Reaching Ibiza

Thursday 28th April

Martin and Susie took over from Vicky and Kevin at 03:00. The loom of Menorca’s lights on the northern horizon, off to starboard. Closer to, a 19m pleasure craft Northerly Destiny, was motoring on a similar course, presumably towards the same destination. Around 05:00 a large cargo ship came through between us, heading for Italy, deck lights on. Owen had seen another big ship on the same heading during the first watch yesterday night.

Fifty minutes later just as we were considering sailing, the engine overheating alarm sounded, the engine refused to cut off. The skipper was woken. Domestic batteries were fine, switching the shunt on to join the whole bank to the engine one, gave enough power to work the stop solenoid. The watch hauled out the genoa, Temptress was moving again at much the same speed as the wind had increased with the dawn. The skipper retired to his bunk again until it was fully light, thus far west it’s still dark at 6am local time. Really Spain should be in the same time zone as the UK (5am) but they choose to be in UT-1 like their neighbour France and of course we are all on summer time. Onboard we decided before leaving Greece to alter ships time when our mobile phones changed time zones!

Kevin and Martin both spent the next little while considering the problem – what connects mechanical (the cooling water supply) to electrical (power for the stop solenoid). First the water sieve was checked, clear. We tried the engine again but it quickly overheated so cooling wasn’t happening. And with all the batteries serving the engine’s demands, all the electrics went off including George the Autopilot, Martin grabbed the helm.

Once Sue and Owen, who were sleeping in the saloon were up, the engine cover cum sofa was lifted and the problem was obvious; the fan belt that drives the little alternator (which in turn charges the engine starter battery) and cooling water pump had around fifty percent of its teeth left. The skipper with Owen as his assistant soon had the old one off and a new one fitted. I say new but the belt was bought in Halfords, circa 2013. Temptress was back in business. Breakfast, egg prata rolls cooked by the skipper, was a bit delayed and as a just in case, the handheld gps was put on charge. We tend to forget the little Garmin Montana what with so many handheld tablets and phones perfectly capable of giving us lat and long but it’s rugged, was once waterproof and provides COG and SOG in an easy to read format though the only marine chart it has is for the Gulf!

It’s a grey day, not too chilly but a thin layer of cloud has been added to the dust haze. The barometer is rising, having been fairly steady for several days, a sure sign of a change in the weather. Ibiza, by mid-morning is less than 100nm away.

The rest of the day passed slowly, crew dozed or read. Nothing much happened until after lunch when for a short few hours there was enough breeze to sail. By five thirty the breeze had died and we were back to motoring in a sloppy sea with grey, laden skies. No shorts today, most of us were wearing our night watch mid-layers. Then just before ten in the evening, ‘Land Ho!’, a couple of lighthouses hove into view and the loom of lights on the shore.

Ships Log: noon to noon – 151nm

Friday 29th April

By midnight on Thursday we had just 13nm to go. Without any pilot guides, having a mobile signal again helped in researching which of the several marinas to head for. We choose Botafoc as being the largest and closest to the harbour entrance, surely therefore it should have room for us. Temptress was last moored there back in 2002 so we knew it slightly.

In the approaches we shook out the reefs in the mainsail, hoisting it fully before dropping it neatly onto the boom. For a task done at 02:00 it was a much tidier job than the bundle we’d made before entering our last port of call.

Then we headed for Botafoc Marina’s entrance, however a VHF call resulted in the news that they were full. A similar story at the neighbouring Marina Ibiza, where a security guard with a powerful torch told us we could tie up but only until eight in the morning! Wondering what next we motored slowly up the harbour, the Club Nautico pontoon was full too but on the southern edge tucked right under the old town and the castle we spied a few spaces on a pontoon belonging to Marina Port Ibiza.

By quarter past three in the morning we’d med-moored, stern to the pontoon in one of the most expensive marinas in the world – in the season that is, now in April it’s relatively inexpensive for Ibiza, the prices doubling and more in successive months through to July and August. A celebratory night cap or two were consumed before the crew hit their bunks. We’ll consider our options in the morning.

Ships Log: distance from Messolonghi – 969 nm. Distance from Reggio Calabria – 615 nm. Hours motored since Reggio Calabria – 73 out of 114 hours at sea