Sunday 4 August 2019

Where the wind blows and the rich and famous go!

Friday 5th July to Monday 7th July 2019

After our visit to Puerto de San Miguel we headed back to Sant Antoni for fuel, water and supplies. We only stayed one night as we really wanted to press on and see more of the island. 

We planned to go back up the north coast to Cala Xarraca, Portinax and if the weather was on our side, head round to the east side for a few days.

We left Sant Antonio marina early afternoon after filling up with fuel.  This was an interesting experience!  Five young men working at the fuelling station and not one of them had a clue what to do.  Not known for my patience when itching to get on, after waiting a few minutes for one of them to take control,  I took over and gave them instructions on what to do.  It was quite funny really as they then all had that look of when your mum is on the war path. Still, we got our fuel and left as two Spanish boats fought over our space with the five young men reverting back to type and gormlessly watching the fracas.

We headed up the west coast to Cala Xarraca with the wind on our nose, so we had to motor all the way.  It took about 3 hours and whilst the scenery was as beautiful as ever, it was the third time of seeing it.

Cala Xarraca
The weather forecast for the weekend was not too good, with strong southerly winds forecast for Saturday and Sunday night, followed by strong northerly winds.  This is why Mark had chosen Cala Xarraca as it's a large bay with plenty of room so if the winds did come the boats wouldn’t be on  top of each other if anyone dragged.  

When we  dropped our anchor Mark tied our newly purchased anchor ball to it so that we could see where we had anchored.  Unfortunately he had underestimated the depth and the rope was too short so with snorkel and mask, he had to go and find it.  He did a brilliant job of finding it and then retying it whilst under water.  I played the part of the concerned wife, watching his every move in case he got in to trouble or worse still one of the locals came speeding in and didn’t see him.  Job done, a well earnt beer or two was in order.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day with hardly any wind. It was hard to believe that we were due winds of 30 knots in the gusts. 

Upbeat's new bottom!
It was a day for doing odd jobs and we spent part of the day painting the inside bottom of Upbeat as it had started to wear badly.  It was also a great day for swimming and people watching.  It was hot work painting the dinghy even though we had sunshade up (part of my mum's old gazebo) and as the water was so warm and inviting we had quite a few swims.

As for people watching, oh boy, what a day.

First there was a three mast yacht arrived which was absolutely huge.  Binoculars out to check the name, which was EOS.  Quick look on the internet to find out who owns it.  Turns out it is one of the largest privately owned sailing yachts, owned by Barry Diller, husband of Diane Von Furstenberg, a name very familiar to me as my girls love her designs.  

They left late afternoon.  Watching a yacht of that size glide out of the cala, like a swan on a lake, it was a truly awesome sight.

Yacht Africa
As we were having dinner in the cockpit a big superyacht arrives. Out with the binoculars and its yacht Africa.  Being one for trashy gossip on the internet, I’d seen photos of this yacht earlier in the week as it was being rented by Cristiano Ronaldo.  

Ten minutes later, who should come flying past Offbeat in their speedboat but the man himself.  Nearly spilt my wine with excitement. As you can imagine, Mr P was not as impressed!

Excitement over, the weather changed and the winds arrived about 22:00 and boy were those gusts strong.

We had already done our prep on deck, stowing the dinghy and making sure everything was tied down, taking the sunshades down and clearing the cockpit.  We had an escape route planned if needed and Mark had done all the necessary battery, engine and fuel checks.

Sunset in Cala Xarraca

I tried sleeping but just couldn't. I wasn't scared, I just don’t like the noise of the wind howling around the boat, the halyards clanging against the mast and strange noises.  It makes me anxious, mainly because it's dark and you can't see what's going on. 

The peak of the wind came at about 02:00. By this time I was on the bunk in the saloon and Mark was on the other one on anchor watch.

Weather watch
Thankfully by 06:00 the wind started to subside and calm down.  Mark checked the weather to see what the actual gusts were, they peaked at 36 knots – Force 8.  Worst news was, they were forecast again for Sunday night, but stronger!

Sunday was a bit of a lazy day, but we did do a few jobs like sorting out the foredeck shade so it hangs properly and sanding down the dinghy seats as they were weathered by the salt and sun. I also kept an eye on the anchor ball, which seemed to take on a life of it’s own and constantly wanted to dance with Offbeat.  At one point we had to put the engine on and reverse back from it as, when my back was turned, Offbeat had crept over to it and the ball and rope were was dangerously close to wrapping themselves round the rudder or propeller.  It was like watching over a 2 year old, bloody exhausting!

As for the weather,  I must have checked the forecast umpteen times, hoping that I would see a miracle and the strong winds forecast had disappeared.  But no, they still said gusts of up to 50 knots, which is Force 10.  It was definitely a waiting game, compounded by the cloud and humidity that came on in the afternoon. 

Tug boat Annie
By evening the sun, stress and humidity seemed to have got to some of the skippers around us.  A big tug boat that was moored a fair way away from anybody decides to up anchor and re-anchor within a boat length of the yacht next to us.  After a heated exchange between the two captains, the yacht next to us ups anchor and moves away.

Okay, drama over, there's enough space again between us all and plenty of room in the cala itself.  Sorted. No! A Spanish catamaran turns up at sunset and decides to anchor way too close to us.  I think this may have tipped Mark over the edge as he used every Spanish swear word he's ever learnt. And still they didn't move!

By now we were done in so we headed for bed to wait for the winds to turn up and see what the night would bring.

Nothing! The strong winds that were predicted never appeared.  We woke a few times in the night, expecting to hear howling winds, but nothing.

As strong northerlies were predicted, followed by westerlies, we upped anchor and headed off to the east side of the island.

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