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June 3, 2004

Es Vedra

From Cala Porroig we sailed around to Cala d'Hort, anchored, and took the dinghy out to Es Vedra, a stunning 382m high rock that sits off Ibiza's west coast. Many of the locals are superstitious about it and Carita is as well, which meant she was a bit jumpy the whole trip. In the book, 'Diccionario de los Secretos de Ibiza', Mariano Planell wrote, "The telluric strength of Ibiza and Es Vedra is confirmed by the ancient cults of the god Bes or the goddess Tanit, deity of love, fertility and death, to whom numerous sanctuaries were dedicated. During the last century, the memoirs of the barefoot Carmelite monk, Father Palou, (who lived alone on Es Vedra for years) describe his mystic experiences. Numerous UFO sightings have been recorded in this region".

June 5, 2004

Atlantis, Ibiza

We finally made it to Atlantis the other day. Some of the rock used to build the old town was quarried there and in the last twenty or thirty years visiting artists have carved figures and designs into the soft sandstone, turning it into an outdoor gallery. Set in an undisclosed location by the sea, it's never marked on maps and you have to do a lot of asking around and hunting to find it.

There are only two ways to get there. Either you follow a difficult, winding path down the cliffside or you do as we did and arrive by sea. Even that wasn't so easy as we had to anchor the dinghy in the middle of the bay and swim ashore to prevent it from getting bashed against the rocks. To our surprise there were a few other people there, most of whom were lying around naked on the warm rock.

Many of the original carvings have now been worn away by the elements - figures of men and women coming out of the rock and dragons and symbols; giving the place an ancient feeling like being at the pyramids as you walk through the passages formed by the quarrying. Most of the recent designs are sadly less creative, however, and it runs the risk of being taken over by people carving 'Kev was here 2003' as the old canvas gets washed clean, but it's still a very special place that's typical of Ibiza's spirit.

June 7, 2004

San Antonio Uncovered

We sailed the rest of the way around to San Antonio bay as Carita started work last week. Marina prices are steadily climbing to their 100 euro plus levels a night as we approach high season so they're not an option for staying in. The port police moved us out of Ibiza Town harbour once too many times last year as they're trying to stop boats anchoring there, and so San Antonio bay is the next best choice for anchoring in shelter and getting bus connections across the island. When we first left Formentera Ira seemed a bit shocked about her home moving around and she wasn't quite sure what was happening, but by now she's very cool with the whole idea and just lies downstairs sleeping until we arrive when she comes out onto deck to see where we are. Carita sometimes does the same.

Although the best place for shelter is probably San Antonio itself, we didn't want to end up there just yet. For one thing it's full of lobster coloured Brits going around the streets without shirts / with football tops on and we just weren't ready for that shock after the serenity of Formentera. It's where the worst parts of Ibiza Uncovered were filmed, whereas the rest of the island is much more civilised. The other thing is that anchoring in a busy harbour is a bit like getting a good parking place - you don't want to give your space up as you won't get it back, and so you end up not going anywhere.

Instead we chose life. We chose to anchor around the various bays outside of San Antonio which are much more attractive than the town itself, and commute in by dinghy. Ibiza really does have some beautiful scenery. Still, it can sometimes be difficult to find tranquility in this part of the island. As the tourist season kicks into full force the bays around here are filling up with other yachts, rental jet skis, and glass bottom boats full of people whose idea of a good time is squeezing their flab into skin-tight leggings, having eight pints, a curry, and throwing up. I woke up yesterday, wandered onto deck half asleep, and looked up to find two hundred of them staring down at me from one of the boats. Rude awakening at the zoo. Thankfully, by early evening, most of them are heading off to the kebab shop and the beaches have returned to a state of peacefulness that suggests it was all a bad dream.

June 11, 2004

Virtual Insanity

The more observant will have noticed that the picture from the boatcam hasn't changed once since it first appeared. Unfortunately, this is not because the view from the camera hasn't changed but because it's currently refusing to update the file properly on the site. It's a Nokia Observation Camera which I fitted in the winter so that I could easily keep check on the boat and it emails me pictures quite reliably most of the time. Given a bit of work I'll hopefully get it updating to the site soon with the view from the boat.

