Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fest des Sant Joan

Saturday 23 June 2007
We went to a crowded dance club, Jazzbah in the harbor area, and worked our way through the crowd to the balcony. I met Luis, an attorney from Madrid. He studied accounting and economics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1987 and was there during the earthquake. I told him how I met Angel and came to be in Menorca, and introduced him to Angel, Carmen, and Luisa. He and Carmen visited for a while before he left with his friends about 0330. David informed me that we were going to leave as well. Angel stayed as there was not room for all of us in the car. David or Ana returned for him later. I was probably asleep by 0400.

I slept until 0830. I unzipped my sleeping bag and covered my head with my shirt, but could not go back to sleep, so I got up at 0900 and wrote. It is sunny and windy this morning. Insects, doves, and other birds are calling. Caryn and Boris were up and greeted me at 0930. Our conversation woke one of our hostesses, Malena. She asked us to come inside for croissants with chocolate, coffee, and milk.

There is some new construction going on behind the stone wall at the back of Malena and Laura’s house. The soil and rock has been excavated to a depth of about 80 cm for the construction of a new road. The soil is quite shallow, 20 cm of soil on top of limestone. It does not look like great soil for farming.

Malena and Laura have quite a large house, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a large kitchen, a living room with fireplace, a one car garage, access to the flat roof via a staircase on the east side of the house, and a large covered porch across the front of the house. All floors are ceramic tile. I went inside about 1000. Ana and Caryn were making coffee and getting food out of the boats. We had bread, jamon Serrano, queso Mahon, Guindilla peppers, chocolate croissants, and cookies on the front porch. The covered porch is on the North West side of the house, and shady and cool in the morning. There is an orchard between the street and the front of the house with an almond, a loquat, a pear, and several pine trees. Boris picked some small pears. They are good, but not very juicy. The southwestern half of the lot is unused.

Malena and the other residents of the house were up before 1100. Laura and Boris were hand feeding a falcon chick while Angel and I studied one of Laura’s bird identification books. Laura offered to take us to the wildlife rehabilitation center where she works. We left about 1200. Ana and I rode with Laura while the others rode with David. We stopped several places en route, and went shopping for groceries at a supermarket in Poligon Industrial Park. We finally went to the rehab center which is built into a former quarry. The quarry provides some walls, shade, and a more constant temperature for the animals. Other walls are created with chicken wire and mats of brush. There are numerous birds; gulls, owls, and hawks. There are native tortoises, which are protected, and exotic turtles from Florida, which they are trying to eradicate from the island. Laura gave two of of the Florida turtles, probably the Florida Red-bellied Turtle, to David to his great delight. I mentioned that they make excellent soup and joked about trying to find a recipe for them. We left Laura at the rehab center, and took the groceries back to the house.

David said we had reservations for 27 at a Ciutadella restaurant this afternoon. We went to Grill Las Brasas at about 1430. A large table was set for 30 people. We were among the last to arrive. I had already met many of those present, Rosa, Elena, Carmen, and Luisa among them. We ordered beer, wine, water, apetizers, and each of us selected an entrecote, or main course. I selected leg of cabrito. Other choices were lechona, and cordero. Lechona is the Mallorquin word for cochinillo or suckling pig. Cordero is a leg of lamb, and cabrito is goat kid. While waiting for the entrecote to be roasted over a hard wood fire, we feasted on calamar frito marinero, champinones, pambtumaquet (bread with tomato), and salad. After eating an enormous portion of meat served with baked potatoes, grilled tomato, and sweet red pepper, we were served small cream puffs drizzled with chocolate syrup and ice cream layered with chocolate. We finished with café solo or a cortado poured over ice. Elena gave me a souvenir book mark and pen from the restaurant.

We drove to a lighthouse, Far de Punta Nati. On the way we looked at ses barraques, the conical stone structures used to house livestock. Some are recently built, but some were first constructed thousands of years ago. Near the lighthouse there were bunkers, probably built during the Spanish civil war, built to look like the ses barraques. Even though the structures were not ancient, the stark, rocky landscape and view of the sea gave me a strong feeling that Angel calls telurico.

We returned to Malena and Laura’s house at 1700 for a siesta. I awoke at 1900 and wrote for half an hour while the others: Angel, Boris, Caryn, Ana, and David slept. I may have gone back to sleep for a while. Angel woke me again at 1950 by dropping snails from the roof onto the tile floor near my head. He said the hazelnut wars had begun in reference to the throwing of hazelnuts that I am looking forward to experiencing tonight.

