Contrary to several assumptions we have not sailed off the edge of the
world, merely spent six months adjusting to life aboard with four. It’s
been a challenging time but now it’s a lot of fun and hugely rewarding.
Of course, like James we sometimes throw our toys out of the cot. But
after a few minutes cooling and thinking about what an opportunity
this is, for us, we pick up and start again.
A brief recap before the Balearics.
Bridge Farm, Wiltshire.
Bridge Farm was our home from September 06 – May 07. Although a time
of change it was a happy eight months. Bridge Farm’s previous owners
were expert gardeners. I waddled in the beautiful garden feeling like a
football as Jack urged me to play football. John worked with Dufour
yachts and started his own brokerage, John Rodriguez Yachts. James
was born on November 15th.
Jack attended a charming, traditional nursery school, Manor Farm, two
mornings a week and “performed” after a fashion, in the Easter
Concert, bunny ears and all. I think I went overboard on classes and
socialising but I felt I should pack it in, before I was cut adrift. Despite
being heavily pregnant or nursing a new born we entertained and were
entertained by friends: lunches, teas, suppers, dinners, parties …
My mother, “Gannie”, lived half a mile away so was on hand to help a
great deal, along with the Mr and Mrs Sparke without whom our world
would have stalled.
James was Christened, like John and James in Salisbury Cathedral.
Leaving Bridge Farm and settling onto the boat was one of the hardest
experiences John and I have undergone together. With a two year old
and a four month old baby it was far more high stress than packing our
homes and preparing to leave the UK on Moonshine in July 02. Staying
was by far the easiest option, however, when push came to shove, i.e.
comfort zone or sailing around the world we knew it is a one-off
opportunity for the Rodriguez family. There were numerous verbal
fisticuffs and second thoughts but with a lot of help from our friends
and my mother everything was packed and stored.
Just Do it.
Getting ourselves back to Seraphim was about not thinking about it.
We knew we wanted to return to cruising. We just had to extract
ourselves and do it. One step at a time. Focus on the next thing to do.
Clear up. Pack. Focus. Not thinking too much about how we were going
to do it. We’d learnt how to make it work with Jack, safely, happily
(mostly), and successfully. Now it was time to learn with James too. If
we’d thought too much about crossing the Atlantic, we would not have
done it. That does not mean we were not thoroughly researched and
safe, it meant we got on and did it. If we’d thought too much about
how we would live on board with a baby and toddler, we would not
have done it. And now six months on we have learnt how to cruise
with James too, safely, happily, (mostly) and successfully.
A Plug for Palm Air
This comfortingly old fashioned airline Palm Air flew us from
Bournemouth to Palma. The in flight magazine has biographies of the
air hostesses who really make an effort. In a poll it came Number 2 to
Singapore Airlines. Really recommend them.
Bridge Farm to The Botel
The BOTEL in ALCUDIAMAR, NORTH MALLORCA is an excellent three star
hotel masquerading as a four star spa. Alcudimar is the comparatively
upmarket marina complex next to Port Alcudia which is more pretty
down market. As with Cap D’Adge, (South of France, see previous
newsletter Cap D’Adge- Gibraltar), the old town a couple of kilometres
away is a captivating walled town. The Botel was our home for ten
days between Bridge Farm and Seraphim. It gave us the breathing space
to ease on board and calm our panic when four bulging boxes were
delivered by Trev’s Removals. They seemed to have doubled in size
since we packed them in the UK. Gradually the boxes emptied into the
boat although John’s elephant-in-the-corner took longer than mine. (!)
It is intriguing how a boat can open up and spaces be found. Re-finding
them is the problem. Detailed records must be kept. Our CD collection
is somewhere …
The BOTEL indoor pool gave Jack a great head start on his swimming.
Our beautiful sons’ angelic faces secured us an unofficial pass back into
the hotel pool. On windless days in the marina, with temperatures in
the 30s it was a lifesaver, almost literally.
