18-Sep-2003 -- Exactly the same day as one year ago, on Aug. 23rd (my birthday), my crewing
agent from Cyprus phoned me at home. Certainly not to congratulate me, but
there had occurred an emergency once again. The captain of the refrigerated
carrier "Sable Bay" had to leave the ship due to urgent family matters, and
I relieved him in the Spanish port of Sagunto (near Valencia).
The ship came from Uruguay with oranges and lemons, to be discharged
partly at Sagunto and at Vado Ligure near Savona (Italy).
On Sep. 16th after completion of discharging we left Vado
Ligure with destination Ceuta in Spanish Morocco. Ceuta is located just
at the Eastern entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar and is a busy port for
The further destination after refuelling is Guayaquil in Ecuador, in order
to load bananas for Europe.
That means a ten days voyage from Ceuta to the Panama Canal, one day
transit, and another one and a half day to Ecuador.
That was the good news ... the bad news are that I will leave the ship again
in Ceuta, as the previous master succeeded in settling his problems and will
So no confluences from Panama and Ecuador for the time being :-(
This afternoon, however, we visited the Confluence 40°N 3°E
just North of the coast of the Island of Mallorca.
Mallorca is the largest of the Islas Baleares. This archipelago forms a
group consisting of four principal islands, Isla Formentera, Isla de Ibiza, Isla de Mallorca and Isla de Menorca,
together with a number of adjacent islets. In general, the N coasts of the
islands are very rocky and steep-to, whereas the S coasts are
everywhere low and accessible.
The highest elevation of Mallorca is Puig Mayor, 1,445 m high, 2 miles
inland and SW to the
The view from the confluence to SE shows
the mountainous peninsula at the East end of Mallorca, which Easternmost tip
is Cabo Formentor.
The prinicpal exports of Mallorca are fruit, wine and potatoes, and there is
a very active tourist industry. Mallorca is one of the oldest and cheapest
resorts for tourists, especially from Central and Northern Europe. By 1975,
when tourism began to boom, many small and romantic villages had been
transformed into built-up areas with many prominent hotels and blocks of
flats. Nowadays there are so many cheap offers for all-inclusive holidays
from numerous competing travel companies that it is often cheaper to go for
two weeks to Mallorca rather than to spend them at home.
This fact brought Mallorca a rather bad reputation, as virtually everybody,
even people from the lowest social and income classes, can easily afford to
spend their holidays there. But this is not justified. Mallorca is an
extremely beautiful island, and when one avoids the cheapest offers and
arrangements for the mass tourism, a vacation spent on Mallorca is still a
With a general view to Mallorca's rocky North coast we continued on our
course to Ceuta.
Last but not least I have to introduce a new assistant: 2nd Officer Sergey
Poleshko from Odessa (Ukraine). Here is already
checking the necessary charts for approaching the
Panama Canal. Further he is the living proof
for food being available on board of merchant ships in more than abundant