in the Balearics
|Well, you may be thinking why another holiday.............we came
back from Eilat at Easter to find that some of the fortunate staff at
Sunbury Manor School had had a win on the National Lottery and I was
one of them!
I know I could have saved it for a rainy day but my philosophy has
always been to live for the present...........so we booked up with Sunsail to hire a boat in
Mallorca and sail
it across to Ibiza in the Balearics. These islands lay off the east
coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea and the weather is usually
sunny during May, or so I hoped.
This is the island of Mallorca. We would pick up the boat at Palma
which is situated on the south west side of the island and then do the
crossing sometime during the week. Another party had booked to pick
the boat up after us but they wanted it in Ibiza. I would have been
quite happy to sail around the island of Mallorca as it is very
pretty, especially in the north, but we had to get it across to Ibiza
or no deal..............so Ibiza it was.
took this picture from the plane as we were crossing over mainland
Spain. It is the coastline of Alicante and from here we would be lined
up for landing in Mallorca. It was to be our
first view of the med.......
was our boat named Gem. She was a Beneteau Oceanis 351. A 35 foot yacht
which we had hired from Sunsail and was berthed in
Puerto de Palma de Mallorca. The first thing we had to do was stow our
gear and then provision up! It was to be a long crossing and the twins
need their grub and Dan needs his grog to stave off hunger and boredom! It gets quite lonely
out there on the waves when all the jokes have been told and all the
questions have been answered. This was to be our first crossing out of
view of land so it would be very different and quite scary for
landlubbers like myself and the twins who have always had a horizon to
|This is the
pier at Real Club Nautico which met the shore at an old part of Palma Town.
It was walking distance from us. These windmills are everywhere around Mallorca...
Dan counted 20 of them
from the window of the airplane at Palma
|It seems that
cannons like these are everywhere we travel and Palma was no
exception, so here we all are posing. This particular cannon was to be
front of Consolat del Mar. I still don't remember who took the
picture! Palma is the capital of Mallorca and is a very pretty
place to visit. We decided to have a wander around as the weather was
grey and overcast and rain looked imminent.
| This is
a postcard image of the cathedral hence the blue sky! It looks splendid at night when it is all lit up.
We could see this from the boat and made a mental note to visit before
we left, although I must say that it looks far more impressive viewed
from a distance than it does close up.
our sojourn into Palma we
paused for a moment to appreciate the fountains and hanging gardens at
Palau de L'Almudaina, initially built by the Arabs in the 10th century,
then significantly modified and extended in the 13th century by the
the shadow of the palace Dan and I stop for a rest and got caught
all Spanish towns, the streets are narrow and the buildings tall. The
streets in Palma were no exception. Robyn and Ben had a good time
exploring the numerous gift shops until it started to rain and we had
to take cover in a restaurant which served very authentic cuisine and
kept us warm for the rest of the afternoon.
had fairly heavy rain on Monday which kept us from setting sail. Dan sat
in the small cafe on the harbour, drinking beer and writing
postcards. Robyn and Ben and I sat inside the boat and
played games and told jokes until they became boring and then prayed
that the rain would stop so we could go for a walk.
|And walk we
did..........to the nearest restaurant to eat ice cream and keep warm,
if that makes sense!
it stopped raining we re-organized in front of La Llotja, built in the 1400s
as an exchange (not a church, as we thought). The twins wanted to do
some more sightseeing and Ben especially wanted to buy souvenirs so we
headed in the direction of the Cathedral and environs where he spotted
a window full of small fun ceramic owls which was great as I collect
these. We purchased one each and then went wandering further afield in
search of who knows what!
we walked around Palma the day got brighter which was a relief to
everyone. We visited the Plaza Major, the main square in old Palma town.
Here you can see the twins latest acquisitions! I don't know how we
got these sombrero's home...........but at least Ben didn't choose a
returning to the harbour that evening we found that the weather
forecast looked promising so we decided to set sail at sunrise next
morning (Tuesday) for the island of Ibiza.
The crossing would be long and the start early so we all needed
as much sleep as possible that night. I had visited Ibiza a few times
before in the 70's with my girls. We had stayed at San Antonio then,
but this trip would see us staying on the east coast of the island.
a few fishermen were out at sunrise. We slowly sailed out of Palma
harbour and into the Mediterranean Sea.
were blessed with good winds... although the winds were 'on the bow' pushing us away from Ibiza instead of towards it. This was to
cause us a few problems later in the day but we made use of the winds
as much as possible and got some good speed from the sails alone.
took turns at the helm... here is Ben at the wheel.
Then I take a turn. Robyn is probably getting the snacks ready for
lunch and Dan is probably disposing of the beer...........or then
again he could be using the GPS to plot the course to the nearest
harbour on Ibiza. We had been told by the Sunsail rep that the
crossing was a 'piece of cake' and that he had done it many times. He
did not tell us however that we would be sailing for many hours and
well into the night! That's one thing I would have been glad to know
considering we had two children on board.
put up some flags. There was a Spanish flag for me, a pirate flag for each of the twins, a
European Union flag for the boat, and two American flags for Dan.