From Lubberly to Shipshape-ish
As well as acclimatising to increasing heat, the boat with a two and a
half and six month old, my tummy to rival Mr Blobbys and
breastfeeding, we added a new cooker, a new fridge compressor,
water strainer, primary fuel filter for the engine and a litany of other
boat maintenance gremlins. It was a bumpy re-entry to life aboard.
A hire car at low season rates, with air conditioning gave us time out
from the fractious experience. Mallorca in May is pretty, pretty, pretty.
Wild flowers such as poppies grew in fields and on the road sides.
Combining working on the boat with family jaunts made a difficult task
do-able, very much what the summer has been about.
After a “scaredy” precipitous drive to the lighthouse at Cap Formentor
Jack was highly amused when John fed my banana to an over curious
local …. Since then whenever we read about goats they are referred to
as bad because it “ate Mummy’s nana”.
La Grandja, Esporles.
Our priorities like all new parents have changed. Out go galleries and
museums replaced by gardens and parks. (Our visit in July 05 to the
Musee D’Orsay in Paris with eight month Jack was our last attempt.) La
Granja had gardens, mini zoo and an 18th C house with “living”
museum where John and Jack practised “winding the bobbin up” in the
cloth rooms. Jack was a bit spooked by the bizarre giant chemistry set
in the perfumery.
Jack was intrigued by the water snakes skimming across the lily pads
and into the slimy water. And a taste of fresh orange juice from the
trees around him.
Since May 06 we have been more and more enchanted by Mallorca. It
has been compared with a “continent rather than simply an island. It’s
varied nature never fails to astonish whether you are looking for
landscape, culture or merely entertainment.” Even moaning Paul
Theroux couldn’t find fault here.
Winding through the mountains, the Tramontana is precipitous but awe
Whilst driving around we sometimes listened to Mallorca80, not
surprisingly hits from the 80s. One of the more surreal moments
occurred when I hopped out to have a quick look in an imposing 14th
Church. Leaving John howling along to “Careless Whispers”. I climbed
scores of steps to the magnificent facade. On entering George Michael
echo-ed “guilty feet have got no rhythm” around the scaffolding inside
the gutted Church. Workmen in yellow hats grinned down, gargoyles,
By the end of May Seraphim was shipshape. The hire car went back.
The landlubber life was receding. It was time to drop the lines.
Circumnavigation of Mallorca.
In the first week of June the crew of Seraphim were eager and ready to
set off on our circumnavigation of Mallorca. The Med has been
compared to a soup bowl slopping about, and it is. We had experienced
(endured) sailing in the soup bowl from the South of France down to
Gibraltar via the Balearics in 05, and in 06 from Gibraltar back to the
Balearics via the Costa del Sol. However, it was this summer when we
were truly frustrated by the bizarre weather within and around the
Balearics. Not just the peculiar systems around each island, but the
system around the Balearics, and then the larger Med plus invariably
swell from a storm hundreds of miles away- the Gulf de Leon (South of
France) is a frequent kicker. We know from comparing moans with
other sailors, both sail and power, that this year has been bad, but not
Nevertheless, we set off from Alcudia in the north motoring down the
east coast to breathtaking anchorages such as lunch in a little piece of
heaven Cala Magraner and an overnight in the Cala Mitjana, blissfully
empty in June. Last July it was tightly packed.
A surprisingly pretty stop was Cala Llonga the anchorage outside the
Marina and holiday resort of Cala D’or. Whilst waiting out bad weather
it had easy access to shops, water and fuel.
Cala Llonga was our first of many run ins with the tourist boats which
plough through anchorages regardless. The wake caused by their bully
boy tactics, deliberately driving in front rather than behind boats,
regularly made life uncomfortable in all the popular south east coat
Cala D’Or’s beach forty yards from our bow was always packed. A short
dinghy ride in the other direction was Cala Gran, an utterly lovely beach
used by residents of the surrounding upmarket villas with a few
In the usually well protected anchorage of Porto Petro, and contrary to
the forecast, we experienced gunwale to gunwale rolling. Feeling as if
we’d sailed the seven seas when we had ridden up and down at anchor
for twenty four hours, we chose the lesser of the two evils …. bashing
into the high seas with green water crashing over the spray hood. Jack
secure in his harness sat with his head into the wind. John was lurched
out of his bronzed hunk reclining pose while I sang “Old MacDonald”.
