Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Memorable Cruise, part 7

'Secant's' Track


I liked this comparatively unspoiled resort. At night it looked particularly attractive with decorative lights and illuminated signs, but I could get little sleep, because I was conscious of the constant high-pitched whine of mopeds. I could hear shouting, laughter and the shrieks of those who had consumed rather more wine or beer than was sensible. Other reasons for my lack of sleep were the continuous rolling of ‘Secant’, and a particularly annoying mosquito, which kept trying to land on my face for a fill of blood. I armed myself with a paperback edition of Pilgrim's Progress for the purpose of dishing-out judicial punishment by swatting! I covered the exposed parts of my anatomy with insect repellent, but it made no difference. Daylight confirmed the success of her persistent attacks. I say ‘her’, because it is the female mosquito that requires blood before laying her eggs. Between my fingers and on the backs of my hands there were numerous mounds; likewise, my forehead was peppered with purple spots, but I took satisfaction, in that my Pilgrim's Progress had previously been used to good effect, and to prove it, the glossy surface was covered, both front and rear with scarlet stains.

Soller Beach

More of Soller

That Sunday morning of 14th June, church bells clanged haphazardly. Their discordant clatter, characteristic of Spanish and Italian bell-ringing, was markedly different to the ordered rounds of English bells. Nevertheless, their sound reminded me that it was Sunday, and that Christians were meeting throughout the world to worship the Creator of the Universe. As was my custom each day, I settled down quietly to read that great and special book the Bible, to ‘hear’ God’s word, to pray and to give thanks.

Boats at Soller

Sunday made no difference to the sailing programme. Business was as usual. Weeds and barnacles had no time to get a foothold on ‘Secant’! After a late breakfast we departed from Soller, bound for San Telmo, which was at the western end of Mallorca. There was very little wind to help us on our way. We could see the racing fleet ahead, and by using the engine we easily overhauled them. The cliff scenery was spectacular. Now and again a special feature would draw our attention, perhaps an isolated building perched high on a cliff top, or an unusually-shaped rock resembling an image of a creature or a person. It is amazing how one's imagination can be fed by visual stimuli and there were plenty of them that day.

San Telmo

San Telmo Beach

More San Telmo

Evening at San Telmo was so peaceful. Observing the scene from the anchorage, I was fascinated with the individuality and variety of the villas. They seemed to complement and blend into the rocks that rose from the sea. There was no conformity of design – each villa had its unique character. I cooked the evening meal of chip-slices made from lightly boiled potatoes, fried in shallow fat with onions and other vegetables, covered with whisked egg, left until golden brown, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Delicious! Whoever was chef-of-the-day was relieved of the washing-up; therefore after the meal I was able to relax with a glass of wine and watch the sun set beyond the horizon.

We stayed at San Telmo the next day, but left before nightfall for lbiza. Prior to our departure I enjoyed a walk into the foothills, from where I was able to appreciate the fabulous scenery of the mountains and sea. By using my binoculars I could see Gordon hanging out his washing on an improvised line before settling on the foredeck for a sunbathing session.

I have always liked the combination of walking and sailing. For me, the two go together. In remote places I have been able to find peace, and a real quietness of spirit, not just an absence of noise. Such was the quietness I found that morning in the foothills of San Telmo.

Before returning to the yacht, I bought two Frigo Magnum ice creams, one of dark chocolate and the other of white. As I expected and hoped, the skipper preferred the one coated with dark chocolate.

The evening was cool, and there was the sound of thunder from a mass of black cloud hovering over Mallorca. We got underway, and set a course of 240 degrees for the island of Ibiza.

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