What a classic shot.

7th July 2021

Cala de ses Ortigues, Mallorca – Cala Figuera, Mallorca via Punta de sa Foradada, Cala Tuent & Cala de sa Calobra

The ancient philosophy of Yin and Yang centers around how opposite or contrary forces are actually interconnected, complementary and interdependent. These Yin and Yang forces have been in action as we have found that the reality of busy places, enables us to make new friends; the same weather which makes the water glow and the sky feel endless can also make us fear for our safety and make Ruffian feel like a prison rather than a sanctuary; and as a critical system fails, we find that sometimes we only have the positive Yin and not the negative Yang.

As we motored along the majestic coast of Mallorca an alarm sounded like we’d never heard before and Ruffian slewed off course heading straight for the rocks. We scrambled to take the wheel hoping to avoid disaster and then alarm stopped. In the alarm’s wake we were left with worrying autopilot errors messages and Ruffian would not steer herself. Something had clearly failed catastrophically.

Usually, an inoperable autopilot is pretty terminal and those on board would be staring at the prospect of long painful hours having to hand steer, this is not the case on Ruffian. Not only do we have a spare, we have a spare all plumbed in, ready and waiting for this sort of disaster. Iain darted downstairs flicked a couple of switches and the spare came to life. Ruffian steered a course and although we now had something big on the jobs list, we’d avoided the Yang of the situation.

As we explored the rugged coastline of Mallorca, we felt that the world had also had the same idea. Each day bought more boats and each as cala got smaller and smaller we had to get braver and braver. Weaving our way into a cala around the multitude of anchored boats we spied for the first time since leaving Portimão, the social calling card, that is the Ocean Cruising Club burgee and ‘Ione’ had spied ours. Although we’d never met, we knew that we shared a kinship and they were friends in the making.

Sharing our experiences, it turned out that ‘Ione’ had not only intimate knowledge of the Balearics and were familiar with our pilot book, they’d practically written it. Top tip, after top tip was given and gratefully received, as is the joy of the OCC community.

Taking their tips, we headed for the tourist mecca of Cala de sa Calobra with its towering cliffs, framed beach and tunnels through the rocks. Right on cue a boat left the anchorage and we were gifted a spot right at the front, in the primo position and the shore within swimming distance.

Taking to the water Ruffian sat in the most awe-inspiring location and as we stepped foot ashore the view only got better. Behind the beach the mountains that reared up were reflected in the lagoon and the mist that clung to them slowly evaporated leaving blue skies, green slopes and a stark white riverbed. Venturing into the tunnels with their strategically positioned holes, Ruffian was in the primo location and all thanks to the top tips from ‘Ione’.

The days continued to heat up and water glowed under an endless sky. We played in the water and luxuriated in the warmth, but we were about to experience a significant downside to all this positivity.

All was still as the sun set and the shadows of the mountains crept across their neighbours. The night air started falling off the hills and was funnelled through the valley straight into the path of Ruffian. It felt like we were living inside a hair drier as blast after blast of gale force katabatic winds battered Ruffian sending her slewing across the bay and pulling tightly on anchor. With rocks just meters behind us we sat on tenterhooks knowing that if things went wrong, they would go very wrong.

Hour after hour we watched (Well Fiona did, Iain decided the best thing to remedy the situation was to fall soundly asleep) ready to avert disaster hoping that dawn, with its new sun, would bring respite. As the tiredness increased the wind decreased and once again we were left sitting under stunning blue skies, above a perfect white sand seabed with cliffs towering above us. The Yin of this blueness directly led to the Yang of the night of worry. Never has Yin and Tang felt so interconnected, complementary and interdependent.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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