It was 2130 or later when we piled into the car with David at the helm. Being the largest and oldest, I got the shotgun seat. Angel graciously lay on the floor in the hatchback while Boris, Ana, and Caryn occupied the back seat. Angel had made 5 L of pomade which he brought with us. David parked, probably on Velazquez near Rda de les Baleares, as soon as we got into town as many of the streets are closed for the fiesta. We walked to the center of the city. The hazelnut wars were well underway when we got there. Hazelnuts popped under our feet as we walked. We had been walking on hazelnuts for many blocks before we found some to buy. Angel and I each bought a kilo of hazelnuts, and soon began throwing them at one another, other members of our party, and anyone who threw hazelnuts at us. The noise from hazelnuts popping under people’s feet and the noise of people talking, yelling, and singing was getting quite loud. After walking a few more blocks we saw people throwing hazelnuts from balconies and staircases. Others were putting hazelnuts down one another’s pants and shirts, sometimes wrestling one another to the ground.

We met Carmen and Luisa in Plaça Nava, and they made good use of the hazelnuts Angel and I had brought. I jumped into the fray and knocked the drink out of a young woman’s hand. Her boyfriend scowled at me, and Luisa poured her another drink from the bottle Angel had given me. Luisa broke the strap on her sandal and was standing on the shoes of others while David ran to the car to get a pair of flip flops he had brought in anticipation of such an accident. There were a few armed policemen and police women walking through the crowd. They were being pelted with hazelnuts just as everyone else. Some of them even smiled. I saw one police woman kiss a partier. Maybe they knew one another. It was probably about midnight when the hazelnut wars died out from exhaustion and the lack of whole hazelnuts. The only ones left were those on the streets, and most of those were crushed.

We found the street, Josep Maria Quadrado, on which 6 inches of sand had been spread in preparation for the horsemen that will ride through the crowd. It is hard to imagine where the horses will fit between the people standing shoulder to shoulder. I saw the life guard from Cala Blanes, greeted her in the traditional Spanish manner, but I couldn’t hear much that she said over the noise of the crowd. Ana visited with her for a while. We lost track of Angel, Caryn, and David. I could see Boris only 10 or 20 m from me. The horsemen, Caxiers, were now running through the streets and the horses occasionally stood on their hind legs and pawed the air over our heads with their front legs. The horses are black, decorated with ribbons and flowers. The Caxiers are dressed in black. The horses are quite large, their withers at my chin height. I was frequently touching horses and occasionally knocked off my feet, but could not fall because the crowd was too dense.

The batteries in my camera were too dead to use the flash, but Boris was taking lots of pictures. Eventually Caryn came looking for Boris, probably fearing that he had been trampled under the feet of a horse. She led us to a square, Plaça de la Catedral, where the horses gathered and milled through the crowd. Angel said he could tell I had been touching the horses by the smell of my hands.

I was pushed into a lady by one of the horses. We introduced ourselves. She is a doctor from Barcelona specializing in orthopedics. We visited for a long time; her friend’s occasionally coming by to try to take her away. She and all of her friends spoke English. She had driven Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco and visited Hearst Castle. The horses nearly knocked us over several times, and we were eventually driven against a store window protected by an iron grate. After an hour or so her friends were successful in spiriting her away and I rejoined Angel who had been watching me.

Sunday 24 July 2007
We found a restaurant near Plau Vivó and the corner of Major des Born and Plaça d’es Born to have dinner at about 0200. We shared many good dishes including mushrooms stuffed with chorizo, razor clams, aioli with bread, and red wine (rioja de 100% tempranillo grapes). After dinner we went to the harbor at about 0300.

We were very lucky to be able to see a rizzaga, a magical marine phenomenon that occurs only here in Ciutadella, and only once every few years. No one knows how to predict it. The normal tidal variation here is about a meter and there is normally one tide a day. During this rizzaga the sea level fell more than one meter during a 7 to 10 minute period and rose again in the same amount of time, flooding the entire launch ramp, and the streets right up to the thresholds of the businesses on either side of the narrow harbor. This rapid fluctuation of the sea level continued for the two hours that I watched it from near the launch ramp at the head of the harbor. Not all rizzagas are as tame as this one. One several years ago smashed the boats into the buildings lining the harbor destroying many boats and doing a lot of damage to the buildings. The city is looking into ways to control it to minimize damage. It is wonderful that this rare event happened this night as the first quarter moon set on the summer solstice during the Fest de Sant Joan, and most of all while I was watching.

We went onto Jazzbah, the same dance club we visited last night. This time we stayed on the first floor near the entrance. I danced alone next to the wall, guarding the T shirts I had bought for my grandkids, and
Women’s purses while they danced. Eventually, Rosa asked me to dance. I moved to the center of the narrow dance floor and the crowd parted to give us room to dance swing style. IA am a bit rusty and was not the smooth dance partner I like to be, but we both had fun anyway, and many people watched us doing this strange, old fashioned dance for a while.

