Sitting at the helm with my laptop, we have arrived in Porto Pino, Sardinia after a 200 nautical mile, 30 hour crossing, our first two-handed overnight, no drama.
So just over six weeks ago we left the crazy hot Spanish mainland heatwave, fires on distant ridges, and arrived in the Balearic Islands, still hot but at least with a decent island breeze. There are four main islands – Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca – we managed to get to all four and circumnavigate two – perhaps we will explore the south east coasts of Formentera and Mallorca when we leave the Med in a year or two…
Whereas mainland Portugal and Spain had all been about marble, big castles and forts, the Balearics are limestone – cliffs, calas, caves, fishermen huts, walls, monuments and pirate lookout towers. The water was clear – all the shades – turquoise, lapis, teal, emerald depending on the seabed, and warm. Plenty of snorkelling (seabream, black sea urchin, damselfish, garfish, octopus and ray), kayak cave exploring and thunder/lightning storms.
First stop was Formentera west coast for a couple of days and to drop Matt off at the ferry. It was our first anchorage in the islands and it quickly became apparent that the Neptune seagrass Posidonia oceanica is a big thing throughout the Balearics (it is endemic and hugely important to the marine ecosystem – filtration, oxygenation and erosion control) and we were immediately visited by a friendly Posidonia agency rep to assist us with proper anchoring – always in sand. Formentera is a small and low lying island, turquoise water and golden white icing sugar sand, popular and very chilled – every anchorage was busy but there was always space, especially as the local boats would head home in the evening leaving us behind with the superyachts.
Next Ibiza – clockwise around the island, the west coast is a rocky coastline backed by green hills, boulders tumbling down to the sea with good sea cave kayaking adventures. Many pirate lookout towers, smugglers caves, fishermen huts built into the bottom of the cliffs and one hour hops to hidden sandy calas often with hotels and apartments, and isolated homes on clifftops and sides. We visited Ibiza town on a Sunday and wandered up to the necropolis (600 BC) – it is the largest in the world and very garden of Gethsemane, hillside limestone cave warren crypts and old old olive trees.
Off to Mallorca – Palma – big city!!! Many cruise ships, many superyachts, much boatwake and a great anchorage just out from the main cathedral. Looking towards shore we spied many more gothic spires but never got around to exploring old Palma as we wanted to wait until our crew arrived, then when they did the team decision was to head off – so, next time… New crew pickup, so exciting!!! Emily, Nicky, Jordan and Dan – off we set anticlockwise from Palma – more homes, bigger homes – white, pink, orange, and private rocky paths cut into the hills meandering down to sea platforms, high inland mountains, limestone cliffs, secluded bays and coastal walks through warm sweet smelling pine, wild rosemary and santorini.
- More sea plastic, boatwakes, Spaniards who don’t understand vel. max. 3 nudos or the port-to-port rule
- Sudden and vicious thunder/lightning storm at Port de Pollença – 40 knots for 10 minutes – NOETA pulled her anchor, kissed a boat, scraped port aft and finally rested, tangled in mooring line 600 metres away, fuck. Next day spent €800 on boat polish as David’s wallet stolen outside chandlery, Guardia Civil didn’t speak English, translator wasn’t available….but… the lovely Nora Appel found it, contacted us and returned it the next day, minus €
So now Sardinia……