Crossing to Sardinia

As we had decided that we needed to hurry up to get to Sardinia before the mistral hit, we left straight from Alcudia, making this crossing our longest one yet.

The weather was supposed to be very calm, and for most of the time, that was correct. We unfortunately ended up motoring quite a lot, where as if we knew we had time we would have been happy just bobbing along. We really wanted to be on the safe side regarding the mistral so…

We had a quite rough couple of hours on the last day, with more than 20 knots of wind almost constant, sidewind, so we tried to avoid it and ended up quite off course. But other than that it was pretty calm.

We were a bit tired and because we had gone so much of course, we decided to stop at Carloforte, on an island just off the south west corner of Sardinia. We had read there was a town quay that you could moor at for free. On our way there the wind changed and it took us a bit longer, getting quite late and dark. As we were approaching around the north west side it was all dark except some moonlight. We could suddenly see that there was something ahead of us in the water and as we shone the light we could see that the area was full of fishing buoys and what looked like tunny nets! The wind also picked up, making it even harder to see if there were any buoys around.

We did see a big fish jumping out off the water, we think it was a tuna, but it might have been something else.

Docked at a free spot on the quay, we walked the dogs and then slept for four hours before continuing on towards Cagliari. The wind had already begun increasing and we had a very fast downwind sail that also turned around the coast and brought us along quite a while.

We sailed around 70 NM that day, and as we reached Cagliari bay the wind just instantly died, only to pick up a lot after around 1,5 hours. Then of course it was right on the nose and whipped up the sea really fast in that shallow area. So we were stomping in the waves, motoring the last 2 hours, only to reach the marina just in time for sunset.

 In Cagliari we stayed in Marina del Sole, which had the lowest rates in the area. When we first arrived and was going to moor, it turned out one of the lines (mooring/anchor lines, not sure what they are called) were broken, so we had to find another spot. Then we were crammed in tight in a narrow berth, but all seemed fine. We soon realised that something was a little off with the mooring lines there too. Either it was shifted or the boat on our port side had picked up the wrong ones, because we were tilted and pressing towards the boat on our starboard side, which in turn was pressing on the boat on that starboard side and so on. As it started getting really windy, the lady on the end was a bit distressed. A guy from the marina came over and tied our boat together with the port one…

The marina staff was very helpful and friendly, but the facilities were quite in need of some renovation unfortunately.

We stayed for five days, first to wait out the mistral and then to wait for Joel to recover. He came down with a high fever and was very under the weather.

We had been doing a lot of boat work the first day and then went out to town for dinner, very good pizza and ice cream!

The next day we took a long walk in the scorching heat, passed salt lakes with pink flamingos and a huge beach where we were in luck and ended up at a dog area, so the dogs could go swimming too. After that, Joel became ill and I did some exploring on my own. It’s just not the same and I was feeling bored and lonely. I started missing my friends and family very much, even though I just visited them, and I felt a longing for a “regular” life. Probably everything felt much worse due to Joel being sick and that there was not much for me to do. The town wasn’t that impressive, even though it had some nice parts, like the old town and the botanical garden.

When Joel was feeling better we moved on towards Villasimius, where we anchored, also just in time before darkness. The sail there was not so comfortable, lots of wind and waves on the nose again, but we did our best…

We stayed in the anchorage, off the beach outside the marina, for three nights and days and it was a lovely place. We couldn’t find a good place for the dinghy except for the marina, so we brought a jerry can each time and got some diesel, like payment for leaving it there for a few hours 😝

The area was much nicer than Cagliari in the sense that we were closer to nature and also maybe it was less run down. Every day we went for long walks, exploring the area. There was a salt lake (like the one in Cagliari but this was smaller and you could see the pink flamingos closer), two huge beaches and many smaller ones, nice sandy (horse) paths and clear water. We did some snorkelling and also went for some climbing that we never found though.

After monitoring the weather, we decided to leave for Sicily on Friday afternoon. 

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The last we saw of Mallorca

We stayed in Santa Ponsa for quite some time, before I (Ulrika) left for a trip to Sweden. Then Joel was left on his own, but with the company of the dogs and after a few days also his mother and her partner Björn.

They had some really bad weather during the less than two weeks that I was gone. Joel had a hard time, not getting much sleep in the crowded anchorage of Santa Ponsa. Then as the weather calmed, they sailed to Port de Sòller and remained there except a day trip to San Calobra. In Port de Sòller they experienced a short and intense freak storm that even made the Swedish news!

