"Sailing June in the Mediterranean Sea" or "The 4 Islands jorney 2018"

Text: Kenneth P. / Photography: Coke Bartrina


I feel June is the best month for sailing in the Med. Spring storms have already left us. The chance of bad weather is the smallest during the year. It’s kind of a price, a true gift for those who can organize their agenda with early season holidays. The air is warm and fair, but never suffocating. Evenings are a bit chilly. Happiness can be as simple as covering you up in bed with a cozy duvet . Water is already warm for swimming and snorkeling. And the best thing to enjoy and consider… the multitude of boats that will be in the islands a few weeks later, are still holding the mooring lines at their home ports. We can breathe widely, choose where we would like to anchor, arrive into a marina and have a nice berth…

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In summer, we’ll be doing again “The Four Islands Journey”. In the past season this was the first or second most remarkable trip, it was extraordinary. With a very good crew, Sara, Coke, núria and Katia. I’ll also will remember it as the trip we hoisted the Octaevo sail for the very first time. Also, Narinan’s friend Coke Bartrina joined the crew in order to document the first miles we were going to travel together under Janus presence. During the days when Octaevo’s collaboration was being cooked, we already imagined that it was going to be something really beautiful. But when we offered Octaevo’s roman divinity drawing to the wind, we felt the achievement was greater than what we expected. It was very impressive and special.

Day 1. Port de Sòller was our starting point.

I spent the previous days there, just enjoying the island’s quiet atmosphere, preparing the boat for the crew. The first morning of a trip in is always quite busy. We use to sail avoiding civilization, so we need to have absolutely everything with us before departure. We left after lunch. Beautiful day, It was very sunny. A gentle breeze lasted half of the day trip. We sailed against 5 to 12 knots southwesterly wind. It died at the time of an impressive warm sunset. After rounding the SW corner of Mallorca, we picked up a mooring buoy at Sant Elm Is. and had our first dinner together. We spent the night at a very good shelter.

Day 2. I like to wake up in the morning and make breakfast.

The first morning I use to do it by myself. Later in the trip, when the crew has learn where to find everything in the galley, I push them a bit to prepare breakfast themselves. We enjoyed a nice fresh fruit salad with muesli, honey, canel and cookies, coffee, tea and swimming in crystal waters.

We left at 10am. The engine never roared. We just hoisted the sails and let them push us out of the anchorage, towards Cabrera Archipelago National Park, that was our new destination. It is well-known by almost any Narinan follower, that Cabrera is our top ideal place in the world. It is not every day that someones wakes up and points the bow of his boat towards his favorite island, imagine how happy we could be that morning. Wind didn’t love us much that day. We ended up running the engine to reach our new island.

1750h, attached to a mooring buoy in heaven.

Day 3. Our intentions were to spend two or three days on the island, but we left that day at noon.

We saw a strong NE wind was predicted for two days later. Our next destination was Menorca Island, the worst wind conditions we could have to sail on that direction would be that strong NE breeze. We decided to move forward our departure. We would make it into Menorca Is. just before the adverse weather conditions would build. We would sail while very nice conditions to sail up North were still there. We left Cabrera, after visiting the island and having a very relaxed morning.

1700h, lines well tied to Porto Colom’s harbor.

Day 3. I dream about living in Porto Colom.

I use to spend some weeks there every year. It’s a natural harbor, well protected from all wind directions. Beautiful people and the best bar in the Mallorca, where we had dinner the night before. 0800h, Underway and making way. It was very early, there was no wind. Tons of sun light and a few tiny local fishing boats were our sailing mates until we had Cap Vermell in our beam. 10 to 15 knots of NNE wind picked up and took us upwind, gently, steady, firmly, to the south of Menorca Island. When we arrived the strong NE build, but we were already sheltered by the leeward side of the island. It was a very nice timing, and a turquoise waters charming anchorage. 1600h. Anchored in a sand sea bed, with 35 meters of chain in the water, at Son Saura.

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Day 4. Son Saura is a large cave with white sand and dreamy crystal waters.

We had been sailing a lot every day since we started our trip. From that moment we would enjoy every spot we visit during for longer, and spend just a small-time everyday form one cave to the next one.

Since NE strong winds arrived, we could not be in a better place than the southern side of the island, with good shelter and smooth seas. That morning each crew did his small individual plans. Wake up yoga, swimming expedition to the beach… We all met at breakfast table at 0930h. Then I proposed they could do a trekking expedition until our next destination. It exists a path along the coast that would take them to Cala Macarella in about two hours time. I would sail our home to our next journey’s end, and would pick them up there. So I took them with our little dinghy to land, and weighed anchor alone.

1300h. Anchored in Cala Macarella in a sand sea bed with 35 meters of chain in the water.

Day 5. Step by step we sailed towards the Eastern side of Menorca.

