Slow Sailing

26 May 2017 | Soller, Mallorca
06 May 2017 | San Antonio Harbor, Ibiza
24 April 2017 | Ibiza, Balearic Islands
02 April 2017 | Valencia, Spain
21 March 2017 | Brittany, France
22 February 2017 | England
03 February 2017 | Valencia, Spain
22 December 2016 | Vero Beach, Florida
23 October 2016 | Real Club Nautico, Valencia
07 October 2016 | Valencia, Spain
26 September 2016 | Valencia, Spain
18 September 2016 | Toulon, France
01 September 2016 | Corsica, France
24 August 2016 | Porto Turistico Di Roma
09 August 2016 | Underway to Rome
29 July 2016 | Thomas Bay, Malta
16 July 2016 | Siracusa, Sicily
08 July 2016 | Anti Paxos, Ionian
30 June 2016 | Paxi, Ionian Islands
16 June 2016 | Syros, Cyclades

We're Smarter With Our Smart Phone

26 May 2017 | Soller, Mallorca
Heather
All's well on Evergreen and we've made some tracks in the past couple weeks both on land and by boat. We're in Mallorca now! Another milestone in my mind as I have anticipated this island since my days at MGH working with a doc who actually fell in love with Mallorca and moved here permanently. Whenever I exclaim that we've finally made it to such & such a place, Jon gives me the quote from some movie: "Didn't I tell you I was going to show the world baby?"
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The weather has smoothed out and we are not running from one anchorage to another unless we want to. I think our boat is looking a little faded with all the sun it's had but we still can't help taking pictures of it in all the beautiful anchorages there are. Looking at it from way up high on a ridge line while hiking, it is just a speck at times and yet it holds so much of our life in there! And so much stuff... We always worry about it and can't wait to lay our eyes on it at the end of the day. I don't think we'll ever get over the time we came back to it in Australia one day and it had dragged all the way across the anchorage in between a dozen boats and almost up against a seawall but didn't have a scratch to show for it. Phew! You only get lucky so many times. And while we're away, the sun shines on our solar panels and tops off the batteries. Jon tried to get it set so that it would also heat our hot water with the extra but he is still trying to get the last part sorted. And now we are almost to the point where we don't need any hot water.
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The new Raymarine radar is the best we've ever had and works great. We were glad to have it on one foggy morning here when we didn't feel like waiting to move anchorages. Although the suncover falls off all the time. We decided that the packaging the radar came in is sturdier than the suncover is which is pretty sad when you think about it. It is now held on by rubber bands. And fortunately we have a good stock of them since they come on all the asparagus we buy everywhere. Can you OD on asparagus?! Love the produce here in Spain.
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We enjoyed the island of Ibiza and visited several more spots on it before jumping off to Mallorca. But I can now see the difference. The land in Mallorca is much more diverse and dramatic and the beach vacation atmosphere not as overwhelming. It took 4 sessions to clean our shag carpet bottom (picture included here in case you thought I was exaggerating), two of which were using tanks and we made ourselves completely ill with the combination of the effort to scrub and the rolling of the hull as we did it. I think I feel sick just writing about it. But, the fish life under the hull was great! On the day with the school of all the silvery ones I didn't have the camera but we are definitely seeing more in the water, perhaps because we're closer to the Atlantic, I don't know. Jon refilled the tanks with the new rebuilt compressor we got last season in Malta and it worked fine, so much better. Now if only the generator started better... it is always something. We are looking forward to doing some diving on our own here just to play around and see what there is. We are encouraged by all the dolphin we see now.
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On the night before we left Ibiza, we stayed in a beautiful anchorage at the north end of the island with great rock formations and a crazy cliff-side trail to an old tower. Then some new friends came in and anchored near us. Then the next day we had a fast sail to Palma with perfect wind... and a very clean bottom!