Shortly after I arrived back in Mallorca, we sailed further south and anchored in Cala Castell. It was another beautiful and secluded place, with high mountains and wild goats surrounding us. The water was clear and full of Posidonia and other aquatic life. We waited out some bad weather, but unfortunately the wind got funnelled from one direction during the night and we had up against 40 knots almost constant for a few hours. There was only one more boat there, but we were dragging a little bit and when we let all our chain out we were a bit too close to them for comfort. We probably had one of the worst conditions at anchor that we’ve ever had…

The next day we left for Alcudia, where we knew there was really good holding and we would be able to get some shopping done before crossing to Sardinia.

We were monitoring the weather and since there was a Mistral coming, we decided to sail straight from Alcudia, without stopping in Menorca. Mallorca and Menorca was going to be hit bad by the Mistral so there was no point in waiting either. We also decided to go the south of Sardinia and wait out the wind there in a marina. 

So the 9th of July we waved goodbye to Mallorca and set sail!

Superboat La Vie

Sailing towards Santa Ponsa, we were flying along in perfect downwind as we heard a Pan-Pan on the VHF-radio. It was a motor boat that had had an engine fire and was now drifting. They got response from the Palma rescue, but as the boat stated their coordinates Palma replied that they weren’t able to get a tow boat to them for at least half an hour.  The motor boat stated that they were heading for the rough coast, towards the rocks and it was deep until very close to shore, so they couldn’t put their anchor down until they might be too close.

We kept listening to the radio and checked their position. We realized we were very close to them and when we started looking we actually had a visual. Another sailboat had just called to them on the radio saying they might be able to reach them before the rescue boat could. When we saw that we were even closer, the closest boat, we called them and said we could reach them and do what we could to help. They replied that they would be very grateful for any help they could get as soon as possible.

When we tacked and sailed towards them, with full sails, flying furiously fast in the strong sidewind and the notion that we were about to attempt a potentially dangerous manoeuvre that we weren’t really sure of – the adrenaline was REALLY pumping! The fact that the boat was 50 + something foot made us a little hesitant whether we would actually be able to tow it with just our old sailboat engine…

In a hurry I tied together two of our longest lines, with a knot that I was fairly confident would stand the pressure. Then we took down the sails and radioed the motor boat, saying how we would pass their bow with our starboard side and try to throw them the line. We actually pulled it off on the first try and they were able to secure it on one of their cleats. We had decided that we would only try to tow them further from shore while awaiting the tow boat. 

Everything started off smoothly and we pulled out some of our genua to aid the engine. Then I saw the knot turning in a weird way and was scared it would come untied, so we radioed them again asking if they could try to take in some line. One line meant we would be very close but we didn’t want to loose them so soon. We slowed down but it just wasn’t possible without the risk of him injuring his hands, because the waves and wind was pulling us even if we had slowed down. He called that we should just go on as long as it would hold and then at least we would have helped a little in moving them off the coast. It turned out there was nothing wrong with the knot and we continued towing them for more than half an hour until the rescue finally arrived and found us. We could actually see the tow boat moving past us and towards the motor boat’s first reported position, even though they had updated them on the current one, very strange! And that they didn’t see us either, even when the motor boat radioed them directly…

We were so happy that we could help, and proud of ourselves and our little La Vie! We hope that someone would do the same for us, if ever in that position, and we would definitely do it again if we need to!

This is what it looked like! 

Saying goodbye to friends

A little more than a month has passed since we last blogged, again, sorry about that 😝

Stayed in Port de Sòller a few more days, experiencing an amazing thunderstorm and a real “skyfall” before we sailed on further up the coast.

We ended up in Cala Gossalba, that was very secluded and beautiful, but unfortunately quite rolly. We managed to meet up with my cousin’s son Marcus, that I haven’t seen in a couple of years, and his girlfriend Erika and had a nice barbeque on the beach with Ben and Nicki from Bora Bora.

The next day was really windy and big swell was coming in, so we left; Bora Bora to Pollença and we sailed to Alcudia. The waves were quite big and I was happy we weren’t going too far, having fun with sidewind and downwind sailing.

We weren’t that impressed with Alcudia, probably because we’ve seen so many natural beautiful places in Mallorca and Alcudia is very touristy.

