Delayed Departure

April 29, 2013

We haven’t put up a blog about what we’ve been doing since we were relaunched about 3 weeks ago. In part this has been because we’ve been busy, in part – well you’ll see as you read the blog.


Terri enjoying life before the pirates appeared!

Terri enjoying life before the pirates appeared!

When we published the last blog we were intending to set sail for the Balearics as soon as we had our guests, Iain and Terri, on board. And we did set sail, the morning after they arrived. The weather forecast was good – moderate winds from the south all the way across to Mallorca. We set off at midday to arrive as the dawn would be breaking in Soller. The run out of Sant Carles was without incident and we picked up a nice wind as we cleared the main breakwater. However, as we sailed along the coast of the delta, we saw a couple of small speedboats approaching from the landward side. There were bursts of machine gun fire and, despite replying with a water squirt left over from the grandchildren, we were forced to heave to, to be boarded. At this point, the dolphins intervened and overturned the pirates boats, leaving them struggling in the water. We quickly sorted out the sails and turned back to Sant Carles, where we treated ourselves to stiff tots of rum to celebrate the escape. Anyway, that’s what Terri believes happened; she had taken some anti sea sickness pills before we set out, as she knew that she was susceptible to mal de mare. In most people, the pills work well with no real effect on them except for a somewhat dry mouth and, of course, no nausea. Terri claims that they made her feel very sleepy but at the same time she was afraid to go to sleep as she was sure she wouldn’t wake up. She later claimed in a FB post that the above was her recollection of the trip. Hmm, I never realised that Stugeron was an active hallucinogen.

Iain aboard Rampage as we were leaving the lagoon and all was calm and tranquility!

Iain aboard Rampage as we were leaving the lagoon and all was calm and tranquility!

What in fact happened was that, for once, the forecast was wrong and we ran into gale force winds and steep seas, which we were crossing at an angle, lending a nasty motion to the boat. Faced with another 18 hours or so of this we decided to head back to Sant Carles. A wise decision as the weather continued to worsen over the next 24 hours.

The following morning as we started to think about what to do next, our day was shattered by an email from Andy Mills telling us that his wife Susan had died from her brain tumour the night before. This put a stop to any thoughts of trying to continue to the islands with Terri and Iain, as we both wanted to return to UK to be able to attend her funeral and it is much easier to leave the boat in here in the marina than trying to sort out a safe mooring for her on Mallorca.

The hilltop castle at Morella

The hilltop castle at Morella

So instead of trying to resume the crossing, we took Terri and Iain to the ancient walled town of Morella. The town is at the entrance to a river valley which forms the route down to the coast from the interior. Morella sits at the top of this route and controls the countryside around it. The walls have been there for ever but the castle was last occupied and fought over in the 19th century. We had lunch is a small café before going back to Sant Carles via the back roads through some lovely countryside full of spring flowers.


Terri and Iain up on the ramparts at Morella

Terri and Iain up on the ramparts at Morella

The following day we put Terri and Iain on the train to Barcelona where they flew to Mallorca to continue their holiday. We put “Rampage” to bed and on the Saturday we were given a lift to Reus airport by Roger and Lizzie of “Harvest” for our flight back to Liverpool. Between the news of Susan’s death and the weekend, I had been told the my Mum needed to be moved to a new care home, as the staff have found that she was becoming difficult to manage with my Dad in the same home, so I was signed up to be the removal man.

We picked up a van as well as a car in Liverpool and then on to Tattenhall Marina to meet up with Mike, Jane and Eve, as we were to stay with them aboard their narrowboat, “Gotaroundtoit” whilst we were in UK. Then disaster struck. J was found frantically searching her handbag, back pack and the car; her passport had gone missing, we suspect it had been removed from the back pocket of her jeans in Liverpool Airport.

Mike and Jane's narrowboat, "Gotaroundtoit" with Eve in the foreground

Mike and Jane’s narrowboat, “Gotaroundtoit” with Eve in the foreground

Anyhow, I spent Sunday moving my Mum into her new care home just outside Tarporley with Susie whilst J and Mike researched how to get a replacement passport. J booked an appointment with the Liverpool office for 3pm the following day and prepared to raid the local post office as it opened on Monday for the required forms.