I haven't been able to email any new moblog pics either as my Spanish isp has inexplicably been bouncing any emails I send from their address and forcing me to dial in to the UK to send mail. Hopefully, this too will soon be sorted and I'll be able to offer a much more virtual experience.

June 14, 2004

Ibiza Wi-Fi

After weeks of suffering connecting to the internet by mobile phone at 9600 baud and horrendous cost, I've finally got a decent connection again. Club Ibosim is a group of people I met up with in the winter who are trying to put some free wi-fi access points into Ibiza and I'm in the main cafe they've covered right now in San Antonio, Cafe Guay, enjoying fast wireless access again. As well as wi-fi, they've also put a few pc's into the cafe so that anyone buying a drink can get internet access too. It's only about five minutes walk away from Cafe Del Mar, but already I can see myself spending more time here than staring at the sunset this summer.

June 16, 2004

Most Expensive Cities

Proving that Britain is now one of the most expensive places to live in the world, London has just been ranked at number 2 in a survey of the world's most expensive cities - only Tokyo is more expensive. Even lowly Glasgow now ranks at number 41, though that's probably due to my upwardly mobile chums in the West End pushing up property prices and the cost of a latte. Interestingly, Finland, which used to be the most expensive country in Europe, now comes in with Helsinki at number 23, far cheaper than Copenhagen (number 8), and probably why the Finns are so much happier.

June 17, 2004

Beware of the Dog

mad ira
After looking around for a "Beware of the Dog" sign and not being able to find a decent one I decided to make my own. Unfortunately, it hasn't turned out quite how I envisaged it...

June 19, 2004

Maggots

We rented a car yesterday and were driving around in the Mediterranean heat when we began to wonder what the smell was. After Carita giving me a hard time about my socks, we parked in the sun and returned later to find it smelt so bad that we could hardly get back inside. It was then I opened the boot and found three cases of maggots, nicely heated up by the sun and stinking!

I wasn't sure if it was some kind of special offer I'd missed when I was renting it, kind of a, "Rent a car, get a lifetime supply of maggots free" sort of thing, so I thought it best just to leave them there. Anyway, I drove back into San Antonio this morning to return the car, parked up in a random place in town, and as soon as I walked away from it a van pulled up, two guys got out, opened up the rental car, grabbed the maggots, then sped off.

June 21, 2004

Midsummer in Ibiza

We decided to celebrate midsummer last night in true Finnish tradition - drinking huge amounts of alcohol. Carita works until about three in the morning but when she finished she brought back a lot of cold beer and we sat in the cockpit until dawn drinking - a fitting way to spend the longest day of the year. Today, however, has not been quite as pleasant, as you can probably imagine.

June 25, 2004

Fingerprint Scanners Defeated

As biometric IDs are being forced increasingly onto us (Finland, Denmark and Belgium have already agreed to incorporate biometrics into their passports from next year), giving big brother more and more information about us under the mistaken belief that it's going to help prevent illegal immigrants and terrorism, this article proves just how easy it is for anyone with serious intentions to beat the systems. All tested systems were easily deceived with gelatin fingerprints made by a student.

Chillout Sessions

Walking along a remote part of the coast with the dog the other day, we crossed over a hill and heard music coming from a couple of vans parked at the far side of the bay. At first I thought it was just someone with a very loud stereo, but as we walked closer I realised that it was a band playing on the cliffs above the sea. They'd set up all of their gear, a generator, and big speakers and were playing really good chillout music across the deserted landscape with no one else around as the sun set into the sea. It was nice to have some live music while I was taking the dog out but some things only happen in Ibiza.

June 28, 2004

Mooring Moves

We were lucky enough to find an unused mooring a few weeks ago in the sheltered cala that Zamindar is in, so, as it's much more secure than being anchored, we dived down and shackled the boat onto it. The other day, however, we were told that the people who own the mooring are bringing their boat over and, naturally, wanted it back. We half expected this, but it's not too bad as there are quite a few other abandoned mooring blocks lying around the seabed there. So the following day was spent more underwater than out of it as we dived around the bay hunting around for a moorings. After a couple of hours we'd found a few smaller mooring blocks, moved the odd one into a better position, and re-attached Zami in her new position to several of them. By the time I got out of the water, however, I could hardly stand on land - too much breathing through a tube!