A few days later we sailed out to go to Menorca, but since the wind and waves felt a little too much, we decided to wait another day. Ended up at the most stunning place, Cala es Caló, with crystal clear water and amazing snorkelling, nice hikes and impressive mountain backdrop.

We made it to Menorca the next day, after a calm sail. The nature is a bit different in Menorca, more like Ibiza I think, lower and dryer than Mallorca. Landed in Cala Son Saura that was very nice, the beach was popular and full of people. Lots of nudists in Menorca…

Met up with Bora Bora again in Cala Algaiarens, and went on a hike the next day. Saw wild turtles for the first time in a tiny “river/lagoon” and also tested our drone along the impressive coast. We had an accident with it the day before, when it was caught in the wind and crashed into the mast, but it seemed to be working fine! A movie will show up eventually on our YouTube, but here is a short clip.

Leaving there, we sailed about half an hour after Bora Bora left, chasing them upwind in full racing mode! Had lots of fun and also got some nice footage: 

Bora Bora and La Vie

We anchored in Cala Pregonda, while they sailed on to Fornells. Cala Pregonda was also sooo beautiful!!! The soil was both dark red and almost blue sometimes, as well as the light yellow sandstone and limestone. We flew the drone again and will post it in the same movie as Cala Algaiarens later. 

Joined Bora Bora in Fornells for one night and then continued on to a large anchorage behind Isla Colom. The island is home to a slightly different variety of lizards and many, many seagulls. We decided to have another barbeque together that night, on the beach of the uninhabited island. We had a great time and another beautiful sunset, but when it got dark, we started hearing a lot of noises from behind. When we shone the light we could see that it was rats, lots of rats! They were only a few meters away and didn’t seem very frightened of us at all, so we left them some food scraps to have a little feast on. 

As we walked out into the water to push the dinghy out, we discovered that it was sparkling around our legs with bio luminescence as we moved them. We have seen it sometimes when sailing at night, but this was the first time we walked in it, so cool!

The next day I went for a long snorkel around the area, saw a stingray and some beautiful underwater rock formations. Another film was made that will also eventually be edited and posted…

We sailed to Cala Porté, where we once again met Ben and Nicki, for what we were now pretty sure was going to be the last time… We took a ride along the coast in their dinghy and visited some caves and snorkelled. They made a clip of it that is posted on their YouTube channel

The next day we waved them goodbye but also departed shortly after. There was still hope we’d meet once again in Mallorca. As it turned out, they continued further down the coast and we ended up in Porto Colom for a few days. The first evening we felt a little sad, being separated from the Bora Bora’s that we had come to consider good friends. Who knows if we’ll ever meet again, but we’re happy that we DID meet and will continue to follow their journey.

We met another Swedish boat, s/y Alacrity that has been sailing in the Mediterranean for five years. They were so sweet and invited us over, gave us many helpful tips, both there and then and by email later on. Now they are on their way back to Sweden.

Continuing along the coast, we spent an extremely rolly night in beautiful Cala Mitjana. Woke up with the worst back pain ever 😫

Trying to escape the swell we sailed on to Ensenada de la Rapita, where we just spent the night anchored off the Playa del Trench and continued on early the next morning.

What happened on our sail to Santa Ponsa was really something, if you are following us on Instagram you already know it. But otherwise you will have to wait for our next blog post, maybe tomorrow 😝

Been in Mallorca for a while now…

… and we are really liking it!

Our last anchorage in Ibiza was Sant Vicente where we stayed for only one night before we made to crossing to Mallorca. We had a pretty good sail, not quite enough wind to be sailing all day but at least more than only motoring.

We had decided to go to Portals Vells which we read was a nice place. The only problem was that everyone thought it was a nice place! It was packed with big boats and as we first came close, we turned around to look for another place. After some sailing around we still ended up there, as many boats seem to leave in the evening from the popular calas.

In the area of Palma and Palma bay there are a lot of daysailors, charters and superyachts so if you arrive early in the morning or in the evening after six there’s usually room in the anchorage. Above is Portals Vells just before lunch, it got even more full of boats later…

We stayed in the Palma bay area for almost a week, relaxing, exploring and also we visited Palma for one day and then we moved on. 

We anchored in a super tiny cala, Marmacen, for one night. It was amazing but oh, so rolly at night 😵😦

Our next stop was Port de Sóller, and we have been here ever since, with the exception of one night spent in San Calobra. Unfortunately it was a very rolly night and we decided to move back to Port de Sóller the next afternoon.

