Yesterday conditions were pretty much exactly the same as the day before — sunny day, pretty sunset, dark night, light winds, relatively good seas, good speeds thanks to higher than normal RPM and cooperative currents.
At about midnight the wind started to pick up. By 0400 there was 17 – 21 knots of wind apparent on our nose and the seas had picked up to the point of being mildly uncomfortable. While the waves weren’t huge, they were sharp and confused, hitting from all directions. The sudden jerking motion it creates tends to be unpleasant. As the day wore on, it got windier and rockier. Oh, and did we mention that we were on the sheltered side of the island? It has to be absolutely miserable on the windward side.
We were running close to land at the south side of the island when dawn broke. We were surprised to see that the entire coastline is a series of dramatic, sheer cliffs that rise sharply out of the sea. The cliffs are a striking contrast against the water. We were expecting to see the beautiful beaches Mallorca is famous for. They are obviously on some other part of the island.
We turned into the Bay of Palma, expecting it to calm down noticeably since it is protected on three sides. It didn’t. If anything, it picked up. At around 1100 local time we rounded the corner of the sea wall that shields the waters directly in front of the city of Palma. It was literally rough until the very second we were inside the most sheltered of waters within the walls. We made it in 2 hours ahead of schedule.
There is a gigantic basilica along the harbor front that dominates over everything. We are not sure why, but we were surprised by how modern Palma looks. The waterfront is lined with fairly new looking high rise hotels and reminds us of Ft. Lauderdale. We were under the impression Palma is a historic old city, but maybe we’re wrong. The marinas are full of mega-yachts.
We radioed one of the marinas to see if they had a berth available. They didn’t. Fortunately the second marina we called could take us for a week. We made our way over to the assigned slip and prepared to back in. The heavy winds made backing into the tight spot incredibly tricky. It took four tries before we got in, and creative maneuvering had to be utilized. Miraculously, we made it in without Kosmos ever touching the boats on either side of us. Christi standing in the back and pushing the other boats away may have had something to do with it.
The set up here is almost exactly like the one in Rome. We are backed up against a fairly high concrete wall, and there is only one mooring line. We are pleased to report that we are finally getting to be a little more proficient at Med mooring. Getting the ropes properly attached and the mooring line in place gets easier every time we do it, and it is finally becoming something of a routine. It is too bad we are almost out of the Med now.
While we were tying up, we were appalled to see that the entire front of the boat is covered in brown stuff. It looks like someone stood on the bow roller and threw a 36 ounce cup of chocolate milk all over the bow. We have no idea what it is or where it could have come from. Bizarre.
Right after we were tied up, while Eric was adjusting the fenders and lines to make us perfectly aligned in our spot, it started to drizzle. Then he went to the marina office to check in. Once again, no official paperwork to do. It is too easy to check into the EU countries. It kind of feels like we are cheating. While he was in the office, he heard a report from a boater on the west (windward) side of the island saying the waves were 18 feet tall. Yikes. Thank God Eric has a good sense of judgment. He was careful on the timing to make sure that we outran the worst of the storm. He picked the most protected route possible, so even when we did get hit, it wasn’t that bad.
Also while he was in the office, it started to rain. And we mean poured down in buckets. We are so lucky with our timing. It was bad enough to dock in the wind, but the heavy rain would have made it that much harder. Tying up in the heavy rain would have been no fun. But now that we are all situated, we welcome the rain. We had a lot of water come over the bow on the passage. Kosmos was totally salt encrusted and desperately in need a good rinse. Hopefully the brown stuff will come off, too.
We decided to brave the rain and go out for lunch. Don’t give us too much credit, we went to a restaurant literally right across the street from the marina entrance. This restaurant looked like a fusion style to us, as opposed to traditional Spanish. Of course, we could be wrong on that, too. We don’t have a strong sense of what Spanish food is, knowing only paella (a rice dish), tapas (appetizers), and aioli (a type of sauce). There weren’t many appetizer choices on the menu, and no paella, but they did serve bread with aioli sauce with our meal. We are not sure exactly what is in aioli, but it is a thick sauce, usually white and creamy. We are not sure if it is made from a dairy product or mayonnaise, but either way, it is really good. We are pleased to report that the food was awesome. The perfect food for celebrating another successful passage.
After lunch, we spent a quiet afternoon holed up in Kosmos, listening to the rain beat down. Around 2030, the rain petered out, down to only a drizzle, so we ventured out for dinner. We were eager for “real” Spanish food, so we walked for quite a few blocks northeast along the waterfront in search of a tapas restaurant. We passed about two dozen restaurants. Many were outdoor cafes that were closed. We saw a couple “take away” places serving food like sausages. Amongst open “real” restaurants, one was seafood, two were Indian, and all the rest were Italian. Not one tapas place! We got Indian for dinner. The food was excellent. We’re 2 for 2. We think we’re going to like it here.
Going back to our comment about the high concrete sea wall, Mallorca is another place where the passarelle has paid for itself. There is no possible way to get on and off here without it. And, like in Rome, we are wishing we had installed a hook on the cockpit wall as the steep angle makes it very difficult to get on and off Kosmos.
And, to give you an idea of what the waterfront and marina look like, here is a shot of Kosmos in her berth.