Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Majorca -Visitors, Calas & Culture . 26 August - 1 October 2014


     From an anchorage in Cala Blanco, early on the 26th of August, we left on the journey to Majorca. With a gentle breeze we decided to unfurl the cruising chute but after several frustrating attempts to persuade it to unroll we gave up and raised the mainsail and jib. Two dolphins came to visit briefly to calm and delight us as we left the shores of Ibiza. The crossing was a wonderful sail of 56nm until at around 1700hrs the wind began to drop as we were approaching the Ensanada (bay) of Santa Ponza. We motored in and found a spot to anchor with interesting views of the shore, the beach and town and the flats, villas and hotels around the bay. 

    Santa Ponca was to become our 'home base' for resupply, refuel, rest and recuperation but this first time we left the following day heading towards Palma Bay to prepare for our run of visitors. We went to research a good place to collect from and deliver visitors to the airport. We were expecting high charges in Palma Harbour and didn't want to go in until at least the beginning of September hoping for lower off season charges.


Hanesh & Petra.     Our first encounter with friends we knew were not visitors to us but fellow cruisers from Lagos. On dropping our anchor in Cala Portals, a glorious three fingered cala with  beaches and the wonderful clear turquoise waters, we recognised a small red yacht that was obviously a live aboard vessel. It was indeed the 'Red Baron', Hanesh and Petra on Herz Dame. Ginny rowed over to greet them and once they had finished their meal they came over to visit us and we shared a delightful evening catching up on their journey since leaving Lagos, Portugal. We were to meet them again a couple of times in our cruising of Majorca before they set off to Ibiza.

Guy & Ginny With Petra and Hanesh From Herz Dame.

Diver Jon.      Jon was our first visitor and we met him on the beach at St Anthony de la Playa just 2km from the airport. We sat in the bay watching all the planes coming overhead and onto the runway. We had a glorious week exploring the calas of western Majorca.  Jon was keen to stay at sea and explore the more remote areas with lunchtime swims, evening BBQs on board and 'babe' watches with Guy. The ships binoculars were permanently attached to Jons eyes when other boats were in the vicinity!! He would also set off for hour long snorkeling expeditions and return to tell us the best places to see the sea life. He found a memorial to a fellow diver whose 'twin set' of tanks with a plaque were submerged below the cliffs in Cala Portals. No doubt, Jon will want something similar in Lyme Bay. Ginny and Jon studied the lovely rocky coastline of west Majorca describing all the rock formations after animals - some need a great deal of imagination, others were obvious. Jon was great company and returned after a week with a complete AOT and a few inches on the waist much to the amusement of his family. Hopefully Sue will be able to join us next year.

Guy & John Enjoying Lunch & The 'View'
Guy & Ginny Living The Dream
Guy & John With Resups Taking A Rest!
Another Lovely Meal In Santa Pozsa, Our Resup Bay.
Guy Bombs Diver Jon
Another Hard Day In The Office.

Steve & Fiona.     We spent our first night in a marina in Palma to meet Steve & Fiona from Dorset who arrived very late on 8 September. After a breakfast at the marina cafe, we set off east of Palma to explore the coast for new calas and anchorages. After the gruelling journey from UK, Steve and Fiona were lulled to sleep by the boats motion, we found ourselves moving further and further east to find a sheltered anchorage for the night. We finally anchored off the lovely beach of Es Trench and a sunset swim was the order of the day before supper on board. Steve and Fiona were due at their hotel the following day so we set off fairly early to motor back to Palma, no wind to speak of and we needed speed to get us back into harbour. Later in the day, the wind picked up to allow us a sail back into the waters off the city. They made their way to their hotel and we met later that night for a drink and tapas. They looked a lot more rested and alert by then.

Steve & Fiona Feeling The Pace Of Boatlife.
Steve & Fiona Awake After A Sunset Swim.
Steve, Fiona, Ginny & Guy Enjoying A Drink Or Two In Palma.

Nigel, Melanie and Jessica.    We arranged to meet Nigel and Melanie for lunch in Palma where they had an apartment booked for a weeks break. Having had a leisurely tapas lunch in the Placa Major we were taken back to their apartment to recover a bit. We invited Nigel and Melanie to spend the day aboard Kisti Two and then persuaded Jessica, their daughter to join us for sun and swimming in one of the glorious calas along the western side of the bay. It was a splendid day and we headed for Cala Portals with its clear waters, sandy beaches and beach cafes for cool beers and ice creams. As soon as we were safely anchored it was time for a swim, then light lunch and drinks, then more swimming with snorkeling and a swim ashore for ice creams before setting off under sail to return to Palma.  It reminded us all of those lovely trips on Jaldevi in Hong Kong. Perhaps a longer sail together next year around Greece?

Jessica, Melanie & Nigel With Guy.
Jessica, Melanie & Nigel Aboard Kisti Two.
How Big? Yet Another Tall Story.
Jessica, The Bathing Belle.
Jessica, The Mermaid!
Jessica, Ginny & Melanie Posing In The Water.
Nigel About To Win The Americas Cup!
All The Gear........
Melanie & Jessica All Smiles!!

