Written by Mia:

We have clearly become addicted to and dependent on our smart phones and their promise of constant connected-ness. It was vaguely clear to me before we left especially given the data roaming decisions we made when we were travelling but still based in Oslo.

I would like to apologise to everyone I owe more communication to and I wanted to paint a picture for you, not really to complain and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, but to explain… there is too much, so I will sum up our communication situation.

Sketchy internet – we have good internet, well at least occasionally but very rarely when we need it…

Jon has spent many a frustrating hours researching internet solutions and trying to get the solution he decided on to actually be set up correctly and work. The easiest one and the one he would have preferred to have is very expensive, and well outside the budget of a family without an income…Then, every time we move locations (even from a marina in one location to an anchorage in the same place) we have to go and find passwords for networks to borrow etc.

Usually, we do a little internet dance and hope we can reach people on birthdays and anniversaries and things! It works about half the time.

Internet is great, it is maybe even as important as food, water and shelter. We use it for weather forecasting (very important for us), for researching boat maintenance and of course for we really want to communicate more. For example, post more to the blog and share our experiences, but it takes an hour or so to just upload a post and we often have to make multiple attempts as it often fails when the internet connection is broken. So, it should suffice to say we have a lot more to share and hopefully will more and more as we get the hang of things.

New email address

Just trying to keep up wth family and friends is challenging. I changed my email address right before we left (NEVER NEVER use your work address as your main email, even if you work in the the same place for more than 10 years… enough said on that subject) and I have about 50 email to write, including answering people who have sent really lovely messages and at least two friends that would like to visit us… the problem is that I never have the golden combination of strong internet and time to write at the same time, so I just keep feeling guilty.

FB and messenger and LinkedIn

I have spent less and less time on FB over the last few years, but since I have a new email address I have this suspicious feeling that people might be trying to reach me there, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I don’t have FB messenger. This sounds lame I know! But unfortunately there is a little problem, I never have enough internet to download it so it times out halfway through and when this has happened a few times, I lose interest and do something else.

Oh yeah and one of the things on my lists of things to do before leaving Oslo was to get my CV and LinkedIn up to date… I am not ignoring your requests, I just haven’t even been there yet.

Phone access

So, on the plane down there at the beginning of March we said, we will just pick up a pay-as-you-go SIM card so that we can reach people in Spain. Jon picked one up on one of our errand trips in Palma and then it laid around for a month or so as we decided which phone we were going to use it with. In the end we decided we needed to leave  both Norwegian numbers and mobiles as they are… The solution is to pick up a cheap call and SMS phone for the SIM card but then that wouldn’t work because everyone uses WhatsApp here and the phone we had in mind doesn’t support that. The decision making process grinds to a halt… again.

Anyway, we have managed in the end! We have a boat phone and the Spanish number is (drumroll please) +34 603 30 70 50 and it is ironically like a land line, but on the boat. We never take it off Itchy Foot. Please call us if you like, we would love to hear from you all. It’s free for us to receive calls on this phone so please use it if you fancy calling to say hi and chat – we’d welcome the call!

I am really sorry for not being better at communicating! I hope this post does its part to explain the situation a little bit.

LED Lighting

Written by Jon:

It’s quite amazing how much of my day is now consumed by managing our consumption of amps and volts. As we’ve yet to invest in extensive solar (or wind) powered energy generation it all has to come out of either the engine or generator. The amount of electricity we use directly impacts how often, and for how long, we need to run our somewhat noisy generator – something we’d like to keep to a minimum.

So where are we using all our energy? Well, when we’re sitting on anchor, it’s mostly going to two places: the refrigerator and the interior lighting. The refrigerator is very nice to have and allows us to keep a more varied diet with some cold drinks – it’s a bit none negotiable on our boat. The interior lighting however has room for improvement.

