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  • Writer's pictureSarah Gibbs Underhill

Expats of the Western Med: Winter on Mallorca

Updated: Mar 22


Autumn, 1981

Introduction:

[letter to a friend, Virginia Sands]


Dear Gini-

Here it is, October on Mallorca, a fair sized island off the coast of Spain in the western Mediterranean. David and I are settled in a genuine rented apartment, our boat is up a creek, and we are seeking employment and escape from boredom, both with some success. I look back on this past summer with a sort of golden glow, although actually we spent a fair percentage of the time fighting, bitching at each other or Dave's ten year old, Mary. Mary was bored, it was hot and we rowed a lot. But somehow we came out of it with a good feeling and want to do it some more.

We decided to stay in the only city on the island, Palma, for the winter. At first we were gung-ho to go on to the next island, Ibiza. Rather than go on to a brand new place however we realized that our chances of employment were 100% better in Palma since we have friends and work connections here already.

We sailed and rowed "Manzanita" to the small town of Andratx, about twenty miles from Palma. She is tied up at the back of a little canal, El Torrente, with a bunch of boats of similar size. The spot is protected from the weather, except from the southwest, but on the whole quite sheltered, way back in the reeds We may keep her there all winter if the weather and the local populace permit. It doesn't cost anything. A lot of our equipment is still on board and we plan to store some of it in our apartment. Meanwhile "Manza" is tightly covered with her form fitting green waterproof lifeboat cover. Two oarlocks were stolen before we put the cover on, but no one has bothered her recently.



We have just moved into this relatively cheap apartment, shabby but no bugs, in a huge, trashed-out high rise. The place is a concrete box in a giant concrete honeycomb, surrounded by a community of similar rectangular hive-like buildings. We're up on the fourth floor. The neighborhood is slightly dubious. Yesterday I encountered a woman in our building whose apartment had just been robbed But we have very little of value with us, only our money and passports, which we carry with us anyway. It's "The Projects" on this side of town, Cala Major, at the south end of the harbor near the tackiest of the tourist districts. We've got a one room studio with a bathroom, a small balcony, a two burner butane stove, a sink, a fridge. It is "furnished" with a couch and a few chairs and supplied with a motley selection of cooking ware and linens. It's a Spanish neighborhood and a poor one , closer to Brooklyn than I've been in awhile and a far cry from camping on the beach as we did all summer.

Today neither of us had to work. We borrowed a friend's car and drove out to check on "Manzanita" and haul a load of our gear out to the apartment.

We're starting to make friends among the community of international boat bums who ended up here in the largest town on the island. David is between boat repair jobs. I have been working cleaning yachts for around $3.75 an hour. Tomorrow I will go to the bulk wine store and fill our green glass two liter jug out of the barrel with "Vino de Sangre de Toro", wine of the blood of the bull, which is a dark purplish red and so concentrated we water it down to drink it.

Hashish is also cheap here, three grams for approximately ten dollars. But we can't go spending all our money on these little luxuries.

Tomorrow I go for a job interview for a deckhand position on a motor yacht. If I get it, I will be working for this 85 year old guy who used to be a smuggler around these parts, running alcohol and tobacco among other things, nothing too exotic. This is still a good business for some people around here and they make good money at it too.


Two weeks earlier:


September 19

We are in Palma, on the quay along with a hundred other yachts on the Paseo Maritimo, a long curved promenade which lines the middle of the harbor. We're staying on the catamaran "Mandolin Wind", which despite its lyrical name is a homely little vessel, with Kiki, the blonde bombshell from Amsterdam, Uri, a dark and handsome curly haired expat Israeli, and Eddie, a grizzled and paunched American cab driver from LA.

Last night David cooked dinner on the two burner butane stove. None of us had found work. That night I went out with Kiki and Eddie, first to Martin's Nob, an infamous pub right across the street from us. Then Eddie and I went to "work the crowd" up in Plaza Gomila where all the young tourists are hanging out and partying in the outdoor cafes. Eddie earns his keep here as a "Lightning Artist", doing quick pencil caricatures of drunks on a large sketch pad. Interesting line of business. He did seven portraits in the course of the evening, with me along as his lovely assistant. Four of the subjects paid in cash, one bought us drinks, and one received their portrait as a gift . The seventh declined to pay anything, complaining that it looked nothing like her. All his caricatures end up looking slightly like him, which doesn't help. We stopped and talked with a black guy, Jerome, an entertainer. I approved of him because he said that his grandmother's word was law.

We got in at 3:00 am, full of wine and gin and tonic. David was asleep. He got up at 9 am and went job scrounging again. I was a bit off all day because I thought he was annoyed at me. I went to the market, a huge, boisterous building full of stalls where you can get all sorts of fresh produce. There are sheaves and mountains of fresh vegetables, chickens and rabbits and sides of beef hanging on hooks, stacks of round cheeses and pastries, milk and fresh cream in plastic bags, all cheap and delicious. Then I went and half heartedly looked for work at the Club Nautico marina. Checking for work consists of walking up and down all the rows of boats and accosting anyone you see on deck asking them if they are hiring any help. I checked at the Club de Mar marina next. The two marinas bookend either side of the long curved quay of the Paseo, hugging the southwest side of Palma Bay. Uri was at Club de Mar, scoring free steaks of some kind of a giant sea bass to eat for lunch. Kiki and I then went back to Club Nautico and located David, whose whereabouts had been a mystery all day, grinding away with a power sander on the yacht "Yankee", working at a cut rate on credit and breathing dust.

Back on the graceful "Mandolin Wind", Eddie and I decide to go try to purchase some hashish on a tip from a German guy on "Iceni Queen". Miraculously it pays off. We find a Spanish hippie bar and buy about three grams for 1000 pesetas. Pesetas are about 100 to the dollar these days. As we make the purchase in the bar's front room, there is no attempt at discretion on the part of the Che Guevara lookalike selling to us. We then sashay out, buy a pretty little pipe and smoke on the steps. Back on the boat we all cut up vegetables for dinner, noisy, silly, all eating out of the same pot. Talked a long time that night with David . He is not happy about having to work while I'm out gallivanting, working for pesetas so he can send home his child support payments for Mary, measly though they are. He is not a happy man here. But soon it will be better.

Today Kiki and I visited on board an American Navy ship. We got a tour from one of the crew, a mild mannered young button pusher who seemed to like Kiki quite a lot. I'm pretty sure we were on board on the QT, not as a sanctioned visit. I brought up the subject of procuring some hashish for them, which makes me out to be ten thousand kinds of an idiot, but we'll see him again later tonight and see. I need to earn some cash one way or another, as David reminds me. Tonight we have also all got to move off the boat and into a rooming house or other as yet unknown accommodations. This will occur at 10:00 pm when the boat's owner's sister arrives. Tomorrow Kiki leaves to cook on a charter yacht for a week. Eddie claims he's heading for Paris. Uri has found a job on a vessel called "Nadia". I will inherit Kiki's job of boat cleaning, starting Monday.


