As much fun as ‘pulling teeth’. Literally!

Well framed.

9th May 2021

Puerto Cabrera, Isla Cabrera, Mallorca, Spain – Port Soller, Mallorca via Santa Ponsa, Mallorca, Spain

Some days on Ruffian can be pretty spectacular. We can sail from national parks to centres of culture and religion, we can explore Neolithic ruins and timeless views. Other days however can be as painful as pulling teeth. Not metaphorically, but literally ‘pulling teeth’.

Leaving the national park, its blue caves and endless walks behind we sought protection from swell and protection from wind. The bay was just across from Magaluf which is well known from all the wrong reasons but instead of instead of finding cheap nightclubs full of revellers drinking themselves into a stupor and builders from Burnley burning in the sunshine we found a bay full of history and the most amazing bus service ever.

With Ruffian protected and happy, like Neolithic man, we took to the hills. Scaling the hights we came across tower after tower and home after home that had survived for millennia where the paths simply snaked through and over these ancient monuments. Reaching the top it became obvious why stone age man had made this his home. The expanse of Mallorca was laid before us.

While stone age man would have been looking over just mountains and seas we saw a truly manmade landscape. Golf courses snaked off into the distance like manicured green deserts, towns sprawled from their tourist edges to their industrial backstreets, but the undeniable beauty of the island was still there. The mountains still dominated the skyline and bays fringed by their white ‘sand’ beaches owned the coast.

Venturing further afield we were whisked into Palma on the most efficient bus system ever. Usually when we board a bus we have no idea where to get off, no idea where we are and no much of a clue if we’ll actually end in the right place at all. Its usually a great adventure. Here in Mallorca, we could follow the bus on a phone screen, see every twist and turn and even compare the fiction of the timetable, with the reality of real time updates. The safety net was pleasant, but the adventure was missing.

Wandering the streets of Palma, as we have come to expect, religion was everywhere. We saw priests talking to nun’s, churches built in the shadow of churches and everything fell under the shadow of the Basilica which dominated the skyline, towered high into the air and was of an unfathomable scale.

Needing once again to seek shelter from a new wind we pushed on along the dramatic north coast of Mallorca. The sun shone, we rocked and rolled downwind and Ruffian was cracking along. Ruffian however wasn’t the only thing cracking.

As Fiona rustled up some lunch, she was somewhat circumspect of the stale bread that Iain had identified as ideal sustenance and coming on deck she’d done her best to disguise it with lashings of mayonnaise, amazing soft local cheese and sun ripened tomatoes. As Iain took his first bite the bread was disguised but still there. He felt crack go through his jaw, into his limited brain and instantly knew what had happened. He’d cracked one of his last molars and we knew we were in for a visit to a dentist.

Leaving Ruffian at anchor under the watchful eye of our new friends on Zilveren Maan, we ventured once again into Palma and entered a space age dental surgery. Gone were the medieval dental procedures of the NHS and in its place was cutting edge Spanish technology. We gazed in awe as real time colour 3d scans of Iain’s face were spun around and sections drawn through bone identifying problem after problem. Iain’s mouth was a testament the NHS dentistry and the Spanish dentist was far from impressed. So unimpressed that colleague after colleague came to stare at the imagery of Iain’s jaw, grimacing from the big screen on the wall like some psychotic Mona Lisa grinning down at them in their white coats.*

As painful as pulling teeth is, pulling teeth had to be done. Bit by bit the tooth was removed and the dentist dove deeper and deeper into Iain’s jaw, also removing a deep cyst and clearing ‘gunk’ en route. After 90 minutes, 8 injections, 12 stitches, and a whole heap of wincing, Iain was left with a gaping hole, a numb face and a bag so full of drugs he’d could be a DEA target.

After spectacular days and then literally pulling teeth, life on Ruffian has once again been a mixed bag in the Balearics.

* We can’t emphasise enough how impressed we were with this dentist.  They speak Spanish, English, German and Russian, they made an appointment for us the next working day, they cleared surgery time the same day to perform the extraction, they gave after care tips and a follow up phone up the next day to make sure pain was under control.  The price was right, and they even cared to talk to us about follow up procedures, knowing that we would not be able to use their facilities.  Dentistry in the UK could learn a great deal from the expertise and professionalism of this practice.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

2 thoughts on “As much fun as ‘pulling teeth’. Literally!

    1. You know my track record with teeth. They’re not my favorite things. Hope all is good with you and the Kayaking.

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