Lovin’ London & the lively Balearics

  • We always love visiting London. Not just because it’s a fabulous place to go, but especially so because I have family there. The opportunity arose whilst we were waiting for the rigging to arrive from Denmark and it was lovely to catch up with Peter, Martine, Robert, Brian, Lorna & Charlie. If you were following the tennis then you’ll know we had great weather whilst there. A lot of the time we were just happy to wander around London, taking in the sights. There really are some quite stunning buildings, both old and new. So many things to see and do, so many places to go. The British Museum is wonderful, with assorted ancient treasures from all over the world. It’s impossible to take it all in in one go, so it’s a good place to start whenever visiting London. The Tate Modern & Tate Britain never fail to please. Really loved viewing the 2017 Award entries at the National Portrait Gallery. Extraordinarily good contemporary portrait paintings, including some with startling photo-realism. You can check it out online at: www.npg.org.uk

Our Melbourne friend, Laurie, gave us his “City of London” tour, sharing interesting snippets of trivia. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed the old iron butchers hooks that still line the historic Leadenhall Market. We also enjoyed some lovely long walks on Wimbledon Common and elsewhere with my brothers and various family members. And it was fun watching my brother, Peter, in action in his role as co-chair of the International Wine Challenge Awards dinner. Thanks for giving up your spot Martine!

All too soon it was time to head back to Mallorca as the new rigging arrived just after we got back. A few days later the mast was back in the boat and we had some time to spare before rig testing was completed so we visited Cap de Formenta, the northern tip of Mallorca, with it’s rugged coastline and breathtaking views to seaward. I also loved sauntering among the cobbled streets of old town Palma, peering into the courtyards of what were once grand homes with their handsome wrought-iron balustrades and marble staircases. In this part of town you can also see the Muslim influence with the old Arab baths, which historians believe date back to around the 10 century, and the wooden Ottoman-style bay windows that are everywhere.

We then welcomed Sammie & Matt aboard. So glad they could join us this year given that last year we’d flown back to Melbourne when they were meant to be sailing with us. Our first stop after departing Palma was the National Park at Cabrera Island, 30nm to the south. We haven’t come across many national parks where you can pick up a mooring in the Med so it was worth booking ahead to secure a spot. We enjoyed both the sail down there and a good walk out to the lighthouse. Next we headed for Ibiza and Formentera. No foam parties for us, but we did find some amazing azure waters. You can see why everyone raves about Formentera with its broad expanse of sandy beaches and turquoise shallows. There were some seriously big yachts here, but we felt a bit out of it, not having out very own water slide!

We farewelled Sammie & Matt at Alicante before heading south then west to Gibraltar. We’ve been amusing ourselves with the never-ending boat list whilst here, with the help of Tim N who joined us last week. The maintenance schedule is looking good with the engine alternator, starter motor and liferaft all now fully serviced. We managed to get in a walk up to the top of the rock yesterday. Great views – and enjoyed watching the cheeky monkeys, especially the one that knicked a pearl earring straight from the ear of the poor unsuspecting girl upon whose shoulder it was sitting!

So, having greatly enjoyed four & a half years of sailing around the Med and travelling more than 9,000 nautical miles, it’s now time to head out into the Atlantic and head south for the next four days down to the Canary Islands. Looking forward to some good sailing hopefully!

Hope all is good at your end. Take care out there.