June 22-July 24, 2005
Picking up from last time, the
Moroccan tin box did find its way onto “Seraphim;”
despite the fact that the dealer had an inflated idea of
But we did enjoy Cartagena. We
made new friends as we strolled through the old town.
It was hotter than Hades in
Cartagena, and we fully embraced Siesta out of sheer
desperation. We used the opportunity to reprovision
before we hit the “island prices” we expected to find
later. The European answer to Cosco is a German chain
called Lidl. Our visit there required a taxi to carry
everything back to the harbor.
But the islands made up for it.
First stop: Formentera, and its little brother
Espalmador. Espalmador is tiny, and privately owned, so
the only way onto it is by boat. No bars, no
restaurants, no noise. Making up for those deficiencies
is the nudity. Some of the earliest tourists to visit
Formentera and Espalmador were nudists, and the
tradition continues. And then there’s the “mud bath”
behind the beach. Actually, it is but a dried-up swamp
with a few drops of moisture left. An area about the
size of a medium sized automobile. We saw several
groups of people covered head to toe in the muck. A few
friends even extolled the virtues of bathing in the
mud: supposedly a great cleansing of the skin,
relaxation of tired muscles, purifying of pores, blah,
blah, blah. To John, it looked like a giant Petri
dish. Since this is a family site, we’ll show the mud,
but not the nudists. Sorry.
Sharon even tried the mud bath, but
only went in as far as her thighs. And those stunk for
Formentera is also known for the
hippies who invaded in the sixties. They brought with
them their drugs, music and crafts. And some of them
Once over on Ibiza proper, we were
pleasantly surprised. We expected:
-Thousands of 18-30 year-old
singles from England and Germany. Yep.
-Loud discos going until all
-Lots of bare bellies, butts
and boobs, all covered with tattoos and body
-Cheap hotels and lousy
-Not much in the way of scenery
to look at. Wrong! The west coast is stunning.
-Brusque people tired of the
crummy tourists. Wrong again. We met some
(We did tire of the discos!)
Our arrival in San Antonio, Ibiza
was marred by yet another mechanical breakdown.
Actually it was two breakdowns, in case you’re keeping
score. We “met a guy, who knew a guy, who recommended a
guy” whose father turned into John’s “new best friend.”
Antonio. Antonio is 66 and retired. He sold his boat
service business to his son several years ago. He just
happened to be in the shop when John appeared with his
“problems.” Antonio is one of those “old school”
mechanics who likes to fix things, not just change the
parts. What a gem! John worked side by side with
Antonio on both the engine problem and the broken anchor
windlass. In the end, his expertise and experience cost
us less than $175 for both problems. Not bad. And, as
we waited for parts to arrive from the USA, Antonio even
took John out on his own boat for a sightseeing trip.
Once we left San Antonio, the
island took on a different air. The coast is high stone
cliffs topped with green trees. The sea crystal clear,
deep, and of the purest blue imaginable. We anchored
one night in a little cove just large enough to hold one
boat; the rest of the cove was shallow and rocky. We
entered through a slot in the cliff, and the cove opened
up to our right. There, hidden from view farther out to
sea, was a tiny beach complete with bar/restaurant.
There were twelve chaise lounges for rent, and six
umbrellas. Period. Everyone left at day’s end except
for four young men who were staying overnight. When we
awoke next morning, the four young men were gone, the
entire beach had been cleaned and raked, the chaises and
umbrellas were all in place. Ready for a new day.
We did come across a “first” for
us: A large motoryacht, as in 200’ large, traveling
with another “supply ship” to hold the toys. The supply
ship was pretty big, too, and looked to be a converted
oil-platform supply ship. It was filled with jetskis, a
30’ speedboat, water-ski boats, rubber dinghies, and an
amphibious car! The car looked like a Rambler American
convertible, ca. 1955, but with a difference: it
sported twin propellers under the rear bumper. All this
to service the guests on the larger yacht. We have
never seen anything like this before. We missed the
opportunity to photograph the yacht; you’ll just have to
settle for the “tender.”
We managed to combine business with
pleasure one evening, and took the bus to the other side
of the island to Ibiza town. It turned out to be
charming, with its old walled city sited on the hill
overlooking the harbor. After buying the bits we needed
at the “ferreteria”, we climbed to the top of the hill,
but the cathedral there was closed for the day. People
watching was much better than in San Antonio: more
style, more money, more transvestites. We had a
wonderful dinner in a small plaza, then caught the late
bus back “home.”
Now Mallorca. Totally different
all over again. More upscale, more money, less skin.
We have just begun to explore this island, so you’ll
have to wait until next time.
When we set off on this adventure,
we knew one of the main things we wanted to do was get
to know something of the people of the various places we
were going to visit. That we have done, but did they
all have to be mechanics?
Hasta luego, amigos!