I am very privileged to be on a friends British Airways Staff Travel concession which has allowed me to fly standby many a time. I rock up at the airport, check in, get a seat and jet off. But on a recent flight to Palma, Majorca, the flight was so busy that I wasn’t allowed to check in and being a low priority – how very dare you – I was directed instead to the Staff Travel room and told to wait… this was a first and I could feel the anxiety rising.
Twenty-five minutes before the flight was due to leave I was told I had a seat, and suddenly I became THAT mental woman dashing through the airport with her trolley bag. At Security, I had too many toiletries stuffed into the ubiquitous plastic bag so I had to choose, in a hurry, what to take and what to leave – Nuxe body oil or Vichy SPF 50 BB cream. I can only describe it as harrowing. I careered into the departure lounge looking like I had arrived on the back of a motorbike.
Two hours later the searing heat of Palma hit me as I jumped into the back of a clapped out Polo, my gorgeous school friend Katy Lobo at the wheel and we headed North to Puerto Pollenca for a long weekend at her place, a catamaran called “Felix” – did I mention that I am also privileged to have friends in wonderful places.
Due to the soaring temperatures of the air and the water, Katy and Thomas – Katy’s beau and the proud owner of Felix – have moored a short motor dinghy ride outside of the sheltered bay of Puerto Pollenca to take advantage of the breeze, and the cleaner cooler water of the open sea.
Thomas’ ideal is to live on as little as possible, waste as little as possible, be kind to the planet and spread the love. I liked him instantly. He’s a good man and he makes Katy very happy, their love for each other is infectious and they were lovely to be around.
All the electricity on Felix is solar generated and the “air conditioning” is a sail positioned above the main hatch to syphon air into the cabin and galley – it’s simple and it flipping works. Felix is circa 1970’s so no mod cons, but beautifully made and full of character. Freshwater onboard is precious so washing up and showering are done in the sea. It didn’t take me long to loose my inhibitions and strip off, jump in and soap up along with my hosts. I felt surprisingly clean and fresh and for four days I didn’t use any oils or moisturisers, my skin felt amazing and it was much more fun than having a bath.
Life on the sea attracts some very cool people and I was lucky enough to meet a handful of Katy and Thomas’ friends over the period of my stay. These gatherings took place over a BBQ dinner on Felix’s deck. It’s hard to beat fresh local produce cooked simply and eaten as the sun sets over the sea and the mountains, relishing in the company of friends old and new.
Giacomo is an architect by trade but had recently rowed 3000 miles through the waterways of Europe from London to Istanbul making a documentary to highlight the importance of water conservation and subsistence. The documentary has been made into a film “Man on the River” and he is now in talks with the BBC about his next venture, spending the winter alone in an isolated igloo in Norway, he is quite a guy. But it wasn’t all about him, he was as equally interested in me as I was about him. And whilst I shared my ambitions with him, miraculously a dolphin appeared in front of the boat. This is a sign from the Earth telling me to live my dreams he told me. Get out there and just do it – swoon. A shooting star would have finished off the evening perfectly.
The next day brought high drama at sea, after a day busy doing nothing but a quick SUP in the early morning followed by some serious sunbathing and skinny dipping we were informed by a former player of FC Barcelona that “manana mal tiempo”. High winds were due to hit the coast, Thomas and Katy’s “fleet” had to be secured.
This involved moving Katy’s dhingy “The Black Pearl” into dry dock. A covert operation at 2300 which involved, bolt cutters, a saw, two head torches, two girls – one totally at ease and one totally clueless – and a very chilled out German – Thomas. Once The Black Pearl was safe on dry land we then had to cross the very choppy bay to take down the sails on their other dinghy “The Optimist” and once that was done, I was allowed to go to bed. Exhausted.
The High winds came and went. They were a relief from the stifling heat but caused some chaos amongst the sailing fraternity which is clearly split into two halves. Those that can sail and those that have very expensive pleasure boats and think they can sail and quite frankly – says she who can’t sail – a danger to themselves and others. It was a day of tangled ropes, tangled moorings and tangled tempers, unusual behaviour in this chillaxed community
Katy and Thomas do have a wonderful life, a life which they have created but it doesn’t just involve BBQ’s, inspiring conversations and being naked 70% of the time, they do have jobs.
Thomas is a Captain for hire and one of his clients is a billionaire Norwegian businessman, the owner of a £2.2m super motor yacht moored in the bay of Alcudia and it is this boat that is Katy’s “office” she is the Stewardess when he is on board.
The Norwegian pops down for about 7-10 days a month during the summer season and when he’s not there the boat sits empty but needs to taken for a run every so often to keep the propellers moving, so I jumped at the chance to go work!
I can’t give you the name of the yacht for obvious reasons, but I can tell you it was flippin enormous and top of the range in every aspect. It was easy to imagine Kate Moss and a few of her A-list mates draped over the sun decks, vomiting into the shag pile and spilling vodka all over the Miele kitchen. Get the picture? As we left the bay, Thomas put his foot down – not a nautical term – and we belted along at 23 knots. We were so high up and going to so fast, that the wake we left behind was comparable to that of a cross channel ferry, it was super cool.
But for all of her luxury, the yacht was soulless. A super expensive, super shiny beige and chrome interior by Kelly Hoppen, with no personal effects. The Norwegian comes down on his own and keeps his own company. Too busy making money to enjoy it with family and friends. How very sad. As lovely as it was zipping around like a VIP for the afternoon, I would much rather bob around the Med on Felix luxuriating in any waft of breeze that came my way rather than the respite of Kelly Hoppens’ air conditioned blandness, cold, uninviting, uninspiring and most definitely no love.
All good things come to an end and so it was that I ate my last handful of “holiday” crisps and my last two scoops of “holiday” ice-cream – all foods preceded by the word “holiday” miraculously contain no calories – and said a fond farewell to Puerto Pollenca, Felix, Thomas and Giacomo.
I reluctantly put my clothes back on and jumped out of the water and onto a bus to Palma with my beautiful friend Katy. Not only had she shared with me her life aquatic and inspired me to leave my unopened Nuxe body oil and Vichy SPF 50 BB cream behind, but she also shared with me a little pearl of wisdom.
A couple of years ago she came to a crossroads with her work and personal life and a friend told her to put on her “Yes Hat”. To stop saying “no” and “but” and to say “yes” to people and opportunities that came her way. I have recently learnt that “I can’t” actually means “ I won’t” and that the crippling emotion behind “I won’t” is fear.
And so I dedicate this blog post to my friends Katy and Thomas who have shown me how life can be lived and how much you can love and be loved when you are FEARLESS. HALLELIJIAH!