A safe neighbourhood, aka Cala Addaia, on the northern coast of Menorca

Written by Mia:

Making our way around the North Coast of Menorca we debated whether or not to go to Addaia, mostly because it was rather close to the last place we stayed, Puerto Fornells and partly because the pilotage (think Lonely Planet for boating) warned us of a tricky approach in the form of a gate (sort of a Z on its side) due to a series of natural rocks and narrow channels. When we got there we found it was marked with more buoys, making it easier to navigate than the pilotage had warned us. We were rewarded by the sight of a Spanish community with lots of family Sunday lunches, small docks and a playground and all of this before we reached the charming marina which was nestled around a little bird reserve island. What a treat!

Following us in close behind was another Halberg Rassy flying Swiss flag, Moira, that we had seen but not had the chance to speak to when we were in Soller in May. We both anchored outside the marina and a little later when we all went ashore we introduced ourselves to Tom and Claudia, the other HR owners. As it happens, Jon and Tom had been in contact on the Hallberg Rassy Yahoo forums and had already swapped tips and tricks. In fact, our upcoming Solar power solution is surprisingly similar to Moira’s.

The netting on our boat tells everyone that we have a small crew member on board (either a dog or a kid) and lovely French family popped by to see if it was a kid, who were anchored MUCH further in – this is the advantage of having an Ovni with a lifting keel. We met up on several occasions, Teo played well with the two boys who were 6 and 7. Ahhhh the language of Lego! The boys barely realised they did not share a common language. The family had just moved back to Europe from New Caledonia and we loved hearing their stories. They said that it was totally normal for someone to borrow laundry, so they walk by your garden wearing a not so fresh shirt and they might ”swap” with you, taking a nice clean shirt from your washing line and leaving theirs behind. Usually, a few days later the borrowed item would reappear accompanied by a bag of mangos or some fish or something as a “thank you”. We took a couple of long hikes together and cooked dinner for each other while the kids played.

The second day we were in Addaia there was some anchoring trouble as people were slipping and repositioning. We would soon meet someone who would teach us all about anchoring in mud. Everyone was up on deck and watching the situation unfold Pelorus Jack flying a Canadian flag arrives. They scoped the place out and our first contact with Brian was when he joked if the anchorage was only for Halberg Rassy’s. We quickly became friends with Brian and Kathleen and very much enjoyed their company and appreciated the advice they gave us. We had dinner together a few times and lots of cups of tea. Kathleen took Teo on a date to bake chocolate chip cookies! Thanks to them we booked our stay in Cabrera, and it is one of the highlights so far. These are dreamy neighbours! We miss them dearly and look forward to the next time our paths cross!

Jon’s Comments about anchoring:
Watching Brian and Kathleen anchor was a real pleasure, they took their time, asked us where our and anchor was and how much chain we had down. They also explained that they would have a short-scope and keep out of our way. Brian spent 15 minutes setting up his anchor setup while Kathleen slowly lapped around the bay – finally they anchored spent a few minutes ensuring it was properly set. In the following few days of strong winds they were fairly much the only boat not to slip – experience shows and pays. After watching other slipping and being unsure how well our anchor was going to hold we decided to copy Brian’s setup. It’s an anchoring technique that I’ve read about for hurricane winds, but it works well in soft mud with a strong gusts too! Putting it simply, you attach too anchors together, one ahead of the other with a few meters of chain between them. Our stern anchor is very good in mud so that went down first, with our new Rocna anchor (also good in mud) a couple of meters behind it. This allowed us to have much less chain down (so we don’t swing as big a circle) but still have very good holding.

There seems to be quite a nice English community in the marina as well and we met some of the locals including Bright Eyes, who also have plans to cross with Oddessey this winter, and another Halberg Rassy. They also recommended Sebastian, the local boat yard guy, in the Marina there and we will be returning soon to leave Itchy Foot in his care when we go to Tresco in a couple of weeks. We are watching the weather window.

One month on the hook.

Written by Jon:

How much does it cost to go sailing? As much as you have plus about 25% – or so the joke goes.

