Our first port of call: Las Palmas, Mallorca, another of the Islas Baleares where we took on fresh water, fruit and other necessities. In Las Palmas I experienced my first (and only) bull fight.
Because I’m an early riser, the Captain gave me the early watch at the helm, 04h00 – 08h00.
Henri van Bentum at helm of Buena Esperanza
The currents between the Balearic, Tyrrenean and Mediterranean Seas are strong, and required muscle to handle the rudder. For direction I navigated by the stars, and towards the light of the rising Sun, due East on the horizon.
We enjoyed beautiful clear night skies, while the days were sunny but always with enough breeze to fill our sails.
Next port of call: Cagliari in Sardinia. (Now famous for its Costa Esmeralda, or Emerald Coast.) Local fishermen at the dock were curious about us and when they realized the crew was of many different nationalities, one said “Ah! United Nations!”
In Cagliari I ate my best pizza ever. After a few days in which the Captain attended to some red tape and our ‘stores’, we set our compass in the direction of the Corinth Canal via Sicily, then on to our destination port of Pireaus, Greece.
Aboard “Buena Esperanza” our food was diverse and caringly presented. (A bit different from the meals I’d enjoyed at a harbour restaurant in Ibiza: 4 courses with wine for less than dollar! But . . . you can’t have everything.)
Atmosphere aboard was amicable while we were lucky with spring/summer-like weather.
One morning, a Swallow sought refuge on our deck, utterly exhausted. Tried to revive the bird, but it went “over the horizon” later that day. We gave the bird a dignified burial at sea.
The currents were much stronger now. We now had the company of dolphins, chasing Tuna and cavorting at our bow. Life aboard “Buena Esperanza”) seemed idyllic at that moment. Little did we know . .