Planning Meeting

We spent the day planning our voyage, sat majestically in the library here in Sant Carles marina. The library is a glass cube overlooking the swimming pool on one side and the boats and bar on the others. Comfy sofas and a row of small tables and chairs form an L-shape around a central block lined with bookshelves. On the shelves a disorderly crew of time worn paperbacks are ranked. Borrowing is organised on an informal swap and go system. None of the titles are particularly enticing, so I think they form an abandoned core about which more desirable volumes flit. The room is air conditioned and usually completely empty. The tables are small and square, so we pulled two together to spread out our charts and open up the pilot book. All seemed idyllic. John had already done some of the spadework. He pointed out possible locations on the chart and I looked them up in the pilot book. Rather vexingly the pilot circles the islands clockwise and we propose to go round the other way, to stay sheltered from the north. The process of finding our way was rather like trying to pat your head with one hand and describe circles around your navel with the other, at the same time. Once we had hit on a likely spot John made notes, mostly of the page number to help us find it again.

The book made depressing reading. Marinas are invariably described as crowded, unaccommodating and expensive. Buoys are often privately owned and arrangements for booking them ad hoc. Lots of the Callas have anchorages and most people do anchor. All are exposed to the wind from some direction, so it is hard to make definite plans, many are described as having poor holding. It was frequently suggested that to avoid swinging one should take a line ashore. We have sampled of the delights of anchoring and taking a line ashore with a full compliment of crew and found them wanting. We both came away with a slight feeling of dread and retired to the bar. Cold beer in iced glasses acted as a partial restorative. After all none of it is compulsory, if we find it too stressful we can come back to base.

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