Sept. 20

Any schemes I had of making easy money in the drug business vanished last night. I met the innocuous Navy guy and determined that his interest in Kiki surpassed any intention he had of recruiting business for me. I went back to the catamaran and cooked up a huge dinner of rice and veggies and pork chops. David came home from working on the Yankee and we devoured the food while Uri and Kiki packed up their stuff. We joked around with them for awhile, cleaned up the boat, left the leftover stew for Eddie, and then headed out to locate the rooming houses. They were all full or too expensive so we ended up sleeping on the deck of the "Yankee", on shore at the boatyard. We talked and talked late into the night, exhausting ourselves even further, but it was good.

I woke up this morning and walked through both marinas in their entirety looking for work, with no dramatic results. David is sanding. I have just had a swim in the club's pool. Tonight we'll stay with Jay, David's boss on "Yankee", who is from Ohio, and his Mallorquian wife, Antonia. I'm sleepy and hungry, but David loves me. He is working with Jay and South African Jan and a Brit named Derek on the "Yankee"'s deck in the hot sun.


Sept. 23

The "Yankee" is a 50' steel hulled ketch, built in the late 1950's by the famous round-the-world sailor Irving Johnson to be his retirement home, after he had circumnavigated the world multiple times on the larger schooner "Yankee". This is the same Johnson who as a young man had sailed on the huge old barque "Peking", the cavernous empty holds of which which we used to prowl around in at South Street Seaport when the "Clearwater" docked there. The live action film footage he shot while sailing on "Peking" around Cape Horn was on display at the Seaport Museum and gave me chills of awe every time I watched it.

"Yankee"is a beautiful shapely vessel, designed by Johnson and Olin Stephens and built in Holland. Johnson and his wife lived aboard and toured around the world for several years, but then the boat was passed along and eventually neglected. Her new owner is sparing no expense to bring her back up to her former glory. Somewhere along the way he hired a young American, Jay, to manage the job of restoration. Jay is in his twenties, a slight, handsome creature with a hint of Tom Cruise about him. His wife Antonia is an almost painfully thin, angular, dark haired young lady with large melting brown eyes. We have been staying with them for the past few nights in their little apartment. I am at present watching Antonia's three foot tall blue and yellow macaw, Guaca, peeling an orange out on their balcony. Antonia, whose profile resembles the parrot's to a degree, dotes on the animal despite its powerful talons and beak, and it is somewhat if not completely tame. "No me muerdas!" [ "Don't bite me!" ] is the phrase of the week.

David with his skillset has been welcomed onto the team of workers racing against the clock to get "Yankee" ready for the owner to come and launch her. The crew includes the South African fellow, Jan, who lives on board a sailboat on the Paseo with his wife Muriel. They sailed up here from Capetown and are not planning on returning there to live until the political situation improves somewhat, if ever. Jan is a shaggily bearded white Afrikaans fellow, Muriel petite and sun-wizened, always elegantly groomed.

Yesterday Uri came and found me at Club Nautico where I was working as a charwoman, petting and polishing various Dutch yachts at 375 pesetas an hour. He wanted to make a purchase of two hundred bucks worth of hashish at the bar Eddie and I had found the other day. Once again it was quick and painless. The same handsome guy was playing pool in the back, wearing the same red t-shirt. He had the stuff tucked into his sock. No problemo.

The parrot is giving me the evil eye.

Last night Jay and Antonia treated us to an incredible meal of shrimp and fish at a Mallorquian restaurant. We would never have found it or ventured in without them. We had shrimp boiling in garlic and oil, swordfish, sherbet in hollowed out lemons. Antonia has lived here on Mallorca all her life. She speaks excellent English and says she learned it from listening to Beatles songs. I think Jay is glad to have some fellow countrymen to talk to.


Sept. 25

First day in our new temporary home, a genuine cheap room in a rooming house, at 1260 pesetas [about $13.] for the week. It's on the third floor of an old stucco building. The walls are papered with pages from fashion magazines, and there's a print on the wall of a couple of those kids with enormous eyes, in this case a young barefoot hippie couple with love beads and flowers in their hair. There's a sink with cold running water and a big hole smashed in the basin. I worked the past few days and earned about $70. David works steadily. No clue on a rental apartment yet.


Sept 27

Today I looked at two apartments. Both were awful and both required odysseys of tragicomic complexity before I could find them and arrange to see them. I ended up tramping around Palma all day phoning people up and accosting them in my barbaric Spanish. David worked eleven hours. I had a long gab with Muriel and ate greasy paella for lunch. The weather has gone cool, blustery and squally, with huge batches of dramatic cloud formations racing by overhead, and a steady wind from the southwest. The cool air feels good and I welcome this season after the summer's relentless heat.


Sept. 28

Another cooler, windy day. I phoned and tramped around after apartments, and hung out at the "Yankee" waiting to see it go into the water, which I never did see as that was postponed once again. So far none of the apartments are in old buildings. Rundown ones, but not the nice oldies.

Antonia has been very helpful today in teaching me Spanish, and I hope this can continue.

David should be home any minute now. The night outside the widow pane is clear and black and final. Lights in another apartment go on; I see them over the rooftops. Loud motorcycles echo their roars through the narrow streets. It's Palma. It's winter. It's home.


Sept. 30

Today I paid half the advance on a miniscule one room apartment in the Cala Mayor district just west of the harbor. The apartment building, known as "Apartamentos Pullman" is located in a bad neighborhood allegedly frequented by pimps, prostitutes, cross dressing gay guys, or maricones as they're called, and other unsavory characters. The rent is 110,000 pesetas per month, or about $110.; electricity and gas extra. The door has three locks on it, only one of which functions. I can only hope it's obvious to the interested that we don't have anything worth stealing. David hasn't seen it yet. I hope he wont be too alarmed. Though the place is a little hole, it's by far the best thing I've been shown so far. Tomorrow night we'll move in, and hopefully we will stay one month only. I'll keep looking for a cheaper, older place. Yesterday I visited three rental agencies, saw two apartments, arranged to work cleaning yachts again tomorrow for Paul the German, checked on "Manza" in Andratx and fetched some sweaters, and visited with Kiki who's due to head for the Caribbean tomorrow. Uri left yesterday for England, then the Caribbean.

In an hour or so I'll go interview for a winter-long cleaning job, keeping a motor yacht in mint condition by redding it up weekly until spring. Hope I get it! Gee, we don't ask for much these days. I'll also have the honor of doing some cleaning on "Yankee".

We'll have a mailing address at the Pullman. We'll probably get robbed at knife point or something. At least we can cook things. It comes with pots and pans and kitchen gear.