We anchored in a cala that is peaceful and calm by evening and morning, and then absolute mayhem misery by day! The cala had old Phoenician cave tombs with carvings and nice trails but people do their usual which is leave their own mark (and their TP) along with their initials in the cave walls which ruins it. We cannot figure out what it is in the Med where it is perfectly normal to just leave your TP all over and even to have to go in all these places. I honestly think people save up for it! I think more people should depend on Depends! And then there is the intensity of the beach scene. Its funny, I have seen more nudity this summer than I have in my whole career of nursing. I had to have some treatment to a sun spot on my face last week and they did photo dynamic therapy. Since there is so much natural light here, they just send you outside for 2 hrs to activate the chemical rather than use indoor light. So I'm walking around on the tourist beach where we're anchored for my 2 hour treatment time stepping over a carpet of bodies that are either chocolate brown or fire engine red depending on nationality. The dermatologist tells me that skin cancer has become an epidemic here and is a real problem. Huh, you don't say!
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We visited the city of Palma and decided to do it by bus and leave the boat safely anchored in the cala several miles away. We enjoyed walking around the city, had some great pizza for lunch and did what museums were open since it was Sunday. We couldn't get into the cathedral because it is closed on Sundays... The bus ride back was an adventure though! When we got on the bus we said we needed the last stop and the driver asked us if we knew the way. We laughed and joked with him thinking that was funny and sat down. Then once we got a ways out and there were just 4 of us left on the bus, it became clear that he actually DIDN'T know where to go- it was his first time ever doing this route and he'd had no training on where it even went or what roads were suited for his bus! It took forever for him to find where the other people needed to go and along the way, he bottomed out the bus twice on steep curvy hills! The bottom of the bus would scrape along the pavement until we backed up and he raised the bus up. And all with such a great sense of humor! This is a big, new city bus. Jon & I had already talked about how much smarter we are with our smart phone and this time it didn't let us down either because we had to direct the driver where to go using the phone because of course we had never been on any of these roads except for the drive in. It added an hour to our ride but when we finally got there I just about gave the driver a hug because I felt so bad for him and I was so glad to get off the bus!
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And then we started moving around to the north side of Mallorca, stopping at some fantastic places along the way and doing some great hikes. We use Open Street Map for trails and it works like a charm. It's amazing how many very old trails on are Mallorca. It feels good to log many zero dollar days and still have so much fun. I'm really enjoying the foliage here and all the flowers & birds. Dragonera Island sits at the NW corner of Mallorca and the whole thing is a park with old donkey paths for trails. The Eleonora's Falcon lives here part of the year. It winters in Madagascar, then comes back here to this island late summer to breed. It feeds on migrating birds that are passing through. I always find it amazing to know the distances that birds travel to avoid the cold. Didn't spot one but did see a baby gull which explained why the adults were standing around like sentinels everywhere you looked. Its breeding season now for them. Dragonera has 2 lighthouses and I read that in 1851 when they were built, they used a Fresnel lens and olive oil for fuel. The donkey paths were made to carry supplies to each end of the island for the families that ran the lighthouses.
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Because the weather has been so calm, we've had the opportunity to explore a few of the less protected spots including Peninsula Foradada and the tiny port of Deia. We'd met the man who organizes the Luxembourg Marathon on top of a mountain in Capri last year and he told us Deia was one of his favorite places. And I can see why, this whole area has beautiful scenery and amazing hiking on dry stone donkey paths, some dating back to the Moors. We spent our anniversary taking a lovely morning walk up the cliffs to a house museum called Son Marroig. It was the house of Archduke Ludwig Salvador from Austria who died in 1915. He had lived in Mallorca for years and was responsible for making a lot of the donkey paths in the immediate area and he kept his steamship in the same spot where we were anchored on the peninsula. In the afternoon, we moved 1 whole mile to another lovely spot in Deia Harbor and took another loop hike just talking taking in all the scenery. It is a favorite way to spend a day with my favorite person. And the Med has some of the most interesting ports we've ever been to.
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And now we're in the harbor of Soller, still on the north coast. It is a perfectly rounded harbor surrounded by mountains, the terracing of ancient olive groves and an under story of lemon & orange trees. There's an ice cream factory in town where we refuel after long hikes. Tomorrow we will take the old scenic train to Palma because the books say you shouldn't miss it. Someone we met said it is pretty slow- slow enough to pick flowers along the way! It will be good to give our legs a break for a day. We have more mountains to climb here.
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Going In Circles

