Joined January 2018 Message
  • Day299

    Sailing with Nana and grandad

    May 6 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Today we all set of from Ibiza town and headed west on board Regal. There was a bit of a swell and with the wind on the nose, sadly we could not put up the sails.

    Then at about three in the afternoon we got to a nice anchorage called Jondal.

    We all went for a swim and then we had lunch on board. We had sushi ,fuet and some other things including a salad.

    Then everybody save mother Margaret hopped on the dingy and went into the beach bar for a drink. After that Nana and Grandad got a taxi back to their apartment in Ibiza town,they would be leaving the island tomorrow.

    ;^] this blog was written by Colm
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    Joan and Colm Meade

    Well done , Colm. Ard fhear Joan

    Pat Fleming

    The caves of drac are well worth a visit.

     
  • Day298

    Pacha

    May 5 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We only have one opportunity to experience Ibiza’s famous nightclubbing culture so we go for it.
    It’s our last night in the town and Ruby and Colm are having a sleep over in Nana and Grandad’s apartment.
    By pure chance we have the closest berth out of all four marinas, to the oldest and most celebrated club on the Island, Pacha.
    Today, Thursday is the first day this week that it’s opened - it feel like fate and we must go.
    The 12am to 6am opening hours are a little intimidating but we remember that we can leave whenever we want.
    There are queues when we get there and it’s packed when we get inside. People are mainly in their early 20s with a few old timers like us.
    The music is pumping and we have great time dancing and people- watching.
    Like the sensible people we are we head home at a reasonable hour conscious that we are back out on the water in the morning.
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  • Day296

    Los Abuelos in Ibiza town

    May 3 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    3/5/2022 Tuesday

    Today at one o’clock Ronan and I [Colm] went to the airport to collect Margaret and Donal.
    We had a piece of cake at a cafe while we waited for them.

    Near the hour of two they came out of the terminal.
    After many hugs and kisses we got a taxi back to the port. I was really happy to see them, it had been five months since we last met in Cartagena.

    After a cuppa tea on board we walked into Ibiza town.

    After a nice walk and drink all of us went to a lovely restaurant that was recommended by the guide book.

    Initially we were dissatisfied by the restaurant.The seats were cramped and the music was loud ,but the staff were delicious and the food was very nice. I had shepherds pie.


    We had a nice walk back to the port from town then the Régal crew went back to their sleeping quarters while Nana and Grandad went to their beachside Hotel.

    4/5/2022 Wednesday

    Today was very rainy. At ten in the morning Nana and Grandad come to our humble abode in the port. We played cards and ukulele until two in the afternoon (5mins of pukulele and 3.55 hours of cards)

    We and the visitors checked into their new apartment.

    Around four we all went on a big walk to Ibiza Cathedral way up on the hill. There were lots of really cool tunnels and the cathedral was spectacular. Although we could not go in to see the interior of the mind blowing building.

    After a walk on the beach we had dinner(apples and oranges by my dearest mother)with Nana and Grandad in their new apartment.

                   5/5/2022 Thursday
    This morning Nana and Grandad helped us with our boat jobs .Ruby and I went to Nana and Grandads apartment with our swimming gear,With a blissful swim in Nana in the pristine pool in mind.
    When we got to the pool clad in our swimming togs ,goggles and hats the Grumpy Caretaker said we could not go swimming because it was closed even though it looked perfect to us.

    Nana ,Mom and I went into town to go to a few shops. One of the shops we went to was a Pacha nightclub store where I bought a notebook and Mom got a t-shirt.

    After that we met the others for a drink. Then we went to a Tapas restaurant for dinner. The waiters came around to the tables with plates of hot pinchos to choose from and we also ordered a few thing’s from the menu.

    Ruby and I were staying for the night in Magaret and Donald’s apartment.
    Ronan and Margaret went back to Régal.
    We played cards and then we went to bed at 22:45.