This is a view from the bow. It was a nice day, no rain and the winds
were strong. We took a long time clearing the harbour but once we were
out the sea became less choppy and we felt like we were tearing along.
|Dan says I steer by the wind, not by the course!
All I know is that I want to get as much out of this boat as
8.4 knots! (hull speed of the boat 6 knots....so what!)
got tired so he slept. Dan said he was 'studying the set of the mainsail'
but I rather think that he was just bored! A lot of time spent at sea
seems to be boring, especially if it is cold and wet as well. We were
lucky that the weather was kind to us and the waves were nothing like
the one's we had experienced when crossing from Gomera to Tenerife in
the Canary Islands. They had been HUGE!
the long, grueling and sometimes scary 17 hour passage, we enjoyed our new home at Santa Eulalia on the
island of Ibiza. I have never been so glad to reach a 'safe haven' as I
was that night. We arrived at 12pm and sailed into the harbour. We had
been battling with winds 'on the bow' that were pushing us backwards ever
since we sighted Ibiza. I have never night sailed before and it was
pretty scary I can tell you, but Dan knows his stuff and we arrived
safely, if exhausted and berthed up outside the harbour-masters
quarters until the morning when we were given a berth further along
the harbour. Thank goodness for the lovely Spanish guy who was on duty
that night. He was so helpful and we were all at the end of our
patience and energy. He told us the next day that many people sail
across from Mallorca to Ibiza and have the same problems with the wind
as we did. Perhaps we should have been told this fact when booking
because it may have caused me to change my mind about the trip or
postpone it at least until the twins were older.
This is a postcard showing an ariel view of the harbour.
Gem could be found on the fifth pier from the large T shaped pier at
the entrance to the harbour. We loved Santa Eulalia and decided to
look around the town and perhaps even do a spot of sunbathing on the
very clean beach.
before that.........Dan enjoys a cool beer on the waterfront and Robyn
and Ben write postcards to all their friends warning them of the
horrors of night sailing!
|This is the
taxi taking us back from Es Canar, north of Santa Eulalia. We went there
to visit the 'Hippy Market' which was set up in the seventies by
migrating hippies from Northern Europe. They apparently settled in Es
Canar which is a pretty little place where you can by the usual
souvenir junk as well as hippy souvenir junk!
was hoping it would be more Spanish with nice leather belts and
brightly coloured wood engravings, but that type of market was found
later in the week in the centre of Santa Eulalia, thank goodness! We
had a great time here, just relaxing and enjoying the sun which had
come to stay.
Friday, we made our way to Ibiza Town to deliver the boat to the Sunsail
rep and to catch the plane that would take us home to Perrysfield.
Here is Captain Dan............
sailed past a fortress which looks out over Ibiza Town. This was first built in the 14th century, but much
of what's visible today was rebuilt in the 17th century.
arriving but before giving up the boat we had our last lunch below.
This is the view below deck........ to give you an idea where we
When we opened the Sunsail complimentary fizzy wine, the cork disappeared through the
hatch......... zoom, gone! We never figured out where it went.
Probably on its way back to Mallorca by now. We toyed with the idea of
a 'message in a bottle' but thought that childish and not very
environmentally friendly anyway.....so we drank the fizz and binned
the bottle in the nearest trash can along with all the other rubbish
that had accumulated during the trip. The sombrero's however, were
considered valuable souvenirs and had to be transported home to the
|During our stay Dan's friend Kai,
who used to run Central Europe for Meta4 out of Munich, happened to be passing
through Ibiza Town and stopped by to say hello!
is the 'clubbing' capital of Europe but we were not there for long
enough to sample its delights, and anyway, Dan had forgotten to bring
his tutu! Did find some weird postcards and posters though. As you can
see, anything goes in this part of town 'a noche'............
we flew from Ibiza back to Palma to catch our connecting flight to
London we saw the southernmost part of the island.
| We passed Ibiza
Town and Santa Eulalia and saw Marina Botafoch where we had been
staying. We waved goodbye to Gem.
She had been a great boat and we had had a great adventure. One that I
won't forget in a hurry I can tell you. That was Lottery money well
were supposed to have a "brief" stopover in Palma but this
wasn't to be. We were scheduled to leave
at 7PM, but did not get underway until 4AM. Here is the departure board
at some point...
was a long night. We finally arrived in London sometime after 6AM. Its a
shame this sort of thing happens with Spanish air-traffic control but
it does......all the time. But nevermind, we were home and had lots of
souvenirs and memories of the Balearics to keep us going until our
|Well, that's it for the Balearics. I hope you enjoyed the ride!
Come back and visit us soon. I'm sure there will be more adventures
for Captain Dan and his crew!
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Material Copyright © 2001 Dan & Jacquetta Holle