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August 1, 2003

Ibicenco Sunset

sunset from espalmador
It's been quite a lazy week here in the anchorage. Been doing a few jobs on the boat, swimming, and chilling out watching the sun go down. Here's a shot I took tonight of the sunset from the anchorage here in Espalmador... whilst drinking San Miguel and eating Doritos and Salmon Philadelphia.

August 2, 2003

Guardia Civil and Bioluminecence

As I was making my way into town today at high speed in the dinghy I froze as I heard the sudden, loud roar of engines right behind me. Thinking that I was about to be run down and killed by a powerboat or ferry that I hadn't seen, I turned around to see a Guardia Civil helicopter thunder about 25 metres over my head. They'd approached directly behind me and dropped down to buzz the shit out of me! By the time I made it into town shaken I was badly in need of some coffee and a change of shorts!

Tonight I watched Le Grand Bleu, one of those films you just have to have onboard a boat. Unfortunately, watching it gives me this uncontrollable urge to grab a mask and fins and jump over the side to go free-diving, which is not always a good idea after drinking quite a bit of beer and wine on a Saturday night. Earlier in the day I'd been working on staying underwater longer and had managed to fight the urge to breathe long enough that my legs had gone numb, which I was quite impressed by. So I grabbed one of the waterproof torches and jumped into the blackness. It felt really amazing, and then I switched off the torch to find that the water was filled with bioluminescence - as I swam, I was lit up by green sparks which flew around me as I moved and past my eyes. It was incredible, quite hallucinogenic, and totally unbelievable. Must try in future not to watch that film whilst pissed though...

August 5, 2003

More Scars

Someone has covered a huge area with stone cairns and sculptures from washed up flotsam on one of the nearby beaches and so I took some photographs of that this evening and was making my way back out to the dinghy which was anchored off the beach. As I was wading out through the breaking surf I slipped and instinctively put my hand out to save myself. I came down hard on a razor sharp rock and, feeling the pain, knew that it had sliced my hand open. The dinghy was quite a bit away, however, and so there was no point in looking at the damage until I got out there, so I swam the rest of the way feeling the blood running out of my hand. I pulled myself up into the dinghy and was slightly shocked to see how badly I'd managed to cut myself. My hand was sliced open in three places and the blood was gushing out of it down my arm. I managed to get the engine started single handed and headed back to Zamindar to see if I could stop the bleeding. Although it's the worst cut I've given myself in a long time, I cleaned it up and thankfully managed to stop the bleeding without having to make the long trip for stitches.

August 7, 2003

Espalmador Mud Baths

covered in mud with Carita Ketola
Espalmador has hot, sulphurous mud baths in the centre of the island, which everyone heads off to and coats themselves in. They do tend to stink a bit, but it's worth it. Yesterday after drinking quite a lot of beer on the beach to celebrate her birthday, Carita and I went off there, soaked in the mud for a while, then walked back and washed off in the sea just before sunset.

August 11, 2003

Anchored in Eivissa

Zamindar is now anchored in Eivissa harbour after sailing over yesterday. The trip was all right, and although the wind was pretty much in front of us, we still managed to do some sailing and even saw some flying fish on the way.

August 13, 2003

Port Police

Yesterday we were rudely awoken by the port police in the afternoon who apparently aren't too keen on people anchoring in the hrbour. I dragged myself out onto deck, blinded by the sunlight as he shouted things I didn't understand at me in Spanish. Still half asleep I asked if he spoke English, to which he replied, "You no anchor here. Leave now!"

So we sailed to Cala Talamanca, which is just around the corner, and spent the day anchored there, swimming and drinking Corona, until the swell finally became too much to take and we moved the boat back to the harbour in the evening.

August 16, 2003

Fame

clubbing in pacha
Carita and I were sitting on deck yesterday afternoon having a deep and meaningful conversation about the origins of french fries when Maxime came over from Manic, one of the nearby boats, carrying a stack of print-outs from my website having recognised the boat from it. It was quite bizarre to talk to someone who knew so much about me even though we'd never met before, and we sat and had some beers together and a really nice chat then arranged to go out at night. Carita has VIP cards for most of the clubs on the island so she managed to get everyone onto the guest list for Ministy of Sound at Pacha and we headed there at 4am.