Here is a common evening ‘configuration’ – not all of these are on at the sometime, but if gives you an example of what we’re using:


So if I run the above for three hours, from 8 until 11pm, then I’ll have consumed 3×13 Amps or around 40 Amps. This is more or less what it costs to keep our refrigerator cold for 24 hours.

What can we do about it?  Switch to LED lighting.

After a bit of research and asking the opinion of others in a similar situation I settled on buying LED replacement bulbs from a Swedish company called Bat System Thanks to the Hallberg Rassy group on Yahoo and Leon from Regina sailing.

So how much improvement did it make to our power consumption? See the table below for details but the short version is that I can now completely ignore how many lights we have on in the evening. Following the same configuration as above, my total 3 hour consumption would be about 2 Amps.


What are the downsides? Mostly that there is a higher initial cost, replacing all regularly used bulbs on our boat (internal not navigation) cost about 200 euros in total. The second compromise is on the quality or colour of the light these bulbs produce. To give you an example of what that means in real terms see the photos below.

NB: I set the white balance on my camera to a fixed value to shoot all of these.


Halogen – a nice warm colour of light.

50/50 Halogen/LED

50/50 Halogen/LED – Switched out half of the bulbs.


LED – not a cold colour, as they are good LED light but they have a slightly green hue due to not producing all wave lengths of light.

Skin tones under Halogen

Skin tones under Halogen (a little pink)

Skin tones under LED

Skin tones under LED (a little green)

The short version is that after a few days of getting used to the slightly green hue we’ve completely forgotten about it and are now used to the colour, Mia actually prefers the new colour lights in the bathroom.

One thing to consider if you really can’t cope going full LED is to switch out some of your bulbs, in the middle photo above I tried 50/50 LED and Halogen behind the sofa. The halogen did an excellent job filling in the missing spectrum of light which the LED lights simply don’t produce. You won’t save as much power, but it will basically halve what you currently use.

Next step for us? LED Anchor light and other navigation lights.

A holiday with Grandma and Granddad

Written by Mia:

Jon’s parents came to visit us in Soller and it was amazing! They are incredible and what’s more incredibly good to us! They are very patient and strong (packing and carrying lots of small things we needed and bought on and generous (treating us to a holiday here in Soller) when we probably needed it the most!

They stayed at the beautiful Esplendido hotel where we breakfasted like royalty and used the pool and generally just enjoyed the luxury. Teo loved jumping on the bed and Mia had the nicest shower she has so far had in Spain and Jon said he felt it was the first little break he has had from the to do lists in his head.

The day they arrived was the es Firo festival and three pirates (we had to be pirates because it seems the obvious choice but also you can only dress up as a Christian if you were born on the island) took the dingy ashore to join them in their room to watch the second of the battles. We all went out for a meal in the evening after having a look at Itchy Foot.

The next day, Tuesday, was a little grey and we used the opportunity to take a drive. We went up to Fornalutx and visited the Can Verdera hotel where Jon and Mia had wedding reception. We had a lovely trip down memory lane, Teo kept asking what a ”blast from the past” is. Ana was there and we had a lovely chat – she still had a picture of baby Teo over her desk. We wandered through town and had a lovely meal overlooking the valley. We had been wanting to go up there since arriving in Mallorca and it this was the perfect opportunity! We drove to Deia for a visit as well and it is a delight as always.

On Wednesday we had the incredible Espendido breakfast and then drove into Palma. We had a walk through the old town with a visit to Casa Roca (we were sad to hear the news that this incredible institution is closing its doors after a 166 years!) and then we went for coffee at Can Joan de Saigo which is a favourite and always just a little bit of a challenge to find (sprinkled in Fairy dust perhaps?) After a walk around the cathedral which is awe inspiring, we went to have some lunch in the marina cantina. It was fun to show Jon’s parents where we started this adventure with Itchy Foot. And then again with the patience, we ran lots of errands on our way out of Palma and came back just in time for a lovely sunset and a beautiful meal.

