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2011 Logs

September 2011

September 3, 2011 – Mahon, Balearics, Spain

Passage from h-e – double toothpick.  Well, I guess, you can say we were due.  When you live on a boat, you are bound to have mechanical issues.  No matter, how good of a boat you have, it’s just part of life.  Although, we’ve had plenty of maintenance items and a few repairs, we had been very fortunate in the last few months that nothing “major” has broken.  But, that can’t last forever.

Early one morning, as I awoke Marc for his watch, we both smelled something strange in our bedroom and Marc felt that our bed was hot.  Even dazed from sleep, he quickly realized it was an issue with our battery bank that is directly under our bed.  Since we were motoring AGAIN, Marc immediately disengaged the alternator and we took apart the bed to inspect. 

Yikes!  Out of our 6 batteries, 4 were over heating and the casings were starting to melt.  With the alternator disengaged and the temperature of the batteries starting to decrease, we knew that the immediate danger was gone.

Next, we had to deal with the fact that almost everything on our boat utilizes the batteries to function…..GPS, charts, autopilot, VHF radio, refrigerator, etc. etc.  Our fear was that the batteries were so damaged that they would not hold enough charge to keep the systems running.  Luckily, we only had 50 miles left to our passage and our hope was that the charge left in the batteries would be enough to continue to run the systems until we reached the anchorage. 

Luckily, we had plenty of power to make it into the marina and now the search begins for new batteries.  In the mean time, we (Marc) removed the four ruined batteries and rewired the two that were not damaged in order to keep us powered up until the new ones are installed. 

Never a dull moment!

September 4, 2011 – Mahon, Balearics, Spain

Happy Birthday, Grant!!!!!!!  Grant turned 11 today with a day of his favorites.  We started the day with waffles and ended with homemade lasagna.  He loved his presents of Lego Space Shuttle, 3D Coliseum puzzle, beach smash ball, and Wii Super Smash Bros game.


We had a great party with Stu and Sandy from Heartsong and a cake designed as a Roman fort including Roman Soldier.  Grant’s special day ended with a Megamind movie night and lots of junk food.  

At home, we used to joke that the kids celebrated birthday month between parties with friends, home, grandparents, etc.  We have to keep that tradition running so this was Grant’s second birthday party.  Last week he celebrated with the kids on Mehari in Rome.  That party was also full of his favorites… and ice cream!!! 

September 11, 2011 – Mahon, Balearics, Spain

We’ve spent the last week searching for batteries and meeting with marine electricians.  I won’t go into the boring details of everything involved in finding batteries at a tourist island but just know that it wasn’t fun or easy and caused Marc quite a bit of stress.

The toughest thing about doing business here in Spain is the siesta.  Although, I’ve always heard about the whole afternoon siesta, I never dreamed that it was still common.  But it is common practice here and ALL businesses close for awhile in the afternoon.  In fact, almost all stores and offices close for 3 or 4 hours every afternoon.  As an example, the cell phone shop was open from 10 AM to 1 PM; closed from 1 to 5PM; and then open from 5 PM to 8 PM.  Can you imagine running a business like that?  No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to remember this and continue to try to go shopping or sightseeing in the afternoon. 

But the good news is that the marine electricians all agree that the alternator and regulator are fine and that it was probably an issue with the batteries themselves.  Although we were happy to hear that there weren’t other issues, we were not thrilled to hear that something had gone wrong with the batteries that we bought less than a year ago in Malaysia.  Oh well, it’s not like we can go back and get a refund. 

The other good news is that we have ordered our new Victron energy batteries and they should arrive here in Mahon from Barcelona in a few days.  Although our current situation isn’t great, we are surviving just fine with the 2 batteries that we have left and should be fine until the new ones arrive.  The kids are actually enjoying it because we have to run the generator more often to charge the batteries which means that they can play Wii more often. 

