Balearic is. (cont.)

We refuel in Palma because Ross has heard that there is a problem with algae growing in the fuel tanks which usually only occurs in the tropics. He adds an anti-algal chemical as he refuels to prevent this happening.

Leaving Palma (view of the cathedral)

Junior sailing school

We anchor at Las Islettas to have a relaxed lunch and swim. The waters here are beautiful.

Anchored off Las Ilettas

Taking Bruce´s advice we track about 8 n.miles s.west from Palma to Cala Figuera. This is a delightful small and very narrow, steep sided cove, below a very old stone walled-town. There is only space for a few boats. We are the only boat here during the night .

Cala Figuera

Testing the wine out of the barrels at the Santa Catarina market in Palma

We are particularly pleased with a stern tie up to the rocks here until in the morning some large vessels go past and set up a huge swell. The swell is exaggerated coming in through the narrow opening of the cove.

Leaving Cala Figuera

It seems prudent to go back 1 n.mile to Cala Portals to anchor in calmer waters. There are only a few boats in this very attractive cove with several small beaches.Cala Portals with view of the Phoenician caves

We recognize Australian accents on a nearby yacht and start chatting to the skipper. With introductions we realize he is Ian Treleaven, co-author with his wife, Andrea, of "Letters from the Med". Quite by co-incidence we have just recently been referring to it about the anchorage at Las Illetas. Ian saw Impulsive in both our anchorages there too, recognizing the Australian flag, but he couldn´t find us. Unfortunately we have planned to leave now for Cabrera Island so hope to meet up at a later date.

Ian and Andrea´s yacht

The crossing is 28 miles with some sailing. We arrive to see Spanish bureaucracy at its best. Ross applied for a permit to stay here a few days ago. The marina´s fax machine was not working but he is given verbal permission over the phone ( with Peter translating for him). When we present the copy of the fax sent to the authorities they say we cannot stay without the correct permit, and that the 50 moorings are allocated to other yachts. This means we would have to return to Mallorca. They finally agree we can wait until the ranger visits each boat at 7pm. and see if there is a spare mooring. He agrees we can stay, thankfully. There are at least 8 spare moorings Impulsive could fit on. We had been warned these people are difficult, and they are.
Cabrera is a Maritime-terrestial national park and ecosystem. It is rugged , with small coves, occasional beaches and massive cliffs. The waters are exceptionally transparent with wonderful visibility and so it is a treat to swim here.

View over the natural harbour from the castle

We walk up to the castle , built in C14, which towers over the entrance to this large natural harbour. It was to prevent pirates using it as a place from which to make raids on Mallorca. Also it was used in the C19 as a prison for french prisoners from the Napoleonic wars. There is a grave yard in rememberance for the hundreds who died there.

View across to where we will later sail

View of the castle

Bird watching is popular here. We see the shags, and the Audouin gull (one rests for sometime on the dinghy motor). It is lovely to hear the bird life early in the morning and the cicadas shrilling in the evening. There are many varieties of the Balearic lizard which busily dart across the walking paths.

Impulsive moored at Cabrera Island

There is a lovely peacefulness to this anchorage once the sun starts setting and in the early morning.

Sunset at Cabrera island

Dinner on Impulsive

Looking out to see where we later sail

Sailing back to Mallorca we anchor on the s.east coast at Playa des Carbo near I. Moltana with a small number of boats looking over a pristine white beach and sand dunes. We take a dinghy ride into the small and friendly fishing harbour at Puerto Colonia de San Jordi, filled with local boats and lined with fishing nets.
The following morning we enjoy our ritual early morning walk and swim . it is difficult leaving this delightful anchorage.

Playa des carbo

Ross is very pleased with the new rigging. Tracking along the rugged , cliff lined coast we sail for a short time with both sails up, but are then headed by the wind so just motor sail west with the headsail up 28 n.miles across the Bay of Palma, anchoring back at Cala Portals (Portals Vells). We enjoy this cove. There are large caves here dug out by the Phoenicians for tombs.
Views of the Phoenician caves

Busy beach at Cala Portals

This anchorage is very full and the small beaches are colourful and busy. We enjoy hearing happy young families having fun. This is in contrast to when we were here during the week last time. All but four other boats leave by dusk and we make another stern tie up in case there is a large swell during the night.

Stern tie up


This morning we see an amazing sight. Looking back towards the sandstone rocks just behind us a bride appears with her groom in tails. They look stunning in this setting and we soon realize it is for a photo shoot.