Oct. 1

Today I worked five or six hours cleaning yachts, plundering leftover grape juice, Boursin cheese, and Nivea soap. Managed to see Kiki and wave goodbye as the yacht "Scatterbuck" sailed off. Then I took the bus to our new abode, paid the guy the deposit, got a receipt for it, and went up to the room to try to wash the windows. On further inspection I discovered there's no oven, a point I had overlooked before. Coming down the stairs I startled two fluffy orange kittens cowering in a corner. Of course I want to make their acquaintance.

Coming back to the rooming house, we passed on the bus a crowd gathered around a woman prone on the pavement. When I got off the bus, another scene was unfolding on the side street here, with knots of people watching from corners, balconies, the steps of a bar. An armed, khaki clad soldier was in evidence, as were a police car and a van. The guard shooed some kids away from a side door to the old "Club Bibi". Presently two men came out carrying a plain wooden coffin, strapped shut with a black strap, which they put into the van.


Oct. 2

David's last day of work on "Yankee" is tomorrow so he'll be hunting again, but we've got enough money to feel a false sense of security. Actually, we're both in good spirits. We're cooking our first meal of fresh sausages and tomato-eggplant sauce and buttered pasta in our new "luxury high rise" apartment. It's enjoyable to have some stability, and our own shower. Especially when we know its only temporary.

Already our life on the little boat seems like the distant past, but we both feel good about what we did last summer and the time spent with Mary. We're determined to do it again next year if at all possible.


Oct. 9

Sitting here expecting. Waiting. Waiting two and a half hours for Paul, my boss, to come and instruct me as to how the yacht "Krisva" should be cleaned and preened. Waiting, 36 days now, for my period to come, for that blood to come washing down. Unable to get too frenzied about it, maybe because I 've gotten so frenzied, so recently, with the same fear. Maybe it's just because I've been working and my energy is low. But this feeling, this lack of reaction, this meekness, reminds me only of the other time this happened for real. And the fact that this past month I was at my strictest and most careful is just one of those flourishes of fate. The other time I was horribly calm. I had to coax myself to cry,

I'm waiting for the white panel truck of my boss, which I don't really want to see. And the blood does not come. My face registers no disappointment but I can think of nothing else.


Oct. 15

Maybe I'm pregnant and maybe I'm not. This afternoon I came back from an easy day at work and sat on our terrace and ate grapes and caviar and looked at the sea, what little of it I can see between the buildings. David has steady, at this point challenging work rebuilding the demolished stem of a sleek old wooden sailboat, "Lord Jim", that was picked up and smashed down on the concrete quay by storm surge waves. Next week I can get an accurate "test del embarazo". I had one yesterday that was negative, but it's too soon.


Oct. 23

Real life strikes again. You can't have abortions in Spain. I am all set to fly to England for four days and go to an abortion clinic. We made all the arrangements, thanks to help from Jay's wife Antonia who had to go through the same thing last year. Everything is set, we can afford it financially, but neither one of us is entirely happy with the decision.


Oct. 29

What is happening to me? Or, what am I doing to myself? A few days ago, after a moderately strenuous day of painting and lifting a few heavy objects, I began to bleed thick purple sluggish blood. It stopped, then started again two days later and has continued.

I am due to fly to England a week from today and have an abortion a week from tomorrow.

I have been to a doctor here. I may be close to miscarrying .You can't have abortions in Spain, but you can have miscarriages.

I'm doing what I can to facilitate the process, running up and down stairs, shaking and stretching, turning somersaults and lifting heavy things.

I'm puzzled and baffled by my body's antics. But so far there has been no pain and no great expenditure of money.


Nov. 3

Sure enough, my body has arranged a spontaneous abortion. I wonder why. But mostly I'm thankful. It's better for my body, my psyche, and our pocket books that it be this way. Tomorrow I spend about 24 hours in a Spanish hospital, starting first thing in the morning. I may even be fit enough to attend the Guy Fawkes Day barbecue. I'm spending the afternoon in a supine position to avoid cramps and hemorrhaging, after a morning of scuttling around after the doctor, my boss, the travel agent, and to give David the news.

Why is this happening? Not that it doesn't happen to everyone. To my mother. To Patricia, David's ex . I can remember my mother gently explaining what a miscarriage was after her friend Joan had one. She somehow made it seem wondrous, divine, a magical process. Something perceived that the unborn child was somehow flawed and the pregnancy came to an end in a natural way. I remember being awestruck by the wisdom of nature, by its merciful hand. It's only now when, unimaginable then, it's me that nature is assisting, that I can wonder: is the perceived flaw in the baby, or in the mother? In the most ridiculous way, relieved as I am at the turn of events, I'm miffed at being found too weak to bear a child.



Nov. 5

I'm not pregnant any more. Moreover, I feel feisty and fine, although a little weak, and my left arm is sore from where I got jabbed for the anesthesia. The nuns were very sweet to me although some of them tittered uncomfortably when I unabashedly gave my marital status as single. I wont work again for three more days. There's an alien workers crackdown scare out at the Club de Mar, and Paul, my German yacht manager boss, doesn't have much work for me. Plus I need to recuperate.

Last time I worked for Paul he asked me icily if I was aware that President Reagan had made an off hand remark about the possibility of having a nuclear war "limited to Europe". I could only scowl and blurt out that I wished Reagan's would-be assassin had done a better job, an uncharitable view but a truthful one.

It's a gray, lowering morning. We all expect a storm to end the so far almost flawless weather. David is working on credit this week and will take next week off as his employers have run out of money for the moment. I have managed to get a very easy cleaning and caretaking job on a British motor yacht. This will be steady throughout the winter and will at least pay the rent. My other job, boat maintenance and cleaning on a fleet of 22 Dutch made, German owned yachts, is still ongoing but work has slacked off as the season advances.

Already we are dreaming of next summer, wondering whether to go up the coast of Portugal, which seems to resemble the coast of New Jersey, mostly long beaches, or to creep north and west towards Yugoslavia and the lovely looking Dalmatian coast, infested with islands. Actually, I'll be happy if we make it to Ibiza, which is a fifty mile crossing of open water, something we have not yet attempted in the lifeboat. We go up to Andratx by bus to check our boat in the canal every Sunday. So far it is safe and sound. We are saving money so that we can afford the airfare to have Mary fly out and join us again.

We sleep on a mattress on the floor. For decor we have a stuffed turtle and some maps of the world. We put the curtains for the big picture window away because they were too ugly, so now we have a mosquito net for a curtain. Not too practical because the neighbors can see in, but we can't see out. A lady on the 13th floor of the opposite building watches us with binoculars, and when I ventured to sit on the balcony topless a I got quite a leer from a fellow across the way, so swiftly retreated inside, even though topless bathing suits for women are fairly common here on some beaches.

There are three kittens on the first floor. They are wild and wont let me touch them, but they come out on the shed roof by the stairs when I hiss for them and I feed them rancid salami.