Just before 0430 Caryn and Boris went outside for some air and space. Ana retrieved her purse and followed them to see if they wanted to go home. She soon returned to dance some more. We all went outside about 0500, watched the rizzaga for a while longer before walking back to the car and driving to Malena and Laura’s house to sleep. I went to sleep on the northeast side of the house under a shower so the sun would not hit me when it came up.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Punta des Sant Carles to Es Grau and Ciutadella

Friday 22 June 2007

I woke up at 0530 and wrote until 0700. It rained a bit during the night, and is almost solid cloudy this morning. Ana, Angel, and David moved into the buildings when it began to rain. I pulled the tarp over me for a while, but that was too hot, so I took a chance with the rain. My bed was dryer when I got up than it was when I went to bed. It is a beautiful morning, warm, humid, cloudy, light, cooling breeze, few to no mosquitoes. Surrounded by tide pools as much as 5 meters above sea level, but exposed to the occasional power of the surf which I have yet to experience here. I am enjoying the comfort of my new sandals. I christened them several times last night by accidentally stepping in tide pools. My lower legs are quite stiff this morning, probably from using my feet and legs paddling, but my abdominals are no longer sore, although I am still using them a lot.

I set 3 fishing lines as I untangled them. Nothing even ate the bait off the hooks. Everyone else got up about 0830m and the sun started to come out about 0900. We drank café con leche, and ate cookies, and leftovers. Boris found some white zygomorphic flowers growing out of stone walls. After returning home I identified them as the caper, Capparis spinosa. Caryn found a Greek tortoise.

We began packing at 1000 and we were on the water by 1100. We soon crossed to the north side of the harbor and visited a former British military hospital on Illa del Rei. The hospital is being restored and will be an office building. We paddled by the apparently abandoned naval station, crossed the channel, and ate lunch at about 1400 in a restaurant near Akelarre, the dance club where we saw Dr. Feelgood a week ago. David ordered a selection of tapas: anchovies, squid, potato salad. Caryn and Ana went shopping after lunch. Boris, Angel and I bought ice cream. We resumed paddling about 1600. Boris and Caryn took a short cut and beat us to es Grau by half an hour or more. They had a bottle of Champaign on ice when we arrived at 2000. Angel opened it and sprayed it all over all of us before pouring each of us a glass. We hugged and high fived to congratulate ourselves and celebrate the completion of our circumnavigation of Menorca. Angel and Ana made some pone calls, we unloaded the kayaks, put our gear in Ana and David’s car, and returned our kayaks to Menorca en Kayak.

Marco greeted us on the beach and took Angel and I to the bus station for the ride to Ciutadella for the fiesta tonight. We arrived at the Mao bus station at 2100, and were in Ciutadella at 2300. Ana, David, Boris, and Caryn met us at the bus station. They had all taken a shower before picking us up. David offered to take Angel and I to the house where we will stay while in Ciutadella to shower and change into some clean clothes. We enthusiastically accepted his offer. After the shower, change of clothes, and an attempt to shave that was less than 100% successful, we visited for a while with our hostess, Laura, a young lady with a great interest in veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation. She is currently treating a tortoise that was run over by a car, and a falcon chick.

David drove Angel and I back to central Ciutadella at midnight where we rejoined Ana, Boris, and Caryn. Older people were sitting in chairs watching the party while the younger folks danced, jumped, drank and sang. The noise is very loud making it hard to hear what people are saying. We found a table and drank ginet con lemonada, people in Ciutadella don’t call it Pomada as they do in Maó. Friends stopped by to visit, and one left us a 2 liter bottle of ginet con lemonada. I dozed off in my chair. Caryn poured ginet con lemonade over my hand, and I woke with a start. Everyone laughed. Ana graciously offered to take me home to sleep, but I said I wanted to stay with everyone else. We then wandered the streets accumulating a group of friends as we went, including Rosa, Carmen, and Luisa. There were lots of vendors, carnival rides, and interesting people in the streets. I bought a scarf; we watched a percussion band march through the streets with a crowd following. One vendor was quite good with the whistles on puts in the mouth. He entertained us for a long time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Calas Coves to Punta des Sant Carles

Thursday 21 June 2007

I woke up at 0430 and looked at the stars. There is about a 50% cloud cover, but I nevertheless, found the summer triangle, Cassiopeia, the little dipper, and Polaris. I spent some time trying to orient myself. I have been turned around much of the time since I arrived in Menorca. Intellectually I know where I am, and which way is north, but I have to think about it. It is not instinctual as it usually is with me. The birds are calling, and a Siamese cat is meowing and creeping through camp.

