Habemus Exoticam

July 29th. 2013


Exotica on our marina berth in Palma

Finally, after three weeks waiting the white smoke went up, our bill of sale came through and we are now the proud owners of Exotica.  The deal has not been without its interesting problems and the laws of libel restrict me from expressing my true feelings regarding the yacht broking firm, the previous owner, the ANZ Bank and the Spanish postal service, all of whom have added to our grief in the last few weeks.

However, now the bill of sale has finally arrived (albeit with our names mis-spelt) we are legally owners of our Jeanneau 49 Deck Saloon, our very comfortable waterbourne apartment.

Hoisting the Red Ensign.

Hoisting the Red Ensign.

We had a ceremony in the middle of Palma Bay where we lowered the German flag and raised the Red Ensign.

P1010917We also hoisted the flag of the Nepean Hospital Cruising Association.

We have secured the marina berth in Palma de Mallorca until next May which will give us ample time to explore the Balearic Islands and totally familiarise ourselves with the boat.  It is in a wonderful spot, very private, 10 minutes walk to the centre of Palma, close to the toilets and showers and we have use of the Club’s swimming pool and gym.

Despite the delays in transfer of ownership we have actually been aboard the boat for two weeks and have had a number of sailing trips into the bay. Our first guest, Terry’s sister Margaret, was present for the handover ceremonies.P1010923

We spent our first night at anchor at Portals Vells, a pleasant bay about 15 nautical miles west of Palma. Having secured the mooring we looked around and discovered next to us a brand new Beneteau Oceanis 45′ yacht flying an Australian flag.  We swam over for a chat and found them to be owners from Perth who are related to great friends of ours in Sydney. This led to our first dinner party aboard.  The subsequent night was less than successful as there was a significant swell entering the bay, despite the wind being quite light, and we rolled uncomfortably until dawn when we upped the anchor and retreated to a smoother anchorage off Palma Nova beach.

The weather in Mallorca has been sensational, hot sunny days with predictable light winds and water temperatures of 28 degrees, so comfortable for jumping off the boat when too hot. We have been reminded of Australian summers over the last 2 days, there is a bush fire in Paguera and five aircraft have been continuously swooping over the marina filling up with water from Palma Bay in daylight hours.

We have an engine and generator service on Wednesday and then propose to explore further afield in Mallorca before picking up friends to sail to Ibiza.


Sunday July 7th.

The House with the Opera Theatre in the background.

The House with the Opera Theatre in the background.

We completed our opera journey with two nights at the most famous country house opera of them all, Glyndebourne.  Set in the rolling Sussex Downs the highest class of opera has been performed here since 1933.

On successive nights we saw Falstaff by Verdi and Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss both outstandingly performed.

Looking as if we are enjoying ourselves.

Looking as if we are enjoying ourselves.

In the long interval we had picnics on the lawn, somewhat of a trial on the first night as a sea mist enveloped Glyndebourne, the temperature was about 12 degrees and a strong cold northerly wind was blowing.  It was hard to maintain the appearance of enjoyment under these circumstances but the English managed it.


The next night. Very much better. JC with John and Dennis

The second night, Friday, was a beautiful evening and dining on the lawn between two acts of sublime music was as near to heaven as one can get.

On Monday July 8th. we return yet again to Palma and, all being well, take possession of our floating home.

The Longborough Ring

Thursday July 4th

The Opera House at Longborough.

The Opera House at Longborough.

We have just returned from a week at Longborough, a small village in the beautiful Cotswolds where we have attended what we consider to be the ultimate artistic experience, namely a complete, professional performance of Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner.  This seventeen hour epic was staged in its entirety over four alternate nights at a small private opera house converted from a barn which originally housed chickens.

Needless to say the size of the house, with an audience of 500, necessitated a smaller staging and a three quarter size orchestra, 70 players as opposed to 110 in a major house.  Nonetheless the intimacy of the ambience more than compensated for this and we experienced playing and singing of international standard.  Particular mention should be made of the Brunnhilde, Rachel Nicholls.  In her first complete realisation of the role she was outstanding, superb voice and completely inhabiting the part.  The Siegfried of Jonathan Stoughton, again his first, was superb and both are destined for great careers in the Wagner repertory.

Standing in front of the rolling Wolds.

Standing in front of the rolling Wolds.

This is another venue where black tie and smart picnic is the norm and the weather was moderately kind giving us two beautiful evenings to enjoy the rolling English countryside during the long intervals.

We attended with about ten other Australians and were privileged to host the conductor, Anthony Negus and his wife, Carmen Jakobi the Assitant Director, on two occasions plus other members of the cast in the cottage which we shared in the village of Longborough less than a kilometre from the Opera House.

Left to right.  Carmen Negus, TC, Dennis Mathers,  Jane Mathews, Conductor Anthony Negus, John Studdert

Left to right. Carmen Jakobi, TC, Dennis Mathers, Jane Mathews, Conductor Anthony Negus, John Studdert

Sadly the Melbourne Ring has recently imploded with the sudden departure of the conductor, Richard Mills.  We were hoping that Anthony Negus, who has prepared and conducted this Ring so superbly over the last seven years would be invited to rescue the production.  It appears, however, that they have picked a 33 year old Finn who has never conducted a complete Ring.  We await the results with some trepidation.