In the foreseeable future, I am going to want to have babies. Strange and certainly impractical but true; one of these days I'm going to get pregnant and be happy about it.

Meanwhile the need to earn a living is as puzzling as ever. So far in Spain I have attained the great position of charwoman. Still need to work on this one.



Nov. 30

Today it finally rained a little and was chilly and gray. This morning we went to visit a young couple who live across the street. He is Spanish and she is Yugoslavian. Al and Nena. They are both slender and pale and lovely, and they have a rambunctious year and a half old boy, Shainy, who has red gold curls. They have no money and look barely out of their teens

We are settling in to an urban winter. The coming three months will be lean ones for us as well.

This morning I heard men coming to wake up their friend who lives down the hall. "Get up, maricon!", they yelled to him cheerfully. There are quite a few cross dressers who live in the neighborhood. Yesterday I passed a group of people walking down the center of the street, men surrounding a slim boy who was dressed as a woman with stockinged legs and a short dress, drinking from a tall glass and smiling seductively and causing quite a stir.

People waiting in line at the gas station get out of their cars to shoot the breeze with each other in the long queues. Loud motorcycles roar obnoxiously through the streets, assaulting , over whelming with their noise. Sometimes we throw prickly pear cactus fruit at them. Women wear bright red tights, or gold cowboy boots, jodphurs and a white fur coat. Dogs run around on three legs. The cannons fire 21 times when the King arrives on the island, and again when he leaves.


Dec. 14

I am not working much at the moment, fourteen hours a week more or less. I am spending my free time learning Spanish and writing. I have reached the point at which studying Spanish is instantly rewarding: I can talk to people I meet. We continue to enjoy our mild participation in the social life here. Our friends are Israeli, Rhodesian, New Zealander, French, British, German, Dutch, Yugoslavian, Spanish, and Mallorquian, a variety which is extremely interesting. The weather continues warm and sunny, although there's lots of wind. No rain. The farmers are suffering from a cruel drought this year.

The only local Christmas custom story we have heard about so far is from Antonia, who describes a tradition still observed in Palma during her childhood [she is 27.] Each family would buy a live turkey in early December and keep the bird in a cage at home to fatten him up for Christmas dinner. Every Friday, all the turkeys would be taken for a walk around the neighborhood, each one herded with a stick by a child or grandmother, to keep the bird's appetite keen.


Dec. 20

We are babysitting a parrot for two weeks for Jane and Ozzie, a couple of young Brits who live on a motor yacht on the Paseo and have gone back to London for Christmas. When Ozzie was dropping the parrot off here, he was rather inebriated and degagee'. Uri was here too- he didn't go to the Caribbean after all- and at one point, I think because we were singing Bob Marley's "Coming In From the Cold", Ozzie burst into song with an obscene version of "Riley's Daughter" and at the line "... gently put me right leg over", he straddled Uri, who was sitting on the bed and whose expression of surprise and woe still amuses me when I think of it.

The bird is an African Gray, and has pearl gray plumage with a dusky magenta tail, a white clown makeup face and the unsatisfactory name of Pippi. It nips me sometimes, but is pretty tractable. We let it have the run of the place when we're home. It whistles, says a few words, and can imitate the sound of a block and tackle being used to hoist a dinghy up on the stern of a boat.

David is still working steadily. I have been hand sewing us new duffel bags and contemplating starting on a new mainsail for" Manza", something a little sleeker than the baggy orange cotton emergency sail she came equipped with.

We've been invited to have Christmas dinner with Geraldine and Mike, an English couple in their 50's who live across the way. Their three sons will not be here, and it's their first Christmas since retiring here so we will join forces and go out to a catered English Christmas dinner, with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding

No rain here yet, a severe drought on the island. Gales of wind twice this past week.

We are most content when we are snuggled up under our sleeping bags, drinking South African red bush tea and reading. I have been reading Gunter Grass novels.

Word around the marinas is that one or two yachts are burned every Christmas by disgruntled revelers. A motor yacht burned last week, but that seems to have been for insurance purposes. All the boats that get burned, they say, are German boats.


Dec. 28

Sitting on our makeshift estudio couch in my ragged woolen long underwear. It is evening and the parrot eats peanuts with much satisfaction. Yesterday we lay abed until 10 or so. Then I went and visited with Antonia and her friend Menoska. Menoska is Yugoslav/Spanish and is engaged to someone named Richard who is from Halifax. He has worked in the Algerian oilfields for the past two years. A storm in the desert, strikes by "the French" and uncooperative Algerian policies prevented Richard from coming to Palma for Christmas as expected. Menoska is slim and lovely, with dark short curls and shapely legs. ["The pretty legs." as Antonia says]. Menoska had Antonia pin up a bright pink skirt which she will make into a miniskirt to be worn with sheer black stockings. Menoska's apartment is being turned into her "Dream apartment". Antonia watches this process with much interest, as it is what she would like to be doing herself. Instead she is dismantling her apartment, packing and giving things away as she and Jay prepare, in theory, to move on to the "Yankee". Her parrot, whose long claws have scourged Tonia's thin arms, pecks and tears at the remaining furniture and wall paper. "My house is not the way I want to have it", Tonia remarks with rueful understatement.

Last night we went to hear mediocre cowboy music at Freddie's Bar. In the audience was a little girl of six or seven, blonde, with a few front teeth missing. She was dressed up in her mother's image as a small caricature of a sex symbol: gold sandals, red satin pants, black and silver tube top, with her bright hair tied up in a ponytail off to one side a la Pebbles Flintstone.


Dec. 29

I went to the Club de Mar this morning to my steady job on the motor yacht "Mysta Verde", owned by a Mr. Greene. I did some perfunctory cleaning and spoke for quite a while with the boat's captain and caretaker, Dan Jordan, a courtly older gentleman retired from the smuggler's trade. I am still unable to cash Mr. Greene's check.

I then went to visit Antonia at her mother's house where I met the household, which includes three dogs, and a great aunt and grandfather. Antonia sewed up Menoska's skirt hem on the old pedal Singer sewing machine with the Sphinx emblem. We arranged to go to the circus tomorrow and I was fed a delicious meal of homemade noodle and sausage soup, followed by grilled calamares eaten with olive oil, salt, and minced garlic and parsley. I asked if I could visit the Tia's farm and to my surprise and delight, she was eager to take me and wondered if I could go that afternoon.

But the wind was strong southeast again so I went to Andratx instead. Manzanita was OK. The seas were big in Andratx and Paguera, and the air in the Puerto was full of spray and flying eel grass. The creek is high, with some surge and much floating rubbish including a dead dog swollen up like a balloon.

David and I have just eaten a stew of kohlrabis and beets, and Pippi has stolen some turron, the sweet sticky candy made of ground nut paste, exhibiting great guile and determination.