Next day we just found a very light breeze and a mirror sea. Taking advantage of those conditions, Coke climbed the mast of Narinan to take nice shoots of the new sail. We also anchored in Cala Escorxada. That’s a little special spot. Is that small that sometimes we cannot go in, just because two or three boats arrived before us. But it was June, so the cave was empty. It’s an unspoiled spot. It has no signs, no swimmers buoys, weed is not removed from the shore. It’s one of those places that remains exactly the same since centuries ago. We left after lunch and swimming.

1800h. Anchored in Binigaus. In 5 meters of depth. Sandy sea bed, 35 meters of chain down below.

Day 6. Yesterday evening we all went to the beach.

Some of us paddle surfed, others went swimming, I also took some crew in our small dinghy to shore. But we all met at that beautiful beach and enjoyed the sunset mood with a small aperitif.

In the morning we weighed anchor with an important and exciting mission. We were going to try to find a spot in one of the most charming and appealing caves on the island. We aimed for Cales Coves. Aside from being a wonderful place, it is probably one of the difficult anchoring maneuvers to face in Menorca Is. Anchoring there is a true team work job. We had a deep brief for everyone before arriving there. We all had a precise job to do when we entered the cave. Every little thing went very well.

At 1200h we were fortunate enough to be sheltered by the magnificent cliffs of Cales Coves.

Day 7. It’s very nice when there’s no need to remark, to explain the essence and character of a place.

Cales Coves stands very strong by itself. If weather is right to stay, is one of the very few places where we like to spend more than a night. It was no different in that trip. Captured by the peace and harmony of the cove, we planned to stay there one more night. We read, swam, climbed, drank, cooked… in our special home in the heart of the Nature.

Day 8. It hurts to leave your favorite places.

In sea life, when departing a place you never know when you’ll be there again, even if you’ll ever be back. We said our goodbyes to Cales Coves and faced our new journey. We were aiming for Maó, but still had the chance to step on the fourth island of our trip.

Another great day gave us sun warmth and shelter on the tiny island. We went ashore and walked to the isolated light house. Later we weighed anchor and bounded for Cala Taulera.

The new and our last anchorage is between the old forts of the city. Maó is one the largest natural harbors in the world. It’s possible to sail a whole universe in its interior waters. Cala Teulera is at its entrance, a historical hiding place for pirates. That sea bed has hold anchors daily during centuries. It’s a magical place where you can feel thounsands of the untold secrets and boat stories kept between those elderly walls.

1730h. Moored in Marina de Mahón. End of the trip.

We motored the interior waters between Cala Taulera and our mooring in the nice Marina in the center of the old city. The trip had finished. An adventure in which we stepped on four of the nicest islands in the Mediterranean Sea. What a nice trip! We will repeat it in June 2019. I bet it will be as exciting as unique. Different weather will make us stop in another paradises and will make us live different learnings and experiences. Can’t wait!

Where a Kitchen is a Galley

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"Kitchens” only exist in land’s world. In sailor’s English a kitchen is a “galley”...

Food in a boat it’s extremely important. It shares both energy and happiness. Boat’s galleys are small and fridges are really tiny, storage space is very limited. For these reasons it takes time to get the most of your cooking aboard. It takes lots of passages to learn about doing a good shopping for a sailing trip. That's the main reason why I cook most of the time aboard Narinan.

Being a captain doesn't let you much spare time to cook, but I have experienced that everything runs smoother when I do it. We eat earlier, we spend less money in food, we throw less food away... That's why when crews arrive I try to explain to them that this is not a service I offer, that it’s a gift, for the crew and the trip, for to have a better general experince. In exchange I ask them to help in everything they can, cooking, organizing the table, doing the dishes, cleaning the galley, etc… Narinan is very similar to being in a friend’s boat or house, and for me the experience is also very close to be sailing with friends. This means that as a host, because for me it is my home, I will do more than my guests, but I ask everybody to help as much as they would if they were in a friend's boat or house.

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If you join us you will find that Narinan’s food is in general very fresh and healthy. Most of the food comes from local markets, free of packaging, and has traveled almost 0 km to arrive to the boat. These almost vegetarian recipes are mixed with very old school, full of flavor, fishing boat’s dishes.  Sometimes, depending ob the period of the year, we even fish our meals. We also have two or three very tasty Spanish style rices and a sort of very local cheeses and aperitifs.

At Narinan you are totally lost if you don’t like onion or tomato, but you can be vegan, vegetarian, or any of this life options, with any problem, you just need to say it in advance.

I wish you join us  and come to help in the galley, eat with us, any time soon ;)) !

Hugs and smiles, 

Kenneth

Sailing the Mediterranean with OCTAEVO

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I knew about Octaevo a few years ago. Probably the same year Marcel founded it. As a sea and Mediterranean lover I soon got one of their small notebooks. Apparently it was that obvious that we had a connection, that during those months, an Octaevo travel notebook was something that more than one friend brought to the boat for my birthday or for a special occasion.