Jack thought it great fun and wanted to go again. James was asleep in
A hour up the coast in Porto Colom the “best natural harbour and
anchorage on Mallorca” all was flat calm. On 16th July 06 we had
watched the celebrations of the Virgen del Carmen, Our Lady of the
Sea, blessing the decorated boats parading round us.
After re-visiting enchanting Cala Mondrago with its numerous caves and
coves we bashed into the wind to Cabrera, a beautiful island in a
nature reserve twenty miles south of Mallorca. Our Cabrera permit
allowed us two specific days, weather (sic) or not.
A 14th century castle rises out of the rocky hills at the entrance to the
large anchorage, very romantic, stuff of King Arthur. (Similar to the
castle in Collioure, France with the hills of Provence behind.) Anchoring
is forbidden. Permitted boats pick up one of fifty buoys. The island is
renowned for the sea grass, the Posidonia oceanica meadow. Indeed
swimming in the water felt strangely energising. Our stay was too
short. Not so the 9,000 French prisoners interned here in the
Peninsular Wars, two thirds of whom died of disease and starvation. At
the outer end of our two permit-ed day, it was north to Palma.
By a fortunate happen stance, to our surprise and great chuffed-ness
we secured the last berth on the visitors pontoon at a marina ten
minutes walk from the middle of Palma. Having Cathedral-ed, tour bus-
ed (Jack’s obsession) and explored some of the historic district in the
comparative cool in the July heat we spent our two day stay enjoying
the swimming pool. Whilst there we secured a berth for the winter, a
feat considering many have been on the waiting list for years. Moy bien.
From Palma to the magnificent west coast passing two excellent
starters for Dragon stories. The first, Dragonera Island and further north
the intriguing Punta de la Foradada, a large almost circular hole in a
huge rock. In the 1870s when the Archduke of Austria was buying large
chunks of this area he commented, “The whole estate cost me as much
as the value of the hole in sa Fordada.” A strange sight indeed.
North West Coast.
On north along the ever more spectacular coast passing Michael
Douglas’ vast estate, s’Estaca, near Deia which he and Mrs Douglas II
share at different times of the year with Mrs Douglas I, Diandra. It was
Robert Graves who discovered Deia and made the magical area famous.
His home is now a museum.
The imposing Tramontana mountain range reaches down to the coast
along the north west coast. Whereas the south east coast has
numerous safe havens the north has only Soller. If conditions become
ugly quickly, which they do, it’s a hazardous run for shelter. Sudden
strong winds such as the “tramontana or mestral” turn the “entire
coastline into one long lee shore” With bad weather threatening and
time against us our stay in Soller was all too brief. The anchorage is
surrounded by hills which constantly changed with the light. I was
happy to sit and gaze however, my reverie was short lived, interrupted
by my precious sons playing on the deck.
On to the north along the rugged coastline passing the “Torrente de
Pareis”, a deep gorge opening into the sea, another intake on this
breathtaking coast. From the Torrent a twisting road leads 8 miles
inland to the monastery at Lluc. Seraphim motored up round the top of
the island stopping for a swim and lunch in the Cala Figueraand where
one swims surrounded by high sided craggy cliffs. On past a relatively
calm Cap de Formentor and down to Pollensa.
“The rinky dink dinghy
The rinky dink dinghy
To the shops she takes us.
She’s our one an only personal inflatable
Our very own water bus.”
Words made up in the Intracoastal Waterway, USA, June 03. Usually
sung to a Pink Panther tune.
The Dinghy is our car.
