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Namani at Sea
The travels of Nana, Markus and Nick aboard Namani
Balearics - Menorca to Mallorca and Ibiza, with Nicky's 4th Birthday
04-Oct-2007, Ibiza

We have moved quickly through the Balearic islands but have had a lot of luck in finding beautiful and uncrowded anchorages. Leaving Mahon, we sailed a short distance along the south coast of Menorca to Calas Covas, an undeveloped cove surrounded by cliffs pocked with natural and man-made caves. There, we practiced an anchoring technique new to us - dropping anchors (bow and stern) parallel to our friends in Arearea and rafting up alongside each other. This meant we had 4 anchors to set and later to raise but it worked ideally for us. We could hand the boys across the railing to each other so they could play on either boat, and step across to share dinner or drinks. Under us was clear, turquoise water and there were only two other boats in the cove (a small cove, but very popular, even in the off season). The weather took a slight turn for the worse with clouds blocking the sun occasionally but we took little notice during the two beautiful days we spent there.

We did, however, notice the poor weather on our long leg south to Mallorca: the skies were dark and some showers fell during the day, while temperatures dropped significantly. We wore our foul weather gear for the first time in this trip. The worst, however, was the large swell coming from the beam, which made Namani's motion very uncomfortable. It was a day of light eating for us to stay on the safe side (we haven't been seasick at any point in our trip and want to keep it that way). I know we will see worse waves at some point in our trip but we will do our best to avoid them if we can!

It was with relief, therefore, that we reached Mallorca's southeast coast and Cala Magraner where we again anchored side by side with Arearea. This cove reminded us that for all its development, Mallorca also has its gorgeous corners where nature and peace reign. We were the only boats anchored there overnight when the full moon threw enough light for us to see the sand under the shallow water beneath our keels. We stayed for 2 (freezing cold) nights in this cala and it was here that Nicky celebrated his fourth birthday. Presents in the morning (lego and more lego) were followed by a picnic birthday party on the beach, celebrated with our friends from Arearea. It was a wonderful birthday despite the cool temperatures and overcast sky.

After two nights there, we had a nice, sunny sail south (this time over smooth seas) to the island of Cabrera, a protected natural park off Mallorca. Boats may tie up for free at one of the mooring buoys set in the well protected bay of Cabrera but must secure permission to do so ahead of time (we faxed ours through in Mahon). There are only a few park buildings on the island which is otherwise wild. We hiked up to the 14th century castle guarding the bay and enjoyed the afternoon at a sandy beach at Cabrera. After a full and fun day, we then left Cabrera in the evening for the overnight 70 mile trip to Ibiza which we reached without incident (and without wind; it was all motoring).

Ibiza is green and hilly and we have seen nothing of the club scene the island is known for. We bussed to the north of this small island where we enjoyed a little walk through a lovely pine park area. A burro came running up to us out of the bushes but he proved to be just another friendly Balearic native!

We had planned to be anchored off Formentera together by now but foul weather has again kept us waiting. It is very rainy and cool so we might spend a few extra days in Ibiza - all very nice except for our October 15th deadline to reach Gibraltar by (that is the date set for the flotilla we will cross the Atlantic with). We have a buffer built into our schedule but if the weather doesn't improve within a few days we might have to grit our teeth and make a dash westward. We would prefer to break up the 500 mile distance into 2 sections - well, time will tell! In the meantime, we are doing a few projects to further prepare the boat for the Atlantic while Nicky and Dante complete their important Lego and Playdough projects. Next update will be from Gibraltar - hopefully sooner rather than later!

01 - Mediterranean
Von Tunesien nach Menorca
21-Sep-2007, Mahon, Menorca

An unserem zweiten Tag in Bizerte/Tunesien machte neben uns Arearea, eine amerikanische Yacht mit zwei kleinen Jungs (2 Jahre und 5 Monate) an Bord fest (die Eltern waren natuerlich auch dabei). Seitdem hat Nicky mit Dante (dem 2-Jaehrigen) einen Spielkameraden, und er darf zur Abwechslung mal der "Grosse" sein.