When I was looking into a sailing budget and trying to figure out how much we would expect to spend every year I spent a lot of time reading other sailors breakdown of their expenses. It quickly became clear that the big difference between low budget sailing and high budget sailing came down to how often you eat in restaurants and how much time you spend in marinas.

The cheapest marina we can find in the Balearics at the moment is 50 euros a night, most are over 80-100 euros a night. So, if we aren’t staying in marinas where are we? On anchor!

The last time we were in a marina was Cuidadela on the 5th of June, since then we’ve been on anchor the majority of time. There have only been a few exceptions, for example, Cabrera (where you aren’t allowed to anchor). Other than that, we’ve been parking for free every night!

Thankfully, Itchy Foot is fairly well equipped for living life on the hook.

We have about 500 litres of water in our tanks which is used for washing dishes (often) and ourselves (seldom). Drinking water we still carry in 5 litre bottles from the supermarket to the boat in our dinghy. These 500 litres will last between 7 and 14 days depending how often we want to shower in fresh water, rather than simply take a dip in the sea to stay fresh.

We have a diesel generator onboard which so long as we run it for about 2 hours a day keeps us with a tank of hot water and enough power in our batteries to keep the refrigerator running, lights on in the evening and an anchor light shining at night. It’s not the best solution as we feel a little antisocial running a, albeit quiet, generator in these calm and peaceful anchorages.

So, every week or two we need to pop into a marina for 30 minutes to fill up our water tanks and pay someone about 5 euros for 500 litres of water. Oddly enough, it has just crossed my mind that we bemoan having to pay more than 5 euros for 500 litres but don’t think twice about paying 1 euro for 5 litres of bottled water at the supermarket. Curious.

Now, life on anchor is not all a bed of roses!

There are many challenges and frustrations – the main one being everyone else! Every boat entering the bay or cala is eye’d with suspicion and we debate with bated breath exactly where we think they are going to ‘park’. Will they drop their anchor too close to ours? How much chain are they putting out, will their anchor drag in the night, are they going to be playing music or watching football?

More worrying than the other yachts is often the small rental boats which litter the bays on weekend. Let me tell you a little story:

We were safely anchored in a windy but protected Cala on the south of Menorca a few weeks ago, it had been a very windy night and the yacht upwind of use had dragged in the night so I was up early knocking on his hull pointing out that I could have stepped onboard. He moved, it was fine. Later that day Mia was rightly concerned about a tiny little rental boat that was anchored very close to us. I confidently said that we had nothing to worry about as they were way to small to worry us, even if they did hit us there wouldn’t be any damage. So the three of us jumped into the dinghy to head ashore and explore the beach, just as we were passing the front of our boat Mia noticed that this small boat, and another like it, were struggling with their anchors and drifting even closer to Itchy Foot. We put our dinghy between them and Itchy Foot and I jumped back onboard to push the smaller boats away. After only a few seconds they freed themselves from what I assumed (wrongly) was each others anchors and off they zoomed, laughing all the way.


NB – Not the actual boat, but very similar!

At this point I was distracted, trying to express my displeasure with them through body language. Thankfully Mia was, once again, paying attention and shouted (from the dinghy, with Teo) that Itchy Foot was dragging into another yacht behind. It turns out that the little rental boat had managed to trip up our anchor line and lifted our anchor off the bottom, resetting it, when clearing their own. And we were quickly falling back towards another yacht behind us. I rush around, starting the engine, driving us forward, running up to the bow to lift the anchor, running back to steer, etc. etc. trying to get us safely away from other boats and also back under control. Mia did a great job with Teo in the dinghy keep off a safe distance and remaining calm. Teo was very calm about the whole thing, just telling Mamma what Pappa was doing and reassuring her that she was doing a great job driving the dinghy. In the end, I got just enough control to get Mia and Teo back onboard safely and we re-anchored back where we started. It ended well enough. We never did make it to the shore that day.

What else? water conservation!

Showers? Oh yes, we try to conserve water where possible so showers are few and far between. Thankfully the sea is lovely and clean and a nice shampoo on the back of the boat with a quick rinse does wonders. But, it’s just not the same as a nice hot marina shower.

