another beautiful sunset at San Antonio
Monday, July 23, 2012
We waited for favorable east winds to sail the 50 miles from Mallorca to
Ibiza. After a few hours of
motoring, the wind picked up as predicted, directly astern at 15-20 knots. The
waves began to build up quickly, but with wind and waves behind us, we were
sailing comfortably under poled out jib and staysail. These days, with the
luxury of simply waiting until the wind is right, we hardly need to run the
engine anymore. It feels great!
Ibiza sunset, at San Antonio
After nine hours, we saw land. The trouble with sailing with winds behind us is that, by definition the approaching shore is a lee shore, and there were large breaking waves all over the shoreline. For better protection, we went into Cala Portinatx, against a backdrop of wooded mountains. It was an attractive bay with three arms, each with a sandy beach, although crowded with sun bathers, pedalos and such. Since it’s a Saturday, it’s not unusual for the area hotel/restaurant to have some night music started at 9:30pm. We did not think too much of it when the music went on into the night. However, it went on till the wee hours of next morning …. 5AM should be considered morning …. it must be wonderful to be young and energetic, to be able to appreciate this ear-piercing ‘thump..thump...thump’ noise called music!
Where did we go next? An even better known party town, San Antonio Abad de Portmany. It used be a fishing village but has developed into mostly a touristic, partying town. The deep bay is well-protected by a breakwater and therefore, a good base for us to stay to do some regular boat maintenance and explore the island. Not surprisingly, by day it’s a quiet city (the clubbers must be in bed still), but at night there are a lot of people out on the streets looking for nightlife. Just outside the city in the surrounding areas, they have some of the “best” clubs on the island.
The citadel at Ibiza city
Sunday, July 22, 2012
After spending three weeks relaxing in Puerto Pollenca, meeting up with friends from
it’s time to move on. Forecast was
calling for NE wind, which was promising for 3Rivers to head west around the
north shore of Mallorca,
to get closer to Ibiza. Since Puerto Pollenca
is a huge bay, it takes almost 2 hours motoring in strong headwinds, just to
get out. But as soon as we turned the
corner, we were ready to sail. And true to any weather forecast, the wind is
always 5 to 10 knots either more or less than expected and we got more. We were told that Cala de la Calobra, behind
the Torrente de Pareis, a large and spectacular bay with a slit in the high
rocky cliffs, could be an excellent spot to anchor. However, the bay was too exposed on this day
and we saw three fair sized yachts rolling not-so-happily as swells were making
their way into the bay. So we decided to
head to Soller, one of our favorite towns and the only harbour of refuge on the
whole 50 mile stretch of the rugged, inhospitable northwest coast of Mallorca. The last
time we were here, it was in May and the place looked so different after two
months. Both the marina and the bay were
packed with boats. More tourists on
land, and that led to more shops and restaurants open for business. Another boat from Puerto Pollenca was also
there, and we spent time hiking and dining with Len and Lesley until two days
later when we each going the opposite way.
We did another five hours run to Sant Elm, but this time, we were
sailing with great wind behind us, instead of motoring.
Unfortunately, not so much for Len as he must be bashing into head wind
all the way back to Pollenca.
Road signs for the trails: the large one made of stones points another way.
The second time in Sant Elm was a charm. It’s a pleasant bay with sandy beaches. Although small, it’s a growing tourist resort with a nice ice cream shop, and a very nice restaurant called Es Moli. Ben had made a reservation for a mooring ball (free!) for the first day and were we glad that we did. The bay looked very chaotic, with boats of all sorts, and water activities going on everywhere. As soon as we turned into the bay, the port authority staff, the boat traffic controller, zoomed right up to us from his zodiac. At the time of our arrival, every mooring ball was already taken. One ‘unauthorized’ boat was told to go to make room for us. We felt so important.
The next day, after some boats had left, we’d decided to move closer to shore and anchored just beyond the buoyed off area for swimmers. The water here was simply crystal clear.
We almost didn’t want to leave Sant Elm as this little place had almost everything we needed. But strong wind was blowing into the bay, so up the anchor and off to Santa Ponsa we went. Same as last time we were here, we did not spend too much time checking out the area although it was considered as one of the most picturesque harbours in
Mallorca. Again, boats of all sizes can be seen here,
but one in particular, Candido, with a look of a spaceship, was anchoring right
in the middle of the cala.
The next day, it’s time for us to cross the water and to the party
. land of
This has got to be the most extraordinary mega yacht we've seen!
Monday, July 9, 2012
The 'Pine Walk' at Pollenca Bay
Market day at Pollenca
We have been enjoying our stay at Pollenca, and before you know it, three weeks have gone by! After a while Puerto Pollenca has become ‘our’ neighborhood. We know the good restaurants with suckling pig, roasted lamb shoulder, and sizzling steak; the little shop with wonderful home-made pastries; and the well-stocked groceries. We routinely take the 5-minute dinghy ride from our boat to shore, do a little grocery, or stop by a coffee, or take an evening walk. A few of our friends from Port Vell in Barcelona are also anchored here, plus some new yachties we’ve met, so we have a bit of social life going, including a birthday dinner. Summer has quietly arrived, bringing the occasional heat wave – especially if it’s a south wind from
Africa. But most days the temperature is pleasant, as
there’s usually a cooling sea breeze at the anchorage. The
is very big, but it’s well sheltered from the swell from the open sea. bay of Pollenca
We had one gale which was not really forecasted. It started in the afternoon, and the wind kept strengthening until it peaked with 48 knot gusts. The sound on the rigging was like a freight train, white caps whipped up within the short fetch and immediately blown flat into foamy spindrifts. Boats all around were dragging, including some unoccupied boats that drifted out into the middle of the bay. It was pandemonium! There is a government seaplane hanger at the other side of the bay, and fire-fighting seaplanes routinely takeoff and land on the water. We watched a seaplane landed during the height of the gale, and the plane was blown backwards on the water, unable to reach the hanger! Miraculously our anchor held. It went on for hours until mid night when it finally winded down. And the hope to watch the Euro 2010 final, Spain vs Italy, was blown off as we wanted to stay on the boat, just in case. We knew
had won, by the sounds of firework and cheering.
Seaplane unable to land on the water and forced to depart
Finally it’s time to move on. We picked a blustery day to sail west-ward around the northern coast of Mallorca, towards
the next Balearic island. The fresh easterly was directly behind us and we made
good speed on a dead run, with poled-out genoa and staysail wing-on-wing. But
we had forgotten how choppy the sea can be, with a 15-20 knot wind having blown
through the night. Anything not secured in the cabin was sent flying. Ah, too much wind, too little wind….
One more hiking trip before leaving Pollenca. This is Saint Boquer, a scenic pass looking out the north coast of Mallorca.