A couple of years later I met Marcel. He has joined some “Narinan” trips. We have been out in the blue a couple of times; we also have been living the sea gipsie’s life around the Balearic Islands. As with most of Narinan crew members, we have laughed, cooked, cleaned, dived, rowed, walked, seen, felt, learned… we’ve done all these adventures together.

Some of you know that once I made an almost ten years break in my sailor’s life.  I worked as a shoe and clothes designer. Pretty different, you’re right... Although now I am very disconnected from it, also kind of disgusted about conventional fashion and design industry, about consume patterns; I keep a taste and an eye for a very small number of clothes and few other things. During the miles we have sailed together with Marcel, several times we talked about doing something together, Narinan and Octaevo, a small collaboration. Our conversations were always going around clothes.  But time passed by, and like many so desired plans or goals, it never happened yet.

But a few weeks ago Marcel gave me a phone call. It was a Sunday evening, month of May. He had some questions, about one of his drawings sailing through the Mediterranean Sea. He was asking about the possibility of having a sail made with Octaevo’s Janus personality on it. At the end of the night he sent me some Photoshop images with their drawing on Narinan’s genoa sail. It was brilliant.

I wanted to read up on Janus meaning. I found he is a god with a double nature. For that reason he was normally represented with two faces looking in opposite directions.  Janus symbolizes change and transitions such as the progress of past to future, from one condition to another, from one vision to another, and young people's growth to adulthood. He represents time, because he can see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. Hence, Janus represents the middle ground between barbarism and civilization, rural and urban space, youth and adulthood, abstract or concrete, sacred or profane. As a god of transitions, he has functions pertaining to birth, to journeys; he is very concerned with travelling and sailing.

 

A couple of days later Rebecca and Marcel visited me at the boat in Barcelona. We agreed.  I felt very excited that we had found a way to do something very nice together. I also thought it still had to do with clothes, with sail cloth. We were going to give Narinan a new piece for her wardrobe. A new front sail which, will probably cross the whole Mediterranean Sea with its ancient roman deity. I started to organize everything with a local sail maker loft.

In Narinan we have printed Janus in both sides of the sail, as he is commonly represented. He is looking at the contrary sides of life. I wish that below his presence will be under his essence of passage, between the past and the future. I wish he will help us to stay longer and enjoy the only important thing, the slippery, the evasive, the precious present.

The Mediterranean gods save Octaevo and Narinan in our beginner journeys!

Thanks to Marcel, Rebecca and the whole Octaevo team.

Please, visit their website to follow their extraordinary nice brand:

www.octaevo.com

A very special thanks to Alba Yruela, Coke Bartrina and Aitor Bigas <3<3<3  for their effort and  work to document this story with the nice pics above and the video bellow these words.

Finishing things. Corsica.

I was about nineteen years old when I got my first proper ocean sailor job. It was on board Sailing Vessel “Synera”, they hired me as deckhand, I lived and took care of the boat during about a year. We sailed from Azores Islands to Spain and also a vast part of the Mediterranean Sea. It was just Rafa, the skipper and owner of the boat, and me. He was about seventy years old at that time, and a truly genuine and unique person. I learnt a lot. I still remember them a lot, the boat and our trips. 

The first time I went to Corsica was with them. A beautiful Summer trip. That hapenned twenty three years ago, and thousands of miles later I still remember when we made it into Calvi, the bay where we anchored, where we left the dinghy ashore, the bar where we got drunk… We spent some weeks between Corsica and Sardinia. I was very young and idealist, so the flag of the island cought me hard since the first time I saw it. From one of the land trips I came up with a couple of stickers and a patch. That patch, the beutiful patch that it’s along the very few thing I have never got rid off. I only own some tools and boat spare parts, two boxes of clothes for winter and another one for  the summer, old letters and old paper photos. But I have carried this patch since then. I was never sure were to sew it, but It has always been among the just a few things I’ve had always with me. 

It has a lot of meaning for the island. It’s very old, it comes from the 11th century, and symbolizes the liberation of their land. IN their language is called “la testa di moro” (the moors head).

 

About one month ago, sailing from Cabrera Island National Park to Menorca Is., I sewed it in one of my sailor smocks. I felt I had finished something it started more than two decades ago. I remembered al lot about “Synera” and his captain. I went to “Narinan”’s chart table to take a look to the framed picture of the boat, that is the only picture you’ll see there. She was one of the boat’s of my life. It is a black and white picture, where the boat is nicely healed, sailing close hauled, with the sun almost touching the horizon. I remember that sunrise, sailing west. When you sail towards pure west, the sun sets down right in front of your way, it’s a true gold jewel, a very special gift from the gods.

Photo credits: Coke Bartrina and me.