Dec. 30

This morning I went to the "Yankee" and polished brass and bronze for four hours. It was pleasant enough on deck, with a view of the Club Nautico's daily excitement. It was very warm in the morning, then around noon a southerly breeze picked up and it is still howling now. After a picnic with David in the shelter of the half constructed cement room that is used for spray painting, I walked to Antonia's and met her and her four year old nephew Sergei. We walked to the circus, cutting a wide swathe through the cafes as we went. A classic circus tent of modest size was set up, surrounded by trailers on a lot next door to the high school along the Avenidas near the center of town. Sergei led us to the back door of the circus where we saw the elephant peering out of its trailer, and the trained ponies tied up to a corral. It was an old fashioned circus with a small sawdust ring and blaring, unintelligible sound system. We bought popcorn, cotton candy, and a toy drum for Sergei and watched in amazement as various circus family members juggled, balanced, and tumbled, dressed as clowns . Moneonos, or monos, chimps in spangled suits, were a big attraction, surly, ugly creatures. There were two contortionist acts, one a somber young girl who placed a hat on her head and then smoked a cigarette, all using her feet. Kids did trampoline acts with their uncles, still dressed as ringmaster or monkey trainer, spotting warily from the sidelines. Antonia on some of the females in the act: "What a prostitute, look at that!", or "What an ugly one!" She loved the animal acts best and clapped loudly, exclaiming in pity for the animals. Sergei liked the clown waiter who did funny things with spaghetti and mouthfuls of water. The stagehands, in raggedy usher's jackets, were chased with the flame thrower's batons, pelted with rings or balls as the juggler abandoned his props, and had to hold the Shetland pony while children had their pictures taken on its back.

We were out at 6:15 and it was already dark. I went back to our gracious living quarters for barbecued lamb chops cooked on scrounged olive or almond wood from the back lot.

Pippi greets us with cries of "That's enough now, Pippi!", "What you got there, eh"?" or even , once, "Go to hell!" in nasty feminine tones sounding exactly like Jane.

David bought big beautiful eggs from the small grocery store run by South Americans, where the wife corrected his Spanish pronunciation with disdain. She also called me "Mala", evil one, once when I bought some bleach there. Al said her husband's hands are damaged because he was tortured.

Al talking to an acquaintance: "No one takes heroin the way I do. I only take it once and then I just leave it alone." Nena echoing him timidly: "No one takes heroin the way I do either. I'm the same."


Jan.1 1982


Antonia and I took the bus to visit the Tia out in the village of Son Serra on the outskirts of the city. It was a short walk from the bus stop through the neighborhood Tonia had known all her life. The property is one of those walled in plots. Every inch of space is used. The Tia was feeding a young pigeon when we got there, holding the bird on her lap and massaging its throat until it swallowed the grains. I was shown the old four roomed house, with its lime washed walls and beams. Outside are several orange and tangerine trees, a patch of eggplants, garlics, and hot peppers, an empty rabbit hutch, seven doves and two chickens in their coops. Parsley and chard seedlings are growing, and there are two cisterns made of old earthen bricks. One cistern is filled by a tank truck, the other, for the garden, is rain water coming from a drain from the road. Nosy neighbors sat up on the wall keeping an eye on things. The bathroom, with newly installed modern plumbing, is separate, along with an outside washtub for laundry, a storeroom, and a room for keeping the harvested tomatoes and onions in.

An orange cat slipped in to investigate. Tia wears widow's black. She offered us wine. A candle is burning in the bedroom where she and her husband slept and her wedding picture is on the bedroom wall.

Afterwards Tonia and I went to the Pedro Garau market where she bought some clothes and, under her guidance, I bought a bright red dress with a golden yellow thread running through and many red buttons, for 500 pesetas. Then we went to Club Nautico and each drank two glasses of wine. It was New Year's Eve. I went home, stopping on the way to buy a 175 peseta bottle of "champagne" from the South American grocery. The guy didn't have change, so he gave me the bottle on credit.

David and I got dressed up to the best of our ability. I wore the new red dress and the beautiful cowboy boots Antonia gave away to me [as they were too big for her and "too masculine"], Spanish boots of Spanish leather. We went with Jay and Antonia to the home of their friends Paquita and Vicente, where a gala New Year's Eve party was due to take place. There were six couples there, and alI but David, Jay and I were Mallorquian. We met Tonia's brother Pepe and his wife Tona, Tona's sister Juani ( "What a Fuckin'-A!" per Tonia; apparently Juani is a competitive individual in the procure-fur-coat-from-husband circles) , her husband Chisco; Pepe's good buddy Chim (Joachim) and his beautiful wife Maria. The food was incredibly good: oysters, mussels, and the best olives I ever tasted, salad, nuts, chips; then rabbit, then roasted lamb, more than we could ever eat. Wine flowed freely and it was a riotous gathering including party hats, streamers, noise makers, energetic dancing and games of Twister. We communicated after a fashion and were taught how to say colors in Mallorquin (Blau, Vert, Vermoy) which of course is essential when playing Twister. We were each given a little package of twelve green grapes and ate all twelve as the clock was striking midnight. Everybody kissed everybody else on both cheeks and there were two rounds of coffee and one of chocolate and ensaimada pastries, fruit, turron, champagne, and Fred Astaire and Esther Williams on the TV.

It finally broke up around 4 am and we were given a ride home. Slept all day today . Pippi insisted on jabbering away this morning so David got up and put her in the dark in the empty bathtub, cage and all. It's the new year. Rather depressing at the moment for some reason, probably because I don't have a good book to read. But certainly a memorable party.


Jan. 2

Today was warm, sunny and mild, with only a slight breeze in the afternoon. This morning I went to wash down the decks of the "Mysta Verde", which is an odious enough task, aside from the fact that I am outside doing what amounts to a glorified version of playing in the hose, and there's no one to bother me. Club de Mar felt like a cemetery for water craft. At least at this time of year the water is a shade or two clearer and there are a few terns and cormorants fishing. No other attractive features.

I came home to find the apartment cooking in the midday sun and reeking of parrot guano. I scrubbed the parrot poop off of the furniture. The whole place had become a sort of midden, a bird's den.

For an outing, we packed some food in the Boy Scouts of America back pack and took the bus out to explore Illetas, which turned out to be a pretty desolate stretch of beach. We walked back to Cala Nova along the water, through all the hotels and cement bastions of the tourist rookery. "Lord Jim", the boat David repaired, was just launched, still sitting in the straps of the crane at Cala Nova. It still needs deck planks at the stern. The new hull planking David put in is shiny and good looking, all red-lead painted inside, still leaking a bit until it swells up properly.

We had a delicious dinner of snow peas, brussel sprouts, and steaks barbecued on more of the tough local wood. Geraldine came over to invite us to drive out to Alcudia sightseeing with her tomorrow. Pippi is getting much better and doesn't draw blood anymore when she bites me.