06 May 2017 | San Antonio Harbor, Ibiza
Heather
We've been out cruising around Spain's Balearic Islands for 2 weeks now so I thought I would share some ramblings about how its been. And yesterday, for the first time in forever, we were screaming along at nearly 8kts sailing so it even qualifies for some space on Sailblogs for a change. It is still early-ish in the season and so I can only guess that is the reason for winds that do a 360 every few days. It keeps us moving from one anchorage to another to find the lee and keep away from the swell which can come from a different direction to make things interesting. Having a look at the GRIB weather files does nothing yet to explain where this swell comes from, it just visits. Nothing is very strong or big, it is just that we don't feel like being uncomfortable! And while it would seem that there is no time for grass to grow under our keel, we have a velvet carpet of green on the bottom and it takes about 20 strokes of the corner of the brush to get it to come off one little spot. We did another round yesterday in gorgeous, clear water but have a long way to go to be finished. We hope that since we put 25 liters of paint on last year, we can scrub off the carpet and expose a fresh surface. It's so nice to see fish enjoying the shadow of our keel in all the anchorages and we had a dolphin visit yesterday but it didn't stay. We've always maintained that the clearest water we've ever seen is in the Bahamas but actually this is just as clear, it is just that there's not much in it!
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We've been moving around the islands of Ibiza & Formentera as they were first in line from Valencia. Known for their summer party atmosphere, there are also a lot of beautiful calas (coves) with high rocky sides, some decent walking & biking, a small walled city on Ibiza and lots of beaches. And these actually have sand! We continue to find modern Mediterranean architecture pretty unattractive and the old stuff very beautiful and interesting. We enjoy walking along the ramparts and pretending we're in a Game Of Thrones episode. Since Europeans seem to love to walk, there are random & planned trails pretty much everywhere we go and lots of picturesque cliffside paths from every anchorage that offer spectacular views. And every cala has a cafe! On wooded trails we even ran into some friendly pigs and there is no shortage of fresh herbs, especially rosemary which smells nice baking on something in the oven. We did a great day of biking on Formentera Island, which is all laid out with numbered bike paths and sight seeing. The inland wildflower fields surrounded by the most stone walls I've ever seen were so pretty with all the poppies and the lonely lighthouse on the point was a great destination. We wanted to bike another day but we had to leave yesterday because of the wind shift. They also have large salt pans on Formentera that kind of stink and we always get a chuckle when we think of how all this stuff gets to the bottle that you buy in the store. It is like all the exotic spices of the spice islands laying on the ground in the sun next to the dusty road. There's bound to be some extras getting in there!
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One thing about cruising here is that there doesn't seem to be much cruising scene. There's no pack of boats headed one way with the seasons and the cruising boats that are out and about are all spread out. When we meet people they are invariably heading off someplace other than where we're going or just staying put. I think things will change when we get to Gibraltar late summer though as boats will be gathering for the Atlantic crossing. We did get a chance to rendezvous with Geoffrey & Julie right before we left Valencia but ever since then we have been pretty much on our own. They are the friends we met in Valencia who had us to their lovely thatched cottage in England.
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It is still early in the season so there is plenty of room in the anchorages & on the beaches but things are heating up. We've seen all manner of anatomy already since the general thought is you want all your bits evenly tanned here! I feel like I should be going around handing out Vanuatu nambas! In the harbors, all of the tour boats smell of fresh paint and the restaurants & stores are getting set up for the masses. It has a festive feel but we're also a little scared of what it will be like in July & August when I think all of Europe is on vacation. We made out OK last summer but I don't think I have recovered from the Vatican museum crowds!
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It is 6 years ago this month that we quit our jobs for the fourth time to go sailing. We've seen more of the world from our deck than any other way and we have a lot of great memories. We do get a little antsy though if we feel limited by weather because we have gotten impatient in our old age. For example, this morning it was blowing 25 kts in our semi-protected anchorage and boats were dragging. We could see the holiday makers (as the cruising guide calls them) on shore walking off their hangovers on the promenade. We could just as well have had a hangover since we felt nauseous from all the motion of our bucking boat. We were joking to ourselves that they will be bummed out to leave this paradise and go back home but we will still be out here in the wind & waves "living the dream". It isn't all rum punches, at least not in our opinion; it can have its ups & downs. When the wind settled down and we got ashore Jon turned to me and said "people are having a really nice day here". Well yes, when you are not out in the harbor losing sleep with the roll, worrying about whether you are going to drag yourself or get creamed by another boat sliding by, you can have a nice day! We had a really nice afternoon strolling the seashore, people watching (rugby on the beach) and doing some errands in town. We actually found a new internet provider that has reasonable rates. And now it is a beautiful evening with no wind. I think we'll put umbrellas in our drinks tonight and look for the green flash. Life is good again.
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Let Summer Begin!