Port de Sóller has been one of the best places here on Mallorca. It has lots of hikes, some climbing and a great atmosphere! We got to meet Riley and Elayna (plus some other nice young cruisers and more friends of theirs) from La Vagabonde and see the new Outremer in real life. Had a good time hanging out with them one evening and we wish them all the best on their coming journeys!

We are happy we got to spend time with Ben and Nicki from Bora Bora again, since they arrived here a couple of days ago. It’s so great how this cruising life brings people together that otherwise never would have met, and probably Instagram had a great deal to do with it too 😁

One of the best experiences here on Mallorca has been the hike in Torrent de Pareis at Same Calobra. We walked some of it when we were visiting the first time and then we went back again yesterday with Ben and Nicki to walk some more. This time we started earlier, so it didn’t get super hot until after a few hours, but it was a strenuous hike and we never did the whole stretch.

If ever in Mallorca, that place should be on your “to do-list”! Lots of pictures are on our Instagram, and more will be posted here shortly!

Soon, we will move on from here, either more north and to Menorca or to Barcelona if the weather is good. I also booked a short trip back to Sweden in the end of June, departing from Palma, so we will be back in the area again. Joel needs some company during that time, so if anyone’s interested… 😁

In Ibiza and Formentera

28th of April, that was the last time we were in a marina, the one at Calpe. So all the time since then we have been at anchor. It has been both good and bad, but we are getting very used to it and mostly feeling very confident in our anchor. 

After moving back and forth for three nights outside Jávea, we crossed over to Ibiza on May the 2nd. Our sail started very calm, with almost no wind and calm seas, which we were very happy with even though we had to motor for a while. After just a few hours we were able to motor-sail and then sail upwind with perfect wind almost all the way to our destination, Cala Vadella. 

The cala was much smaller than we thought, at least the inner part, and full of private mooring buoys. It was a bit scary navigating in there, finding a good spot to anchor without either seagrass or any bouys, but we managed pretty well I think. We also put out a kedge (stern) anchor at first, but we didn’t feel quite happy so we ended up actually tying to shore with a long line. 

We finally got to spend some time with our Instagram friends Ben and Nicki from Bora Bora! They were already in Ibiza and came to anchor in the same cala. So happy to meet and get to know such great people! We also traded a kombucha scoby for some sourdough culture and by now almost all of our first batch of kombucha has been consumed!

Vadella was nice and cosy, but very concentrated around the beach. Not much else to do that was interesting. We found some nice views while walking and also some caves just outside the cala that we took the dinghy to.

Two nights were spent in Vadella, and then two nights in Port de Porroig. First night was nice and calm, but then the wind and swell really picked up and found it’s way straight in to the cala. We might have miscalculated how it was going to turn, as wind turns around land here in ways that we’ve had to learn, the hard way obviously…

This is a view of La Vie in Port de Porroig, before the bad weather. As it picked up a lot during the night I actually rowed the dinghy out and placed a line at a nearby bouy, just in case. The swell was what made us feel a little insecure and as the wind turned at night more weight was put on our kedge anchor that we had out to keep us from getting in the swing of the swell…

After a sleepless night and half the day dozing off now and then while waiting for the weather, it felt SO good when we could finally sail away and reach a much calmer anchorage in Formentera! 

The water was insanely clear and as the weather was calm and with that, the water too, we could easily see details on the bottom, from ten meters deep down!

Formentera was very nice, calm and with a special kind of nature. Pine-kind of trees and bushes and low vegetation on a very dry, sandy and rocky soil. 

The photo below is from our first anchorage, where the rock wall had a very special shape and the tiny “beach” we went ashore on was made up of a soft mountain of old Posidonia leaves. As we left we rowed closer to a cave we spotted, but it was a hole filled with rotting seaweed! Imagine the gusts of pungent air coming out every time a wave went in 😷

We spent three days/nights around Formentera, the last one anchored off Isla Espalmador. A privately owned island open to the public, but also a natural reserve. It makes me happy to see all the Posidonia everywhere, and I wish people knew how important they are to our environment, improving water quality, giving shelter and food to fish and also for the sequestering of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere through the ocean. But yes, trying not to harm them makes anchoring a little more difficult sometimes.

