My first trip on our new yacht
Leaving the mooring at Palma was easy enough. Before departure, Sim, Sienna, and I took a taxi to a grocery store. The store was huge! We purchase food for several days in addition to garbage bags, dish towels, sponges, and a necessary pair of slippers for me! If my feet get cold, I get cold and we’re not having that.
We discovered that our broker was not needed to complete the transaction. Originally, we were going to sail to mainland Spain and that would have required the transaction to be completed 12 miles off the coast. Due to our change of destination – Gibraltar – we could complete the transaction once we arrived.
Yikes – we’re sailing a boat we don’t really own yet
For the course of our travels, the current owner will need to cover us under his insurance, and then once we’re in Gibraltar, the money will switch hands, and the boat will become officially ours. Our insurance will then kick in.
The time has come to finally take possession of our boat!
Once the boat was full of groceries and we figured out how to turn everything on, and off, we slipped our lines to first find fuel. Since we left this port during our sea trial a month ago, I wasn’t too nervous about heading out as I knew the area a bit. Simon handled the boat perfectly and Richard, our hired skipper, kept quiet just making sure everything was going well.
Simon made mooring look easy when we went to the petrol pontoon
He seemed to come to parallel with the dock and then use the engine and bow thrusters to push us in. I was so proud of him. Richard threw a line to the petrol attendant and I threw another line from the bow. Three hundred Euros worth of petrol later, we once again slipped our lines and left Palma for good. Instead of filling up the tank we put enough fuel in to make it to Gibraltar. Since Gib is a tax-free haven, petrol will be far cheaper.
Oh no – the mainsail won’t go up!
The winds were good so we decided to put the mainsail up as soon as we left the port. Richard went to raise the main and discovered a problem. The winch wouldn’t move the sheet – it was jammed. Simon and Richard tried to locate the problem and using binoculars it looked as if the main halyard was jammed at the top of the mast!
Simon’s face looked like it was full of anger, fear, and anguish
I could see that his mind was racing forward and he dreaded the idea of motoring the entire way to Gibraltar.
For some reason, I said ‘don’t worry – it’s fine. Richard will fix it.’ I have no idea why I said it. Something in me knew that our travels weren’t going to be spoiled by broken rigging.
A few minutes later, Simon started hoisting Richard up to the top of the mast! Holy smokes, that’s high! I’m not sure I could do that. Sure enough once Richard got to the top he was able to free the halyard.
The rest was smooth sailing?
Thereafter Simon, Sienna, Richard, and I sat in the cockpit enjoying the sunshine, light winds, and smell of the Mediterranean. I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe it’s all coming together.’
Simon then came up from below decks and said, ‘Happy hour?’ We all celebrated our departure with one drink – I had a Heineken and put in a beer cozy with Genesee Brewery on it. Genesee is a local brewery in my home town of Rochester, New York. Early in the year I purchased a few cozy’s to take a bit of home with me. After a few sips, something remarkable happened.
“Did you just see that? Something big just jumped out of the sea?”
Those were the words I spoke to Richard as he walked from the cockpit back towards the aft seats. I then started to doubt myself and said, ‘Oh – it must have been a big wave…but I swear I saw something.’
“Dolphins ahead, starboard side,” Richard yelled out with his Dutch accent
Oh-my-gosh. Sienna and I were beside ourselves. There must have been 30 to 40 of them. Some came close to the boat and others remained further away. They would come up two at a time or individually. Some would just break the surface and others would jump out of the water to make level eye contact.
For over a half-hour all you could hear was, “There’s one. There’s another one. Look at that one!” Sienna and I walked to the front of the boat and saw loads of them crossing our bow.
I felt as if they came to say ‘hi’ and send us good wishes for our journey
We seemed to be just as interested in them as they were in us. I looked around me and noticed that there was no land as far as the eye could see. Nor were there any other boats or ships. I have no idea how much sea I could see but I couldn’t help but feel special that the dolphins found us. I felt honored and privileged.
Over our three day journey from Palma, Mallorca to Gibraltar we were graced with dolphin visits 4 different times. The seemed to greet us night and day and every time I was just as excited and honored.
Read about the rest of the trip: Feeling excited, sick, and in awe are not mutually exclusive when sailing on the seas
Previous Chapter: 22. The day before we purchase our 56′ Oyster
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’