Thursday, we went back for breakfast and spent a lovely carefree day at the Esplendido. We sat by the pool, and soaked up the place. We had our first dose of sunbathing of the year. Teo made some friends and a lovely day was had by all! We had drinks on the terrace and stuck around for dinner 🙂 I get dreamy just thinking about it!

We don’t want to talk about Friday when we had to say goodbye!

Puerto de Soller

Written by Mia

What a gorgeous place! it has a crescent bay with a working lighthouse at each side of a relatively narrow opening and even an old stone lighthouse as a reminder of what sailing used to be. One day we walked all the way up to the southern lighthouse Cabo Gross, what a glorious view! And thanks to the fabulous Pontoppidon barnehage in Oslo Teo quite happily walked up the two kilometres to the top of the hill. In fact Teo keeps asking us to hike to the top of the hills around the port. I think he will be enjoying the summers he spends with his uncle Stephen as his parents are pretty useless at hiking.

I think we mentioned the warm welcome we had from Mark and Nikki upon arrival and it has been lovely to be close to friends for the past few weeks – time flies!! They have been really looking after us, spoiling Mia with a day at the spa and lending us tools, their car and support when we need it. We have seen the start of the swimming season and the beach is really starting to fill up during the day, the vibe is very different from when we arrived and I think the water must be getting warmer at the rate of a degree a day. Teo loves the beach and one late afternoon he was playing on the shore and kept walking until he was basically up to his shoulders, giggling the whole time. The other adults on the beach were giggling too. A few days later Jon threatened to go for a swim in the Med before his wife and I think I was in the water about 19 minutes later. Teo took all his clothes off and jumped in too, with only a pool noodle for support. We swam around Itchy Foot a few times before going back on board.

We have split our time between the dock and being on anchor (once without a stern line and later with one). We opted for a marina for the es Firo festival which is a reenactment of when the Christians fought off the Moors at the port, the men were fighting two battles in the port and the boats reenact it. Further up the hill the women showed off their ilk when the defended the town with pitchforks and boiling olive oil! Jon’s parents arrived on the day of the Firo and had a perfect view from their hotel the Espendido. We three pirates descended on them mid afternoon. Check out the separate post of the holiday we had with Jon’s parents :))


We have slowly met our neighbours, getting a glimpse of the hard working charter boat crews and also met a few cruising boats. We were even invited onboard Linea for a boat party in Yorkshire and compared plans with the crews of Comet and Resolute. Hopefully we will be meeting everyone along the way. We were also interviewed for Boat Radio that will possibly be airing on the internet in June some time.

Mark and Nikki took us out on Mezzo Magic for an unforgettable day up the coast, with perfect conditions, a lovely lunch and lots of laughs. They do charters and if you find yourself in Mallorca look them up We stopped in Smugglers Cove and harvested a bunch of drift wood and saw a baby seagull nested in the rocks, but the mauve stinger medusas kept us out of the water, so we travelled further north to Mushroom Rock. Everyone swam from the boat to the rock – that was quite a distance for Teo and his pool noodle. Later we checked out Cala Turent before sailing back to port. I am going to brag now because I helmed the last hour or so and we had a Spinnaker up. We sailed back into port on the Spinnaker, at sunset and moored on the buoy without the engine, so take that! Now if only we could get a picture of it from any of the hundreds of tourists who photographed us, hee hee…

We are still working on our Itchy Foot to do list, Jon jokes that the latest female member of the family is more high maintenance than his wife even when she was planning for the wedding! Our anchor chain has finally arrived in Palma and we are making our plans to pick it up and how we will get it on the boat, at the moment we are considering yet another use for the blue IKEA bag – well four of them to be more precise! Also, we have had trouble with the water pump and the fridge is crying out for attention and we are still keeping a close eye on the new batteries. Jon is amazing and does the research and maintenance and fixes. And we also found some time for some upkeep, (teak decks need lots of TLC). The whole family worked together and we removed old caulking and replaced it. Our little project of 30 patches took the better part of six hours. Teo never ceases to amaze us with his patience when his parents’ plans take a lot longer than we hoped and his ability to play on his own for a while even if that means every toy comes out of its locker (a small price to pay for a happy kid!) He comes up at regular intervals to see if we need any help and wanders off again down into the saloon when he gets bored. Jon and I feel we hit the jackpot when it comes to awesome kids!