I am a bit stiff and sore all over. My right forearm is still a bit stiff, but not getting any worse since I resumed wearing the elbow straps. I am also careful to keep my elbows near my torso or straight and paddle only with a twisting motion of my torso, taking the paddle blade out of the water before it passes my butt. My fingers are not quite so swollen this morning as they were yesterday morning. The sore cuts and a blister on my fingers are not getting any worse. The urchin injury is healing nicely, but the bottoms of my feet are sore from walking barefoot on the sharp rocks while fishing at Cala Trebalúger. My toes have been very numb for several days, especially the second and third toes on my right foot. All are number than they have been in a year. I suspect that there is something about kayaking that makes them numb, but it is not jamming them into a small white water kayak as I once thought, because I have lots of room to move my feet around in this sea kayak.

The place where my sandal wore through the skin of my big toe is getting very sore. I have been experimenting with different foot gear, and I prefer to be barefooted in the boat. My Chacos wear holes in the skin of my feet, and the neoprene booties are hot and give me no protection from urchins and very little protection from the rocks, but I have to wear something when walking on the sharp rocks, so I wear both neoprene booties and Chacos. The neoprene booties protect my feet from the straps of my Chacos.

The two kayakers that joined us late yesterday evening went for a swim before 0630. Ana was up at 0630. Boris was walking on the wall near camp. Ana greeted him when she took the dishes to the beach to wash them. A young woman who had been sunning on the rocks near the didgeridoo players when we arrived was warmly dressed this morning in contrast to her lack of attire when we arrived. Everyone was up by 0700. I ate some of Boris’ bean salad, drank some coffee and milk. I took my vitamins for the first time in 4 days.

We left Cales Coves just before 1000. Boris left first as usual, and I second. I like to be one of the first to leave the beach so I can paddle slowly until I warm up and then paddle at my own pace. If I am late getting off the beach I feel I have to catch up and I don’t enjoy the paddle as much. Boris stopped at the mouth of the cala. He hailed me just after I passed him. He caught up with me and showed me a Sepia he had found with the head still on it. It was fresh, but not fresh enough for me to want to eat it. I put it in one of my swim fins on deck to use as bait later.

I paddled slowly close to the shoreline, exploring every cala, but was unable to enter the caves because of the large swell and surge. We have a swell out of the WSW this morning. It is quartering on our starboard stern at about 5 o’clock and kayakers a short distance away, 20 to 40 m, disappear in the trough. I suspect it is about 1.5 m high.

There is very little wind, maybe 5 kts. The wind is out of the east or SE and we are going almost directly into it. It is quite warm and I am happy to be wearing a wet capeline shirt. I am paddling bare foot this morning and my feet are quite comfortable except for the rough knobby surface on the foot pegs.

Es Canutells appears to be quite a new town with bright white houses with red tile roofs. Some of the houses are quite large. I see people walking along the top of the cliffs, probably on the Cami Cavell. I see a few divers and fishermen as well. There are both private and charter dive boats. Boris and I paddled through inside of s’Illot d’en Marçal, but outside, s’Illot de Binissafúller.

We landed on the launch ramp in the harbor of Binibeca Vell about 1200. We carried our boats up to the boat wash down area where a man was washing his boat. Some of us asked him if we could wash off with fresh water from the hose he was using. He permitted us to wash, but complained that he had to pay 100€ to take out here. We left Ana with the boats, while the rest of us looked around town.

We took a table at a café and ordered jarras of cervesa. In the Balearic Islands, beer on tap is a pilsner. It is rare for anyone to order by brand. Beer is ordered by the size of the glass, a caña or a jarra. A caña is a wine glass, a jarra is close to a pint. David went back to the boats to join Ana, then both of them joined us, because they felt that the boats were quite safe.

I went to a nearby store to look for a pair of sox, and bought a pair of shoes, the traditional style of sandal made on Menorca. I found my paddling companions in a supermarket. The choice of fresh vegetables was small, so we walked a kilometer to the east to another store where we found a much larger selection. After purchasing food, we went back to the boats for lunch in the shade of a rock overhang. Several of us went to sleep after lunch.

Boris came to wake Caryn and I at 1530. Angel was asleep under a trailered boat nearby, and Ana and David were no where to be seen. They soon returned from town and we began packing the boats. We launched about 1600. I was in the lead much of the afternoon with Angel nearby. I paddled just inside Escull d’en Caragol, a large reef with waves breaking over it. It is marked with a light, Llosa d’en Caragol. There are lots of large beautiful homes near Torre de Son Ganxo. The swell was off our stern as we rounded Punta Prima. I briefly caught a wave.

We explored some beautiful caves near Morro d’Alcafar and spent some time in Caló des Rafalet where we had hoped to camp. It is a beautiful cala, but has no beach. At the head of the cala there is a small launch ramp and boat house that was too small for our team. Angel and Boris paddled on leaving Ana, David,and I begind. Angel returned as Ana and I approached sa Cigonya. I rigged a towline and Angel towed Ana toward Maó. I had trouble keeping up with him. We met Boris, Caryn, and David at Punta de Sant Felip, at about 2000 where they had decided to make camp on the grounds of an old structure.