    This blog was written by Colm :^)
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  • Day294

    A Formentera road trip

    May 1 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Leaving Espalmador on the 31st, we went over to a little bay nearby to Formenteras port town. We launched our dingy for the first time this season, and went in to the town for a little evening visit. The town, called La Savina, is the main port for all the ferrys, but not the actual “Capital” of the island. We has a lovely dinner ashore and did a spot of shopping.
    On the first day of summer we sped in to La Savina bright and early. On our little inflatable punt, we went up through the shallow channel, into the almost-landlocked bay where all the fishing boats are kept.
    Once in the town, Mom and Dad set about trying to negociate a car rental for the day. We went to several different dealerships before settling on a Suzuki Jimini. It was a jeep-style convertible, with openings where the back window would be, and one about the drivers head. It had only two doors and an extremely small boot, but it was just the car for what we had in mind.
    After a quick coffee, we all hopped in the car and sped off. Cruising down the road with the radio blasting, passing fields filled with goats or sheep, solitary trees and wild rosemary was certainly an experience, and not one we will soon forget.
    Our first stop was Sahona, where we spent the night a week beforehand. It was lovely to see the place from a different angle, and when we saw the swell rocking a boat there, we were more than happy not to be in their position!
    The second place on our whistle-stop tour of the island was a lighthouse on the southwestern-most point of Cap De Barbaria. It stood in the middle of a grassy sea, with the wind whispering through it and tiny lizards basking in the sun. You couldn’t go inside the lighthouse, only walk around it, so we went for a little ramble through the fields. The grass, rosemary, and flowers ended abruptly at red cliffs plunging into the sea. Seagulls wheeled overhead whilst the waves crashed against the rocks far, far below.
    I got to walk along the cliffside, while the others piled into the car and drove the roundabout way to the third location, which was an old round tower. The “Torre” (In Spanish) was similar to a Mortello tower, except that it was smaller and slightly reddish.
    After a quick snack back at the car, it was in again all the way to Playa es Arenals, a beach on the south side of Formentera. Dad and i shared a snooze on the sand, before we all went in for a swim!
    Then we went to a small town on the opposite side of the island as Arenals called Es Calo. We had lunch at a lovely cafe, which was next to a small cove that fishermen used to house their boats. The water was beautiful, and there were several boats anchored offshore. Every now and then, a man from one of the other restaurants would walk down to the small pier, hop into his RIB, and speed off to one of the boats. He would return with a crowd onboard, see them up to his workplace, and then hop in again to repeat the whole thing!
    We then went to a town on the more southeasterly point of the island. The town was called El Pilar De La Mola, and is famous (At least on Formentera) for hosting the hippie market! We had a good look around, but the market only really sold artwork and jewellery.
    There was a beautiful viewing point a little back the way, and that was where we went to next. After a walk through the gorgeous pine woods, we arrived at a little rocky outcrop with a view that you’d think could only be seen from a plane! It was amazing to see all of the island from way up high, pointing out the places we had just been to. What’s more, is that here were some extremely curious lizard on the rocks! If you could sit still for a short while, they would nearly try to climb up onto you!
    Our final stop was a church, but not just any old one. This was Capella Siglo XIV, one of the final remaining fortified churches in the world! As by now we were all quite tired, it was a drowsy drive back to the port to return the car. We went from the car rental to the dingy, and then back to the boat for an early night. It had been a great day, and certainly a memorable first of May!
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    Kathleen Epstein

    Well if it isn’t 3 grownups!

    Susan Ronan

    Looking good guys ❤️

     
  • Day290

    Deja vu in Espalmador

    April 27 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Our second round of days spend in Espalmador passed us all by in a blissful haze. The weather was somewhat mixed, but a damp boat did not dampen our spirts!
    We had multiple different neighbours over the course of our stay, ranging from music-blasting giants to day tripping RIBs. A Scottish yacht by the name of Aphrodite had drinks on the beach with us one night, and as the adults talked, the kids made ludicrous sand-based constructions.
    There was plenty of cooking done during our stay, with us making white yeast bread, blue-iced cupcakes and a delicious chickpea tart one night for dinner. (Courtesy of Margaret)
    We swam daily, sometimes with and sometimes without wetsuits. In the middle of the day, when the temperature was at its max, you could have stayed in for hours! The water was beautifully clear, and just splendid to muck around in.
    On our first stay, about a week beforehand, the beach was white and sparkling as far as the eye could see. However, this was not the case this time around! The rough weather that we hid from in Ibiza marina had not been absent here. About two thirds of the beach was now covered in a layer of dead sea grass! When you walked through it, up to your knees would be covered without your foot even touching the ground.

    Notes: This chapter was written by ruby ^_^
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    Kathleen Epstein

    Lovely writing, Ruby!