Bridal photo shoot

It is lovely to meet up with Ian and Andrea, and their friend Sandra, for a cup of coffee on their boat, Cape Finisterre. It is exciting to see their new book " Letters from the Caribbean". We are pleased to now have a copy on board to refer to for our trip there.
Now we track n.west past a rugged coast line and round Punta de Cala Figuera. Passing by red faced cliffs with their mountainous backdrop we call into Cala de Santa Ponsa, anchoring outside its picturesque and very narrow harbour. Walking through there we see the most robust and colourful oliandas, and cascading bouganvilleas we have seen.

Cala de Santa Ponza

After tracking past the enormous rugged and coastal cliffs Port d `Ándratx is a lovely and very picturesque bay to arrive in, with its marina and working fishing fleet, and mountains in the background.

Tracking along the coast to Andtrax

Andratx fishing port

We anchor in the outer harbour as it is calm. Also the marina prices are escalating especially after July 1 which is the beginning of the peak season. (Ibiza is up to €350- per night now!). This anchorage is very pleasant looking over the attractive houses which come down to the water´s edge and are set in amongst the pine trees. It looks like an idyllic lifestyle.

House opposite our anchorage

We have a delicious dinner looking over a row of parked cars to the fishing fleet. Seafood is the specialty here. Also we are treated to a wonderful waitress oozing personality and fun. Having read the main town is worth a visit , and is the usual few miles inland I encourage Ross to ask for a taxi so we can visit it because he wants to leave early tomorrow morning. The waitress is amazed at this suggestion and keeps asking us why. The taxi driver is even more amazed even with his limited english. I have to admit it hasn´t been one of my better ideas. We returned to the restaurant where we were picked up from luckily, so we could walk back to the dinghy. This was a good decision because with all the discussions going on before hand we both have a slip in concentration and leave our nap-sack there. The restaurant is about to close and they are closed tomorrow. We have the computer in it amongst other things. We are very grateful to our waitress for caring for it for us.

The fishing fleet wake us as they leave from 4am. onwards and leave a large swell. We are warned this will occur and so are prepared for an early rise. We leave for Ibiza at 6am. on a beautiful, calm morning. With slight winds from a south of west direction we track 49 n.miles, with the headsail up when there is enough wind, to steady the boat in the swell. The wind later drops out completely and the water is glassy.
We anchor at Clot de´s Llamp. This tiny cove is really only big enough for one yacht, so we enjoy the peace here. It feels as though we are sitting in front of a Van Gough painting with all the colours and striations in the rocks of the very high cliffs where they have been forced upwards and compressed.

Striations in the rocks

Ross spends much time here organizing a s tern line so we can stay the night but the swell from the east becomes quite strong so we decide to move on to more shelter. This swell from the east is very persistent here.

Putting out a stern line

We call into Cala de San Vincente but there is not space to anchor here with so many small moorings or the water is too deep. This is slightly built up and has some magnificent homes built into the cliffs.
We anchor under the high red cliffs at Cala del Lleo. This cove has a difficult entry with dangerous rocks each side (which seem to be incorrectly marked in the Pilot book) and a submerged wreck.

Cala del Ileo

There are some quaint old fashione fishermen´s huts lining the waterfront of the Cala, which adds a real character to the anchorage. It is worth while finding this more protected anchorage as we both have a better sleep without the rolling.
A catamaran comes in late yesterday and anchors very close to us. We find it has settled over our anchor so we have to ask them to move so we can leave. They are are lovely french family and the parents, when they come on deck are obviously very sleepy. However it may be a blessing because Ross realizes there dinghy is floating free and returns it to them.
We manage to drop a fender overboard so have a "man overboard" practice which is an excellent exercise every now and again, especially in a sea with a swell.
We continue tracking south along this very attractive coast with its wooded coves and rocky outcrops. There are not many built up areas , nor many boats about. We are surprised as we are only 10n.miles from Ibiza port.
Anchoring at the small Cala Llonga is delightful, not withstanding the few white, modern hotels. It is unexpectedly protected from the swell even though it is exposed to E-SE-S. Again swimming in these waters is a treat.

Cala Llonga

Cala Llonga - the skipper at work

We are excited to be meeting Ramon and Angeles in Ibiza later today so decide to take Impulsive into a marina to wash her down and have her gleaming We are disappointed to hear every berth is taken which is often the case in peak season even though there is space for 1,200 yachts in Ibiza port. We move on to the neighbouring anchorage, Cala Talamanca. Fortunately we have an excellent weather forecast and enjoy being in this relaxed place with a cool sea breeze to tend to boat cleaning.
We meet Ramon and Angeles at their hotel so we can all watch the semi-final of the soccer between Spain and Germany. It is a good match, especially as Spain win 1-0. Now Spain will have its first final ever, against Holland on Sunday nighthis is a wonderful start to our few days together.
Back on impulsive Ross and I sleep well until the large swell comes in at 4.30. Luckily it subsides and we fall back asleep for a couple of hours.
After provisioning early we pick Ramon and Angeles up with the dinghy and have a lovely sail with both sails up with winds up to 15 kts. from the east. We track south to pass through the Freu Grande passage to Isla Espalmador for two nights. This looks like boating paradise out here with boats everywhere of all shapes and sizes.