As lovely as it has been here in Puerto de Soller the crew of Itchy Foot are itching to get to Menorca and are watching for good weather for the next step…

Andratx to Soller – Sailing at last

Written by Jon:

Our friends Jim and Karin on SY NZ Victoria were studying the weather meticulously, waiting for their chance to get out and sail to northern Italy. Unfortunately for both them and us it didn’t look good for heading north or east. Itchy Foot and her crew had our eyes set on the nearer prize of Port de Soller, which was only about four hours sail away but also headed north and east.

Finally, Jim said the weather looked good for their passage over the Gulf of Leon leaving early on Tuesday morning. It would also be perfect for us to pop around to Soller. More pressingly it seemed like the forecast after Wednesday would see winds out of the NE for several more days. Time to GO.

We didn’t do much to prepare the day before our trip, preferring instead to take the bus into Palma city to go the last days of the Super Yacht boat show that had been running for the last week. The bus trip from Port de Andratx to Palma is slow and littered with stops in some of Mallorca’s less attractive tourist traps. After an hour of gawking out of bus windows and the occasional game of eye-spy with Teo (who has graduated from colours to letters) we arrived in Palma. First a quick bite to eat at one of our favourite tapas bars:

Teo food rating:

  1. Bread and garlic mayonnaise = two thumbs up
  2. Chorizo sausage in wine = two thumbs up
  3. Croquettes = one thumbs up
  4. Melon and ham = one thumb up (melon) one thumb down (ham)

20160502-14_39_32-40Then off the boat show. We met H who had kindly organised a couple of tickets for us. The show was fairly quite, being the last day, and had a nice mix of different stalls. We tried to find a kayak at a bargain price but got there a little too late I suspect. I had a nice chat to a guy who had designed and was selling a ‘scuba’ system where the “Peter” tank stays on the surface in an ‘unsinkable’ plastic raft and the divers take tubes down below. Very cool stuff and high on the list of things I want should we end up sailing across the pacific.

But time marched on an back to the boat we went. Just one quick job before dinner a bed: put the dinghy onboard and tied down on the front deck. Time to try out the lifting sling I’d made a few days earlier specifically for getting the dinghy in and out of the sea. Good news, the sling worked perfectly and she came up and out easy enough. Bad news, when I disconnected the outboard engine from the external fuel tank the pipe between the two broke and sprayed petrol over the inside of the dinghy (thankfully not all over our teak decks). So, as usual, the purely theoretical ’5 minute job’ turned into a two hour long strip and clean the dinghy. Sleep.

The next morning I was up early preparing for the hop round the coast. Re-read the pilot books. Make a few notes. Put in some new waypoints on the plotter. Ready to go!  With Mia on the helm (she has done all the close quarters manoeuvring so far) we slipped the mooring buoy and motored around to the fuel pontoon to top up our tanks. Again, a perfect approach from Mia meant that I could step gently onto the pontoon without so much as a raised voice. Just for reference, we put in 150 litres of fuel (about 40 gallons) and it cost us about 150 euros (170 USD). To fill her up from empty would cost three times that, about 500 USD for a full tank!

20160503-11_57_59-39-2 20160503-12_31_43-39 20160503-12_31_55-39



With Itchy Foot now full of fuel and water we set off to Soller. First west, down to the island of Dragonera, through a narrow and beautiful little channel between the island and Mallorca and then turning north east for a long stretch up the stunning, cliff lined, north west coast of Mallorca. Once we had a spot of lunch and the wind had picked up a little we turned off the engine and managed to get a little sailing done. Unfortunately it was a little short lived with the wind fading and the swell increasing but for an hour or two it was perfect.  The warmth and the motion of the ocean sent Teo off to sleep down below and Mia and I got to sit, relax and chat while Itchy Foot sailed nicely to Soller.