Boris once again organized the preparation of supper. He asked me to cook the meat. We had purchased 3 kinds of meat at Binibeca Vell, including chorizo, morcilla and shish kabob. Boris made potato salad. David, and Ana cut up cheese, bread and put out dried fruits and nuts for us to eat while cooking. We also sampled Boris’ cooking wine. We ate supper standing around the wall on which we had cooked. Caryn and I washed dishes in the surf. We lay on the rocks visiting and drinking pomadas until 0000. When I went to get in my sleeping bag, it was very wet from the dew. I turned it over to put the wet side on the bottom and got in. I was asleep as soon as I lay down.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cala Trebaluger to Calas Coves

Wednesday 20 June 2007

I got up at 0530 and checked the fishing lines. Ana had caught a large sargo. I put it in a tide pool and re baited her hook. Angel’s line and mine too were hung up in the rocks, so I couldn’t retrieve them. Angel was up at 0600 and retrieved Boris’ line, but it was a rat’s nest. I made 3 more lines and redeployed them. Last night I found a stone building near where we were fishing. I explored it this morning. There is no door. It is a single room with a fireplace, mattress, and a shelf with canned food. It appears that someone camps here regularly.

We finished a breakfast of café, cookies and gazpacho and began packing the boats. Angel and I considered recovering our lines by diving, but didn’t take the time to do it. Angel spent some time identifying plants this morning and found hinojo marino the Spanish name for the plant the Mayorquin pickle and eat with Pamboli. I took down my tarp. I slept under it last night and everything was dry this morning. Many of our fishing lines were caught in the rocks. Boris recovered as much as he could. I recovered one more line before paddling up the torrent to Horts de Trebalúger while the others played in the surf and returned to es Pont de n’Aleix to show the caves to Boris and Caryn.

Horts de Trebalúger is a very different habitat from any other I have seen here in Illes Baleares. It is an albufera, a wetland. The higher parts of it are hayfields. The hills on either side of the albufera are covered in oak and pine trees. I can hear and even see small birds flitting here and there through the trees. The sounds of insects are everywhere. This is the richest environment I have seen in the Illes Baleares. As I returned to the beach I saw Angel paddling toward me to tell me that the others had returned from es Pont d’en Aleix and paddled on to the east out of our sight.

We paddled harder and faster than usual to catch up. We passed two pretty calas, Fustam and Escorxada, without exploring them. We caught up with our paddling companions before we got to Platja de Binigaus where we visited with another paddler headed the other way. Boris and I paddled over the tombolo between Illot de Binicodrell and the beach. There are big hotels on the beach at Punta Negra and an offshore reef, Escall d’en Salat, that looks like it might be an interesting place to snorkel or dive.

We landed just west of Son Bou. Angel, Boris, Caryn, and I walked into town carrying garbage to dispose of. My camera battery died on the way into town. We bought groceries, ate ice cream, and took a shower on our way back to the kayaks, piraguas, for lunch. Angel and I slept a siesta and I wrote some notes while looking at the coastline aeroguide. David and Ana went into town for a shower and returned at 1630. It is really hot here on the beach. I am really thankful for the meager shade provided by Angel’s half shelter. There is really no place for me to rig my tarp.

We left the beach a bit before 1700, paddled past Son Bou, Cala Llucalari, Cova de sa Calç, Cala de Sant Llorenç and sa SarolaThe cliffs here are quite white in places. We saw some deep caves with stalactites. The openings of these caves were well above sea level. The geology appears very confused with neatly layered tan to brown blocks standing on edge right next to a solid white block or a cave. There is a small swell out of the SE and refraction waves off the cliffs.

At s’Estalo a young gull climbed aboard Boris’ kayak to seek refuge from two older gulls that were attacking it. He asked me for some of the Sepia I was carrying in my forward hatch so he could see if the gull would eat some of it. I landed in a tide pool behind a large boulder to get the Sepia out and to replace the battery in my camera. I changed my camera battery at Son Bou, but it was dead after only a few photos. I must have mixed up my good and dead batteries. The tide pool appeared to be a fairly calm place to open up the hatch to get the Sepia and a fresh battery.

Just as I had my camera open, a dead battery in one hand, and a fresh one in the other, a wave washed through the tide pool. I didn’t drop the camera nor the batteries, and managed to keep them fairly dry, but my paddle washed off the rocks and into the adjacent surge channel. Fortunately Boris and Angel were still nearby, and Boris noticed my predicament. He recovered my paddle and threw it to me. I quickly put my camera back together and closed the hatch, securing the Sepia on deck. I had difficulty getting out of the now high and dry tide pool. By the time I resumed paddling, Boris and Angel were several hundred meters ahead of me. Boris had secured the sea gull under his spray skirt and was no longer looking for something to feed it.