     
  • Day288

    Sweet Soana

    April 25 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    On Monday the 25th, we left Ibiza town.
    This is something easier said then done, as the morning consisted of shopping, tank-filling and rope removal to no small degree. With hope in our hearts and plans on our mind, we sped out the harbour that we had gladly rushed into only a few days prior.
    Our plan of action revolved around a quiet anchoring harbour named ‘Cala Soana’. It was a beautiful place, with rust-red cliffs and deep, clear water. There was a small beach where the cliffs met; forming a right angle, but a large white hotel dominating it put a stop to any thoughts of further exploration. Soana was truly a beautiful place to spend the evening watching the sun go down.
    The morning came with clear skies….. and high seas. Any water-based activities would not have been the most pleasant, and as that was pretty much the plan, our anchor came up and we left with calmer locations in mind.

    Notes: This chapter was written by Ruby. =]
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    Pat Fleming

    Great description Ruby, almost felt I was there as well 🙂

    Kathleen Epstein

    Beautifully written! (Howard’s comment but I’m sure K would agree!)

    Mandy O'Leary-Hegarty

    Well done Ruby! Great descriptive writing. Can't wait to hear more!

     
  • Day285

    Ibiza town

    April 22 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    It’s very exciting being at Ibiza marina with Regal tied up opposite ‘Below Decks’ style superyachts. The commercial units next to the marina office are full of Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer and Bvlgari. We are in the ‘steerage’ part of the marina - Pontoon ‘L’ beyond the boat storage unit, a 15 minute walk to the office. They keep the likes of us, who hang their laundry above deck and go shopping with granny trolleys, well hidden. Ronan enquires from the marina office about laundry facilities and they direct him to the concierge service. 6 euros to launder a t-shirt they tell him - We don’t even try to calculate how much 2 black bags full would cost.
    There are plenty of ordinary people in Ibiza too as well as a nice sprinkling of the quirky and crusty. So we don’t feel out of place here and and it’s enjoyable to watch the ‘beautiful’ people in their lovely clothes, cars and boats.

    The island is just waking up after winter - the nightclubs don’t open for another week. It will be interesting to see if the dynamic changes once it is open season.

    The town is very pretty, its skyline dominated by the old walls surrounding the upper town with its cathedral perched on top. We go through the gates and walk up into the narrow streets of the old town and enjoy tapas for dinner. Prices are expensive, a soft drink is 3.50 and a homemade lemonade is six euro - of course Ruby and Colm opted for the homemade lemonade!
    The lower part of town at the waterfront is also lovely to walk around with pretty squares, funky shops and cafes as well as high street brands we are delighted to peruse.
    In all honesty we spend very little time touristing over the 4 days we are here. Regal needs attention for a myriad of reasons - the regular chores needing our time; shopping, laundry and little repairs but what dominates these days is minding our dotey boaty in this weather. The wind is strong and changeable and our lines ashore need to be changed around a few times. We are stern-to with one mooring line at the bow. One day she being blown onto the marina and we have to pull her out to prevent her bashing into it. The next day the wind is blowing her off so much that its nearly impossible to reach the pontoon safely. The homemade passerelle we had constructed in Cartagena is not up for the task. We go straight to the nearby industrial estate and walk back carrying a new 2 meter ladder - this is not the image I had in mind when I dreamed of sailing in Ibiza.
    We copy a design for gang planks we had seen on other boats; plastic decking screwed into the ladder and then a rope with a snatch block to raise and lower it. It proves very effective and we can now get on and off the boat again.
    The wind is very strong for these few days and the boat rocks and pulls constantly no matter how many lines and snubbers we have ashore. The pontoon we are on is very exposed to the swell, the wash from the ferries and the wind. We have disturbed sleep every night and on the worst night of wind everyone on the pontoon is up at 4am. We are sleep deprived and in this sense at least we are having the real Ibiza experience.
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  • Day283

