Espana


Anchorage in Menorca
When we left Roma, Gibraltar was our next milestone. After nearly two months and 1000 miles we arrived. As we sailed up to the Rock, I told Gene it was obvious we were heading into our first stop in the United Kingdom. The day before, we were in sunny Spain and now, well a picture is worth 1,000 words:

Actually, today is sunny and warm. Gene is up at a pub watching the Grand Prix and I am here writing and scouring grungy settee cushions and a very grimy, travel weary Peregrine. Laundry either tomorrow or the next day. I was planning for tomorrow but we met some fellow Americans on the boat next to us and we have invited them for dinner tomorrow night. They are Texans and I happened to have scored a few cans of tomatillo salsa in Mallorca so I’m making chili verde. Yee-Haw!!
Our trip from Italy was uneventful as far as major mishaps; it would have been uneventful in all aspects if not for a few really nice places. We didn’t go ashore often, most of the trip was sailing all day and anchoring at night for a good night’s sleep (yah, sure, ya bettcha), then rising early
the next day to do the same.
In Formentera, you walk to your mooring.
The Balearic Islands were a treat and we went ashore several times while we passed through. I’ve written to you about Mahon, Menorca, so I will continue from there. Our next anchorage was also on Menorca and it was my choice. The guidebook described it as an almost deserted beach with a little river running down on the left hand side of the bay. You could lift your dinghy over the sand bar at the shore and explore the river for about a mile. I thought WOW! Almost deserted, river…BIRDS!! Instead we got a beach that couldn’t be seen through the masses of naked humans covering every grain of sand. The aggressive captains of the Glassbottom Boats powered in at full throttle and caused violent wakes to slam against the Peregrine’s hull. I am going to just take a moment to expound on this subject. I think that when author Kenneth Graham created his famous, Mr. Toad from Wind and the Willows, he was on a sailboat in Spain somewhere. It is really shocking how the skippers, professional and otherwise operate the power boats here. There seems to be only two speeds: idle and full speed ahead. They come into an anchorage pushing white water to the top of their bows and leave chaos in their wake. It isn’t only boats at anchor that are of no concern to them; it’s also people on pedal craft, swimmers, kayakers and dinghies. I saw the driver of a Don Joan Glassbottom Boat Tours in Mahon, Menorca go off his course to get closer to a sailboat that he considered in HIS path just to shake the boat up. Incredible! At nearly every anchorage we were in throughout Spain we were shaken, rattled and rolled by all manner or power craft; water skiers, commercial speed boats pulling inflatables filled with screaming customers, jet skis, private craft coming in at full speed to anchor, and speed boats hauling para-sailers. A few seemed to be out there for the sole purpose of doing donuts around us. I think what made me even grumpier about these activities is that I had thrown my back out early on this trip and the constant lurching, bobbing and rolling was painful. The anchorages along the east coast of the mainland were bad enough on their own without help from Macho Madmen. The anchorages were exposed and had a swell. At night, the wind would shift and come from the land putting the swell at odds to the wind. There are mechanical bulls in Texas Honky-Tonks that are easier to ride than our berth at many of these so called anchorages. Every time my torso would go one way and my bottom half the other in these rough anchorages, my back would send me a very loud message that it wasn’t happy. Several times, we were up at O Dark-thirty to get out.

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An anchorage at Ibiza Island in the Balearics.


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Some of the anchorages we were in were stunningly beautiful and geologically captivating. Our off-board science officer, Grampa Miles would have enjoyed both the islands and the mainland coast. These photos don't begin to do justice to how high and spectacular these cliffs were. Big time pressure, Dad?
When we went ashore, we felt like we were on vacation. I know some of you think our life is one long vacation, but a lot it is hard going. The islands are really beautiful and the water is clean and warm. I did some birding, walking and snorkeling and we went out for dinner a few times. The vast majority of the Spanish are not out on the water with big engines displaying their power; they are ashore living what seems to be a sweeter life than the famous Dolce Vita of Italy. My impression is that they are a robust, casual and happy group in general. There is a lot of activity on the beaches, in the water, and on the boardwalks. The sidewalk cafes and restaurants are not short of people laughing and enjoying life. Of course, this is August and most of the people we saw may have been on vacation. Nah, even the people that were working were friendly and happy. A few of our friends are staying in Spain for the winter. I’m kind of envious, especially when I think of the birds I’m going to miss, but I really do want to get home and we have a long way to go.

A less foggy shot of 'The Rock' as we got closer.
At day at the beach in Mallorca. I could move to this place.

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