Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Moving from Menorca to Mallorca ..... Sept 2010

Privately owned Fort at Pollenca
21 - 27 September 2010

We stayed 6 nights in Mahon, completed all the boat jobs, did all the sightseeing, even had the chance to socialize with an Australian Catamaran Catouse, and American yacht So Bella.  The mistral had died out in the Golf du Lyon (for the time being) so the swell had finally eased but our dilemma was now which way to go around the island.  We decided to head north and motored in very light downwind conditions up the east coast and around the top to the sheltered  harbour of Fornells.  We had already visited by car so knew we could tuck up out of any existing swell and were ready for evening shore leave, something we didn't do in Mahon with the 20 minute dinghy ride!

We settled into the anchorage and headed ashore for happy hour and dinner.  Well we enjoyed happy hour and were certainly enjoying the Spanish prices, drinking out had finally returned to an acceptable price (not that it had stopped us!!).  We didn't make dinner, those regular big black evening clouds were looking very threatening so we headed on back to Balvenie, just in case.   They skirted around us and didn't amount to anything, but we prefer to be cautious.

Next morning we were off as the sun rose, well it doesn't come up till 7.30am so it isn't too much of an effort .  We were leaving Menorca and heading to Pollenca on the next island of Mallorca.  It was a 50 mile run and we managed a comfortable downwind sail across for the first 30 miles, then the wind died right off so we charged the batteries and cooled the drinks for the remainder.  

Cobbled lanes of Alcudia
We arrived into the shallow harbour at Pollenca at 6pm, and hooked onto a free mooring buoy we had prebooked. The headland ashore was totally dominated by the most spectacular fort, now privately owned and converted into a mansion, the manicured gardens were terraced down to the waters edge, it was just beautiful and made for quite a backdrop, we settled down to a peaceful night.

Our morning check of the weather was now routine. The changeable weather conditions were causing us some problems as another front was due to come through in the early hours of the following morning with a switch from strong southerlies to northwesterlies. The large bay was enclosed but a fetch could easily build, we were in only 3.5 metres of water, the mooring buoy was rated to 16knots of wind and the bottom very weedy and shallow for anchoring. We consulted the cruising guide and found a nearby small marina with enough depth for us (not easy in some of these places), made a phone call, secured a berth on the visitors dock and we were tied up within the hour, we could relax!!!!

We took a walk into the ancient fortified town of Pollentia founded in 123BC, nowadays called Alcudia. It was rich in history with some excellent old buildings and parts of the town wall in very good order, it was an enjoyable spot to while away a few hours. We finally got to have our first Spanish dinner out at the local restaurant, and enjoyed mixed Paella for 2 that would have happily fed 4. It was a bonus just to be able to step back onboard at the end of a great day.
Alcudia's wall is still complete in places

The front came through; we were all secure and very happy we had chosen to marina Balvenie for a couple of nights. The clouds cleared away, we went for a long walk out towards the headland, the swell had set in again - it doesn’t seem to take much to get it going – and even in the marina we had a little surge coming in.

Our departure Saturday morning was delayed as the office did not open till 10.30am for us to retrieve our deposit. Again we were unsure of which coast to head down, because Mallorca lies on an angle the swell and winds seem to wrap around it. We headed back across to the north eastern tip in light winds but very rolly seas, and once we rounded the top sailed the remainder of the way in building tail winds to Porto Petro, we pulled in just before dark and picked up another free mooring buoy (these are just great), then opened the bar.

Next day was Sunday, the weather looked ok to stay longer so we went ashore to the tiny town, found a cafe with a big screen tv and settled down to an excellent lunch while watching the Formula One Grand Prix, what a lazy Sunday afternoon.  There's not much at Porto Petro but that is part of its charm, we knew we would be seeing many high rise hotels and built up areas soon enough so we enjoyed the peace.  Unfortunately that night the swell found us yet again, we were sitting beam on and had yet another rolly old night.  We had planned to stay as Baracca were heading our way, but when the easterly sea breeze started coming in late morning we decided it was time to move on.

Cruising info for Fornells on Menorca and Pollenca, Marina de Bonaire and Porto Petro on Mallorca:-
Anchorages -
Fornells, Pollenca and Porto Petro - Mooring buoys are available for all three of these anchorages.  We anchored at Fornells as we had 20knot bullets and could not pick up a buoy.  To book these free buoys visit www.balearslifeposidonia.eu you need to register online, they must be booked before 6.30pm the day before and are normally a maximum of 2 nights.  They seemed in good order, generally have an extra line with loop to put your line through and these should have a float on so you can pull it up with boat hook.  In Fornells they didn't have floats and as it was our first stop we couldn't work out how to connect it!!!  
Marina de Bonaire - 39 52.013N   03 08.614E   2.5m, side tied.  phone +34 971 54 69 55  Visitors dock just inside the breakwater, will place you further in if they can.  They are not happy to put boats on visitors dock in a strong north east wind because of the surge, we had a little surge (wore through our fender covers) but it was fine.  39E per night incl wifi, power and water.  Shower/toilet blocks, Laundry 3E, bookswap, very helpful small marina.
Communications - Phones: GYMSIM and Vodafone Malta on roaming both working.  Internet: WIFI at Marina (get code from office) and picked up unlocked signal in Porto Petro.  Dongle worked well for rest.

Ashore - 
Fornells -  Tied dinghy to a floating pontoon.  A few bars, cafes and restaurants for all budgets.  A small supermarket (English papers) inland back from Port office and excellent bakery on street out supermarkets back door.  Didn't see ATM but must be one as small touristy town
Pollenca -  Long way from mooring buoys to town area, we didn't go ashore here
Marina de Bonaire - Fuel dock and 30 ton travelift.  Paella great at restaurant by gate.  Turn right at gate for short walk to minimarket and a couple of bars then follow road inland from there to Alcudia, about 25 minute flat walk.  Well worth it.  ATM's in Alcudia
Porto Petro -  Either take dinghy to little dock/beach on right by beachfront cafe or into fishing boat harbour and tie to wall.  Small supermarket one block back (English papers), several eateries, no ATM
Formalities - none.  Marina checked our Boat papers but nothing else.

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