Angeles practising her knots

Angeles enjoying the sailing

Ramon arranged us two nights here on a mooring which is very appreciated (after our experience at Cabrera is., and others we have heard about here), so we can explore Formentera. This is a very peaceful place even though there are many boats moored here. Also we sleep well as it is well protected from the east and its swell
The long, white pristine beach here is fantastic. We walk along to the southern tip where many people walk across from Isla Espalmador through shallow but choppy waters to Formentera.

Aerial view of Isla Espalmador

Choppy waters between Isla Espalmador and Formentera

Sunset at Isla Espalmador

Ramon crewing

We have a sail just with the headsail, up to 6kts., to Sahona Cala a beautiful cove protected from the north by Punta Rasa. Swimming here over a clear sandy bottom is the most amazing light turquoise colour we have ever seen, and there is so much of it.

Angeles and Ramon swimming at Sahona Cala

We enjoy another excellent sail up to 7 kts on our way back to Porto-de-Sabina. We appreciate every opportunity to sail in the mediterranean as it is usually only possible to motor sail.
This is an attractive but very small harbour with lots of activity with ferries coming and going, so manouevring the boat here is quite difficult.We have come in to drop Ramon and Angeles so they can catch a local ferry back to Ibiza to stay in their hotel. They never sleep well on boats (even though they have their own) and unfortunately last night was no exception with a very calm night.
Settled back on the mooring at Isla Espalmador a man swims over to Impulsive. He recognizes our Australian flag. He is Australian, sailing with his Irish wife and their son on his father -in-law´s yacht which is a Salar 40 - the same as our previous boat. We enjoy having a drink on Impulsive with them after dinner. Adrian, the father is 80 at the end of the year and has been sailing here for the last 12 years. He leaves the boat at Porto-de-Sabina and returns for 6 months a year to enjoy the summer months here. He has just realized he probably has to sell the yacht next season because it it starting to be too much for him. To live his lifestyle until now is quite inspirational. (He is a retired lawyer!).

Salar 40

We go ashore early to coat ourselves in the sulphuric mud in the pools in behind the beach.

After visiting the mud pools

The black coating gives a real sculptured look to the bodies. After it dries we have a swim in the beautiful sea to wash it all off and our skin feels rejuvenated after its exfoliation.
This morning we leave this low-lying flat area with it´s wonderful beaches and motor sail with the headsail north to the w. coast of Ibiza to Cala de Porta Roig to collect Ramon and Angeles.

Cala de Porta Roig

They have decided to wait and meet us in Ibiza tonight for dinner because Angeles is suffering from a migraine and it is all becoming difficult to organize. An easterly has come up where we next may have met them but Ramon thinks it will be difficult to get Impulsive in there.
We moor here in this delightful cala, and hope to return here tomorrow evening for the night. The contrast now we have returned to ibiza Island is very marked with its wooded coves, high cliffs and many rocky outcrops, but still with the lovely waters.
We are sad this morning to learn by text we have missed a rushed visit from Steve who has come to London on business. There was just a chance he may be able to join us very briefly and the morning he tried to contact us to organize it we were out of range. Now he is on his way home. We hope there is another opportunity.
We track further north up between the mainland and the grand Isole Vedra with a circle of cloud over the top it, to moor in Cala Badella another very attractive cove with its high cliffs. This part of the coast of Ibiza is lovely. After enjoying the scenery and reflecting for a while we move on. We realize we are having our last few days of our trip in the Mediterranean but are still settled with our decision to complete the circumnavigation.

Typical white houses along this coast

Fishing huts at Cala d´Hort

Next we moor nearby at Cala d ´Hort and enjoy a delicious lunch at restaurante Es Boldado, set high up on the cliffs with stunning views across to Isole Vedra, the high cliff faces opposite and the lovely beaches with the boats moored below. This comes recommended by a friend in Melbourne who visited here last year to spend time with her family. We are in no hurry to leave. Again the swimming is glorious.

View across the cala from the restaurant

View across to Isla Vedre

Now we track south and then n.w. back to Ibiza and are very pleased Ross manages to find us a berth in a marina. We motor sail with the headsail, mainly to stabilize the yacht in the swell.
We don´t plan to go further north to Sant Antoni as we have been advised by several people it very touristy and busy.
Coming in to Club Nautica is very difficult even though we are warned about the swell from all the ferry traffic. The staff here are totally useless, in fact Ross came in for a stern tie up perfectly and two of the young bucks just stood there and refused to take a line for us, just asking us if we had a reservation. Luckily a young english couple were there and helped out. I think they shamed the two young men into helping out in the huge surges here, and we are very grateful.
Once tied up we are pleased to be back in Ibiza with its long seafaring history, including the fact that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians lived here hundreds of years ago.

