Dutch courage

A dinghy, the Spanish Navy and a Lunatic

20th October 2013
The Cygnus III guide to looking at it differently
Calla de Mallorca
Mark in dinghy

Dinghy Lunatic from Holland

Don’t tell the Spanish navy!

It is remarkable how a good night’s sleep can make the worst problems seem so much better the following day. The trouble was, I had not had a good night’s sleep and things were just as bad. (In case you didn’t read the previous blog we had just lost our dinghy because some prat, namely me, cannot tie a decent knot).


The Spanish navy come to the rescue

Spanish navy recovering our inflatable dinghy

Coming to the rescue!

One vision that came to me during my restless night was of someone finding our dinghy out at sea with no occupants so causing a dramatic air-sea search. I was using my calculator to work out the bill for having a few Spanish destroyers and helicopters scouring the Mediterranean Sea but there weren’t enough digits on the screen. I even tried to work out how many body parts we would have to sell but that didn’t even cover the fuel for the crews Jeep ride to the helicopter. (Not my body parts of course but our son should be willing to contribute and his bits are newer than mine).

I was trying to find the telephone numbers to report the sad loss of our dinghy to the coastguard. I also put an obituary in the paper whilst desperately to thinking of a good excuse as to why it went missing in the first place. Then Angelina then got a phone call. All of a sudden she started screaming like a banshee in voice only dogs could hear. This meant one of two things. It was the bill from the Spanish Navy or someone had found our dinghy!


A Dutch Lunatic comes to the rescue

Apparently Jos and Sigrid, a Dutch couple from the sailing boat “Lunatic” (believe me, that is genuine) were about two miles off shore when they saw our dinghy making its break for freedom. The “Lunatic’s” managed to capture it alive and tow it further down the coast before stopping for the night. In the morning they hunted around and found our boats name written under the floor. From this they found our website which led them to Facebook and our phone number. They had a long Journey still to do but said they would put the dinghy on the beach at Cala S’Aguila. They even went to the trouble of partly deflating it and taking the line off the front so no one would use or steal it (yes Jos, don’t think we have forgotten about that line that you have. We want it back one day!).


Going to get our dinghy back… we were so happy

The Cala was about 15 miles south of where we were so we could collect it later that afternoon as we first had to take Jordan’s friend ashore to fly home. We were grateful once again to also be in the company of Mark, Jane and the boys who we had been sailing with all this time. With their help we could still get Jordan’s friend ashore and recover our delinquent dinghy.

There was no way we could meet Jos and Sigrid personally to thank them because we both had commitments but the sailing community is so small we know that one day we will have the chance to repay them for their kindness, honesty and work in tracking us down. Until then, thank you both.. We owe you so much.

Life for us had just turned around completely with that phone call. The despair we had felt only moments before had been dispelled totally. We were ready and raring to go again.

That afternoon the wind did begin to pick up a bit but there was no way we were going to miss the chance to recover our dinghy. We set off and had a good sail down to Cala S’Aguila.


Surfing through waves to collect our dinghy

When we got there the wind was reasonable but it had caused a hefty swell to run into the bay. There were big breaking waves running to the shore so we had to anchor a good distance off and even then Cygnus III was doing her mad cow impression. I was concerned about the anchor dragging so South African Mark and Jordan surfed ashore in their dinghy.

dinghy rescue thanks to the Lunatics from Holland

Bringing the missing dinghy back

We watched through binoculars as they found and recovered our tender before pumping it up to get it back. As our inflatable dinghy is quiet big and heavy Jordan decided it was best to pull it through the water. He disappeared completely. Apparently there was a big hole under the water and he managed to fall into it. Eventually they tied the dinghies together and started to come back. It was like watching a Hawaiian surfing program as with each wave they went skywards. It really was a struggle and they seem to have spent as long under the waves as they did above them. When they did get back they were drenched. We would like to have had a drink to celebrate but that could wait. In those seas we needed to get out of there fast but not before I had tied the dinghy on with 15,000 various knots taught to me by my grannies.


Anchored in the stunning Cala Gat

Calla-Gat. A good nights sleep with our dinghy onboard

Cala Gat one of my favourite Cala’s

Once again we set off looking for somewhere safe to anchor before it got dark. We had had enough excitement for one day so found one of my favourite anchorages only a couple of hours away at Cala Gat, just as the sun began to set.

Now it was time for several celebratory drinks and a very, very good night’s sleep.


For our friends from Holland on Lunatic.


How To Deal With Dutch People

(1) Many foreigners call everything Dutch…well…’Dutch’. Don’t! The word Dutch reminds Dutch people of the word Duits which is used for Germans and other things he dislikes. A Dutch person is a Hollander or a Nederlander.

(2) As a foreigner, don’t ever try to speak the Dutch language. Not only will you end up spitting at everyone you try to talk to but the Hollanders will not understand what you mean. Foreigners are supposed to speak English. All Hollanders do.

(3) Don’t ever try to eat ‘drop’. (Dutch Liquorice) Drop is a sort of candy that can only be eaten by Hollanders. It can be recognised by the colour: black. The taste is a blend between earwax and paint. Hollanders absolutely adore the stuff and eat many kilo’s of it. There is a nationwide conspiracy to look at the faces of foreigners that were made to believe the stuff is actually edible.

