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Easter Cruise to Ibiza with Mrs Mishap

With our winter break in Torrevieja now behind us and the Mediterranean weather settling into its summer pattern it had been decided to take a two week cruise over to Ibiza. Bob & I were being joined by my son’s long term girlfriend’s mum Joy. She is a school teacher and always keen to crew on Gee Bee Jay during school holidays.

As the crow flies Ibiza is some 110 miles from Torrevieja so we had planned to split the journey into three legs. Our first leg was to the island of Tabarca a small island just five miles offshore from Alicante, with only a hand full of residents. This small community now earns its keep looking after the many day trippers but once used to be an old pirate base. With the wind on our beam we had an ideal start to our cruise and after the last of the day ferries left we had the small harbour all to ourselves. With not a single bar open our evening walk around the ghost like hamlet resembled something out of a Wild West film set.

Our next leg of forty miles would see us passing Alicante then the huge sprawling Benidorm complete with its tall skyscrapers dominating the skyline. The wind was a light northerly and just forward of the beam and we were jilling along nicely. As we had made an early departure I thought this would be a good time to go below and have a wash & shave leaving Joy on the helm. Having crew on board was a treat and I now retired to the heads. Not having a daily paper to hand to read I was content on listening to the steady lapping of the water against the hull. At this point I was becoming aware that Gee Bee Jay was slowing up & then I heard the sails rattling. Next there was a cry of help from the helm. Fully dressed in my birthday suit I looked out of the loo port window to see that Alicante had vanished and I was now looking out to the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. Passing through the saloon to more cries of Les help I quickly grabbed a towel for modesty and now noticed Alicante was on the starboard side. Emerging into the cockpit I found Joy had discovered by pure accident the mystic art of hoving too. After a 360% turn we resumed our course and Mrs Mishap promised not to do it again. Unfortunately this promise was broken twice more in the next half hour

Day three started with a 7am departure from Puerto Blanco for our 65 mile crossing to Formentera. With a mixture of motor sailing then sailing for the remaining 20 miles we eventually arrived after a 12 hour trip. Again we were graced with the presence of dolphins but not in the great numbers we had seen in the Atlantic. A relatively Mishap free day apart from the loud crash from the galley when the boat heeled and only one cup of tea appeared at the hatch, fortunately the flying rogue cup of tea committed suicide in the sink. We spent two glorious sunny days on the island of Formentera including a long walk in the countryside to the small village of San Francisco. Next day we made the ten mile passage over to Ibiza port. During this crossing we were amazed to see a passenger ferry high & dry on the rocks. We were later told by the marina staff that the captain said he had the vessel on autopilot and must have lost GPS signal. Nobody was hurt but needless to say he is now looking for a new job.

Being singlehanded & arriving into any port or anchorage preparation is the key, and fenders & mooring lines are in position and ready to use. But unfortunately if you give Mrs Mishap a neatly coiled length of rope she will turn it into a tangled birds nest in seconds, and woe betide any poor harbour master who manages to catch the offending bundle from my shipmate. (((Even Bob shakes his head in disbelief as yet again the mooring line is held bar tight over the guard rail whilst tied to the dock bollard !!!! )))

Ibiza town was beautiful and we walked right up to the top of the old walled city. Mrs Mishap was on her best behaviour and did not trip down any steps. If you fancy a visit to Ibiza don’t be put off by tales of loud music till the early hours as we did not hear any at all but be aware that all changes in July & August. You can still see the hippies of the sixties & seventy’s but now they are all pensioners selling tourist nic nacs. We were a little apprehensive about taking the boat into Ibiza town port as I had heard that it was extremely expensive and tales of boats being charged in excess of 150 euros per night. In fact because we came out of peak season our berth in the very nice Botafoch marina only cost us 29 euros per night.

A cruise to Ibiza would not have been complete without a visit to some of the many beautiful anchorages , and we next set sail in a anticlockwise direction up the east coast to a bay called Cala Llonga. As we approached the rocky coastline at first we could not see our anchorage, but as we got in closer then rounded the small headland there before us was a paradise just waiting for us. At the head of the rocky inlet which was totally protected from the wind was a large golden sandy beach. Because of the difficult terrain the developer’s had not bothered to build here and all there was were just two small hotels and half a dozen bars around the outer edge of the beach. This was to be our home for the next two days & Mrs Mishap was eager to get ashore. Unfortunately the fickle finger of fate had something in store for her. At this point I must say that follows was not her fault but at best would be described as bad timing. As we boarded the dingy all was well and as I rowed with my passengers in the calmest of waters we picked out our landing spot over to one side of the cove where the shore was made up of large smooth round stones. Just as Joy had got out of the dingy and was clambering ashore a series of waves came from nowhere were upon us. As Bob & I were still in the dingy we just rode them out but by now Joy lost her footing and was having a good ducking by the waves. I could not position the dingy close enough to get her back in as I was fearful of the dingy coming down off a wave on top of her. Fortunately Joy has got a good pair of lungs and her screams soon bought a nearby sunbather to her rescue. By the time she was on the beach the waves had dispersed and the cove had gone calm again. We could only assume the waves had come from a passing ship far out to sea. But Mrs Mishap was now battered from her experience and had collected some nasty scratches and the beginnings of some large bruises to her legs. After thanking her rescuer whose wife was now offering some plasters for Joy’s cuts we resumed our plan for the walk to the village. As we walked off the beach I heard Joy’s rescuer say to his wife that perhaps I was trying to collect some money on her life policy.