Jan. 3

I got up at 6:30 this morning and went and put in a couple of hours on an Australian boat, scrubbing and washing the decks down. David and Geraldine picked me up in her car and we drove off to Alcudia, up in the northwest corner of the island. We stopped on the way in the Alcudia market and at the old Roman theater. The theater was skillfully carved out of the stone there with what was once a view of the plain and sea, now overlooking someone's farm and the new apartment buildings beyond. Went and checked out a wooden boat at the marina there, a pretty little "Cornish crabber" We then drove up several back country mountainous tracks in search of the "Castillo del Rey" or kings' castle, which we never found. We did enjoy some views, fresh air and isolated farms among the rocks and crags. Some of the almond trees are starting to blossom, baby lambs were chasing each other in the fields, and enraged guinea fowl flew squawking over our heads. It was nice to get out and walk around in peace and quiet, which is unknown at Apartamentos Pullman, in the pleasantly cool, breezy weather.

Ozzie and Jane are back from England and have reclaimed Pippi. I miss the silly bird! They are glad to be back and say they now appreciate the cheap liquor prices here. Pippi had spent the two weeks converting our apartment into a poultry yard as well as entertaining us.


Jan. 5

This morning I spent four hours scrubbing the deck of the "Orejona" with a special soft water jet brush at the end of a hose. The "Orejona" is a 112' steel Dutch custom built one- of-a-kind staysail schooner, French owned, which has been in Palma for a year. It was a bright, clear morning, warm and almost windless, so the work was pleasant enough. After washing and scrubbing I chammied windows and bright work. Marie-France, otherwise known as Madame Briere, served me tea and biscuits halfway through the morning. She is short, blond and vigorous and speaks fluent English with a thick French accent. She has miniscule hands and feet and is very business like. Talks unabashedly of her life, for instance of the Cadillac Eldorado she was promised as a Christmas present but now will not get because she is not in the US at her husband's elbow to demand it. She feeds stray cats in an abode in Andratx when not slaving away on the "Orejona" keeping the cabins museum perfect. The boat is for sale. It has "been their home" [not likely] since it was built ten years ago. Now a sizeable chunk of depreciating capital is lying dormant in the murky waters of the Club de Mar. I saw the sails one day with the sail covers removed, and they are black with mold and dacron rot. "Father Briere" sounds like a megalomaniacal tyrant in the true seafaring tradition, teaching his children by rote from his own 50 year old textbooks.


Jan. 7

Yesterday I took the morning bus to Deia, and made the short pilgrimage down the main road to crane my neck at Robert Graves's house, which could barely be seen among the trees beyond an old stone wall. Then I ensconced myself in the village's only cafe where I was soon surrounded by the local expats, "les artistes", as I drank my cafe con leche. There was a pretty lady knitting. "What you making there, Madame Defarge?" inquired a local wit. A troupe of multilingual kids ran riot amongst the Argentinian film makers, French lady architects, an oriental matriarchy including four generations, along with an Icelandic lady, a few Americans, aging British hipsters, Spaniards and an archaeologist's daughter. They soon took me in tow, offering sherry, wine, and bread and cheese. "Strange... another person attracted to Deia because of Graves." [ This after the coy inquiry: "Did you hear about Deia in New York?"] "Ah, Graves is senile now. No use talking to him." "Next time you come, bring your boyfriend. And come on the weekend; there's nothing going on now." I didn't do much talking, tried some of my limping Spanish. Managed to find out that there's an archaeological dig in Valldemosa, and that they excavate those old towers in eastern Menorca in July and August. I was told I should try modelling in Japan. At mention of Graves's "The White Goddess", conversation suddenly turned toward Tina, renowned for trying to cut so-and- so's balls off with a knife. "Ever see that big scar he's got?"


photo: Deia harbor


Back home to find David and Uri finishing dinner. Uri regales us with stories, only half of which I believe, of being in the desert training in the Israeli army. He spoke with awe of the wily Bedouins who can walk across sand without leaving footprints and suddenly appear out of nowhere in the middle of the trackless desert. Uri still has no money, no food, and no job.

Today it was back to my freelance marine domestic duties, scrubbing the deck on "Orejona". David was working with me, fixing hinges and doing other handyman jobs. I had tea with Jane who, perhaps inspired by my solitary jaunt to Deia, had boldly gone out by herself last night, she told me, leaving Ozzie in bed with a cold after a debauch the previous evening. I saw Pippi who tried to bite me.

Rhodesian John and his voluptuous blonde Dutch girlfriend, Helmie, are back from Holland. They have sold their boat "Rebound" but only got half the money down. Jay and Antonia are still waiting for their elusive boss man and , money source who is always arriving manana, manana, manana. We had tea with Mme Marie-France after a pleasant day of work. She confided that her eldest son is now a boat bum in Fort Lauderdale, and is a source of horror and consternation to her. When he left their boat in Palma it "never sailed again". She claims she is finished with him. "He is 20 years old and has not completed his schooling!"



Jan.8

The moon is predictably getting full and infecting us both with its energy, compounded by the docile warmth and stillness of this Mediterranean night, even in January.

Today I worked, polishing stainless steel and cleaning other people's hair out of toilets. Mme Briere, who carries brass knuckles next to the driver's seat of her car, tells me of her latest worry, the escape from her home in France of her "killer bitch" Belgian shepherd dog. She's afraid the dog will maim somebody. Later we heard it had been found in a half frozen pond, whining feebly, and her sixteen year old daughter Caroline , whose cabin on the yacht is full of candy, baby dolls and Barbie dolls, waded thigh deep in the slushy muck to rescue the animal.


Jan. 9


Tonight we scampered up to Geraldine's eighth floor apartment to watch the full moon eclipsing, with the sky all peach and pearl and pale blue. What with all these lunar events, our building [ never a very stable neighborhood , emotionally] has been going wild, with loud carryings on and hysterical screams and oaths echoing down the hallways at all hours. Last night at periodic intervals, one of the neighbors, a woman in hysterics, filled the hallway and elevator with furious screams of "Cunt! CUNT! Open the fucking door I'm gonna fucking kill you!", beating on the door of her apartment to no avail. Our immediate neighbors, a young Spanish couple with two if not three young children in the single room, also have horrendous fights. We hear him bellowing and her crying out even through the concrete walls.

Today we harvested dates off of a date palm beside a swimming pool full of water bright green with algae. I got a package in the mail from Mom, a great event. Visited Pippi, Jane and Ozzie and saw old Captain Dan Jordan's sweetheart, a svelte and elegant older lady in a bright red jacket. Dan has not been paid by Mr. Greene either, so we don't know what's up. We have just eaten kidneys, "rinones", for dinner, a culinary first.


Jan.11

Yesterday we lolled about at home all day , only emerging in the evening to go to a regrettable James Bond movie. Before the movie we managed to buy a small piece of hashish, aka "chocolate'" in these parts, in the Podium Bar. The movie was depressing, consisting mostly of explosions and speeding vehicles.