Melanie On The Catwalk!
Nigel & Caroline.

       Nigel with whom we have shared a couple of yachts and his new partner Caroline were able to visit us in Santa Ponza for a meal and few drinks while out on a short weekend break from the UK. It was great to catch up and felt like old times again when we worked together and enjoyed each others company on the seas. We hope they will find time soon to join us for a week on the seas before embarking on their camper van adventure.

Guy, Nigel & Caroline
Nigel & Caroline Checking Out Our Photographs.

     We stayed in the Palma Marina for a day to restock and then receive Sarah who joined us, from the Isle of Wight on 15th August. Her sailing prowess, energy and 10 days holiday time enabled us to circumnavigate Majorca. The weather dictated we set off clockwise round to the west so it was off to Cala Portals and round to Santa Ponca again. We were blessed with good sailing and sunbathing weather and evening BBQs were the order of the day, plus runs ashore for the culture, sights, alcohol and restaurants. Sarah kept us amused with stories of her sailing exploits in UK and her varied social life. It was good to have a fellow sailor aboard. Picking up buoys Med style was developed, probably never to appear in the RYA syllabus, but an excellent way, very easy and a moral boost to the boys! The warm clear sea water helps. It was an exhaustive and most enjoyable 10 days and we look forward to her company and probable friend visit next year.

Sarah & Ginny Enjoying A BBQ.
Sarah At Home On The Bow.
Sarah On Baywatch Duties.
I Said "Coil The Rope, Not Tie Yourself In It'"
Sarah Spotting Jellyfish.
Sarah On Bowsprit Duties Again.
Guy & Ginny In, You Guessed It!
Walking Up To Castillo Belver, Palma.
The Two Blonds Enjoying Sunset Drinks.
Sarah With Just A Few Prawns For Starters.
Guy Shattered Coping With Two Women On Board!

Sarah Training For The Munich October Beer Festival.


    We were to complete 625nm during our 5 week stay sailing around Majorca with friends and ourselves. It proved to be another wonderful experience with delightful Calas, rocky scenery on the west coast, small ports on the east coast and lovely beaches all around. The following pictures are shown in the order they were taken as we jumped around, re-visited places and did not sail around until the end of our stay before departing which included another trip up the west coast. It is a great sailing area and you can easily get away from all the tourist magnets but due to costs, anchoring as much as possible is the order of the day. The west coast is stunning.

Santa Ponza. 

   Our base was to become Santa Ponza were we could anchor safely, sort out finances at Barclays Bank, resupply with ease and enjoy the ice cold beer.  It was a lovely spot, especially as the main tourist season had finished. The marina was also well sheltered and excellent for fuel and water resupply.

Anchored In Santa Ponza.
Cala Portals.

    This was to prove one of our favourite calls located a short distance from Palma. The cala had 3 small fingers each with a small beach and a restaurant. There were some interesting Phoenician Tombs, a naturist beach and Jon enjoyed snorkeling around this cala. There was good shelter from most winds and good anchor holding although it would often get quite packed with more boats than room available. It became our home port close to Palma.

Guy Enjoying A Swim In Cala Portals.
Entrance To Puerto de Andraitx
Isla Pantaleu.

   Isla Pantaleu was another favourite anchorage of ours with its tiny island and the delightful village of San Telmo. Dragon Island could be seen in the background. We strongly recommend this village to any visitor who wants to get away from all the mass tourism. It reminded us of the lovely restaurants on the islands off Hong Kong. We also know it was a favourite of Kate's when she worked in Palma and if anchored here enjoyed swimming round the island.

Isla Pantaleu, In Anchorage Off San Telmo.
Kisti Two On The Left.
Looking Back To Isla Dragonera Having Left San Telmo.
West Coast To Port De Soller.

     The west coast of Mallorca is absolutely stunning and a must, especially by sea. There are so many stunning places to visit and the area has plenty of history to enjoy, a lot of it of the artistic nature. Chopin, Robert Graves who is buried there, George Sands a French novelist and Ludwig Salvator all stayed, partied and made the area into a place for the rich and famous of their day as they do today with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones now owning a pad. Port de Soller is the only shelter and a wonderful anchorage with a seaside town that has kept its old charm and character. There is a lovely tram ride up to Soller itself in the hills from where you can catch an old Victorian wooden carriage train to Palma which winds its way out  throughthe steep hills of the area.

Skipper Surveying The Route Along The SW Coast Towards Puert De Soller.
Approaching the Anchorage At La Foradada For A Swim.
Elephant Rock!
The Elephant Charging Us!
One Of The Numerous Watch Towers High On The Cliffs.
Jon After A Sunset Swim.
Anchorage At Puerto De Soller.
Looking Out To Sea From Puerto De Soller.
Sailing Towards Elephant Rock On A Return Journey.

At Anchor For A Lunchtime Swim.

Long View Of Kisti Two And The Cliffs. A Typical Anchorage.
Anchorage at San Telmo With Isla Dragonera In Background.