24 April 2017 | Ibiza, Balearic Islands
Heather
4/22
We are stocked up, the maintenance is done, rigging check done, radar is in, loose ends are tied up and we are leaving this slip to start exploring! After 7 months in Valencia, it is hard to say goodbye but at the same time, we are ready to move on & see new things. We're headed to Ibiza,in the Balearic Islands and are really looking forward to finally seeing them. Still part of Spain so we don't have to give up the Cava, jamon and all the other Spanish stuff we have grown to love.
Everyone has been so nice to us and we feel fortunate to have discovered this place so unexpectedly. When I went to pay the final marina bill, I found out that the marina gave us the last month free because they felt bad about the hassle we had with the theft and they wanted us to leave with good feelings! Well that is a nice feeling. We sold the old radar dome in the consignment shop here and you get the full amount to spend in the store. We thought oh great, there is nothing in this store we want and it always feels like we accumulate some pack years since the staff smokes non-stop. But it just so happened that the day we walked in, they were stocking up a new rack with Sea to Summit hiking gear so we ended up with new backpacking pillows, super light daypacks and tech towels. So that saved us from buying more boat chemicals that we don't need...
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We've never stayed in a place with so many bike paths and we came to do nearly everything on our bikes. Watching Spring fill in has been great because there are so many wildflowers. We rented countless cars by biking to & from the airport because the car rentals were ridiculously cheap- ($3.50/day was our record but $5 as second best isn't too shabby) and we could get there almost entirely on bike path. To break up the boat work recently, we rented one for a few days to head northwest to the town of Albarracin. Touted as one of the prettiest medieval villages in Spain, it sits in a little bowl of pinkish mountains and the village is beautiful with overhanging wooden balconies and a castle with a wall running up the hillside. In about the year 1010, it was actually a small Islamic state for 100 years. There were hiking paths to cave drawings, paths running along an old Roman aqueduct as well as along the river that runs through the city. The lilacs were blooming, both white & lavender and it made me think of you mom! It was the first place we've ever stayed that had the "uni-pillow"- one long pillow that runs the width of the bed to share- that's a new one for us! And when we went out to dinner, we got the common budget 3 course meal that includes wine & bread but this time, they put a bottle each of white & red on the table for you to have as much as you want! But then again, beer is the same as soda at McDonalds...
It has definitely warmed up a lot and the sun is out full on. It feels like summer except there is a cool breeze off the water.
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4/24
We made it! It was a long, easy 80 mile day to Ibiza yesterday with a dirty prop but we rolled into a beautiful anchorage just as the sun set and we have the place to ourselves, well except for the gulls. We saw lots of dolphin and the water was that gorgeous Mediterranean blue that I've been really missing these past few months. We got in the water today and cleaned the prop and know we have a lot more cleaning to do with our tanks on but we should gain a kt of boatspeed now! It is great to be cruising again.

Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Over the years, we've explored much of the Caribbean Sea & Atlantic East coast. In January 2012, we left the USA and headed for the Pacific. We visited the Galapagos, French Polynesia, Samoa, Cook Islands & Tonga before heading to New Zealand. We've enjoyed thousands of miles of beautiful sailing, [...]
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