor at another beach called Playa en Bosso, now protected from the changed wind direction. Fred was waiting in Ibiza for his girl friend Annie, and we arranged for another meeting. Since the weather was still bad, Annie and him came down with the bus and left "Sarah" in the Marina. We kept contact via VHF. The storm continued for another 2 days until we could sail to the little island Es Palmador.

The island Es Palmador at this time of the year is mostly uninhabited and its attraction is its white beach and hot mud pools. After the two stormy days not a single soul was at the beach. It was spoiled from algae, but we liked the idea of doing the first steps on the beach. With the sun peaking out it was not long when the first motor yacht from Ibiza arrived. The noise of jetski buzzing around the boats spoiled the quiet afternoon. I was woken up by the scratching noise at the hull and jump into the cockpit. I quite big motor boat was at Amberella bowl and obviously dragged its anchor. The 3 people on board did not made an effort to push away from us. I jumped on board the yacht and tried to explain those Spanish crew what they had to do. But there seemed nobody of them feel responsible for the boat. The were only guest and there was no sign of the captain. The yacht drifted alongside Amberella and made now for the rocks. I found the anchor windlass switch and lifted it. To my surprise there was only 7 meter of chain at the little anchor. Since there was still enough space until the rocks I re anchored the yacht and was waiting for the captain. When he finally came he was embarrassed and offered compensation for the damage on Amberella. But there was nothing but a few stripes of rubber paint from the motor yacht. At least those plastic yachts are well polstered:). A bottle of champagne was the prey of the afternoon adventure.

The next day Fred and Annie arrived with "Sarah" and we enjoyed Annies Asian cuisine on board "Sarah". Of course Michel was not missing:) The next morning the weather turned stormy again and the anchorage became unsafe. While Michel pleaded for another beach at Ibiza, Fred and me agreed to make it to Formenterra's Sabina Marina. It was our first visit of a Marina since Crete Island in Greece. The out of season Marina price was good for our budget and the manager even offered a winter monthly rate, which made us think about staying for the winter.

Formentera was an experience. We rented a car and explored the island. The old hippie center appears now as an alternative to Ibiza Island. The landscape and the coast is indescribable beautiful. We visited a hippie market, which offered a lot of hand crafted art, music and other things. Early the next morning we went to Cape Barbarian and waited for the sunrise

Now it was time to start for the main land. The wind shifted to our favor. We were monitoring three different weather reports and became quite some experts in forecasting the next three days in the area. Michel called over the VHF and left already, while we said farewell to Fred and Annie, whose were about to return to Ibiza. Fred planned to catch up with us after Annie left for Italy. As the island Formentera disappeared behind us, we saw rain clouds crossing our path. Than we watched a weather phenomena of a special kind. A waterhose was forming high up in the clouds and shot down into the sea, swirling up masses of water.

I got out the camera, while Nina was cleaning all gear, that was not tight to the deck into the lockers. I just remembered reading about this yacht, which lost the mast because it got hit by one of these little hurricane's. A second waterhose formed and immediately hit the water. As quick as the spook came it went. But when I watched the clouds I saw a new set of waterhoses forming. First it looked like udders from a milk cow forming in the dark clouds and than the hose shoot very fast into the sea and whirled and pumped up the water. Michel "Nomad" who was even closer to this called on the VHF. He was running the engine at full speed, trying to get away from the area as soon as possible

What a power. When the water hose took another direction we were relieved and watched it with respect.

As expected we made a fast voyage to the main land and passed Alicante the next afternoon. Michel wanted to continue to Torreveja, so we planned to meet later. Our old pilot promised a free anchorage inside the harbor of Alicante, but when we entered the harbor we realized how old our pilot of Spain was. The whole area was filled with berth of a few marinas. We turned the boat and took an anchorage at the beach outside the harbor.

My latest report wrote:"We made the passage very well, motored about 5 hours and had after easterly winds southerly, later south west, but we could make it all the way down to Alicante. Alicante was very crowded, and no!! anchorage in the harbour as the pilot suggested. So we anchored north of cape San Juan, just 3 miles south of Alicante, and left at night at 3 o clock using the thermal wind, which was blowing north-westerly and shifed later to southwest and south. Today we arrived in Torrevejia, which is good, we can anchor in the harbour. The marina is cheep two (around 1500pts per day), but free is cheaper (hahaha)"

Michel was already waiting for us. He had naviagted into the harbor the night before.