(4) Don’t buy wooden shoes. They will look completely ridiculous, which is why they will try to sell them to you. A Hollander himself would not want to be found dead wearing them.(Preferably a Hollander doesn’t want to be found dead at all).

(5) Don’t make holes in the dikes. Such behaviour is commonly disapproved and in extreme cases it can get you stoned by wooden shoes. But feel free to put your finger in the dike if you feel the urge. It will at least get you a few laughs from the natives.

(6) A Hollander is always right and he knows it. With this in mind it is very easy to cope with most Hollanders. If you ever get in an argument with a Hollander, tell him he was absolutely right and that you now realise how wrong you were. Now he will go crazy: Since you’re a foreigner, you can never be right. You agree with him, therefore he couldn’t be right. Impossible. He’s a Hollander. But…then…he…Now is the time to take a step back and observe how the Hollander will try to strangle himself with a tulip.

(7) It is not necessary to fake interest for tulips, windmills, wooden shoes or cheese. Every Hollander knows you came for the soft drugs and the Amsterdam red-light district. Both are widely spread and easy to find. Just ask any Hollander over age 6.

(8) Cops in Holland are mainly used to throw stuff at. If you get the uncontrollable desire to hit someone, take on a cop. No Hollander will pay any attention if you hit a cop, put a knife in his cranium or firmly kick him in the butt. Cops represent authority and not one Hollander recognises a higher authority than himself. You will notice the fact that most cops are actually foreigners that were lured into this job.

(9) Hollanders do not like spending money. They would rather cut of an ear. A Hollander will be your friend for life if you give him something for free. This might explain the great success of McDonald’s in Holland.

(10) Holland is small. It is sometimes rumoured that Holland is so small they take it inside when it’s raining. This is not true because it rains 365 days a year. This also explains the wooden shoes: they float. Yes…Holland is small and Hollanders are very proud of it. They will use any opportunity to say that Holland accomplished such great things for such a small country. At the moment I cannot think what any of those great things are but they did bring you a mouse with clogs on.

(11) If you want to insult a Hollander – and sooner or later you will want to – tell him you don’t think he’s a pacifist. Now start running for your life. He will not stop trying to prove he’s the most peace-loving person in the world until your intestines are on the street. Mentioning the so-called colonial past in Suriname or Indonesia, will instantly reduce the Hollander to a sniffling child, begging for forgiveness.

(12) The most important way of public transportation in Holland is the bicycle. Feel free to take any bike of which you can pick the lock. Just don’t expect your own bike to be in the same spot where you parked it 3 minutes earlier. Hunting season for bikes is open 365 days a year. Good luck!

(13) At almost every bread meal in Holland you will find a mean looking big knife with a sharp slide in it. It is called a ‘kaasschaaf’ and is used to cut very thin slices of cheese (Yes, it’s a Dutch invention). Never cut cheese with a regular knife, you will make yourself completely ridiculous. Another typical eating tool is the so-called bottle scraper. It’s designed to scrape the last bits of yogurt or mayonnaise out of the bottle. A Hollander will use every millimetre of the product he bought. He paid for it, he’ll eat it, no matter what.

(14) Hollanders drown fried potato-sticks (Chips) in litres of mayonnaise and put it in a pointed paper bag. This is called: Een patatje met. One such bag is able to keep you alive for an unlimited period of time. It is only uncertain if this is a life worth living. But there have been sightings of tourists actually enjoying a patatje met.

(15) There is a fast and foolproof way of embarrassing yourself in Holland. Enter a coffee shop and ask for a cappuccino with a biscuit. Coffee shops -remember this- do not sell coffee. They do however have a large variety of stimulating products at reasonable prices.

(16) Don’t bother renting a car. Not only will you be able to steal more bikes then you can use but car traffic in Holland is not something to enjoy. Where the rest of the world uses kilometres to express the lengths of traffic jams, in Holland these are measured in weeks. To be honest, the most steadfast ones are worth a visit. The sight of starving people in an expensive Mercedes can greatly improve your mood if you’re somewhat philosophical. Bring some pieces of bread to throw through the open windows. The fights over them are often very spectacular.

(17) In contradiction of many rumours, it is not legal to bring your mother in law to Holland for do-it-yourself euthanasia. Tourists are warned not to take matters into their own hands.

(18) Holland is a kingdom. It just doesn’t have a king but a queen and her husband is not king but a prince. The queen does not rule -much- but she’s very capable in cutting ribbons and visiting other countries. She is also very decorative at state banquettes. Her son, the crown prince, will take over if she stops queening. His wife in turn will be queen so that Holland will finally have a king and queen again. April 30 is Queensday but it is not the birthday of the queen but princes Juliana’s, who used to be queen. With things like this it’s only logical that more and more people want Holland to be a republic. Queensday, by the way, is just an excuse to drink lots of beer and sell all their old junk on the streets.

(19) Holland has more cities than Amsterdam.There is…eh…and…Well, there are more cities.

(20) Dutch beer has built up quite reputation for itself. Some people even drink it! Brewing is one of the things Hollanders are traditionally very good at. Holland has never been a country where anything was more interesting than drinking yourself half blind or painting landscapes. This made the Dutch beer industry very popular rapidly.

Well enough about those strange people from Holland. All these problems with our dinghy were just the start though and worse was to come.



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  1. Keep the blog entries coming Mark, they are hilarious. I particularly liked the explanation of sailing terms, they just got better and better.

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