    Horsed into Ibiza Town

    April 20 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Hard to know what else to call this day, what started out as a short 5nm motor to Ibiza Town turned into a crazy mornings weather.
    We knew the wind was forecast to be circa 15kts SW, gusting 20 or so...hugging the coastline we are just over a mile from the harbour entrance as the wind keeps picking up.
    20 kts... 25 kts... 30 kts.. 35.....
    White horses coming at us, our speed is dropping and the wind increasing, 1 mile now to the harbor mouth.
    Increase the revs, again, but speed still dropping, lee shore is only 500m away.
    50 kts gust comes through, her bow won't stay straight, feels like she's being smacked to port and starboard, it's half a mile to the entrance and then we can turn away from the weather.
    An alarm starts sounding, we can't figure out what it is, might be a DSC alarm from a nearby yacht, lots of traffic on the VHF.
    Turn off the VHF but still the alarm continues.
    Could be an engine overheating alarm, throttle back but alarm continues.. Can't slow down or could end up thrown onto the breakwater.
    Around us high speed ferries passing all the time. Meanwhile the alarm continues, Margaret goes on the helm while I try and hunt it down.
    No smoke from the engine room so that seems alright, but every time I look at the engine alarm panel the sound is louder..
    We clear the breakwater and turn into the harbour, now we can throttle back, still the alarm continues... Its loudest back where Margaret is at the helm, adjacent to the engine control panel. Suddenly we discover its AIS proximity alarms on Margarets and Ruby's phones ....no time to think about that, have to concentrate on finding our way into the marina, wind is 25kts plus and gusting, ferries passing each side of us.
    Directed to a berth but after two abortive passes decide we should try another option.
    Turn away to get into an upwind berth, start our approach and discover bow thruster has stopped working, maybe circuit breaker has tripped after the previous berthing efforts.
    Too late to turn back, committed now, have to go for it.
    Marinerios on the dock and in a rib are a welcome hand, plus the concerned neighbours we are trying to come in next to - Patpicha a boat who also wintered in Cartagena.
    Just as we get the dock lines on we see another Cartagena boat 'Kaoz' approaching the marina. They too encountered the 50 kt gusts and have a blown out headsail, plus the skippers wife has sustained a hand injury while trying to control the run away sail. On the radio they are requesting assistance, so the marinerios leave us and head over to them in their RIB.
    Makes us glad to be in and safe.
    We do a little tidy up and sit down for a snack and a drink, relief is certainly the sweetest emotion!
    The ibiza night clubs will have to wait... 24 hours anyway.. 😁
    The next morning we take a walk down to nearby Talamanca beach, just next to the port entrance. There we see the sad sight of two yachts which have been blown up onto the beach. Judging by their otherwise fresh appearance, it's probably fair to say the same storm accounted for them too..
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    Pat Fleming

    Wow! Scary.

    4/21/22Reply
    Barry McCarthy

    Well put together guys. Like we were with you! but glad I wasn't 😊 . Enjoy Port for a while.

    4/23/22Reply
    Bernard Lynch

    Hi Ronan and Margaret and gang. Great to follow you back at sea and the next part of your adventure 😀 Best wishes. Bernard

    Ronan O'Driscoll

    thanks folks, hoping we don't get too many more days like that!

     
  • Day281

    5 anchor spots

    April 18 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After our first night at anchor under the mansion-lined cliffs of Ibiza we spend a lovely sunny morning getting back into the groove of anchor living. We inflat the old and the new SUP and take them for a little turn about the bay, we have a wetsuit swim and then take turns trying out the solar shower which is hanging from the boom.
    The wind and swell start to move more southerly and the boat yaws a little from side to side. Since the weather is to stay like this we up anchor and head south to the island of Formentera. We have a great sail with Ruby at the helm and anchor in a sheltered bay on the north of the Island.
    We up anchor in the morning and drop it again an hour later in beautiful Espalmador - a long low-lying sand island. The sun is shining down on the crystal clear turquoise water and Ruby and Colm see a ray swim by as we enter the bay.
    This is as perfect as it gets - There are only two houses on the island and there is no one home. The long stretch of beach has grassy sand dunes behind it and a little woods beyond that. When we go ashore later we see tiny pink flecks in the sand.