Jan. 13

Today I was present at the long awaited launching of the "Yankee". Tonia cracked the bottle of champagne on the bobstay, not actually touching the hull for fear of blemishing the paint job. There was quite a crowd present to witness the event, with everyone from Club Nautico looking on in disbelief that this day had finally come. Jim, the "silent type" on the crew, was stalking about with a movie camera. Jay had a camera, also a paintbrush to dab on final spots of bottom paint . Jim gave me another camera to document the event with, so I had a great time using a whole roll of film up. South Africans Jan and Mattias were on board as line handlers and the straps of the crane were wrapped in plastic so as not to sully the hull. When it was finally flotile, all the Yankee crew motored off in it to tour Palma Bay before going to the mooring. Tonia, Muriel and I retired to the bar where I read their fortunes with my Tarot card deck. Muriel was interested in her upcoming fate. Would she be able to cruise the Pacific in search of psychic mastery of the universe, or would she end up the wife of a business executive in Barcelona? [Jan is going into business.] Barcelona was indicated. I had to tell Antonia's fortune twice. She was very intrigued. She also told me that Juana-Mari's mother-in-law is a real witch, or "Bruja", a "pitonera". For 350 pesetas she will read the cards for one, indicating the period of the coming fifteen days. She has regular clients, "the wives of doctors and lawyers!", who have her come to their homes every two weeks to do a reading. She raised four children and never took them to the doctor, as she was able to heal them herself by drawing out the grippe or infection. Her mother and her mother's mother were Brujas too. She is a healthy active woman although a grandmother over sixty. I'd like to meet her. [editor's note: I was 23 years old in 1982, not that that excuses my blithe ageism!]


I've been riding the buses in Palma. There aren't many of them, so the bus drivers and the graffiti on the walls of the different buses are becoming familiar. One bus line, the Arenal buses, are custom painted in bright colors. Recently one has been sighted painted army green with scenes from Picasso's "Guernica" all over it. The faces of the passengers, expressionless or mildly puzzled, peer out from the windows as usual, framed with the scenes of fear and devastation. Today while I was waiting for the bus at Plaza Progreso, which is always full of old men conferring in the sun and little kids on the swings. The Guernica bus came by and I tried to flag it down. It was half full of people, not overcrowded, but it sped past without stopping, oblivious and increasingly nightmarish. I wasn't sure whether to feel relieved or annoyed that the Guernica bus didn't stop for me.

I came up in the elevator this evening with a soft spoken young man in leopard skin pants, a fur coat, stiletto heeled boots, a blond page boy hairdo and make up from foundation on up. Turns out he lives across the hall." Puta maricona!", as Tonia would say to her macaw when it bites the dried tomatoes.


Jan. 14

Las night we went in all innocence to Freddie's Bar, expecting music but finding instead a party thrown by two divisions off the US aircraft carrier "Nimitz" in full swing. We stayed several hours, drinking complimentary Sangria and talking loudly with our fellow countrymen. Also at the party, conveniently, was a delegation from a local airline stewardess training school. It twists our hearts a little to talk to these people. They were all pilots. They fly fast, modern planes and land on the deck of the ship, a warrior society . Mingled with protestations of how tight these two divisions were, buddies, comrades, living together for months on end, was the complaint that their lives while not flying are dreary, boring, and women-less. "There's a real competition", one short, wizened ex-reconnaissance pilot stated. He spoke not with pride but with a resigned, worried tone, pointing out one of his rivals, a beefy blond astronaut type.

Today I went to Antonia's "para hacer la tinta." We intended to dye several pairs of white trousers blue. Mixing the deep indigo concoction, Tonia joked around, claiming that the steaming dye pot contained a love potion which would make our men "crazy for us". Juana -Mari came over to borrow clothing. Her husband is out of work these days, so he does nothing but hang out with Tony, the Bruja's son, smoking hash and going to bars. Tonia commiserates with Juana-Mari, then drinks two rum and cokes and runs off to ask Jay where he was until 9 pm last night.


Jan. 16

Last night Chris and Ekki, two fellow boat bums, came to dinner and stayed until two in the morning, drinking wine and talking away. They are both German and have been yachting about the Med for seven or eight years. They own their second boat and want to design, build and live on their third. He is forty-two but looks younger, short, stocky, bearded and curly haired, with the look of a healthy alert troll or gnome. They both speak impeccable English, though Ekki lapses into German in moments of truculence. Chris is short, childlike and slim with short reddish brown hair, energetic, enthusiastic, full of talk. They have a scandalously cheap apartment in Plaza Atrazana, the former red light district which has now become the neighborhood where all the Maricones live. They told us stories of their loud, alcoholic thieving neighbors. They've been in Palma three years as freelance boat maintenance people, saving money to build the next boat. Chris is 26. She seems young, very bright and funny. "We want to live on our boat. That's why we've just spent three years living ashore!", she jokes. Ekki encourages us to sail "Manza" to Sardinia. "No problem!".


Jan. 17

Last night I went out to dinner with the young couple Al and Nena and their toddler, Shainy. Nena and the kid and I took the bus and met Al in the Plaza Atrazana. We waited there awhile, smoking dope in the sunshine. The dinner in question was being thrown by an "Irishman" [turns out he's from Montana] who was in Palma "recuperating" and had the use of a friend's apartment nearby in the plaza. What it amounts to is, this American pays for his "friends" to throw a party . One guy, Tony, will cook. The American provides all grocery money plus money for dope and wine. Tony, the cook, is hustling through the nearby bars as we wait there. He is Mallorquin, a burly curly haired character who has lived in India and will cook an Indian meal. He wants to borrow money form us, to buy, as it turns out, a hit of acid for himself with money the American has given him to buy hashish. Like a fool I loan, or give, him 500 pesetas as Al looks on with incredulous displeasure. This rash act on my part will delay our meal, as the cook proceeds to trip his brains out.

We go up to the apartment, on the second floor of in one of the old charming houses, run down and picturesque, which line the plaza. The American is nervous about Shainy, afraid he'll break something. Nena is ravenous. she has had nothing to eat all day and her pretty pale face has a pinched look. We see that dinner wont be for hours and hours as Tony has not even returned with the groceries yet. Tony's brother, dark and handsome in a smiling, lady-killer way, is there, also a couple of other guys and three Spanish girls provided for the American's mollification. One, Maria, a classic Spanish beauty with one of her dog teeth missing, laughs and laughs and dances with Tony's brother. Later she sits on the American's knee and caresses him, kissing him on command. This American guy, Fred, is a pathetic character. He is near forty, with a high domed, balding egglike forehead and glasses, and speaks with a hissing, soft voice. He cannot speak a word of Spanish. I approached him at first to see if he had anything interesting to say about being in South America, in the Amazon region where he had supposedly been working. All he could do was choke out a line or two about all the people who have disappeared there. "Maybe they've found a world so perfect, with the native tribes and the cocaine, that they just stay lost." He was timid, couldn't speak, had no clue as how best to deal with anyone, especially women. At the same time he was arrogant, the boss, the one with the wallet.

