The Excellent Adventures of Island Girl: Port Andrax

I have just realised how long it is since I have updates our blog. My only excuse is way too much happening and too much to see to sit at the computer. And even though we have lots of stretches in between stops I don’t quite like writing in big swells.

So from Ibiza we headed to Port Andrax. This was another 8 hour delivery but during daylight fortunately. Our crewmate Sharon had built this up to be the highlight of her stay with us and she was not far wrong. We stayed at the Yacht Club with a beautiful pool. It was rather hot so we tended to start and finish the day with a swim. The town is on old fishing port and there are still many fishing vessels that go out daily. Although we cannot figure out what they catch as we have decided that there are absolutely no fish in the Med.

The shoreline is wall-to-wall restaurants and the atmosphere is relaxed. Sharon had some friends staying there in their villa and we took advantage of the use of a car to re stock the boat. Drinking water is the hardest thing to keep up with as it is so heavy to lug back to the boat. The shopping was also great and yes I was tempted and succumbed to a few purchases. My grand daughters will look gorgeous as always in their matching dresses.

Next stop was supposed to be Puerto Portals but there was not room at the inn – well marina actually but inn sounds better. They did offer to let us stay on the fuel wharf for over 200 Euros. How very generous. We politely declined the offer. Part of our problem is that we do not have access to the dinghy at this stage as we do not have a bracket on the back of the boat for the motor. This means we would have to empty the fuel tank every time we put the motor away.  We are working on that issue as staying at marinas all the time really eats into the budget.  And I also do prefer to anchor when possible. So we continued to Palma. We stayed at the Real Club de Nautico where James has raced on several occasions. What an amazing club and the junior fleets appear to be thriving. There were Optis and 420’s out training every day.

The town is beautiful and we had a great time exploring the old town. I was particularly happy when I found a hairdresser that could touch up my colour on the spot. I sent James to the pub and an hour later I felt like a new woman.  It was now time to say goodbye to Sharon for a few weeks and hello to the whole Stewart clan. We were now seven on the boat and I have to say yes it was crowded but we coped just fine. We were a little unsure if Ossie would be allowed in the club as back at the 1992 Olympics he eliminated the King from the games and then went on to win Bronze. Next stop Menorca.

Menorca is the smaller Island to the East of Mallorca and we were heading for Mahon. There we were to meet Ossie's sister Fiona and husband Charles. It is great to get some time off the boat, especially when invited into people’s homes when away for so long and Fiona and Charles were awesome hosts. There was a very lively game of pool volleyball involved as well as loads of food and drink. We also got to see a bit of the countryside.

The thing that strikes me is the difference between the landscape of mainland Spain and that of the islands. The mainland is barren rock while the islands are all lush and green – and very white. I think that is the only colour paint you can buy in the shops as every house is glaring white. A very nice couple of days spent at Mahon and then it was on to Palencia to check out the Flying Fifteen European Championship. We stopped for a night at anchor in a beautiful bay on the way and yes we did finally get out the dinghy.  
After much snorkeling (no where near as good as our Great Barrier Reef) we headed in to shore to taste the local brew. I had been telling Os and Karen how wonderful it was to spend a night at anchor. How quiet and peaceful etc etc etc. This was to be their first night at anchor ever. Well of course the seas turned angry and we rocked and rolled all night with the GPS anchor watch alarm going all night. So how often have you heard “oh but the weather is never like this normally” at a regatta. I did try to explain the same thing but I don’t think they are keen to try again for a while.

As we approached Panencia we briefly stopped and watched a race of the Flying Fifteens and then headed to our berth at the yacht club. It is funny when cruising in close waters that you tend to meet the same people. It is really a tight knit community. This was no exception at Palencia. We have also discovered that flying the ARC flag that denotes that the boat is doing the race from the Canaries to the Caribbean is a magnet for other cruising boats to stop by. Please note that I said “the boat” is doing the ARC as there is no way I will be on board. I am very happy to wave goodbye at that point.

– Marita Wilmot

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