Am 15. September (Samstag) wies der Wetterbericht ein guenstiges Wetter-/Windfenster fuer einen Schlag Richtung Nordwest aus, und wir haben uns gemeinsam mit Arearea auf den Weg nach Menorca gemacht (ca. 310 Seemeilen). Da ab Dienstagnachmittag ein kraeftiger Mistral (Boeen bis Bf 10 im Golf von Lyon) das Segeln zwischen Sardinien und den Balearen ungemuetlich machen sollte, hatten wir uns an der Suedwestspitze Sardiniens einen Ausweichhafen ausgeguckt. Beim Passieren von 8� oestlicher Laenge lagen wir aber noch gut in der Zeit und der Wetterbericht blieb auch konstant, so dass wir uns gegen Sonntagmittag entschlossen, den Kurs Richtung Mahon auf Menorca beizubehalten. Wir hatten dann auch herrliche Segelbedingungen und machten ueber weite Strecken 6 Knoten am Wind bei flacher See (nur der Erfolg beim Fischen blieb nach wie vor aus). Lediglich ca. 45 Seemeilen vor Menorca mussten wir in der Nacht zum Dienstag nochmal die Luft anhalten, als wir durch ein kleines Rudel von Gewittern mussten (wohl Teil einer schwachen Kaltfront). Am Diensatgmorgen haben wir dann gegen 0730h die La Mola am Eingang zu Mahon passiert. Es ist unser dritter Aufenthalt in Mahon (nach 2004 und 2006) und die Einfahrt in diesen Hafen ist nach wie vor beeindruckend. Arearea war bereits kurz nach Mitternacht angekommen, und am Dienstagmittag konnte Nicky dann endlich wieder mit Dante spielen. Wir sind froh, dass wir direkt bis nach Menorca (ohne Zwischenstopp in Sardinien) segeln konnten, da uns das fuer den weiteren Weg bis Gibraltar ca. eine Woche Zeit gewinnt (in Sardinien haetten wir wegen der Mistralnachwirkungen vermutl. noch bis Ende dieser Woche festgesessen). Da Arearea auch Richtung Westen unterwegs ist, planen wir die naechste Zeit noch im Tandem zu Segeln. Damit kann Nicky am 27. September sogar eine richtige kleine Geburtstagsparty feiern (vorauss. auf Cabrera)!

Bis dahin werden wir die (inzwischen wieder angewachsene) To-do Liste fuer Namani wieder verkuerzen und geniessen die Zeit in Mahon. Da die Hauptsaison inzwischen vorbei ist, ist es angenehm ruhig hier. Inzwischen sind auch die Naechte wieder kuehler (aus deutscher Sicht nach diesem Sommer vermutlich immer noch tropisch...). Nach aktueller Planung (und bei kooperativem Wetter) werden wir am Sonntag hier auslaufen, dann 2-3 Naechte auf Menorca und Mallorca ankern und anschliessend 2 Naechte in Cabrera verbringen, bevor es Richtung Ibiza weitergeht. Naechster Update voraussichtlich von dort - stay tuned...

01 - Mediterranean
From Malta to Tunisia and Menorca
21-Sep-2007, Mahon, Menorca

From Malta it was a two day trip west to Tunisia. After one day, we passed the island of Pantelleria, sadly without stopping. It is amazing that even with a year off to sail, we still can feel rushed sometimes; right now, the clock is ticking as we look west to reaching Gibraltar on schedule to cross the Atlantic. Pantelleria is green and lush, more like a South Pacific island than the dry, barren islands we have seen so far. I will add it to my list of "somedays"!

After one brief visit by dolphins, we arrived at the Tunisian port of Bizerte where we stayed for five days. We could feel that it is now September as the yacht harbor has plenty of space and the evenings are a little cooler. Bizerte is a Jekyll and Hyde town with a modern section (with several excellent, French-style patisseries) and an old town (Medina) that is right out of an Ali Baba story. The Medina's high fortifying walls have only one entrance, leading you to a car-free enclave of narrow, winding streets marked by overhead archways and dotted with playing children. The old port is full of colorful fishing boats and only one shop selling postcards, reflecting the overall lack of tourists - great!

In Bizerte, a 40 foot boat pulled in next to us in the marina and we were delighted to see that they had a young boy aboard. Sarah and Sven from the US are sailing with their sons Dante (2) and Amery (5 months) aboard Arearea. We spent a fun afternoon on the beach together and Nicky loved being the big kid to little Dante, showing him the best way (Nicky's opinion) to dig sand, etc. They are also heading west so we decided to sail in company from Tunisia.

It was difficult to decide what to do as we were all eager to reach Menorca, a distance of 300 miles. However, the long term weather forecast called for a strong Mistral building which could send a Force 9-10 storm right into our path. We could make it to Menorca before the storm if we made good time, but only just. We decided to start the trip and after 60 miles decide whether to continue or whether to turn off to Sardinia. After one day at sea, we were indeed making good progress so we radioed each other and agreed to continue to Menorca. For us it was a trip of 2 half days, 2 full days, and 2 nights, during which time we once again failed miserably to catch any fish. We had a long, beautiful stretch during which we were sailing fast over perfectly smooth seas, a rare combination. The last night was a bit stressful as the forecast storm moved forward and again it was a race to reach port. Massive lightning storms lit up the sky but missed us by a few miles, so we pulled into Mahon on Menorca without any trouble.

Sven and Sarah had already made it in the night before and we quickly found them. Nicky and Dante were soon playing on Arearea and talking about finding another beach. Meanwhile, clouds and high winds passed practically unnoticed over us in this well protected harbor. It is a great relief to arrive here and be well on schedule with time to rest (a full night's sleep on a boat that didn't move - such a treat!), look around, and (once again) fix things before having to study the next weather forecast. It was great to make the passage with Sven and Sarah in earshot and to have a playmate for Nicky, so we plan to stay together for the next week or so. Hola, Menorca!

01 - Mediterranean

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