Gradually during our circumnavigation we improved our time from boat
to shore which involved not just getting ourselves ready but the boys,
the boys’ bag, the buggy, the boys into their lifejackets, off the aft
deck, and down onto the transom, across the watery gap into the
dinghy and sitting comfortably. (Then returning at least twice to pick
up forgotten stuff.) The precarious circus act became a seamless
routine surprisingly quickly with the odd bad weather wobble such as
early July in Pollensa when we bounced to the dock in pretty choppy
conditions. However, my fears for the boys were allayed by their grins
and chuckles. It was rather a boisterous arrival. Whilst John fought to
tie up but prevent the dinghy bashing against the piles, I had the
assistance of two strong men who hoisted the boys and me out and up
onto the dock. This picture shows us after the return trip.
From Pollensa Bay round the headland to the Bay of Alcudia, and home,
Berth 512 in Alcudiamar. Having rushed to beat the weather, we had
time in hand, before our brief return to UK. Easy day trips revealed
gems. Despite being spoilt by the anchorages around the island, we
were stunned by what we found on our doorstep. In the Bay of Alcudia
Playa de Coll Baix with a spectacular backdrop of“corrigated” cliffs. And
just on the edge of the Bay of Pollensa, Cala de Pinar, one of the most
beautiful of the many bays with pines to the water and a perfect
Seraphim had gone through a good shake down cruise. And her lubberly
crew were now shipshape.
In mid July it was back to UK for a bonkers-busy week during which we
celebrated my mother’s brother William Nicholls’ 80th Birthday in
Holland with my mother and the Nicholls clan.
Alcudia’s 500th Anniversary.
Back in Alcudiamar John and the children recovered from ugly colds
made potent on aeroplanes’ air conditioning systems. Our plans to head
for Ibiza and return to Menorca were cancelled because unpredictable
weather meant we would have arrived in Ibiza in time to leave to be
late arriving in Menorca for John’s family. The Balearics seem small but
it is 300 miles from Menorca to Ibiza, that’s five days sailing for us since
we are not keen on overnights at sea with our young crew. Or rather
when we are recovering from even more broken sleep than usual the
boys would be wide awake and ready to play. With one that was do-
able, with two, no way.
Fit and eager for exploring the Seraphim crew waited for weather for
Menorca which gave us to opportunity to attend ALCUDIA’s 500th
Anniversary. A massive fireworks display was the culmination of a week
of concerts, special markets and fairground attractions.
John’s family rented a villa in Menorca in August. Celebrating John’s
mother’s Birthday we cruised five hours from Binibeca along the south
of the island to Macarella, one of the most beautiful anchorages.
Equally days swimming at their villa and in a nearby children’s pool were
a taste of holiday fun for us.
The usually easy trip ashore in the dinghy was complicated by the
lifeguard on high season Binibeca beach insisting that the dinghy was
returned to the boat or tied to a buoy. Swimming back on a fine, clear
day is delightful but conditions changed and swimming out through
boats at anchor in one metre swells is not. Clambering up into a
bouncing dinghy is deceptively hard. These were the draw backs
including the heat. Nevertheless we had the crystal waters, Spanish
food and anchorages that look better than you could imagine.
FORNELLS is described as “an outpost of St Tropez”, in the summer. A
road trip to this village in the north reminded us that one-day, out of
season, we’d like to while away a long time in this large, splendid place
protected from the north coast storms.
Also in the north Cabo Caballeria is a promontory with a lighthouse
surrounded by thousands of mini stone towers. There seemed no
explanation. Jack and John built another.
Jason and Fiona on Trenelly, the “Trenellies”, (friends we first met in
Antigua in December 02 after our first Atlantic crossings) arrived in
Menorca with their son, fifteen month old Dylan. We have both
overcome adversities and are still sailing which made our reunion in an
anchorage far from home, that much more poignant. It was also a minor
rescue as Trenellys' engine had failed. She had sailed from Mallorca and
dropped anchor outside Mahon harbour. The next morning we recced
the harbour for the easiest anchorage or bouy. John stood off in the
dinghy. However, the Trennellies with consumate ease sailed in, furled
and anchored without a hitch. Over bacon sandwiches we did the first
of many catch ups.