    It’s Easter Sunday and there are a few other yachts at anchor here and some charter traffic, mainly big fancy speed boats on day trips from Ibiza. Many of them play loud music - sometimes loud enough so that their guests can still hear it when they have been dropped ashore. Most of the charters only spend an hour or two here and so there is still plenty of serenity to be had.
    We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We spend our time swimming, snorkelling, supping and diving into the big bag of Easter chocolate our Galway cousins had sent out to us.
    First thing on Monday morning the warden pays us a visit in his rib and asks us to move our anchor spot. His main job is to protect the Posidonia (sea grass) and we had been careful not to anchor near it but he says we are too close to the beach.
    While I go for a swim, Colm helms Regal to another spot and Ronan drops anchor. I feel so happy and proud that the kids are becoming such competent crew. The boat is now further away from where I started my swim and as I haul ass back towards her I realise how vulnerable I am and just how dispensable I am becoming. Note to self - be nice.
    After a bit of homework and baking we take advantage of our new anchor spot close to a little rocky island. The four of us swim and snorkel over and there is lots to see in and around the rocks, sea grass and coral. There are sea cucumbers, rainbow wrasse, sprat and some little brown fish whose names I didn’t catch. When we get back to the boat there are more fish- a shoal of fifty or so of our old friends from Cartagena marina; the Saddled Sea Bream - They are always around and so easy to spot with their single black spot. Their cousins are visiting today too; the Striped Sea Bream. There are hundreds of them furiously feeding on the sea bed right under the boat. Maybe they found the crumbs of our lunch washed down the drain.
    We have three fantastic days at Espalmador but on the third day, as evening approaches, we leave to get ahead of the weather. We motor to Cala Longa, a narrow and rocky bay on the south eastern side of Ibiza. Entering at dusk we can smell the pine from the woods on cliffs above us and we see a few hotels and a nice looking beach tucked inside the bay. We plan to stay here for a few nights to wait out the first spell of wind and rain and the move to a marina on Friday before Saturday’s gale.
    We drop anchor and the night rolls in and unfortunately so does the swell. We weren’t expecting this and we have a broken night listening to the clanks and groans of the anchor and rigging. We feel Regal roll about without any predictable rhythm. The next morning we are tired and become frustrated and a little alarmed trying to reserve a marina for Friday’s bad weather. The marinas won’t allow us to book in advance and with a gale forecast we most definitely don’t want to be caught out with nowhere to go. We bite the bullet and book a spot in Ibiza marina from today and through the weekend - we up anchor for the last time for a while.
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    Pat Fleming

    Sounds stunning 🙂

    4/26/22Reply
    Kathleen Epstein

    Yum! (So says Howard)

     
  • Day278

    We're going to Ibiza😊

    April 15 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We've had Ibiza on our minds with quite a while.
    Back in February '20 we were 6 weeks away from leaving Ireland - and well, we all know how that worked out.
    So now, writing this on the eve of departure from mainland Spain, it feels like another big moment for us.
    It will hopefully mark the start of a slow cruise through the Balerics and Corsica, Sardinia and who knows where....
    But first there's the little matter of getting there... What had seemed to be the prospect of a galloping beam reach has now changed to a close hauled bash..if the forecast is to be believed....will just have to wait and see how it goes
    After anchoring in Calpe on Tuesday night we moved into the marina for two nights to avoid the strong northerly winds. It's a pleasant stop before we transit the 60nm of the Canal de Ibiza.
    Hopefully tomorrow the winds will have eased to 15 kts or so, all going well we could have a good sail with the wind on the beam.
    And here's the live update :
    We leave port at 9am and already it seems less than charming.
    Rounding the headland we have 20 - 25 knots plus dirty gusts coming down from the Rock.
    With two reefs in the main and only a scrap of headsail, there is a 1.5 - 2m swell on the nose with grey skies and seas. Plus a lesser crossing swell from abaft the beam, just to make it interesting.
    Regal is banging into the swell, and worse, only making 4 knots or so. It's going to be a long 60 miles at this rate. With her starboard rail in the water and the scuppers full, I consoled myself by seeing the last of the Saharan dust being washed off.
    Nobody is enjoying this.
    I considered turning back, like another sailor had said to me recently "its supposed to be about enjoyment not endurance".
    I decided to give it an hour and see how it goes. There is a shipping lane coming up, which helps with the decision to carry on, once we enter that we won't want to turn around half way through.
    Margaret plays a blinder rallying the troops with songs and games, it's a great distraction and helps to lift the mood.
    By 12.00 we're in the shipping lane, calling up the cargo ship MSC Carmen who is passing close by, he obligingly alters course to go astern of us.
    At 14.00 the wind starts to back and we shake out the reefs, our speed increases, while helming became easier. Finally we are getting the beam reach we had hoped for.
    By 16.00 we are doing 7kts + with 21nm to go, all good. But shortly after this the wind veers again and we're back reefing - we've certainly shaken off the Cartegna cobwebs now!
    At least the larger swell is moderating now as we start to come into the lee of Ibiza, we're all glad to have an end to the crash and bang.
    By 18.30 we're close under the high coastline, the wind and seas drop and we start the engine. An hour later we're at anchor, tired, relived but very happy to have reached Ibiza.
    It's a lovely landfall and we go to bed happy, looking forward to the promise of a calm and sunny morning.
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