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September 1, 2003

Speed Freak

Going out of Ibiza harbour tonight I was pulled over by a Guardia Civil patrol boat for apparently doing 30 knots in a 3 knot zone and for not having my lights on. They were quite nice about it though and once they found out I didn't speak Spanish they let me go.

September 4, 2003

Briar Cottage, Balmerino

Yesterday, while torrential rain was pouring down, flooding the streets of Ibiza, I had a call from the estate agents who were marketing my cottage in Scotland and I accepted one of the offers for it.

Briar Cottage was where I grew up and spent most of my childhood and it still holds a lot of very special memories for me so I spent years deliberating whether to re-build the place or sell it. In the end, however, I realised that even if I did a lot of work to it, I'd never want to live there again, and with property prices in the UK being sky high right now I decided to put it on the market. Things still of course have to be finalised, so I won't be celebrating until I cash the cheque, but the very, very respectable offer should compensate for selling off my childhood memories.

September 6, 2003

Winds and Squalls

a boat getting towed off the rocks by the lifeboat
The weather's continued to be very unsettled here in the Balearics with 91km/hr winds recorded and a rainstorm that dropped 23 litres of rain per square metre within 10 minutes.

Yesterday morning, shortly after I noticed a very ominous looking dark cloud over the island, the anchorage was suddenly hit by storm force winds. There were two boats that had anchored very close to us and they began to drag, narrowly missing us. Boats were dragging all around us, people were running around on decks panicking and shouting, and the anchorage was chaos. Although we were only in 7 metres of water we had 50 metres of anchor chain out, which I increased to 60 metres, and thankfully we were one of the very few boats that held.

One of the boats just behind us began to drag, the crew didn't notice quickly enough, and within a minute or so it was on the rocks. The wind and waves were pushing it so hard that they just couldn't motor away, and gradually she was lifted higher and higher out of the water. They were only saved because it was a steel boat and that after 30 minutes or so, the wind began to drop. Eventually, the lifeboat came to their rescue (see picture), towed them off, and the boat, remarkably, seemed to have survived in pretty good shape.

September 10, 2003

Ibiza Anchorages

The port police have now started coming up to the boat in the morning and waking us up with a foghorn in their efforts to kick anchored boats out of Ibiza harbour. This would be fine if there were other places to anchor that were sheltered, but there aren't - it's unusual for anchoring to be prohibited in the outer part of Spanish harbours, and the area used to be an anchorage prior to the new outer harbour wall being built. It's understandable if part of the harbour needs to be kept clear as a turning area for shipping but the fact that the whole area is off-limits could make you wonder if it's to pressure people to use the 100 a night marinas in town. Tonight I watched a motorboat I knew, ironically called 'My Way', being towed into the harbour supported by flotation bags. It sank in Cala Talamanca, one of the anchorages we were told to move to, during a squall last week as the bay is totally open to southerly winds. In today's newspaper there was a photograph of two boats which had also dragged onto the rocks in San Antonio - it looks like Ibiza town's no-anchoring policy is putting vessels and human life at stake for no apparent reason and forcing people to use less well protected anchorages.

September 12, 2003

Closing Parties

Tonight the closing parties begin in some of the clubs as Ibiza begins to wind down towards the end of September. Town is getting quieter, though more pleasant and laid back, and there are fewer boats around as people slowly begin to regain consciousness, leave the island and return to normal society. Personally I plan to stay right up until the end when Ibiza begins its winter hibernation and the dj asks me to leave. The evenings are getting cooler now, dropping down to a chilly 20c sometimes, forcing you to dig out a sweater and find the brandy to keep warm and I haven't decided where to leave Zamindar for the winter yet as I can't believe it's that time already, but wherever it is I don't think it'll be too far from here.

September 14, 2003

Palm Tungsten C Breakage

Bugger. I've been using a Palm Tungsten C for the last couple of months... until last night when I took it out of my back pocket to wardrive a street... and the screen was broken. I guess with the casing being made out of plastic it must have twisted slightly in my pocket and the screen just went. I've been carrying Palms around for the last three or four years and it's the first major breakage I've had, which implies that the Tungsten C isn't quite as durable as it's older siblings. And the cost for a screen replacement from Palm... 175 euros! I was just finishing writing a long term review of it which I'll stick up here and will now also include the obligatory destructive test. Meanwhile I'll have to use my older but tougher m505 as a brain until I get it repaired. Spent last night somewhat pissed off, getting drunk and eating half a kilo of chocolate.

September 17, 2003

Anchored in Salinas

We sailed around the south coast and anchored off Salinas, one of Ibiza's trendiest beaches, this afternoon then Carita and I took the dinghy ashore to a beach bar for lunch and beers. By this evening the place had emptied, all the tourists had gone off, and we were left anchored here in solitude as the sun went down and the stars came out.

September 19, 2003

Ibiza Webcam

We just sailed back from Salinas to Ibiza town, however, the autopilot decided to act up for the first time in years, meaning that we had to steer! I just found this webcam of where were anchored, though were usually just out of shot to the left.

September 22, 2003

Peter Crighton

Congratulations to Andrew and Catherine on their new addition to the family, Peter, who was born yesterday!

September 23, 2003

Privilege, Ibiza

in Privilege with Carita Ketola
We went out to a trance party in Privilege, the worlds biggest club, the other night and had a really good time. A lot of the local hippy contingent were there and the atmosphere was more chilled than in any club Id been in for a long time, though this could, of course, be something to do with the huge amount of drugs going around in Ibiza. We, of course, stayed till close and staggered back to the boat wasted at 0800. Photos from the night

September 25, 2003

Pacha Closing Parties

In the face of more sober judgement we ended up at the Underwater closing party in Pacha the other night until sunrise. Now that the island is getting quieter only the hardcore, dedicated clubbers and people with nowhere else to go are left in Ibiza and everywhere is more relaxed and enjoyable because of it. It was interesting to be in Pacha and actually walk around and see the club rather than pushing through crowds of people the whole time. It feels slicker inside than most of the other clubs in Ibiza (especially with a beer costing ten euros) and it has something of a maze-like design due to being extended repeatedly over the years. It's also big enough that at one point someone with a confused look stopped me and said, "How do you get out of this place?"

With closing parties going on all the time, however, you can't escape the fact that the island is winding down, the season's finishing, the beaches are emptying, and winter is coming. We're going around wearing sweaters these days - it only got up to 28c today, and everybody seems to have a cold. Another week or two and everyone will either be hibernating or emigrating.

September 27, 2003

Winter Berth

Yesterday I sailed over to Espalmador, had a swim, and spent the evening listening to Cafe del Mar albums and drinking beer in the cockpit. I took the dinghy into Formentera this morning and managed to organise a berth for Zamindar in the marina there for the winter. It's always a bit of a relief to get a berth booked for the winter months as places rapidly fill up, but it's also a bit sad as it's the end of another sailing season and another trip.

September 28, 2003

Living with Crabs

We seem to have had a crab living in our sink drain. I guess it crawled up from under the boat and you can see it looking at you from the drain, then it runs out into the sink, grabs any scraps of food it can find, and runs away again. Yesterday, however, I forgot about this when I was making pasta and poured all the boiling water down the sink...