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Sailing in the Balearics

May 1998


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! Jacquetta's Symbol

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.

xDan 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....... 
xThis 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 focus on.
This is xthe 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 found in 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.
xDuring 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 conquering Spaniards
xIn the shadow of the palace Dan and I stop for a rest and got caught kissing.............
xAs 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.
xWe 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!
xAfter 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! 
xAs 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 furry donkey!
xOn 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.
xNext day only a few fishermen were out at sunrise. We slowly sailed out of Palma harbour and into the Mediterranean Sea.
xWe 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.
x

We took turns at the helm... here is Ben at the wheel.

x 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.
x

Dan 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. 

x 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. 
xDan 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 possible.............Yes! 8.4 knots! (hull speed of the boat 6 knots....so what!)
xBen 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!
xAfter 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.

xBut 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!
xThis is the water 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! 
I 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.
xOn 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............
{short description of image}We 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.
xAfter 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 lived. 

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 U.K.

During our stay Dan's friend xKai, who used to run Central Europe for Meta4 out of Munich, happened to be passing through Ibiza Town and stopped by to say hello! 
Ibiza Town 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'............
xAs we flew from Ibiza back to Palma to catch our connecting flight to London we saw the southernmost part of the island.
x
We passed Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia and saw Marina Botafoch where we had been staying. We waved goodbye to Gem.x 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 spent!
xWe 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...
xIt 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 next adventure.
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