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August 3, 2002

Have been neglecting the website

Have been neglecting the website over the last 4 weeks due to having guests
onboard for the whole of that time. On Thursday, however, Berit left and
Chris is getting the ferry back to Barcelona tomorrow morning, so suddenly
Nina and I are going to be alone on the boat again and able to make sailing
plans without having to take into account guests getting seasick or having
to hang around Mallorca so that they can catch their return flights. We're
still in Portocolom, though we've been out for the odd day sail, and Chris
spent most of yesterday trying to get the outboard to go faster, though in
the end it went slower.

August 7, 2002

Alone at last

Spent the day drinking coffee and beer with Paul from Ballena then
attempting to fit our new water tank. Chris and all of our guests have now
left, and Nina has booked her return flight from Barcelona to Copenhagen for
the 26th August, which means that we should get sailing to the mainland
soon.

August 9, 2002

Where to next?

Now that all of our guests have finally left, Nina and I have been getting
things sorted up onboard Zamindar to go sailing, and researching where to
leave the boat for winter; currently, we're thinking about either Menorca or
sailing over to mainland Spain. Tomorrow we're off to Palma for a Big Day
Out with Paul from Ballena, who we often end up drinking and solving global
problems with in the evenings.

Gale forecast

I've just seen that there's a gale forecast for Mallorca and the wind has already begun to rise steadily. It's quite a strange mixture of apprehension and excitement to be onboard a boat knowing that a storm is on its way, as you wonder how bad it's going to be. Every so often the sky is being flashed by lightning and you can feel that the humidity in the air is increasing. I've just gone around the boat checking our mooring lines and fastening things down, so I'm off to bed now, though I know that it might be a fairly sleepless night.

August 10, 2002

Huge lightning storm

We managed to get about an hour's sleep last night before one of the most
impressive thunderstorms we'd seen in a while started. Lightning was
striking all around the harbour so much that you could easily see what you
were doing without any lights on, and we counted 22 ground strikes within a
minute at the height of the storm. Apart from some rain today the weather
hasn't been too bad, but the forecast is still predicting more storms for
the weekend and although it's dead calm here right now there are frequent
flashes of lightning on the horizon. Today's been a fairly lazy day onboard,
and Nina & I have done little apart from a bit of reading and sitting around
in the cockpit discussing where to sail to next.

August 13, 2002

Ballena leaves Portocolom

Today Paul & Susie from Ballena left to sail around to Santa Ponsa. In the meantime we've decided to keep Zamindar in Menorca over the winter and so we're planning to head in the other direction over to there tomorrow. It's about a 55mile sail so we'll probably make an early start if we can manage to get up.

August 17, 2002

Sailing from Portocolom to Mahon

On Wednesday we got up at 0630 and sailed out of Portocolom as the sun was rising. The wind was forecast to be behind us, but as always, it turned out, although light, to be in front of us all the way to Mahon. Nina and I were taking turns on watch, and I was sleeping in bed when she woke me up shouting "Dolphins!" Just to starboard of us was a pod of about 30 dolphins hunting some fish and closing in on them in a big circle. One of the dolphins jumped out of the water then some of them swam over to the boat and played in our bow wave and around the hull as we motored along.

A little later the wind dropped completely and the water was so clear and blue that we couldn't resist stopping the engine and diving off the boat for a swim. Mallorca had disappeared by now and we could just see Menorca distantly on the horizon, so the closest land was the sea floor about 1.2km beneath us. We arrived in Mahon about 1900 and anchored in Cala Taulera, which is about 2miles from the centre of the city. It's a lovely, quiet anchorage surrounded by green hills and the only way to Mahon is by dinghy, which is fine for us but takes some of our neighbours about 30 minutes with their slower engines.

