June 27 – Formentera

Dark of Night

As much as I made a point of complaining, yesterday, I really don’t mind the late watches.  Tonight is probably the last overnight of the trip.  I awoke from a good sleep (4 hrs) feeling totally energized.  The weather has finally settled down.  I relieved Bob an hour early just to be alone in the dark, in the sea.  I’ll get to soak up this and see the sun rise on this particular life-palette one last time.

The only problem is some complete idiot on Ch. 16 making idiot noises every 10 seconds: bird whistles, cartoon character voices, song snippets, etc,  and another idiot who’s berating him and his family tree…which, of course, exacerbates the whole dynamic.  Idiots.  So OK, there’s my quota of complaint for the time being.  But interestingly, Tweedy Bird with a deep, male Spanish accent is still Tweedy Bird.  Idiot.

It’s time for some reflection.  Not that the time out here is scrolling or that I’m looking at moments, high and low.  It’s more just an appreciation for the package.  I don’t know how the past 48 days (since Shar and I left B’ham) could have been any better.  Any more or less travail would have upset the balance of reality and fantasy about such a venture.  In any case, I’m thankful, and not ready for it to end and, still, totally ready.  It’s a nice place to be.  In the dark, in the sea.

Not that this adventure is ending.  We have plans encompassing the next 3 weeks: time in Barcelona with Shar’s daughter, Ciara, and her fiancé, Alister, who live in Munich; a 9-day bicycle trip from Bilbao to Santiago de Compostela, a Portugal taster at the end.

I think I said this at the beginning: I’ve never had the desire to take my own ocean-worthy boat on a trip like this.  I wondered if this would change that…and it does not appear to have.  I’ll happily continue my recent pattern of summer months at sea…a completely different sea, the wilderness seas of northern BC and Alaska.  I’ve yet to explore all of Vancouver Island’s wild west side, Haida Gwaii, Prince William Sound or the Seward Peninsula.  Bring it on.  

But I’m not so sure about blogging it.  This has been fun.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, that is, except when required to conform to the strictures of proper grammar, tense, avoidance of passive voice, etc.  I’m enjoying sharing this, this shared adventure.  But, somehow, the trips north seem more personal.  I dunno.

I still feel like dancing.  Maybe it’s the Dave Matthews playing on the iPad.

Other matters

Re: yesterday’s question about currents.  Here’s the short course: The Mediterranean Sea receives from the rivers that flow into it only about one-third of the amount of water that it loses by evaporation. In consequence, there is a continuous inflow of surface water from the Atlantic Ocean. After passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, the main body of the incoming surface water flows eastward along the north coast of Africa. This current is the most constant component of the circulation of the Mediterranean. It is most powerful in summer, when evaporation in the Mediterranean is at a maximum. This inflow of Atlantic water loses its strength as it proceeds eastward, but it is still recognizable as a surface movement in the Sicilian channel and even off the Levant coast.

In summer Mediterranean surface water becomes more saline through the intense evaporation, and, correspondingly, its density increases. It therefore sinks, and the excess of this denser bottom water emerges into the Atlantic Ocean over the sill forming the shallow Strait of Gibraltar as a westward subsurface current below the inward current. The inflowing water extends from the surface down to 230 or 260 feet. The Mediterranean has been metaphorically described as breathing, inhaling surface water from the Atlantic and exhaling deep water in a countercurrent below.

Surface circulation of the Mediterranean consists basically of a separate counterclockwise movement of the water in each of the two basins. Because of the complexity of the northern coastline and of the numerous islands, many small eddies and other local currents form essential parts of the general circulation. Tides, although only significant in range in the Gulf of Gabes and in the northern Adriatic, add to the complications of the currents in narrow channels such as the Strait of Messina.

The Med is a BIG sea, with its own unique rhythm and flow.


A couple hours after sunrise, we came up the west side of the island, but declared it undesirable for two reasons: it’s not very attractive and it’s exposed to west winds.  Part A is about rocky shores, a utilitarian looking town and small, crowded anchorages.  Part B is about the weather forecast that puts a 20 – 25 kt. westerly on us at oh-dark-thirty.  So, we swung around the north end of the island, to the other side, where we found a dandy spot populated by numerous boats, yachts and this…”

…monster…the world’s largest sailing yacht, A.  Brand new.  Check it out at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_(sailing_yacht).

It’s a nice spot for a swim, lunch at the little restaurant, a siesta and, hopefully, overnight.  There are lots of boats here, some of which are really ugly, and that’s not counting A.  Big, small, retro, modern, sail, power, cats, there’s a bit of everything.  People are in the water, actually swimming!  Dinghies and jet skis are running around, so are folks on kayaks and paddle boards, and something new for me, a water jet scooter for swimmers.  Looks something like this:


Grab yourself an inflatable, your jet and off you go!  Wish I had a pic of a 10 yr old zipping along using this.

Anyway, here’s the scene.  This shoreline forms a right angle with the beach, which is rocky sandstone. 

There are short stretches of sandy beach and pockets of sand near the water, but it’s mostly rocky.

The boxy structures are boat sheds.

We had lunch in one of those buildings, towards the right.  The pic is more about the shoreline.  More rock.

Boats, here, care nothing for their wake.  Everybody roars through the anchorage throwing huge wakes.  Reminds me of the lift line crowding that happens at European ski areas.  Knuckleheads.

For the final act before I hit the hay, here’s your evening sunset shot.

3 thoughts on “June 27 – Formentera

  1. Pedro & Shar, Shelly has informed me that a 1-2 month boating trip is in order next summer so you need to stick with your plan.


    1. We plan to start early next year, as our season will be cut short by my daughter’s wedding in Germany in late August. We hope to stay in the EU for at least a couple of months! Shall we make a date for mid-June to mid August?


      1. That’s sounding pretty good. I’m eligible to retire mid-June. The one-year countdown clock has begun!


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