I must say I am disappointed by the Spanish towns I visited so far. The paved houses remind me on ghettos. There is not a single beach left in Spain that is not paved. Hotel blocks line the beaches for miles. It's different to read about this situation in a magazine, but to see it for real is frustrating.

After two days in Torreveja, where we could anchor inside the harbor we left in quite rough weather to pass the Cap de Palos and sail to Carthagena. For a while we had a blind passenger on board. It was a sea bird who needed quite a break, but as soon as it smelled the land nearby it took off.

We dropped the anchor south of the town harbor, near a little fishing village at 10m depth. The next morning was quite turbulent. We were woken up by scratching noises at the hull. When we looked outside we saw a strange scenery. Mud and rubbish was floating around our anchor chain. It had rained all night and now a flood of rubbish, furniture, trees, little fishing boats and even cars passed nearby.

Our diary of the day wrote: "If you think you you might escape from being hit by a car while at sea, you are wrong! This morning as I got up I saw many debris floating along Amberellas anchorage just south of Port Carthagena. There was heavy rain at night and our anchorage located near a riverbed. Soon after breakfast Nina got a little nervous with all this stuff floating around. First she spotted a fishing dinghy adrift, later a tree and than some furniture. Now it was time to go, but how. We had so many weed and twigs stuck to the anchor chain, that it was almost impossible to lift it. About 5 other fishing boats had drifted by Nina spotted a car, than another one and two big rubbish containers. It was really time to go. Michel with his SV "Nomad" was anchoring behind us and while he was busy pushing a Ford Fiesta car from his bow, I saw a white Mercedes Benz passing Amberella at about 2 Meter distance and sinking. What a morning.!
I did not dare to start the engine, because I did not want to jam the water cooling with rubbish. So we lifted the anchor, pushing a lot debris away, set sail and drifted with the flow out of this mess. Soon a lot of powerboats came by busy catching the fishing boats, but most of the cars had sunk.
As we crossed the Cape Falco we had so strong winds and rain, that Amberella made 6.2 knots with a only 15 m2 jib. At the other side of the bay we saw more fishing boats adrift a nice big powerboat, two more cars and 2 camping vans passing.
The gales came from the mountains and it was impossible to come close to the beach and anchor. My wind generator went berserk and was unable to stop. So we sailed along the cost, in hope for a new anchor place and found a nice little fishing harbor in Mazaronni.

In Mazzaroni we made acquaintance with Pat and Reidulf and their SY Hippokampus. They were on their way to the Canary Islands. Pat encouraged Nina to support the Amberella project a little longer. Nina and me had a lot discussions about the future lately and of course a lot of arguments came up. Since Selina was born Nina has a lot more worries about living on board a yacht.

We left the fishing harbor Mazzaroni and sailed along the coast of Spain, passed Aguilas, Carboneras and finally rounded the Capo de Gata, our last one and entered the Bay of Almeria. One morning when we left our night anchorage in front of San Miguel, Michel called on the radio and told us that he had caught a big octopus, which was holding on his anchor.

My diary writes:" Torreveja , free anchorage in the harbour, Internetcafe in town, town not worth a longer stay
Mazaronni, fishing harbour free, nice people, Internetcafe cheap , good place
Aguila, Le Hornillo, free anchorage in the harbour, nice town
Carboneras, good anchorage behind little rock near town, or free fishing harbour to stay in emergency. nice village,

We had finally arrived in Aquadulce Marina, south of Almeria. As we wanted to check in we were told that the Marina is full up and as well all the other marinas nearby.

I wrote an email to Fred: " The people in Aquadulce seem not very friendly and it is not believable that they don't have space. There is many room, but they claim that those are a lot of private berth, As well there is room on the hard, but than again they told us it is full up.. Only Alicante has free berth, is what we heard, but we rather go to the CanariesIslands instead of sailing backwards.
My vhf radio antenna broke down, so maybe no radio contact, I have only the little antenna now, call on ch16 or ch67, (sometimes 67 is switched off, because a lot of fisherman are talking)
but we definitively try to stay in the Almerimar area until the 10th of November, because my brother comes to Almerimar at this date

Even Almerimar, with more than 1000 berth was not taking any more boats for the winter. This information was quiet a shock for us. What should we do? Should we sail to Morocco or the Canary Islands? The latter was still possible. We decided to rethink our plans, ask a few marinas ourselves and see what solution it would bring.

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