Team : 26ATŘ47 Darran
After our flight was delayed for four and a half hrs we finally arrived at our hotel on the 3rd of July 05 at 05:20am in the holiday resort of Portinatx on Ibiza Island. While Emma ( the xyl ) unpacked our clothes etc, I helped and did my bit, I erected the vertical antenna which was up and in position within 10 minutes :). The radio and PSU was unpacked a few hrs later and I started to log stations at 10:07z, first in the log was 47PL122. Whenever I turned the radio on in that first week band conditions were great, always a mini pileup, the callsign which was Authorized was 49AT/E-Ř23, after a few short sessions they were over 300 in the log.
When I first decided to take some equipment on holiday, I had the idea of activating a small island / rock while the family was on an excursion trip out of the resort, of course the xyl didn't know my intentions, but my iota plan's turned out to be more fruitful than I had hoped or anticipated.
I knew there were a couple of little islands just outside of Portinatx bay ( Xarraca E-447 & Rencli E-1Ř2 ), but before I could seriously plan an activation, I had to find a couple of things i.e a car battery or generator and someone with a boat who was willing to take me to one of these little islands.
On the second day of our holiday I hired a car with 2 intentions in mind :
1) To Find a Car Battery
2) To investigate an small Island right at the other side of IBIZA.
Even though Portinatx is not a small resort, it turned out to be impossible to find a car battery, I must have asked at every shop, I must have asked every English speaking person where could I get a battery, but no luck.
Anyway the following
day we drove to a small resort called Cala Tarida which turned out to be really nice, fantastic beach with beautiful
shallow blue sea, ideal for families / children, GREAT ! that's
perfect, the XYL and the kids can have a day on the beach while I active
Illots de Cala Tarida :-). On our journey from Cala Tarida I saw a few
Motor Garages where I might be able to buy a 12v Car battery. After 97 km
we returned back to our hotel.
While I was buying
some postcards, I noticed quite a few of them had pictures of what looked
like a largish island to north of our resort, I asked a few locals
and was told if I walked out of the resort ( northbound ) and just carried
on walking I'd come to a small port with a restaurant, a couple of bars
and shops where I could ask there.
I asked at one of the beach bars is there an island just off the coast, but no one could understand what I meant, so I showed them the postcard I'd bought earlier, an old local guy said something but I couldn't understand what he said, he got a pen and he wrote on the back of the postcard " Punta Galera ", I looked on the list I'd taken out there with me of Islands around Ibiza and instantly found " Punta Galera " with the D.I.E Reference number of E-446 !. I quickly sent a SMS message to Pep 49ATŘ2Ř and he confirmed it was indeed E-446.
That was it, Punta
Galera Island went straight to the top of my activity list. On the
postcard it looked like the East side of the island was very close to the
mainland and we wasn't far away, so while Emma went shopping. Ryan, Sean
and I went looking for the islands nearest point to the mainland.
On the walk back to our hotel ( Ryan especially ) was showing real interested in putting Punta Galera on the air, Sean my older son was showing the first signs of being interested in 11m radio :-). That night we decided to do our hardest to activate Punta Galera, forget Cala Tarida and the other islands we'd thought of, being so close to PG really wetted our appetite, we were desperate to find someone with a boat stupid enough to take us and our equipment to Punta Galera Island..
The following day
we'd decided to ask all the boat owners on our beaches
Our last chance was
an old guy which hired out Motor boats and pedal boats on the small beach
we visited everyday. You could always find him sat under an umbrella all day every day
right at far corner of the beach hiring out his equipment, I don't think I
ever saw him leave his chair, I didn't hold much hope of him understanding
me never mind him helping us with our quest.
So that was it, all was in place, as long as the weather stayed good, and the old guy with the motor boat kept to his word, two new islands would be active on the up and coming weekend.
As the weekend grew close, all three of us couldn't wait for Sunday when we'd do PG, there was something about Punta Galera Isl, after some thought we decided to change our plans and activate PG first, and if the 12v battery was still ok, we'd do Cala Tarida Island which was 47km away the following day on Sunday ( this turned out to be a good decision ! ). Sms's were sent mentioning our change of plans and again authorization was received re the callsigns and date changes etc.
I think the main reasons for our plan changes was the challenge, Cala Tarida Island is a smaller island close to a lovely beach, tourists go on the island to sunbath, dive etc, its wasn't much of a challenge, where as Punta Galera would be much tougher, only accessible for us by a Motor Boat, it would be much more of an adventure for my sons. Not only that, we had no idea how long the 12v Battery would last, what a nightmare it would have been if we'd have done Cala Tarida first and the battery was dead after, I'd have had to hire another car and buy another battery :).
Saturday morning soon arrived and our excitement started to increase, I'd arranged with the old guy ( which name turned out to be Vicente ) with the motor boat to take us to Punta Galera at 12:00pm local time. I'd already got all the equipment ready the night before,
We set off from our hotel approx 10:15am with all the gear to the far beach. it's a far walk to this beach, especially when your carrying a canvas sports bag with a bloody car battery in it !.
Sean carried another sports bag with the boxed iC706 and a few bits and
pieces, Ryan had the easier task of carrying the vertical antenna with our
umbrella taped to it.
Even though we'd arranged to leave at 12:00 midday, we couldn't wait any longer, I was receiving messages from various friends mentioning the band was in decent shape, some were asking why we wasn't active, so I told Ryan I was going to see if Vicente could take us 1 hr early, this wasn't a problem and within minutes we were packing our radio gear into the Zodiac Motor Boat.
At this point, I started to film various parts of this and our following Dxpeditions, so I'll let the camera do some of the explaining. In all I took 1.6gb of photo's and video footage, this was to be used to help validate our activations, I have used a few minutes of this footage to produce four short films for anyone interested, there is one film for each activation, these films were not intended to be used as proof to validate our activations, I've put them online just for a bit of fun really, hopefully the clips will show how much we thoroughly enjoyed putting these islands on the air.
Ok, here are the short films I've produced, they are not good quality, its the first time I've attempted to do anything like this, once you've watched the films please come back to this page to read the end of the story
So you've hopefully seen the short films, I told you they wasn't good quality.
The amount of contacts or other radio factors came less important to us as the activations went on, it was the sense of adventure for the boys which gave me the most pleasure, seeing the kids enjoyment by taking part in the planning / organization etc was great. This holiday, and our iota activations has got Ryan and Sean really interested in Islands, in fact they've already started planning their next island activities, hopefully I'll be involved at some stage, probably when its time to foot the bill :-).
Thank you for reading this ( long ) story, I want to to close by thanking a few friends which helped us along the way :
Regards, hope to hear you from our next adventure !.
Regards, Ryan, Sean & Darran.
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