We passed Cala en Porter before arriving at Cales Coves at 1900. Cales Coves is a very interesting place. Lots of caves have been cut into the cliffs. They were used as burial chambers during the Iron Age, about 3000 years ago. Most are now closed to entry by metal grates. Several boats are anchored in the cala, and some people are swimming and diving among the boats. A dozen or two young people are sitting on the rocks sunning themselves. Two are playing didgeridoos quite well. The sound goes well with beauty of the cala in the late afternoon light. The cala has two arms. A road leads to the eastern one. Two cars are parked on the beach there, so we decide to land at the western one that drains the land behind Urbania Cala En Porter, only a kilometer to the west. There is a fishing camp on the north bank of this arm of the cala, with a very picturesque llaut, moored in front of the camp.

We made camp on the fine sand beach at the head of this cala. Boris took the gull out of his boat and held it while I cut up Sepia and placed it in the gull’s mouth. The gull seemed happy to swallow it. It stayed around camp for a while, but wandered off into the bushes and disappeared while we were setting up camp and preparing supper. Angel snorkeled a bit and came back to camp reporting a lot of large fish under one of the boats anchored in the cala. He suggested we rig a hook on a pole to catch one of them. I used to fasten a hook to a small bungee cord threaded through the eyes of a short fishing rod. I was then able to snag fish under the mandible, and put them into a mesh bag while I measured and tagged it. I was later able to recapture the same fish for age and growth studies. However, I am sure that this is not a legal method of capture here in Menorca.

Boris began cooking. He made a bean salad. Angel made risotto with shrimp in it. Ana, David, and Caryn cut up some bread, sausage, cheese, and opened a bottle of red wine. I took food, water and gear out of my boat and vegetated. I have not made much of a contribution to the cooking this trip. That role is so well filled by the others, that I haven’t seen much that I can do to help. So I often write while others cook. I didn’t even feel like writing this evening. Two other kayakers joined us on the beach later. And some of the people that had been sitting on the rocks when we arrived hiked or swam to the beach where we had made camp. Some of them hiked up the torrent, possibly to Cala en Porter. We finished supper shortly after 2100 and visited until 0000, however, I slept through much of the conversation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kayak from Cala Blanca to Cala Trebaluger

Tuesday 19 June 2007
I got up at 0530. The birds are singing in the pine trees that surround the beach on 3 sides. A flock of swallows occasionally flies over the cala. Doves are cooing in every direction. The first 2 notes are higher and longer than the last with an open note between the second and the last note. There are a few clouds this morning. I went for a short walk to the road behind the beach. There is a large pile of sea grass there. I presumed it was the result of a beach cleaning operation. My speculation was later confirmed when a crew arrived with a tractor and began raking the beach and hauling the sea grass to the back of the beach.

I studied the Coastline Aeroguide to Menorca by GeoPlaneta, part of a series of books that cover the entire coast of Spain. These books contain aerial photos of 3 kilometer segments of the coast with visitor facilities, descriptions of beaches, information on coastal navigation and anchorages, festivals, history, geology, archaeological, and architectural sights. It comes in a handy pocket size as well as the larger hardback version, and was our primary guide for selecting landing sites.
Angel got up at 0700 and we went for a short walk around the village. There are public showers here, but the water was turned off. Everyone was up by 0730. I heated up the mint tea that Ana made for me last night. I was asleep before it was ready to drink. We had café con leche, cookies, and I finished the salad Boris made last night. We packed the kayaks and were paddling by 0930. The seas were calm, only a light breeze, and the swell was not noticeable.

We paddled around Cap d’Artrutx, and immediatelynoticed a change in the sea state. There was still very little wind, but the swell was much bigger, more than one meter high with a short period of 4 to 5 seconds. Other kayakers only tens of meters away disappeared in the trough. We paddled by the urban coastline of Cala en Bosch and Son Xoriguer. Several tour boats passed inside of us, and a large grey yacht passed outside of us.

We stopped for lunch at Arenal de Son Saura
at 1200. Half a dozen yachts were anchored in the cove. Tour boats were dropping passengers off at the beach and the large grey yacht that had passed outside of us earlier was anchored here. It was flying a British flag from the stern and had launched an inflatable boat which delivering passengers to the beach.

Angel put up his beach shelter, and we spread
our lunch out in its welcome shade. We ate melon con piel de sapo, bananas, and crackers. After lunch Ana, David, Boris, and Caryn lay in the sun. Angel went for a walk, and I soon did the same. I walked northwest along the beach. At the north end of the beach I crossed an old aqueduct and followed a trail to another beach to the west. This beach had much larger surf than the one on which we had landed. I walked the length of this beach and found Cami de Cavalls, the ancient horse trail around the island. I walked to the next rocky headland, crossed the sharp rocky spray zone, and swam back to the kayaks.