The old town seen from Impulsive at the marina

Ramon and Angeles take us on an evening walk through the old fortress (Dalt Vila) which is surrounded by renaissance walls. From the top we have panoramic views over Ibiza and the port. Looking across to the port entrance it looks as though the "Armada" is coming in as so many boats are returning to the marinas to tie up safely. It is a wonderful sight. We also have an excellent view over La Marina, the old sailor´s and merchant´s quarter.

View over La Marina and the Port

Narrow, winding streets

It is fascinating as we descend to wander through the narrow, cobbled streets. Finally we arrive at a narrow street filled with restaurants and shops still open. It is very lively with buskers and several gymnastique acts. Dinner here is wonderful, and delicious, in the cool of the evening and enjoying the scene as the lights gradually come on. White dresses seem to be the popular fashion of the day. (Funnily enough Angeles and I are both wearing one!)

Dinner at La Oliva

We have had a lovely few days with Ramon and Angeles and this has been a memorable night together. We are still hoping to see them in Australia in the not too distant future.

We don´t have the inclination to check out any of the famous night clubs as it is already quite late. We are told they don´t "warm up" until the wee hours anyway.
The surging on the stern tie up here is very strong , especially when the large ferries come in so fast. The speed restriction is 3 n.miles but they all seem to ignore this. Fortunately the ferries have stopped by the time we get back to Impulsive and the waters are calm.
Our plan is to return to Cala de Porto Roig to have a quiet and peaceful day enjoying a relaxing time here, and swimming and walking. However plans have to be flexible when sailing and when Ross checks the weather on the computer he thinks it will be wise to leave straight away for our 2 overnight sail to Gilbralta to avoid coping with stronger s.westerly winds forecast for when we get nearer to our next destination, so we let go the ropes and head for Gibraltar.
The seas are a little choppy and there is a swell until we clear the mainland and Formentera, and with the headsail up we are tracking at 8kts. for a while. Then they become calm and there is little wind so we are just motoring, but this a far better option than heading into the wind.
The sunset is beautiful and the sea is glassy smooth. A dolphin passes by, and later there is an abundance of twinkling stars. it is lovely being out at sea again.
As dawn breaks we are greeted by more dolphins and an early morning fog that is very common in this area. We are tracking by Cartagena so read up about its long and interesting history since 243 BC. Until now, for the last two hours , we could see lights ashore from a few coastal towns.
About lunch time strong s.w.winds of up to 25 kts. blow up, and the sea has become choppy with short waves. At times the S.O.G drops to less than 5Kts. It has been up to 8 kts up until now, motor sailing with the headsail up and with the revs up high enough to operate the turbo charger. (This uses less fuel). The wind comes around on the nose and the headsail is flapping against the rigging (which could damage the sail) so I have to rouse Ross from his rest to help bring it in (it needs two people to do this well in these conditions).
We are now concerned whether yesterday´s weather report is still correct. We need to check before rounding Cabo de Gala so we can go into a marina if necessary before tracking west to Gibraltar. We are tracking s.w. along the mountainous coast
of Spain and finally Ross has success with the moviestar connection. This should operate if within 10 n.miles from the coast. The weather forecast is still the same so we head for Gibraltar, another 160 n.miles. Soon the wind is dropping off again and the seas are calmer.
Later Ross is able to get confirmation of this forecast through sailmail.
There are many boats to watch out for ,as on the previous night, during the night watches.

Sunrise approaching Gibraltar

Unfortunately the weather forecast is incorrect and a strong westerly wind comes in mid-morning preceded by a very large and uncomfortable swell. The waves are large and there is a lot of wash over the boat. We finally decide to take a direct route in towards shore where there is more protection, and then track close by the coast about 10n. miles to Gibraltar.

Approaching the Rock of Gibraltar

We are pleased we have been to Granada and the Alhambra because we can by-pass the Costas del Sol and Malaga. We gather this part of the coast is over run with tourist development especially at this time of the year, the large majority coming from U.K. and Germany.

We have had a wonderful time in Spain. Neither of us was sure what to expect but we have enjoyed the lovely and welcoming people (except at some marinas - this may be a problem with our lack of the language), the delicious cuisine (including paellas and tapas), the many lively towns with their markets, the beautiful coves and beaches, and the crystal clear waters to swim in. A contrast to this is the magnificent Pyrenees. Also there is evidence of a long and fascinating history associated with Spain, as seen with all its medieval towns and castles. There is a strong culture here too, especially seen through the eyes of the Catalans.