Laundry? There is a whole blog post on the subject of laundry. The short version is that all of the coin operated laundry-mats have closed and the only place you can find one is in a marina. In the end we anchored outside of the marina and snuck in with the dingy in the early hours of the morning to do stealth laundry runs.

Finally, and most importantly, you need to keep a close eye on the weather forecast to pick and choose your anchorage depending on where the wind and swell is coming from. There are nights we get that wrong, either due to incorrect forecasts or a shortage of anchorages which are protected from the direction we need. For example, tonight we’re in a lovely little cala on the east coast of Mallorca, Cala Barcas. Quiet. Beautiful. And like most of the anchorages on the east coast of Mallorca it is open to the east. Which would be OK if we didn’t have an easterly swell rolling in causing Itchy Foot to bob around. It’s perfectly safe but not conducive to sleep – which is why I’m writing a blog post at 3am.


Are there protected calm places for the night? Sure, about 20 minutes north of here is a nice little marina for 80 euros a night. I’ll put the coffee on.

Cabrera, wonderful Cabrera

Written by Mia:

The whole family agrees that Cabrera is magical! Since we moved aboard we have heard various enthusiastic intentions to go and fond memories of past trips to this archipelago. Our village of neighbours, especially our lovely Canadian friends in Cala Addaia, raved about it and when Jon looked into availability we had only two options open to us; we booked two consecutive nights on a mooring buoy about three weeks in advance and crossed our fingers that the weather would cooperate.

We left Porto Colom in the morning to make the most of the day and got there around lunchtime. We were welcomed by the stunning view of small islets and loved the little black and white stripey lighthouse on Isla Horadada. As we arrived we were wowed by the castle that looks like it is growing out of the rock before you enter a natural harbour with mooring buoys. There is a small port area where landfall is allowed and it is very charming with white washed buildings and overturned boats and a little cantina for refreshments and the best part is that it feels like a small Spanish village. The water is incredibly blue and full of fish and we are sad that the time is so short!

We went on a long guided walk around the ridge of the island and got a feel for the lay of the land. Being a nature reserve, access to the paths is limited and our guide Silvia was incredible! We were introduced to the flora and fauna of the island including rabbits and bats and lots of black lizards, some with green tails and some with blue bellies. There are lots of birds, including six Osprey which we were lucky enough to hear on the first day and spot on the second. The military control the island and it was made into a National Park in 1991 and they have been carefully protecting the islands so ensure the plants can reestablish themselves. The 3 hour walk/hike was stunning and everyone ooooohed and aaaahed at the breathtaking views. Teo was the youngest of the group but kept up really well and even befriended a couple of Spanish kids, they were running along the paths together! We really enjoyed our refreshments at the little cantina when we returned to the little port!

The next day we walked up to the castle on our own and saw hundreds of lizards. What an incredible place! Silvia had told us that Cabrera and this castle in particular was integral in fighting off the Moors, the islanders would spot approaching pirates and send smoke signals that would be seen in Mallorca and the warning would spread from there. We also visited the little museum where we learned of the fishing and farming done here and the treasures, including Grecian urns found on the bottom of the sea. In the afternoon we joined the walk again and this time we climbed to the highest point of the island, Teo had tired legs and still managed very, very well. He was the highest person on the island and was quite proud!

With the help of Silvia we managed to pick up a cancelled reservation and got to stay an extra night-HURRRA!! This is a very special treat as there is a maximum two nights during the busy months. We used the day snorkelling, Jon and Mia took turns in the morning and Teo used his mask from Uncle Mark off the beach in the afternoon. The fear of putting his face in the water disappeared instantly and he was doing some very proper swimming! All of his training and practice just seemed to fall into place. Oh how we have been hoping and waiting for this moment! At Teo’s enthusiastic request, the boys are getting ready to go back to the beach as I sit in this lovely place and type. After our successful trip to the beach yesterday, Nemo took us to the Blue Cave. We drove into this huge cave with incredibly blue water and Teo and Mia went for a little swim while Jon took pictures and kept us safe. It was an another sambaing day!

Sorry not to write more, but we are going to go do some more snorkelling before we have to leave!