When we left Cala Llonga the wind was blowing a good 20 to 25 knots but the direction was coming off the land so the sea was slight. Racing along at 6 knots under jib alone we had a cracking sail up to the north tip of Ibiza to the very pretty anchorage of Portinatx. This large anchorage has many small coves scattered around the edge and as it was forecast to blow strong from the west the following day so we decided to tuck ourselves tight in a small inlet over on the west side. Being narrow there was not enough room to swing on one anchor so I set anchors fore & aft. In the crystal clear waters I nudged Gee Bee Jay virtually up on to the beach & let go the CQR anchor from the bows. I then went astern whilst paying out all the chain then I set the Fortress anchor off the stern. Now it was a simple a matter of pulling back in 25 meters of chain from the bows & hey-ho job done. After a couple of well earned beers in the cockpit it was time for a shore party and Bob was looking eager to finding somewhere to cock his leg. When all were aboard the dingy we made our short way to the beach. No big waves this time but I did notice the CQR was not laying correctly. Although we were only standing in one metre of water my arm was not long enough to reach the anchor and my big toe was no match for lifting that heavy anchor. So after dropping Bob off on the beach Mrs M & I returned to Gee Bee Jay and grabbed the anchor chain and then worked our way hand over hand gradually along the chain back towards the anchor. If you have ever hauled chain off the sea bed in a rubber dingy you will know it’s not as easy as it sounds. Then came the shreek from behind me OOUUCCHH !!!. I stopped hauling in the chain and looked back at Mrs M who had now let go of the chain & was nursing her finger nail which she had caught between dingy & chain. NOT NOW DEAR I said as I was nearly pulled overboard and down to Davy Jones Locker. With both of us again back on the chain we soon reached the anchor and pulled it up and then re-set it correctly giving it a firm push with my foot. Now back on the beach we surveyed the damage to the fingernail. only a partial break & most of the nail remained intact. At least it took her mind off the bruised legs for a while !!!!! Our walk ashore took us a couple of miles along the cliff paths and through wooded hillsides, the view over the bay was fantastic and we managed to take some great photos. On our return along through the woods I suddenly heard a loud OUCH !!! Mrs Mishap had banged her head on an overhanging branch. Being a sympathetic type I jested ‘you wait till I tell your daughter about your mishaps, you’re getting worse.’ Two minutes later I did the same thing on another overhanging branch and yes the only sympathy I got was’ you wait till I tell your son about your little mishaps ’. Which just goes to show how Mishaps are catching? But just like man flue I had a worse bash on the head and had blood to prove it.

Our return trip to the mainland was just under eighty miles so we needed a early start. With alarm clock set to 04.30 our departure was going to be a little tricky with having to retrieve 2 x anchors in a confined space with jagged rocks on either side & a mooring buoy close to our stern. The plan was to pay out all our stern anchor line & pull the boat up to the beach to retrieve the CQR. Then to smartly pull in the stern anchor line till we were over the Fortress anchor. It all went to plan till I returned to the cockpit to pull in the fortress anchor. Did you keep an eye out for that mooring buoy I asked? What mooring buoy my crew replied. Then two torches scanned the cove finding no mooring buoy to be seen. Well it can’t just disappear I said and then I saw it twisted round the rudder together with the Fortress anchor. OOOPPSSS said Mrs Mishap !!!! My best option was to pull up the anchor and see what happens, and lady luck was with me. As soon as the anchor cleared the water the mooring buoy and its attached pick up line drifted gently away into the darkness. Phew that was a lucky break Mrs Mishap I said, as you nearly had your first nightime snorkelling lesson. It’s a good job looks can’t kill as I would not be here to tell the tale.

Our adventures in the Med continue......

Best regards to all from Mrs Mishap, Myself and Bob the dog.

Date Published 11th May 2012