Spain/IMG_8971.JPGMahon is a very nice town and not a bad place to be “stuck” for awhile.  Now we didn’t spend the whole week looking for batteries, we also were able to enjoy the St. Joan Fiesta here.  The highlight of the festival was the Jaleo show by the Menorcan horses.  There were over 100 of these beautiful black stallions parading the streets and town square.  At the evening performance, the riders get the horse to parade on their back legs (raring up) as the young men from the crowd run to the horses and stand in front and behind them holding the horse and rider up in the air.  Traditional this is a sign of bravery by the young men touching the horses, although, I think it might be a better sign of craziness.  When a friend of ours asked one of the revelers, “Isn’t it dangerous standing in front of the horse?” He answered, “Why, they don’t have horns or anything”.  I can assure you that the crew of Imagine, did not participate, but it was quite a show! 

So now, we are busy shopping and cleaning Imagine to prepare for next visitors, Marc’s parents, Fred and Margot. 

Happy 11th Birthday Grant!!

September 23, 2011 – Ibiza, Balaerics, Spain

We had a wonderful visit by Marc’s parents, Fred and Margot.  They met us in Mahon where we were still waiting for the batteries.  But as I mentioned, it was a really nice town with a pretty, quiet anchorage, and a relatively (for the Med) cheap marina so we all just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.  We toured the old Spanish fort, La Mola.  Built in the 1800’s, it was out of date by the time it finished and it was never used for battle.  Still in impeccable condition, it is now a tourist attraction and is great place for exploring. 

Although a couple of days late and a little bit of confusion on the location of the batteries, they finally arrived.  We had already removed the old batteries, so as soon as they arrived on the dock, Marc and Fred started with the installation.  Marc was able to quickly and fairly painlessly install the new ones.  Just to be sure….we did have a marine electrician inspect everything one more time and make the final connections – just to be sure.  But Marc had done a great job and it only took the electrician 15 minutes to give his final approval.  We started things up and we were charging away. 

After a couple of weeks in Mahon, we were ready to get out and see more of the Balaerics so we set off for the southern coast of Menorca.  First, we stopped at the small island, Isla del Aire, off of the coast of Menorca to see the little, black indigenous lizards.  These lizards were everywhere, and the boys loved running around chasing them around the island.  The water at the anchorage was clear and beautiful and we all enjoyed swimming and just getting away from the “city”. 

Next stop, was the tourist town of Cala en Porter where another fiesta was being held.  Gotta love these Spanish festivals!  We had enjoyed the Menorcan horses and Jaleo so much in Mahon that we wanted to show it to Fred andSpain/IMG_9055.JPG Margot.  This one was even better than the show in Mahon.  Because this was a small, coastal town, the Jaleo took place down at the beach.  It was a little smaller scale and intimate and we even got to watch Levi (15 years old) from Mehari participate.  Of course, this meant that Grant and Caroline wanted to get in the action but nervous Mom wouldn’t allow it.  Although Grant did stand at the side of the arena and touched the horses as they got close (with Mom close by, of course). 

We enjoyed one more stop in Menorca at the beautiful beach anchorage of Cala Son Saura.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with lots of rain so we didn’t get to play at the beach but it was still a beautiful place to sit, relax, and play games. 

The next morning, we set off for Mallorca and had a rip-roaring 45 mile sail.  The first couple of hours weren’t fun as the seas were pretty worked up after the nasty weather the day before and the wind was close hauled.  But once we made it into the lee of Mallorca, the seas laid down and we were able to enjoy a nice sail.  Fred and Margot did great, despite the somewhat rough conditions, better than me as I got pretty seasick.    We were rewarded with a beautiful little anchorage at Porto Petro.  Instead of the usual hotels and resorts, the bay was lined with very pretty, upscale holiday homes lining the rock ledges.  The next stop of the Mallorca tour was the picturesque Cala Beltran on the southern coast of Mallorca.  The Balaerics are full of calas, which are narrow, deeply set finger bays lined with cliffs.  Cala Beltran was one of these beautiful spots that we all enjoyed. 

When we finally reached Palma, it was hard for us all to believe that our ten days together was over.  We had so much fun and saw some great sights but the best times were just enjoying each other’s company.  The kids loved knitting with Grandma, playing Animal Uno, and watching hilarious Steve Martin movies.  We ended our time together with a lovely dinner in Palma including Paella and ice cream.  Now Fred and Margot will continue their travels in mainland Spain and we are off to Ibiza.  As always it was so hard to say good-bye but knowing that we will soon be back in the Caribbean made it a lot easier.