After that, we sailed back to Ibiza, having a lot more wind than expected after a while and it increased very much as we were passing in between the two islands of Vedrá and Vedranell and Ibiza. But as we made it around the corner it just completely died, very weird. So we anchored at Cala D’Hort and went for a walk to see the views:

When we got back, the wind had really picked up and gone around the corner, causing the anchorage to become very unsheltered. We took a quick decision and moved up to Cala Vadella once again, this time arriving after sunset so we grabbed a buoy and layed out a kedge anchor.

The next day we sailed up to Sant Antoni and there we actually came across Ben from Bora Bora again as he was just anchoring! He was so kind and offered us the possibility to come and shower and do laundry at one of his friends hotel apartments nearby! What a treat! A real shower for the first time in a while! (We have a camping shower that we use after swimming, so we’re not THAT dirty 😁)

Before that, we took the dinghy in to town, went to a really nice restaurant and continued on our hunt for gas (propane/butane). Finally we were lucky and able to buy a bottle, and a new regulator/connection to be able to use it. We have been looking to fill up our old (one empty and one almost empty) bottles, but as it seemed impossible we tried to buy a new one. Earlier we only got the answer that they would trade them and not sell them, so we were so happy when we finally got one. Being without gas would not be good…

We sailed on the next day (not being really big town fans), after some grocerie shopping, and had great wind, no wind and too much wind, in just over two hours! So that was yesterday, and our current anchorage is Port de San Miguel. It’s quite touristy on one side, with big hotels and a resort on a small island, but on the other side of the cala there’s a forest with hiking paths and great views and also a small cave. 

The cala has high rocky sides and seems sheltered, but wind swirls around in here coming from different directions. It’s much calmer in here than the prognosis said it would be, so we’re still happy! We dove to check the anchors yesterday and today again, looks good! We also snorkelled around for a while, saw lots of fish, sea urchins and an octopus!!! It was quite big and changing color as we watched it, so cool!

One more night is to be spent here and then we are moving on to what might be our last anchorage in Ibiza, as we might leave for Mallorca after that. But we’ll see!

Action in the anchorage

We were anchored in Cala Sardinera tonight all alone and slept very well, except waking up once in the middle of the night when Joel thinks there was another sailboat anchored with people outside shining flashlights…

Today we hoisted Joel in the mast, hoping we could solve the problem with our slamming cables by removing some unused ones. After he loosened them at the top we could start removing them from further down.

The wind had been constantly picking up and gusting around 20 knots sometimes when he was up there. Shortly after we were done there were many boats coming in to the cala to anchor, mostly small motorboats. We could see a few of them having problems getting their anchors to set and they were dragging around a bit. One couple in a boat headed for our anchor ball (a bit larger than a tennis ball, so we – and others, can see where our anchor is) with their “hook stick” ready to pick it up as a mooring. We shouted at them several times and right before they picked it up they realized what we were on about and left it!

Just a few minutes after that, a larger motorboat arrived and dropped the anchor not too far in front of us. They proceeded right away to throw in a second anchor at the stern, but that didn’t help them very much. We watched as they tried it over and over, dragged towards us, ran over our anchor ball several times and then just past us and nearly hit another boat (actually the one that tried to moor at our ball 😁).

On their next attempt they were dragging rapidly straight towards us, the skipper being occupied with tying the stern anchor line. Joel shouted loud and angrily at them but they didn’t seem very concerned. I went up front prepared to fend them off, so when they hit we didn’t put a hole in their side, and they slid to our starboard side. As they passed they still had the anchor dragging so of course they caught our chain and smashed into our side. We were prepared with some fenders so nothing was damaged! There were six people on board but none of them really seemed to know what to do and they didn’t understand what we were saying. I was telling the skipper to move forward so we could get less tension on the chain, but we managed anyway to lift it up high enough to get a hold of their anchor and unhitch it! They thanked us and then quickly drove away…

By that time the wind gusts were around 25 knots and more and more boats left. In the end we were all alone again, pretty confident that our anchor would hold as the gusts hit 30! Seriously pumped with adrenaline though.

We saw another anchorage further in that was still very crowded, so probably more sheltered, but we held out. 

It calmed down a little bit so we went ashore with the dogs for a walk before we left to the other side of the bay because the wind was turning. Now we are moored at a bouy east of the marina of Jávea, but not sure if we’ll stay because it’s quite rolly…