We've been completely surprised by how attractive Mahon is. It has a long harbour with steep hills on either side which looks quite Caribbean, and the port itself is lined with cafes and restaurants which give it a very Cote D'Azur feel. We're almost certainly going to leave Zamindar here for the winter because as well as liking the place, we've managed to negotiate a very good rate with the port office and the harbour is extremely well sheltered.


Dolphin swimming in Zamindar's bow wave

August 18, 2002

Octopus snorkelling

Today it was very calm, so we took the dinghy around to a cala that was open to the sea & did some snorkelling. Almost as soon as we were in the water we saw a large octopus, the first one I've ever seen wild, and we watched as it swam from rock to rock, changing colour to camoflage itself. The water was incredibly clear and we could see for 30-50m underwater as we swam around and dived down watching the fish.

August 19, 2002

Menorca dinghy trip

It was a scorching day today and there was hardly any wind, so we loaded the dinghy up with all our gear and extra fuel tanks, and set off on a mammoth 20 mile dinghy trip around the south west coast of Menorca, stopping off in many of the Calas (coves), going snorkelling and swimming.

The fridge yesterday decided that it didn't want to keep our beer cold any longer, so when we returned today I worked on that. We now have cold beer again, which is nice.

August 21, 2002

Sitting writing this in an

Sitting writing this in an internet cafe in Mahon. Nina has decided that we are now both nudists due to the fact that we`ve got used to showering naked on deck in the anchorage. We`ve just paid the deposit for our winter berthing here so this is going to be Zamindar`s home for a while.

August 25, 2002

Ciutadella and free-diving

The other day we managed to get ashore by lunchtime, and caught a bus to Ciutadella on the other side of the island. The most striking aspect of Menorca appears to be that it is a very bushy island, with very many bushes everywhere. The entire island is a UNESCO biosphere reserve, which I assume is due to the profusion of bushes. Once we arrived in Ciutadella we were impressed by the city but somewhat shocked by the huge number of screaming children being dragged around it by burned tourists. Nonetheless, it was worth it to see all those bushes on the way.

Having been disillusioned some time ago by the preparation and equipment needed on your back to go scuba diving, Nina and I have been working on our free-diving technique, which is diving without tanks. Today, whilst swimming through a school of fish, we got down to a new personal record of 12m, though it's still a little short of the world record of 98m, so we still have some work to do.

August 28, 2002

Menorca is a curiously British

Menorca is a curiously British place. Whereas Mallorca is full of Germans and Ibiza (or should I say Eivissa?) is full of wasted people, Menorca still seems to hang onto some of its colonial past. Most of the tourists here are British, and there also seem to be many rich, English families (as no-one from Scotland or Wales is rich) living here.

I'm sitting at a cafe right now, and a young girl has just been sat down at one of the tables by what appears to be her strict, elderly, English nanny. She keeps telling the girl to sit properly, with hatred in her eyes, while she herself smokes fags, drinks beer and, I imagine, plans how to murder the child whilst making it look like a natural accident.

Nina flew back to Denmark yesterday, unable to cope with the hectic pace of life on board, and to start a new term at university. Overcharged by a taxi driver on the way to the airport, I showed my defiance by walking the 5km back to town afterwards, however, as there was no pavement, the taxi drivers asserted their monopoly by trying to run me down. Things have been going fine today apart from the wakeboard falling onto my foot when I was in the forward cabin, and I think, breaking one of my toes in the process. Hence, I am walking around like Herr Flick now.

There are a lot of thunderstorms and squalls around the islands at the moment. We were hit by one at 0600 this morning, and going onto deck I saw a Sunseeker dragging sideways through the anchorage. Once they figured out what was happening, they finally managed to re-anchor in the middle of the channel and almost got hit by the glass-bottom tourist boat when it came through later blaring its foghorns at them.

[Someone just managed to crunch a car parked in front of the cafe while they tried to fit an Audi into a parking space smaller than it. But here's the best part - the girl who was driving is wearing a t-shirt that says, "Road Kill Cafe". Maybe she's a taxi driver.]