So after five weeks at sea the obvious thing to do in your down time would be to go sailing !
Great plan - dodge the bad weather systems plus the tail end of a hurricane that has been sinking container ships in the Bahamas and sail for the Balearic Islands again.
So we dusted off the throttle lever , lit the candle inside of the chart plotter and at mid day we slipped our lines to head for Majorca in the brief weather window that we had.
I wish somebody would stop me at times , so many people we bump into are incredulous that we sail in the " winter " months , we hear stories of doom and gloom and the vision of dads army the TV series pops into my head - where that grumpy old scots man Frasier says " your all doomed- your all doomed " in his heavy Scottish accent.
Anyways I took some video of the crossing , it was as flat as a witches tit , barely a ripple on the water as the sun set , that was right up until 03.00 when the wind slowly shifted 180 degrees and the shitty forecast for the following day started 18 hours earlier than predicted.
By sun rise we had spent three hours with 25 knots gusting 35 on the beam of the boat, in seas that had gone from mill pond to Surf quicker than imaginable.
I had dropped the mainsail completely as the dog was laid on his back whimpering in the lower saloon completely unable to stand up as the boat was jolted from waves impacting on our beam. we were now sailing with just the jib and mizzen sail which was still giving us a controlled 5/6 knots of speed , the waves with breaking crests occasionally dumped cold night water into the cockpit which is the first time since crossing Biscay that's happened.
The bio luminescent jelly fish were the only lights we were to see before the sun started to rise and the outline of mount Puig Major the highest point of Majorca was finally visible.
I was pretty relieved to finally drop sail in the entrance to Soller , even more relieved to see that the anchorage was fairly empty , just two catamarans in here to share the space with , unlike summer when we virtually anchored outside the harbour.
The forecast for the next few days has gone from "hmm that's good hot enough to get some epoxy on and paint the deck" to "oh best put the covers up to keep the rain out".
We bumped into Pete and Roo from Bonnie Lass , they own and operate a beautifully restored old fishing boat here that is used for tourist charter work, we owe them a beer from our last visit to Soller - damn now I will need to take them to a pub !
I don't think the solar panels will be of much use over the next few days but the wind generator is working its ass off - it pays to spread your options even in the med !
Also When we fitted the new engine we also updated a lot of the other systems, amongst them was a larger inverter which is now permanently wired to the ships battery's and works all the sockets on board the yacht - maximum load is 400 watts which stops it working non essential shit like coffee machines, hair driers and curling tongs - It does however work the TV, the play station and charge my I pad which has a combined load far less than 400 watts - and much better for the environment ! - ha ha - how convenient.
Ideal for a rainy day , mug of tea made on the gas cooker ( inverter won't run the coffe machine and I rarely drink coffee remember ) a packet of ginger nuts brought over in a welfare package from the UK and call of duty on the PS 3, mean while outside the wind is howling and the rain is running down the port holes , the electronic anchor watch is on and
I'm settled in for the long haul , there's still 9 fray bentos pies to be eaten , 4 tins of prunes and a box of croutons.
On a different note :
I have been thinking about sinking some roots into the ground again and have even gone so far as getting valuations from brokers for the boat to see what she's worth.
I was once a "normal person" with a mortgage and a nine to five job , I once sat in traffic queues for hours just to get to work, after so many reclusive years can I return to civilisation or would I end up like a bear in a cage pacing back and forth day after day ?
Armed with the information I have been looking at properties maybe as investment maybe to live in, but I know I have to formulate a plan for the future , oil prices are still dropping and jobs in my industry are swiftly disappearing.
We were pleased to meet some new friends while out sailing , I guess because many birds are moving south for the winter, it should be no surprise to see the odd hitch hiker, this one which I think is a gold finch ? Any twitchers know ? Stayed with us for hours and was really friendly bordering on tame.
The weather has remained pretty good , so much so that we managed to get some painting done , Andrea being my favourite crew (not much competition ) was allowed loose with a paint brush but insisted on talking continuously (like most women ) so whilst both her hands were full I fixed the issue !