Here be Dragons.
Old charts described uncharted waters as “here be dragons”. In high
summer the Majorcans just change the charted maps by sending in the
Guardia de Civil. Seemingly set in the anchorage on the afternoon of
the Trenellies arrival we were moved twice, officially to keep the
waterway clear for tankers entering the port. Don’t think so. They did
not want boats in the anchorage. For us it was tedious but for Trenelly
without an engine it was an extremely risky relying on the Guardia de
Civil’s poor yacht handling.
The next day all the remaining boats were presented with a quasi
official letter informing them that despite our charts marked
“Anchorage”, we were illegally anchored and should take a berth (at
over 100 euros) or a buoy. No buoys were available. It was a tiresome
few days being moved for no good reason. Nelson spent a year in
Mahon. Bet he wasn’t moved on. It is claimed Nelson refused to come
ashore, officially, because he disliked the Governor but took secret
trips up to Golden Farm, a puce finca overlooking the harbour, to visit
Lady Hamilton. The latter is untrue, as is the tale that Golden Farm was
owned by Richard Branson’s mother. It was around Nelson’s time that
the British introduced Gin making to the island.
A bizarre storm and a nasty encounter with a rude, clueless American
stinkpot made what could have been a charming anchorage, the other
end of charming. Whilst ruminating on where to go we met a Spanish
angel on the water pontoon, (a quixotic affair). Our Angel, a young
architect from Barcelona had just left buoy 12. He passed it on to us
explaining the hand-over to the authorities, the Porto de Rivera
marinaros who regularly threw boats off “occupied” buoys. It was a
chaotic system which caused grief for numerous boat particularly one
which was ordered off at nine o clock at night, mid-supper. No one
showed up to claim it. There was nothing to show whether the buoys
were free, or, if the present owner was out for the day/week.
So it was Buoy 12 with it’s amazing views around the large harbour that
became ours for a month. A new acquisition of an awning which was
stretched over the forward deck revolutionised entertaining the boys.
Whilst playing in the shade with the boys we watched the comings and
goings of the harbour often thirty feet away: the cruise ships, tankers,
ferries, tourist boats, dinghies and skiffs with mussels piled high from
the mussel farm near Buoy 28, where we spent a pretty whiffy couple
of nights at the beginning of August. By the end of our third week on
Buoy 12 we were checking the regulars in and out: rusty ship Triumph
of Valetta, Balearia.com ferries morning and evening, Acciona vessels
various. From between 6pm and 7pm we were entertained by yachts
and motor boats racing madly for their marinas, dubbed the “wacky
races” by Trenelly.
In September 05 we had anchored below La Mola Fortress of Isabel II, a
huge fort complex near Mahon. Jack had just learnt to squiggle out of
the restrains on his seat. Grabbing Jack in one hand I helmed with the
other. An onlooker thought it was most impressive. It was my first
lesson in expediancy and parenting.
This year one of the most fascinating tourist trips was a tour around
this massive fort. At the insistence of the British eyeing the French,
building started in 1848. It took twenty five years to complete by which
time advances in artillery technology made it redundant. Parts of the
Fort were used as a prison for which it has a fearful reputation in Spain.
Children would be threatened with being sent to La Mola.
The water pontoon was an excellent meeting place, all kinds of
information was swapped. As well as our Spanish Angel of Buoy 12,
there were: a German family en route back from Sardinia to Alcudia;
Fins en route from home to Corsica, and Ross Blackman, the financial
force behind Team New Zealand, relaxing with his wife on his
Beneteau, Sojourn, after the 2007 America’s Cup in Valencia.
During August and early September most of the fiestas feature large,
black horses. Their expert riders rear them in the crowds. Locals down
Menorcan gin in the baking sun and urge the horses higher. We gave it
a miss although we pushed our way through the sand filled streets of
Mahon before the festivities began. Bin bags had been placed under
the street grills….