I spread out a large piece of cotton fabric that I use for a towel and MUG, and sat on the beach writing until everyone else was ready to pack the boats and resume paddling.
We left the beach at 1430 resuming our march to the east along the south coast of Menorca. I paddled with Caryn for a while making suggestions for paddling in the swells. We have been quartering into a swell out of the southeast since rounding Punta d’Artrutx mid morning. The wind is at our backs, out of the west, at 5 to 8 knots, very light and pleasant.

David headed for a cave and invited me to go with him. Ana followed too. The waves were too big to approach the cave entrance safely. They sometimes broke at the cave mouth or inside the cave. We continued along the shore and explored Calas Macarella and Macarelleta. I took a picture of the hotel at Santa Galdana, explored Calas Mitjana and Mitjaneta, and some beautiful caves and a long natural bridge at es Pont de n’Aleix. Angel met us here after leaving Boris and Caryn on the beach at Cala Trebalúger.

We landed on the beach at Cala Trebalúger at 1730. It was still quite hot. Caryn and I rigged my tarp to provide some shade on the beach while Boris, Angel, Ana, and David paddled up Torrent Trebalúger. I deployed a fishing line baited with Sepia in the rocks to the east of the beach and caught a sargo. Ana, Boris, and Angel then did the same, and Ana caught a bigger sargo. Boris, Caryn, Ana, and David made pasta and a salad. I ate late because I was so interested in fishing.

After supper Ana, Angel,and I studied the stars. We saw Venus, should have found Saturn, but it had set below the trees on the western horizon before we looked. We saw Scorpio, Jupiter, Arcturus, Spica, and the summer triangle. The sound of the surf is loud here, louder than at any other place we have camped. It almost drowns out the sounds of the birds and insects. I fell asleep about 2330.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kayaking from Cala Algairens to Cala Blanca

Monday 18 June 2007

It rained lightly most of the night. When I was awake I could hear raindrops hitting my tarp, but only occasionally did one hit my face. Ana got up at about 0330 to tell me that Boris and Caryn had room for me in their tent. I declined her offer saying I would just cover my bag with part of the tarp. There was some lightning that lit up the clouds beautifully. Some kind of animal, bird I suspect, called all night and lots of birds were calling when I woke up at 0600. My sleeping bag is actually dryer than usual this morning. The clouds kept the heat in so there was no dew, and my body heat evaporated most of the rain that fell on my bag, but I and my bag are covered in wet sand. I went for a swim to get some of the sand out of my hair, my ears, and off my body.

A fisherman came to the beach from the village at 0630. He looked for bait on the rocks and in the dead sea grass in the shallow water of the beach. I greeted him with the Mallorquin, Bon dia, but he seemed preoccupied with his search for bait.

At 0700 I saw Ana crawl out of her tent, and Angel carrying his pad down the beach from the direction of the cabin at the north end of the beach. I suspect he slept on the porch of the cabin after it began to rain last night. We went back to the deck of the cabin to prepare breakfast
of cappuccino and cookies.

I spoke with the fisherman again, and he was quite friendly now that he had his bait collecting long line set. He explained to me what he was doing. He had mops on a long line with a piece of yam tied into the center of each mop. Each mop was full of isopods. He placed a wet towel in a basket and poured the isopods into the towel. He had about 2 liters of isopods that he will use for bait while fishing off the rocks.

I hiked through the dunes and photographed some of the plants. There is a vine with twice pinnate leaves that is covered with white blooms, each with 4 petals, infinite stamens, a pistil with 5 divisions and no sepals, a very spiny umbel, daffodils, a beach radish, dune grass, and several prostrate plants with no flowers.

When we were ready to launch the kayaks, I couldn't find a paddle. David got the spare out for me, Angel looked along the shoreline to the south. After we left at 0930, Ana and David searched the southwestern shoreline of the cala and found our missing paddle, but I was well ahead of them by then so Ana carried it on her deck until she caught up with me. Ana developed some pain in her right shoulder this morning and that slowed her progress. She was no longer ahead of me.

We passed Cala Morell. The rocks on either side of the cala are quite different. Those on the east side of the cala are much older, Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. Those on the west are of the tertiary period. Fifteen caves dug into the rock walls of the cala were used for human burial during the iron age, 800 BC. There are lots of large, new, single family homes and multistory apartment buildings on top of the rock walls of the cala. Conical stone structures, ses barraques, dot the landscape between Cala Morell and Ciutadella. Some were built in the neolithic Era, but others are modern and used to house livestock. No mortar is used in the construction of these buildings.

