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Barry's Blog # 39 - There's a gremlin on board

One Wednesday morning while at anchor in Formentera a wind opportunity presented itself to us and within an hour of getting out of bed we were unfurling our sails, waving goodbye to Formentera and pointing A B Sea in the direction of the south west tip of Ibiza. We managed two thirds of the trip under sail before the 10 knots of wind died and we had to motor. It's such a great feeling to be moving with just the power of the wind. Our plan was to go up the west coast of Ibiza until we spotted an anchorage that was protected, had dinghy access to the beach and a supermarket within walking distance.

Cala Tarida

We found all of that and more at Cala Tarida. We heard about Cala Tarida from Gabriel, a charter skipper who took the time to post us a list of Ibiza anchoring spots and the good and bad points of each one. Gabriel specifically mentioned that at Cala Tarida it was best to anchor on the north or south side of the beach where the bottom is sand. He specifically told us not to try to anchor in the middle as it's very rocky and there's a danger of getting your anchor lodged in the rocks.

Just like at Formentera we planned on staying at Cala Tarida for a little over a week or until the wind was in our favour again. So in between editing videos and writing blogs there was plenty of time to watch other boats coming and going. One particular boat that came in early one evening was flying the British Red Ensign off the back and even though it was 58 feet in length, one guy was handling it solo. Kudos. We couldn't be certain but it looked like he'd dropped his anchor a little too close to the rocky middle of the bay. Our suspicion was proven the following morning as we sat in our cockpit eating breakfast.

We could hear his anchor chain being raised and lowered and when he eventually put on a mask and snorkel and got into the water to eyeball his anchor we knew he was having issues. After half an hour of watching him try various methods, including an attempt to dive to his anchor using a small pony bottle of air, I decided to dinghy over and ask if he needed me to scuba dive his anchor.

He was anchored about 100 metres from us so after returning to A B Sea and putting on my dive gear I jumped off our back end and did a surface swim over to him. He explained the situation to me and I then descended 6.8 metres (22 feet) in the crystal clear water to have a look. I could see his anchor off to one side, it was in between two rocks but would be easy to pull out of its spot. The problem was with his anchor chain. Close inspection showed me that somehow during the night his boat had swung 360 degrees and his chain had wrapped itself around and under a big chunk of rock. Not only that, his chain had sawn through the rock causing big pieces of it to fall and trap his chain. There was no way he was going to dislodge it on just one lung full of air.

I began by clearing out some of the smaller pieces of fallen rock which allowed access to the bigger pieces. It's a good thing that saltwater makes underwater objects weigh less. With all the debris eventually moved I could see that the way was clear to pull the chain out and over the top of the rock, the issue now was that there was 58 feet of boat pulling in the opposite direction and I needed slack chain in order to set it free.

On the surface, watching what I was doing, he gave a signal to lower more chain, which gave me a small window to grab the slack, remove the chain from under and get it over the top of the rock before the wind pushed against his boat making the chain go taut again. It worked and I watched as his boat, chain and anchor all fell into alignment. Job done after just 8 minutes of being under water.

After he thanked me (I never did catch his name) I swam back to A B Sea, and explained the situation to Aannsha as I stripped off my dive gear. Then 10 minutes later he, his wife and young daughter came over in their dinghy to offer us a nice bottle of the local Spanish cava as a thank you. Forty five minutes later Aannsha and I happily watched him pull up his anchor without issue and we waved as they sailed out of the anchorage and away to the north.

Cala Tarida

Cala Tarida is picturesque both during the day and the night. The water is crystal clear and apart from the rocky bit in the middle, the sandy bottom provides great holding. It's a family holiday destination so it's super quiet at night and even though it was August there was plenty of room for boats of all sizes. We've even noticed a few of the same boats that we spotted in Formentera, these must be charter boats that ply the same waters and anchorages during the summer time.

Several bars, restaurants and apartment complexes are built into the low and gently sloping cliffs overlooking the bay and surprisingly there are a ton of car and moped hire places at the top of a steep set of stairs to the left of the beach. Unfortunately there's nowhere to fill up the fuel tank for our dinghy. We may need to ask at one of the moped rental places if they'll sell us some petrol.

There's one supermarket (within walking distance), it supplies most of the things we need and considering they have a monopoly their prices are not too high. Restaurant prices vary greatly and depending on your budget you might want to stay away from one that offers burgers (angus beef) with chips and salad for 32 Euros (AU$50).

Water sports are well catered for. There's boat hire, water skiing, banana boats, jet skis, kayaks and fly boarding, plus whatever water toys the individual boats bring with them. A couple of days ago a brand new catamaran dropped anchor right next to us and observation told us that the eight passengers were being looked after by a crew of four. They had some impressive water toys including an electric powered scooter, I might have to look into these electric options as a mode of transport. As long as the sun shines we have electricity aplenty.

This catamaran was not a model we'd ever seen before so when she swung around and showed us her name we did a quick Google search. She was a Sunreef Supreme almost 69 feet in length with a beam of 34 feet. To hire her for a week costs 41,140 Euros (AU$64,300). If the wind doesn't blow and she can't sail, then fuel is an extra cost.

There's a gremlin on board A B Sea!

If you wear reading glasses or sun glasses on a daily basis you're probably already aware of how the smallest smudge on the lens becomes the centre of your attention. No matter how carefully I handle my glasses the smudges appear and magically grow throughout the day.

And don't get me started on using the lens cleaning cloths. We have half a dozen cloths on board and just a day after washing and drying them they become complicit in the whole smudge escapade. They seem to act like magnets for the salt laden air, so when you try to use them for cleaning, they do exactly the opposite and they simply smear the smudges all around the lens.

It's worse at night! One of the things I always do before I hang my sunglasses on their hook for the night is to clean the lenses, so that I can just grab them and go the following morning. But every morning there's a slight haze covering the lenses of my sunglasses. How does it get there? The best explanation I have, until someone proves otherwise, is that it's a gremlin.

Tonight I've got a cunning plan. After I clean my sunglasses I'm going to put them into a zipped up glasses case and then see what they look like in the morning. I'll let you know how that works out.

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