Also performing in Menorca in August were the London Baroque
featuring my cousins Charles and Ingrid Medlam. We considered a brief
visit back stage was the better part of attending a rather grown up
concert. Although standing at the back for the first “number” was a
After John’s family flew home he started monitoring the weather
between the islands as we hoped to sail to Ibiza. But, again,
unfavourable winds and swell meant we would have arrived in time to
see our friends leave, or miss them entirely. Meteo France proved one
of the most reliable forecasts. Instead of Ibiza we had the pleasure of
the Vela Clasica and cruising with Trenelly.
This series of Classic Yacht races came to Mahon at the end of August.
Following the racing was thrilling. The Grande Dames in full flight were
awesome. John took some excellent pics.
In September Menorca returned to it’s tranquil self. The crowds had
gone. The anchorages thinned out. The crazy “twenty days” of high
season were over.
Seraphim and Trenelly cruised in company along the south coast of
Menorca, Calas Coves, Macarella and Son Saura with it’s huge semi
Calas Coves is one of the most busy anchorages. It is surrounded by
ancient caves which are now blocked off to prevent modern day
habitation. In the morning before the crowds troop over the rocks it is
a blissful place. Squeezing in between the rows of yachts was
hazardous. John’s legs took some time to turn back from jelly. Whilst
we were rafted to Trenelly another Moody owner showed us the secret
source of the natural spring. The water from the ancient site tasted as
one imagines pure, fresh water to taste. Re-invigorating.
Whilst Trennelly made a trip back to the east of the island, Seraphim
made a side trip west to Ciutadella one of the most picturesque towns
in Spain which in 1558 was decimated by pirates. It is besieged by
tourists. It was en route to Ciutadella that our dinghy and Seraphim
parted company. Two hours later on arrival in Ciutadella a friendly local
told us that they had seen one ten miles off the south east tip of the
island. The odds were against us. It would be en route to Mallorca or
who knows where?. However, I had hope and hope won out. John
caught a glimpse of it bobbing on the horizon. Success! Two days later
we came across the kind local and were able to thank him.
With time against us we bashed back to Mallorca. Our cruise with
Trenelly came to an end too soon. The Trenellies set off for Gibraltar
and an Atlantic crossing in December.
Seraphim remained in Alcudia for new rigging and anti-fouling. (Whilst
snorkelling in Calas Coves John discovered that the first anti-fouling by
Alcudia marina had left the yacht with one side clear, and the other a
forest of barnacles. Out of date? Dilute paint? Second time it seemed to
be a thorough job.) Whilst out of the water the stern gland was re-
packed. Jack and his squeaky Bob the Builder hammer assisted Pete
and Alex, the Inoxeria riggers replacing our ten year old rigging.
Alex has a ten month old daughter and told me of the Spanish tradition
of using amber necklaces for teething babies. Evidently the energy
from the amber reduces the pain. It seemed to have an affect on
On October 4th Seraphim was on the hard when a freak storm with
winds gusting to 60knots blew diagonally through Mallorca causing
massive damage in Palma. It only lasted half an hour but was a grim
reminder of Moonshine’s fate. Thankfully the position of Seraphim on
the hard and the direction of the wind meant all was well. The water in
the marina rose two feet for ten hours then subsided within an hour.
This strange mini tsunami is caused by differing pressures in the Med.
Ciutadella is infamous for the speed and height of the tides which
frequently leave boats stranded in the harbour hanging from moorings.
Another bad storm on 17th October finished any remaining ideas of a
side trip to Ibiza en route to Palma..
A Few Stories of Jack.
Mountains and Giants
We thought after a Sunday in the Tramontana (mountains) he might like
to see “Giants” at another fiesta in Alcudia. Unfortunately, like many of
the children there he was petrified. However, as we drove home he
was comforted by his thought that the giants did not have a card for
the marina car park. John confirmed that people over seven foot tall
were not issued with Alcudiamar passes, and anyway the giants had
just sailed to Menorca. Jack was sure he could see the yellow Iscomar
ferry in the distance.