Pacha was packed full of people, so much so that there was hardly space to dance, so we went upstairs, and sat out on the terrace, chilling out and drinking. The club itself is pretty cool and manages to have a rustic, Mediterranean feel to it even though it's huge. When the sun finally rose and people began to leave we headed back to Zamindar and continued drinking and talking with everyone from Manic until we finally went to bed at 9am, very pissed, but having had a lovely night.

August 17, 2003

Burger Boycott

We had big macs for breakfast yesterday to ease our hangovers, which was lovely, especially as it was the first time I'd had a McDonalds in six months. I'd stopped going whilst backpacking in Asia and spending increasing amounts of time with anti-globalists but the other day I remembered just how many McDonalds shares I owned and decided to re-think my boycott.

August 19, 2003

Insomnia

what do you mean no anchoring
The weather's been really settled so far this summer in the Balearics, but the other morning we woke up as the wind began to get stronger and stronger. As usual we'd been sitting talking and drinking Corona in the cockpit all night as Carita is even more nocturnal than I am and we'd gone to bed just an hour or two before. Some of the other boats began to drag through the anchorage and waves were coming straight in through the harbour entrance so we sat with the engine running just in case we began to drag as well.

Things carried on like that for most of the morning, our anchor held, but a local boat dragged and suddenly ended up against the breakwater rocks. The wind had them pinned there, unable to manoeuvre away, and so I took the dinghy over and along with some others, helped pull them off.

The anchorage here behind the new harbour wall of Ibiza town is normally quite well sheltered but the port police still appear every couple of days and kick all of the boats out. For some reason or other, although everyone does it, they don't like boats anchored here but there isn't anywhere else as well protected close to the city so we often end up back again doing the marine equivalent of illegal parking. Yesterday morning we were suddenly awoken by a policeman blowing a whistle in through the hatch like someone straight from a rave. Again I shot up onto deck in a semi-conscious panic, again lots of shouting at me in Spanish, and again we had to move the boat.

August 21, 2003

Naked in Ibiza

Ibiza town really does begin to feel quite like home. There's such a relaxed feeling as you wander around the old streets and lanes and such a diverse collection of people that it never really seems to get dull which makes it an easy place to like. Sitting around in cafes watching the hip, the rich, the beautiful, the freaks, hippies, dwarves, fashion victims, as well as all the people just wandering around nearly naked, makes consuming caffeine here much more entertaining than in most other places. No matter what time it is something will always be happening and people willl be walking around - though often looking more and more wasted as it gets deeper into the night. Unlike in some of the tourist developments on the island, however, it still manages to feel civilised and safe, and freakiness gets accepted rather than judged as it would elsewhere.

August 24, 2003

Shaken and Chilled

The other night I had a bizarre dream that Paul Oakenfold was trimming my eyebrows - obviously I needed professional help or a break from Ibiza, so on Friday night Zami' returned to her chill-out anchorage in Espalmador. It was one of those truly wonderful evenings to be sailling and it just felt right to be on the water as the sun went down behind Salinas and we crossed Freu Grande into the lee of Espalmador. It was dark by the time I dropped the anchor, dived on it by torchlight to check it, then had a beer, gradually beginning to adjust to the slower tempo of the island.

August 26, 2003

Barbecues and Wipe Outs

elizabeth and jorge
At the weekend we had a barbecue on the beach in Espalmador with Jorge and Elizabeth, my chums from Taniwha, one of the other boats. Jorge used to have a vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona, which was somewhat ironic as we sat grilling tons of meat on the fire.

We took Elizabeth to the ferry last night as she was flying home then had dinner and went out to Casa Paco, which has to be one of the nicest bars/clubs in Formentera. It was around 0400 when we began heading back in the dinghy to the boats, which were about 5km away. It was very calm, with no wind at all and completely dark, but we knew the way quite well and it looked like it would be a fast, smooth ride. As we got closer to Espalmador, however, quite a big swell began to come in from the south. In itself it was nothing to worry about, but as we began to cross the shallow sandbank between Formentera and Esplamador, Jorge suddenly shouted and I looked over to see a huge breaking wave coming straight for us. I tried to turn the dinghy into it to stop us from getting capsized but it still hit us hard, throwing us and the boat over towards a dangerous sandbar and dumping a ton of water on top of us. It was dark and a bit worrying as all we could see were the white breaking crests of waves surrounding us. Impressively, the boat didn't turn over, the engine kept running, and I hit the throttle hard so that we hit the next wave with enough force to go right through it. We got out into deeper water as fast as we could then took a bit of a detour the rest of the way over to Espalmador in case another big wave came through. By the time I got back to Zamindar everything I was wearing was totally soaked and the dinghy was full of water.