Cruising Downwind Along Majorcan Coast.
Sunset Over Isla Dragonera.
Another Sunset Anchorage! Can't Remember Where!
Refuelling At Santa Ponza.
Harbour At West End Of Palma Seafront, Castillo De Belver On The Hill.
Flying Boats.

     There were a couple of lovely old flying boats that would fly around the coastline of Majorca and would regularly buzz us very close as they whizzed bye. I put this in for our Malawi friends who may recall the famous days of the African Lakes flying boat trips.

Being Overflown By Seaplane Along Cliffs To East Of Bahia De Palma.

View of the Boats at Anchor In Southern Arm Of Cala Portals.
View From The Shore Over To The Entrance To Cala Portals
Crystal Clear Water Of Rocky Shore, Cala Portals.
Guy Enjoying Another Sunny Sail.
View Of Cala Valdermossa On One Of Our Journeys Along The West Coast.
Lunchtime Swim Stop At Cala De Deia
Sunset Looking Out To Sea From Puerto De Soller Anchorage.
North West Coast And Torrent de Pareis Canyon.

         This part of the coast is again stunning and rugged with quiet isolated anchorages and an amazing cala with an enormous gorge. We explored this area with Sarah and wished we had more time to go further inland. We arrived just as the mass of tourists entered so did not remain long but is certainly worth a visit. 

Guy Looking At Our Anchor In Clear Waters of Cala Tuent, Breakfast Swim?
Kisti Two At Anchor Ready For A Run Ashore To The Torrente De Pareis.
Sarah All Smiles In The Cockpit.
View From Beach With Torrente Behind. Kisti Two In The Cala.

Looking Up The Valley Where The Torrente Comes Down To The Sea.
No Torrent Today!
Long View Of The Exit Of 'The Torrente' To The Sea.
Gaping Mouth About To Swallow Us!
One Of Many Caves.
Little Jellyfish Waiting For Us To Plunge In For A swim.
East Coast Majorca.

     The east coast was a much calmer coastline, rocky but without the steep hills. There were plenty of small calls with a small port and generally much more developed with plenty of holiday resorts. We did not have much time to explore but as always, visited every bay and our appetite has been wet for a future visit on the return journey.

Exploring East Coast Calas.
Leaving Porto Cristo After An Exploration For Another Day.

Sailing Through The Rocks From Cala Malgrats To Call Into Santa Ponza - Again!
Afternoon View As Rainclouds Break Up.
Guy Enjoying An Morning Rest on The Fore Deck.
Another Day In Paradise!

Kisti Two At Anchor And The Tram Running Along The Harbour En Route To Soller.
Dingy Full Of Water After Rainstorm While We Visited Soller.
Note Colour Difference Of The Water From Picture Above!

Rainstorm Chasing Us Up The West Coast. 
Another Day And The Same West Coast!
Yet Another Evening In Paradise.
Racing Through Swell, Washing The Decks.

Cathedral Of La Seu,  Palma Cathedral.

    No visit is possible to Palma without a tour of the Gothic cathedral Of La Seu. It is a wonderful building that took 300 years to build and a prominent feature of the Palma seafront by day and night when it is lit up.

Palma Cathedral, Not A Sail In Front, The Fountain In The Lagoon.
Entering Palma Harbour To Collect Or Return Guests To Land. Castle Belver Above The Harbour.
Phoenician Tombs Cut Into The Caves At Cala Portals.
Shrines Inside The Phoenician Tombs.
The Palau de L'Almudaina.

     This Royal Palace built on the site of an Arab Fortress is certainly a most amazing and imposing palace that must have been a real show of power in its days. Well worth a visit to imagine the life of Palma under Jaume II.

Palace De L'Almudaina, Muslim Fort Turned Into Gothic Style Palace. 

Main Door Of La Seu, Palma Cathedral.
Gaudi's Crown Of Thorns Candelabra Suspended Above The Altar
Side Chapel In The Cathedral.
Carved Dome Inside The Cathedral.

Silver Candelabra In Sacristy Of The Cathedral.
The Mess Silver!
Ginny On Terrace Of The Almudaina.
Castell De Bellver.

       This Castell is one of Europes most beautiful Gothic castles which stands on a pine clad hill overlooking Palma. It affords an excellent view and is well worth the walk up the many steps (although Guy never went leaving it to Sarah and Ginny!!)

Inside the Castillo Belver Above Palma City.

View Of Part Of The Port Of Palma.
The 700 Year Old Castle Belver; The Courtyard With Gothic Arches.
Storm Brewing East Of Palma, View From Castle Belver.
The Iconic Arch And Tower Of castle Belver.
Soller Train Ride.

   The Victorian tram ride to Soller has a wonderful old charm about it as it meanders up hills and through tunnels to reach Soller high up in the hills. Somehow, it always seems to rain when we do this trip!
Our Tram Trip Up To Soller
Guy At Halt On The Route Between Soller And  Puerto De Soller.
View From The Tram Window On The Ride To Soller.
Sitting Out The Storm in Soller, Late Lunch, Coffee, Cake and More Drinks!!
Trams Passing On Our Journey Down.
Note The Rain Puddles.