We arrived in Soller about 4 in the afternoon and were just looking for a place to drop anchor when Mark (from Mezzo Magic) buzzed over in his dinghy to welcome us to their home port and guide us to a nicely protected spot of anchor between the mooring buoys. The approach wasn’t easy: scattered with tiny local mooring buoys (too small for us), power boats buzzing in and out of the marina, tourist ferries leaving and even pedal boats crammed with pink sinked tourist families doing their best to get in our way. But Mia kept her cool, dodged everything and stopped up in exactly the right place, bows into the wind so I could drop the anchor and drift back putting out a chain. Not as much chain as I would like but with very small swing room it would have to do and the forecast was light winds for the next few days.


Mark popped by and asked if we wanted anything from the supermarket in town, he came back with Nikki an hour later with a bottle of ‘Mia’ wine and a few supplies. We popped some bubbled and toasted a successful passage and safe arrival in Soller. Wheeee we slept on anchor on Itchy Foot and were comfy cozy in Puerto de Soller, now it only we could find reliable internet…20160503-20_34_37-39

Andratx and more Andratx

Written by Mia:

We decided to stop in Andratx because we were tired of motoring and we decided to stay a little longer because the town is cute and the mooring buoy has a lot going for it: it is comfortable, the changing view is pretty and it is a lot cheaper than the marina would be in Soller (we would potentially have to opt for a marina while we are waiting for our replacement anchor chain to be delivered from Italy), and finally the timing – we are staying put while Jon’s sprained ankle heals.


Mia has been practicing driving the dingy – the first attempt was nerve wracking and she handed over the control to Jon for the approach to the dock and then again when the trio returned to Itchy Foot. She quickly forgot this when she and Teo hopped in leaving Jon onboard to rest his foot and then quickly remembered at the dock to the club. On the return, she took a couple of rounds and even a flyby even though she got a “negative ghost rider, the pattern is full”. Practice makes… well maybe not perfect but a lot less erratic 🙂 and today regained her cool a LOT quicker when she stalled it in the marina…

Let me share an exchange between Jon and Anders;

J: Mia and Teo are out in the dingy

A: What is that? Sounds dirty…

J: Americans call it a tender…

A: Not getting any better…

J: It is inflatable and has a motor at one end…

A: I don’t even want to know…

We are getting to know Itchy Foot and our stay on the mooring buoy has given us the chance to use the generator to charge the batteries and we have a better idea of when we need to fill certain tanks and empty others.decks And tomorrow we have a few projects to start, we are going to figure out how to haul out the dingy so we can take the outboard engine off and put it back in its place (it was very heavy to lower it onto the dingy when we got here on Friday and would probably be even heavier to pull back up again. We will also try to give our decks some TLC while we are here. Thanks again to John Neal for his continued and patient advice, now this time about care for aging (mature?) decks!

We have enjoyed ourselves here. The marinera Guillermo (William) comes by and asks “Itchy Foot, you staying another night?” and he sometimes comes by and picks up our rubbish and we really should eat at his mother’s place in town… ah we might be here longer than we thought!20160503-09_10_50-39 The lighthouse here is gorgeous we see it from afar as part of our view and we took the dingy over and discovered it is from 1890. We hosted our first cruising dinner onboard, Jim and Karin from NZ Victoria came over we had a lovely evening 🙂 it is so nice to hear how real cruisers do it, respect!

Mamma and Pappa Duck heard this is a good place and they also visit for meals. One day they did not come over to see us and Teo said, “They cannot come today, they are at a wedding.”  As nice as it is, we are also itching to move on and find the next place to explore 🙂 Soller, we will be there just as soon as the wind stops coming from the Northwest!