At Punta d'es Single there is a very large cave that we explored. I took advantage of the quiet water in the deepest recess of the cave to get out of my kayak, and change the battery in my camera. We passed Faro de Punta Nati, a lighthouse and explored another very deep narrow cave and a natural bridge between Punta Galera and sa Falconera.

We stopped for lunch at Cala en Blanes near Ciutadella. This a very urbanized cala. Homes line either side of the cala, and there is a large hotel near the narrow, crowded, fine, white sand beach at the head of the cala. We took our kayaks out of the water and placed them on what appeared to be a private quay. A life guard greeted us and we visited with her for nearly an hour. She is a ski instructor in the winter. We walked to the beach, bought ice cream and granizados. I bought a mint granizado that turned my tongue green. We slept, took a fresh water shower, and went shopping for groceries before returning to the boats.

We probably left Cala en Blanes about 1730 and paddled directly to Cala Blanca. Cala Blanca is another very urban beach with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and paddle boats for rent. We arrived there at 1900 and waited for people to leave the crowded beach before spreading out our gear. Boris served pomadas, and we snacked on bread frutas secas, dried fruit and nuts, and canned mussels in escabeche sauce until the sun went down behind the trees, casting what I found to be a welcome shadow on the beach. Now that the sun was gone, the crowd began to leave the beach.

I occupied one of the abandoned lounge chairs. The vendor woke from his nap, and began taking down the umbrellas, and stacking the chairs. I got up to get out of his way, but he told me to relax and enjoy the use of his chair. He very graciously left several chairs unstacked for our use when he left the beach. I wrote a while, but fell asleep shortly after 2000.

When I woke at 2100 Boris was putting up his tent. He had made a salad, and Ana, Angel, and David had gone fishing using the cuttlefish Ana found yesterday for bait. Actually she snagged it on the hook she was trolling behind her kayak. It was headless ,but the skin still had good color, and it smelled good. We had decided to not eat it, but to save it for bait.

When Ana, David, and Angel returned from their fishing trip without any fish, David and Angel made Favada with canned beans and morcilla. It was quite good. We ate it with a lot of bread and of course, the salad. Boris contributed a bottle of red wine, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I photographed the conjunction of Venus and the waxing crescent moon with the nearby restaurants in the foreground. I went to sleep shortly after 2300 on one of the lounge chairs. It was too hot to get into my sleeping bag, so I put on long pants, a long sleeved shirt, my rain jacket, and tied my Buzz Off bandanna over my ears and under my chin to ward off the mosquitoes. The calves of my legs and fore arms still have itching welts 10 to 15 mm across from the bites I got shortly after we arrived at Cala Algaiarens. The mosquitoes seem to be biting at dusk and a few at dawn too. I wish I had brought some insect repellent.

Kayaking from Cala Pudent to Cala Algaiarens

Sunday 17 June 2007
I awoke at 0530 to a beautiful sunrise. I took some pictures and went for a swim. There are still a few mosquitoes trying to bite me. My Buzz Off bandanna that has worked so well in other places doesn't seem to deter these mosquitoes. My sleeping bag is soaking wet from the dew, but my tarp is dry. I am the only one sleeping under the stars. My paddling companions all have tents to sleep in. They were up by 0700 making coffee. We ate breakfast, packed the kayaks and were paddling by 0900. About half an hour out of camp, I decided to cool off by doing a high brace on each side of my boat. When I did so, my spray skirt came off and the cockpit of my kayak filled with water. I went over and was unable to roll with a lot of weight piled on my deck and a cockpit full of water. I did a wet exit and called to get the attention of my paddling companions who were all ahead of me. They were soon at my side. David helped me bail out my kayak and get back in.

We stopped for lunch at a for lunch at Cala Pregonda, a beautiful beach with a couple of beautiful private homes at the north end. We spread our lunch out on the teak deck of the one closest to the home right on the beach. We feasted on bread, draft beer, jamon Serrano, queso Mahon, and sobrasada.

Boris and Caryn began kayaking at 1600. Boris was towing Caryn. I decided to go with them. Boris noticed that he had forgotten his camera before we had gone a kilometer. He was preparing to head back for it when I volunteered so they could continue. When I returned to the beach, David, Ana, and Angel were loading their kayaks. David went back to the deck to look for Boris' camera and found that we had left two cameras and books there. I rigged my fishing gear while Ana, David, and Angel toured the cala. We finally left at 1700.

We looked for Boris and Caryn at all the beaches we passed, but did not see them. We arrived at Cala Algaiarens about 1930 without having seen Boris and Caryn. Angel, Ana and David searched the cala and Ana left them a text message on their cell phone before we made camp on Platja des Bot. We had just begun to set up camp when we saw Boris and Caryn paddling toward us. Apparently they had waited for us near Illa des Coloms, but didn't see us pass inside of them. We were very happy to be back together again.