The next Sunday Fiesta-out he announced that he would prefer to go
to the beach rather than the Fiesta but we persuaded him with a
promise of animals. Whilst being intrigued with birds and animals he
was distracted by what has come to be known as the “humungous
boing” (trampoline with a harness) to differentiate from the ordinary
boing (trampolines). He had become quite an expert, not surprisingly
because two minutes from our berth in Alcudiamar was a children’s fair
Jack has added riding little horses to fair ground “boings” and fire
engines. He calls all Thelwell ponies “Lucy” whether Pincho or Pedro
because Lucy was the first pony he clipped clopped on in a park in
Mahon in Menorca.
Jack’s comprehensive survey of the playgrounds of Spain specialising in
swings and slides continued throughout the summer. Ditto dingy-ing to
the umpteenth beach to sandcastle and swim. Posing on cannons had
become another game.
In case you thought the crew of Seraphim’s exploration of culinary
delights has been curtailed by our children, it has, but not completely,
although we often take turns at eating as one pacifies a child.
Porto Colom, East Mallorca
Two favourites in Porto Colom “HPC” remains tops, with LA BARCA
serving the most outstanding tapas and all time top Apple Strudel.
(Much of Mallorca has become German enclaves.)
Andraitx, S W Mallorca.
In May our fifth Wedding Anniversary was Andraitx in SANDROS, an
Italian where calves liver in sage butter is an utterly butterly yumious.
Alcudia and Bonaire, North Mallorca
Most Mouthwatering goes to a ILLOTS in Bonaire, overlooking Pollensa
Bay. A family run place where the paella is made with love and genius.
Runners up for their paella goes to SES ARCADES and all round
excellence LA CASA DE GALLEGA, both in Alcudia.
Tops for Tapas goes to SA TAVERNETA DES MOLL in Alcudia, a hole in
the wall run by multilingual Spaniard with an imaginative chef. The
picture is of CHORIZO INFERNO, hot sausage with fiery schnapps like
Runner up is the monastery at LLUC, a tranquil delight and home of
outstanding food in the Tramontana.
Runner up to Most Mouthwatering in Menorca goes to CAFÉ BALEAR on
the quay side in Ciutadella. Having been told of it’s popularity we
arrived at 7.45p and by 8pm the place was full, with a long queue. The
maitre’d was excellent at easing one in to expensive dishes
nevertheless they were all superb. Evidently, the speciality of Menorca,
which Juan Carlos, (the King) eats is caldereta de llagosta, lobster soup.
Our first attempt in Fornells was unremarkable but in Café Balear we
found The Definitive Soup.
But The Most Mouthwatering in Menorca was easily won by the only
Thai Restaurant on the island in Mahon on the Paseo Maritim.
I stopped breastfeeding at the end of August. The fog of milk brain
cleared and the feasting changed tack. Mid November, the tummy has
receded from Blobby to Teletubby.
We are yet to fully explore Palma. But so far the marina restaurant is
looking good, plus an Italian behind the windmills, a French restaurant
in the Old Quarter run by a couple who used to charter, and a good
eatery, particularly if shopping, with an excellent view of the Cathedral
and bay of Palma is on the top floor of Cortes Ingles in Jaime III.
Blue Water Sailing.
During our cruise we heard that America magazine Blue Water Sailing
published our article on Hurricane Isabel, four years on. (If you would
like to read of our experience in September 03 in Maryland, USA it is in
previous letters). In November Blue Water Sailing published a piece
with pictures by John on the Vela Clasica, the Classic Yacht races in
A short diversion on the subject of Jaimes.
JAMES in Spanish is JAIME pronounced HI-ME. In 1229 JAIME I of Aragon
conquered Mallorca taking it back from the Moors after which he
became known as REY JAIME CONQUISTADOR. Jaime Rodriguez
conquered Seraphim’s companionway on 25 September 2007. At least
this time we have the anti-James device, the bottom of the travel cot,
ready. It took us eight attempts to perfect the anti-Jack device. James
was furious to discover his climb blocked.