Monday saw J scurrying round the place, getting forms, filling them in, getting the countersigned and then going over to Liverpool in time for her appointment. She was told by the lady she saw that whilst the official time for a replacement passport was a week, it could be as little as 4 days. In the event, the new passport arrived on the Wednesday at 7.30am. Now, I know we paid a small fortune for the appointment but that’s what I call service! 30½ hours to deliver a new passport.

In the meantime, I’d been to Wrexham to drop off a repeat prescription request with the GP and visit a storage company to book a smaller unit with them and finally on to Shrewsbury to find an auction house to sell some of our stored furniture. As we had a few days in UK, J and I had decided to go through the unit, sell some of the furniture and generally check through all the boxes to decide if they should be retained or dumped.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent emptying the unit, taking selected bits off to the auction house, going through all the boxes and deciding what to ditch and then removing the remainder to a new, smaller unit in Wrexham. We have now, I think, reduced our ‘stuff’ down to a minimum and may be able to fit the remainder into a yet smaller unit in due course. J has rediscovered a number of treasures (including her teddy bear) which have come back with us onto to the boat, along with some more practical items such as bed linen and cutlery.

On Thursday we went up to Low Bentham to stay with Susie; a catalogue of errors meant that we missed the food at the local pub and wound up eating pizza, but we did manage to introduce her to the delights of geocaching! She now realises that there are tens, even hundreds of caches in her local area so I think we have another convert.

Friday was a long and difficult day, as it was Susan’s funeral in Carlisle. We arrived in good time and were humbled to discover we were amongst somewhere in the region of 250 people who had come to bid her farewell. The funeral was conducted by an independent celebrant who hit just the right note and managed to convey the essence of Susan to all present. The funeral finished with a tea party at Carlisle Race Course, looking out over the magnificent countryside. A difficult event but a fitting farewell to our lovely friend.

Jane and Eve geocaching

Jane and Eve geocaching

We went back down to Susie afterwards and managed (just) to get down to the pub in time for supper! We returned to “Gotaroundtoit” on Saturday and Mike took the boat down the canal to the Shady Oak pub – about an hour or so away. We visited some geocaches on the way, (Mike, Jane and Eve are now hooked now too,) and had a lovely meal in the pub, spending the night moored up there before driving off to catch our flight at crack of dawn the following morning.

Since then, we’ve been watching the winds here in Sant Carles waiting for a period of about 48 hours without a gale between us and Mallorca. It hasn’t happened and this seems likely to continue for a few days yet. This is a bit serious, as J has a flight booked to Dublin from Sardinia in mid May and at this rate we may not be able to make it. Plans remain flexible and I can foresee us sailing as far as Pollenca and J flying back to Dublin from Palma.

Looking down on the town of Miravet and the Ebro river from the castle above

Looking down on the town of Miravet and the Ebro river from the castle above

In the meantime, we’ve been doing more geocaching (31 in one day doing a trail called the Vandellos Ring), been to visit the castle at Miravet on the Ebro river and generally keeping ourselves busy. After the somewhat frantic rush to get all the jobs finished off before Terri and Iain arrived, it does feel a little flat just waiting for the winds to sort themselves out. J has done a few sewing jobs including a gin pennant of which she is justly proud I have done a little running repair to our plank which was threatening to split in two!

Fed up with the wintery weather, D decided to make fudge this afternoon while I was sewing.  Licking out the pan afterwards is possibly the best bit of all!

Fed up with the wintery weather, D decided to make fudge this afternoon while I was sewing. Licking out the pan afterwards is possibly the best bit of all!

Ah well, that’s about it. There’s a small separate piece on Susan that you might care to read. Our plans remain flexible, so keep an eye on FB and this site to see what happens next.


One comment

  1. So glad the dolphins saved the day, or I’d have had to don my Wonderwoman costume, fly to the med and do battle with the pirates in order to save you all!

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