One the other two women was young and gorgeous with big dark eyes and short black hair. The other had a kind of beauty that you see in medieval madonna paintings, with an elongated face, thin nose and a pale, shining, pure complexion. They were bored out of their minds, or so they communicated to me with facial expressions. After Maria left with Tony's brother, Fred started advancing on the short haired girl, as nervous as if she had been a dog or horse who might turn on him. Not a clue. He slapped her on the back heartily, as one would pat the rump of a horse. She couldn't believe it.

Eventually we ate a good dinner of curried chicken and rice, with turron for dessert. Al and Nena were blissful at the food. Tony , high as a kite, capped off the evening by taking a piss off the balcony into the street below. Then we left, as Shainy was tired and crying, so I don't know how the rest of the night played out.


Feb 3

We have been sewing our new mainsail, all by hand, and making very good progress despite our lack of machinery. David is kept busy with carpentry still but I have not been working very much. The almonds are in blossom and the weather mild and very changeable, but far from wintry. Hints of spring fever in the air already.

The other day I was on a shopping expedition to a plumbing supply place in a neighborhood I'd never been in. I was buying a short length of PVC plastic pipe to use as a waterproof chart case. On my way back I happened to wander into the current red light district. It was mid afternoon but I noticed the windows and steps of the houses were all populated by a variety of women in colorful and provocative outfits. Curious, I went around the block and walked down the street again. They noticed what I was doing and called me out, teasing me for being a voyeur. So now I know where they all moved to when Plaza Atrazana was cleared out to make way for the nearby tourists.


April 5

David is hard at work, while I pick up a few days of work here and there. We are waiting to hear whether or not Mary is going to come here this summer. If she decides to stay home, we will be leaving Palma as early as May 1st. Otherwise we may stay until the first week of June so she can join us here after school lets out. David's parents may be passing through Palam at the end of May, on their way back from a gala event in Egypt where one of David's uncles, an engineer, is having an oil rig named after him. The oil company is paying to have the family flown out for the festivities and they would take a side trip to see us.

At the moment I have spring fever and can't wait to get out of Palma. I am scheming to have us and our boat returned to the Caribbean this coming fall, shipping the boat over on the same large boat that we crossed with last year, the "L'Amie". We'll see how that scheme works out.

Yesterday was actually hot. We had our first ice cream of the season at an outdoor cafe. But today is cool and overcast again. Right now I prefer the bad weather, as it decreases my desire to go sailing away, which I know I can't do quite yet.


May 9

I'm sitting on the sunny terrace of the Hostel Balaguer in Terreno. There is a big cage of full of parakeets and one goldfish in a pool, and a view out over people's back gardens. We are in limbo again, and will be for a long time. Yesterday I worked for the German, Paul Kinzelman, for the first time in a long while. David has been taking pictures for an article on the traditional small fishing boats here, the llauts, which we're trying to get "Wooden Boat" magazine to take an interest in. We have a big roll of charts of the Spanish coast [editor's note, I regret to say I had pinched these from the yacht "Mysta Verde". Dan Jordan, I'm sorry, wherever you are!] Last year we navigated solely using a road map. But we don't have enough money to go anywhere yet and are running through it like water as usual.

We're "on the street" again and things have been hectic. We left our apartment the first of May, glad to see the last of that concrete box of an instant slum. Since then we have stayed in a rooming house, on several boats, and most recently in a luxurious villa complete with a pool, a view of Andratx harbor and a 300 lb gluttonous host who loves to indulge us all in huge meals. David is hard at work as usual, this time on the boat of said host, Joachim.



May 16

I'm living on top of a hill in Andratx at the home of Joachim and Nanu Conrad. He is German, she is French and eight months pregnant. Their 8 year old daughter and various hired staff, including us, complete the household. We have been having huge feasts and eating large quantities of strawberries. The winds are blowing, and I am feeling stifled here banking the painful coals of my restlessness and reading articles in French women's magazines about conjugal strife.

May 21

Sitting on the Paseo guarding our bags while David searches for Joachim and his Range Rover, our ride and meal ticket. Scorching sun. Danish delinquents are swimming in the harbor.

This morning David's parents and 87-year-old Grandmother left, after a two night stay. There was great drama as their arrival was delayed 24 hours due to an airline strike in Italy and they had to drive from Rome to Barcelona to catch their flight here. The visit was balm to David, me and them. We talked and talked, drove around, showed them Manzanita, the "L'Amie" which is here in port, the "Lord Jim". David's father brought us a come-along in his luggage so we can in theory winch "Manza" up onto a beach when needed. They were full of love and offered no criticism. There wasn't even enough time for them to start worrying or for a long painful goodbye.



Now we are to be back at Joachim's. The article for "Wooden Boat" [never published, ed. note] is doing well, especially due to us running in to the native author of a book on fishing in the Balearics. He gave us a beautiful photograph of an old llaut with a giant sail rig, and photocopied 40 pages of a detailed description of llauts from an 1883 book for us.



Yesterday we retuned the borrowed Nikon camera to Jay and Antonia, now living aboard the "Yankee". I realize Antonia is the best friend I made all winter.

Right now we have two possibilities for transporting our boat and ourselves to faraway places. One is a return trip on the old "L'Amie", slated to go back to the Caribbean in the fall. We talked again to Jason, the captain, who gets more and more cordial at each visit as he realizes no one but fools like us might be willing to sign up and pay money for a the trip on the vessel. The other is a 65' powerboat, "Thetis", home of Bob and Roz, a deluxe charter stinkpot where we slept the past three nights. They also are willing and crazy enough to take "Manza" somewhere in the fall, if their boat isn't sold out from under them. I like them a lot and would enjoy crewing with them up to Wales via Brittany. Dreams! These options are precarious, but it's nice to have them.


May 22

Today I hitchhiked to a friend's shed in Calvia to sand and varnish our oars and mast. On the way I walked along a road which wound through fields of vermillion wild poppies, yellow daisies, pale blue chicory, wild morning glory. The sky was overcast and the air tense with thunder, lightning, closeness, a little rain. I have no paid work at the moment but have been painting and varnishing our "Manzanita". She is all ready to go. We plan to leave for Ibiza, our first 50 mile crossing, the first week of June. We look to this with some trepidation as it is double our longest crossing so far of open water. We'll set up a telephone relay with friends here to alert search parties if we don't make landfall. Thanks to a gift of $200 from David's Nana our finances are in good shape and we are able to go. Mary will be arriving July 6 in Barcelona. We hope to be to the mainland by that time. Our "plans" are still to try and reach Gibraltar by mid September. We wont have much of a mailing address for the summer. Meanwhile we are itching to be sailing again, watching the weather, and waiting for the wind to change.










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