Emerald Tales

Currently in Portugal after 7 years in the Mediterranean

23 February 2024 | Porto Santo
22 January 2024 | Madeira
15 December 2023 | Porto Santo
13 October 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2023 | Porto Santo
09 August 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
28 July 2023 | Porto Santo, Madeira
23 June 2023 | Porto Santo
15 January 2023 | Porto Santo
15 September 2022 | Porto Santo
19 August 2022 | Porto Santo
29 July 2022 | Porto Santo, Madeira
02 October 2021 | Faro, Portugal
06 June 2021 | Alcoutim

These feet were made for walking

17 July 2014 | Alcudia Bay, Mallorca
Nichola / sun and mostly north winds
Since we left Santa Ponsa a little over 2 weeks ago we'd been moving on every day or every other day. Sometimes to move to a better place for weather, sometimes to top up on supplies, other times just to see somewhere new. Coupled with more than enough rolly nights with little sleep we were feeling a bit worn out when we arrived at Alcudia. Since then a week of stress free anchoring and roll free nights has restored our energies.

We haven't just been sitting around though as there is plenty to do around here.

Our first BBQ of the season using the charcoal that travelled all the way around the UK

First on the list was a visit to Alcudia itself, the old town rather than the resort and port of Alcudia off where we were anchored. A half hour walk brought us to the town where we could walk atop the ancient walls which gave us good views of the surrounding hills and into Pollença Bay, wander the narrow streets and visit the Roman remains of Pollentia where archeologists were slowly unearthing more artifacts - we watched as a team slowly and painstakingly uncovered a skeleton. Only 5% has been uncovered so far - houses, a forum and temple area and an ampitheatre. The small museum (€3 to visit the site and the museum) contains some amazing finds such as bronze heads and gold jewellry and shows how the excavated areas would have looked. After all the wandering we restored our energy with coffee and baked cheesecake in one of the many cafes.

Hoopoe bird kindly sitting on track and my attempts to photograph it flying!

The next day myself and Angelique took a walk up to the hill topped with masts behind the resort. The tourist office had given us a booklet of walks and there was one which would take us to the top of the 250m high hill for good views around the bay. We started off making a massive loop around the resort in an attempt to avoid walking down a busy road and added on an extra mile or so before we'd even got going. Then we discovered the directions in the booklet were pretty vague directing us to go along a named country lane but finding there weren't any road names and that some of the lanes were just tracks. Somehow we ended up in the right place. Then it all got a bit unpleasant as we were directed to walk along the edge of a busy main road and negociate a roundabout before gratefully turning off onto a country track. It had clouded over a little making the day a bit cooler but it was still lovely to get under the shade of the forest, especially as the route now went up! So far we'd done 8 miles and still hadn't got the hard bit done, we were also worried that the timings given in the book were for cycling and we'd still got a loooong way to go. As it turned out the timings were for walking and within 30 minutes we were up at the top and enjoying the views. Back down the same way, more forest where a hoopoe bird gave me so many chances to photograph it flying but none were any good. It would fly a few metres down the path, land and peck about whilst we caught up, fy off a few metres and repeat. Then a closed up cave (due to risk of landslides so the sign said!) and back into the maze of hotels and tourist tat shops that is Alcudia resort. A total of 11 miles walked and all in the midday sun!

Panoramic from the top of the hill

The next day was much easier. Having discovered a Lidl and stocked up on cheddar cheese (sorry Spain but your cheese is very bland for us two cheese monsters) the other day we headed back for a few more goodies such as ice cream for the freezer now we have a bit of space and mini poppadoms and chappatis - curry for tea!

On Monday we decided to put trust in the booklet of walks again, this time to go to the Parc de l'Albufera, a wetland wildlife area on the eastern end of Alcudia. The booklet said 4km from Alcudia; as we were starting from the marina we reckoned 3.5km should get us there. 5km later having trudged past identikit hotels we still weren't there. A bus stop map showed us not too far now, when we arrived we'd done 5.5km already, still had the park to walk around and get back.

After registering at the reception area we were given a map with a number of marked trails. We straight said 'no' to the 11.5km trail and decided to keep to the shorter routes. A young duck was ignoring the 'don't feed the ducks' sign and giving me the sad eyes as I sat and ate my sarnie. Sorry ducky! The first trail was tree lined with ponds and rivers either side. We couldn't see the water as the reeds were too overgrown but we could hear the birds squawking and frogs croaking. Walking along in the shade of the tree canopy, surrounded by familar trees and bushes such as blackberry and hawthorn, it felt like a walk in the English countryside. We came across a hide and crept inside, lifting up a viewing hole to find the shallow lake had dried out in the summer sun. On to a different area, this one with a few pools of water that hadn't dried out. Besides ducks, coots and white egrets we saw two new birds to us - a black legged stilt and a purple garuche that I hadn't even heard of before. Before we left we walked to a high viewing tower to look out over the landscape of rivers and reeds blowing in the breeze.

nature park

Hmmmm, the breeze actually felt quite strong. Mild worry set in about Emerald and on leaving the park and looking at the sea we saw lots of white horses rolling in. We felt sure Pimentao would let us know of problems but a quick text to them reassured us all was well with Emerald. The walk back brought us to a total of 12 miles walked today.

Monday afternoon Gilly and John on Riverdancer arrived and joined us for our first drinking out ashore night in Alcudia. It was quite difficult to find just a bar; everywhere seemed to be about food than just having a drink. We found a British-Irish bar with some offers on (cocktails) and passed the evening there.

Fire planes use the bay to fill up with water

It's not all been fun either! Emerald has been looking a bit neglected lately with the tea stain spreading further across her topsides and the stainless looking tarnished and rusty in places. Also our scuppers are good for draining water away, much better than the old deck drains, but it does mean the water runs down the hull leaving a streak of whatever dirt has covered the boat, recently mostly red sand. So Colin set to cleaning the hull and we both tackled the stainless. Emerald looks much more loved now!

Vessel Name: Emerald
Vessel Make/Model: Kelly Peterson 44
Hailing Port: No fixed abode
Crew: Colin 'Skip' Wright, Nichola Wright
About: One from Northern Ireland, one from Yorkshire, UK
Extra: Emerald has been our home since 2004. We've sailed around the UK, the western Baltic and have spent 7 years in the Med. We're currently in Portugal, planning a refit. Lot's more information about us and the boat can be found at www.yachtemerald.com
Home Page: https://www.yachtemerald.com/