August 28, 2003

Back in Eivissa

On Tuesday I said goodbye to Jorge who was about to head back to Barcelona, and Carita and I had a very pleasant, slow sail back to Ibiza. The weather was lovely with a little bit of wind to fill the genoa and we were in the lee of Cala d'en Bossa so the sea was really flat. It was just as well we left when we did as the weather's been much less stable since then and the wind's howling here in Ibiza harbour tonight.

August 29, 2003

Anchor Drags

A couple of hours after writing my blog last night, I was in bed sleeping when the anchor alarm went off - the boat was dragging its anchor. I jumped up wide awake, running through the boat turning everything on as I went, leapt into the cockpit, and started the engine. The wind had really picked up and was blowing in through the harbour entrance bringing whitecapped waves with it and we were now very close to the rocks of the breakwater. I was alone onboard at the time and I knew it was going to be difficult to steer the boat into the wind whilst getting the anchor up at the same time. I motored forward then ran to the bows but only managed to get about three metres of chain up before the wind had blown Zamindar close to the rocks again. I rushed back to the cockpit, put the revs up, and managed to get the boat turned around again and motored forward. To make things even more tricky there were boats anchored to each side of me which I had to avoid getting blown into as well. I realised that I had no choice but to motor forward fast and attempt to drag the anchor until I was far enough away to run out to the bows and bring the chain up but the risk was that while I was doing this it could catch onto something on the harbour floor and get stuck. I gave it a try then sprinted forward to pull up some chain. The wind was howling and coming through in gusts so I had to repeat this about eight times, each time running back to motor away from the rocks as we got close, but finally I got the anchor up and breathed a sigh of relief. I motored further out, dropped the anchor and lots of chain, and really hoped it would dig in or else I'd have to go through the whole thing again. I stood and waited as the boat began to drift back towards the rocks, but slowly she started to turn into the wind; the anchor was holding. I kept the engine running for the next hour or so just in case, and ironically, now that we were well anchored, the wind calmed down.

When I'd anchored I'd tried to dive on the anchor but due to the water being fairly deep and visibility being only about one metre it was impossible to find it so I hadn't been totally sure how well it was dug in. The other factor that contributed to us dragging was that we'd anchored reasonably close to the harbour wall due to it being one of the few spaces when we arrived, and so when the wind picked up I didn't have enough room to dump the huge amount of chain that I normally would. Anyway, today I wired in the remote control for the anchor windlass so that now I can raise and lower the anchor from the cockpit while I steer - just in case a similar situation occurs again. I know, however, that after a couple of beers one night I'll probably fall asleep on top of it and lift the boat's anchor.

August 31, 2003

Underground Trance Party

Today I'm feeling how a lot of people spend their days in Ibiza feeling - fairly rough. Carita knew some people who were holding an underground trance party last night so we did some drinking then went there at five o'clock this morning.

Most of the clubs on the island are sticking to playing house exclusively this season and the illegal trance parties that first put Ibiza on the clubbing map are now rare events which the locals keep to themselves and are very much underground, closed off to tourists. After a long, confusing conversation with the taxi driver, he finally dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and we walked down a dirt track to an old, abandoned arena. The guys on the entrance opened up the door and suddenly the dark Ibicenco countryside was bathed in UV light and filled with sound. We walked in slightly stunned. The air was so thick that you could have cut through it with a knife, and the stars above and the pumping bass gave the place an atmosphere all of its own. It was the classical Ibizan experience, but far too soon the police turned up. They'd already closed it down for a while earlier in the night, but this time it was the turn of the Guardia Civil who confiscated the decks and were somewhat more determined to put an end to the party. Undeterred, a dedicated core moved on to another venue on the island and set up again with more equipment. We, however, headed back to the boat and drank well into the morning with a couple of pharmacists we'd met.