Another Jaime born 1918 in Menorca has been quite a distraction. On
looking into the window of the Jaime Mascaro shop in Mahon I fell in
love instantly, five times - funky, chic and had-me-at-the-window. All
latent shoe desires, lost to motherhood, returned. Hasn’t happened for
a long time which made our experience of Jack on his best, worst,
behaviour that much more ignominious.
John was in charge of the boys, outside, while I drooled in the
sophisticated, deep carpeted store. I had three to-die-fors in my
sights. In trundled John with our boys. Unfortunately, John has not
noticed that Jack was still dripping ice cream, a keep quite bribe. Jack
slurped. The ice cream dripped over the smart leather seats and
suddenly the deep carpet stuck under “my” purple suede, four inch
heels … . Ever ready baby wipes dealt with it but Jack began to ball
because his ice cream was being wiped away and James began to ball
because … because …?!?!?. Whilst beating a hasty retreat in my flat,
beaten up deck shoes, the shop alarm sounded. Not so much sounded,
more of a supersonic clang. Jack had picked up the long, shiny shoe
horn which had been tagged for such an event. Humiliation on
Thankfully, Jaime Mascaro has a shops in Palma, one right opposite the
hotel in which my mother is staying for her Birthday/Christmas visit. (I
honestly booked the hotel before I knew the shop was there…
honestly.) I’m not alone. Jack’s Godmother Vicky was entranced and
seduced by a beautiful pair of black, pointed pumps with bows. Batty,
her friend, bought four pairs. Evidently Spanish Princess Leitzia had a
pair flown out to her specially for a function of Royals and sartorial
Winds and Swells.
Our segue of the letter. We return to the sea with swells of a different
type. I appreciate that this update is full of moaning about wind (sic)
and swell but it has blighted our sailing. Regardless of the forecasts the
weather is changeable and unpredictable. Wind on the nose is almost
taken for granted but the bizarre local phenomenon of the winds added
to swell from literally countries away makes sailing in the Mediterranean
difficult. Hark at us stuck in the Med on our yacht whining but we want
to explore as we did in the Caribbean and the States, and the erratic
conditions make it extremely difficult.
The eager crew of Seraphim anticipated visiting Ibiza en route from the
north to Palma however, Mallorca has been experiencing unusually bad
weather for October. Ibiza was off the agenda, again. The local English
paper, the Daily Bulletin reported it the wettest October for thirteen
Finally on 23rd October we set off from Alcudia. Anticipated departure
at 9am slipped to 11 as we spent the two hours saying farewell to the
many who had been so kind to us. The only real problem with Alcudia
were the sweets and “lolitops” Jack was constantly given by tCaspar at
the local supermarket, the laundry ladies, Malin in the marina office,
It was a delivery trip A to B, to Palma, as quickly as possible before the
next storm blew up. After an overnight stop in Porto Colom, it was
motor in the grey around the south of the island and into the Bay of
At 11 months James was much more active. The weather was too grim
to let the boys play upstairs in the cockpit. Entertaining them below
decks on a rolling boat for seven hours was exhausting but part of the
living aboard. It also confirmed our view that James was too young to
sail across the Atlantic this year.
We are thrilled to be living in Palma although living aboard in winter
with two ninos is a steep learning curve. From our berth, we have a
view, from t of Palma Cathedral and the windmills, and the Belver
Castle. At night it is magical. In the early morning the sun rising over
the Cathedral is an antidote to a bad nights sleep of which we’ve had
As everywhere when boats are put to bed for the winter, there was a
laying up gathering. On our first Sunday there was a Paella lunch.
Keep us in touch with you. Since our arrival the weather has been
glorious. From 22 degrees in a sunny Palma. We may even try a trip to
In our next newsletter amongst other news will be Jack’s 3rd and
James’s 1st Birthday. See Jack’s page soon for Birthday pics.
Nicola John and Jack aged 3 on November 7th and James aged 1 on
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