28 March to 17 April 2017
Cala Portinatx, Ibiza to Puerto de Andraitx, N39° 32.7′ E02° 22.8′, 50nm, 9 hours
to Palma Nova Bay, N39° 30.86′ E02° 32.55′, 18nm, 3 hours 30
to Cabrera, N39° 08.81′ E02° 55.96′, 30nm, 6 hours
to Porto Colom, N39° 25.23′ E03° 15.80′, 25nm, 5 hours
to Porto Cristo, N39° 32.1′ E03° 20.4′, 10nm, 2 hours
to Puerto de Pollenca, N39° 54.1′ E03° 05.1′, 35nm, 7 hours
Our crossing to Mallorca was brought forward a few hours by a rolling swell in our anchorage at Portinatx which meant neither of us could sleep so at midnight we decided just to up anchor and go. We sailed through the night, enjoying watches under a sky filled with so many stars. Stefan even saw a shooting star. As with our night crossing to Ibiza we had to slow down at the end in order to reach our next port in daylight.
At sunrise, the much more mountainous coastline of Majorca came into view and we made our way towards Andraitx. Right across the harbour entrance, anchored without a care for anyone wanting to enter, we found a huge and brand spanking new superyacht. Its name, Here comes the sun, was however at least appropriate for the time of day. We later learnt that its Russian oligarch owner’s previous boats were also named after Beatles songs.
We didn’t stay long in Andraitx on account of the yacht club being extremely expensive. Even a mooring buoy was 30 Euros a night. One night, using as much water and electricity as we could, and we were out of there! It did however, give us a glimpse of the more dramatic scenery and crystal clear water that Mallorca promised.
It might seem strange that for our next stop we should choose a resort favoured by sunburnt young Brits for English breakfasts washed by bucket cocktails but the bay at Palmanova promised very good shelter. It also promised a chance to catch up with Val and John who we had met too briefly in Chipiona and Cadiz and also Jackie’s daughter, Fiona, our Pintail family.
Importantly the anchorage offered us an opportunity to really test out how long we could go without being in a marina, how much water the water maker could make and how much power the new generator could give. Pintail was very happy at anchor just off the peninsular of Torrenova and we were just a short walk from John and Val’s new house on the other side. Very happy that is until the wind turned April fools!
We were keen to catch up with Val and John and their salty seadog, Oscar. We had loved their attitude to sailing and to life. Their boat name says it all – Seize the Day. We also owed them more than a drink or two for their advice about anchors, helm covers, European sim cards – advice we had taken and were extremely grateful for. When we arrived we found that Val was in hospital with a horrible tumour for which she had just started treatment and which had put paid to their sailing plans for this summer. However, we did get to catch up with John and Oscar, nearly every day in the lovely Blue Bar from where we could sit and watch the boat ignoring the madness of Magaluf just streets away.
We also invited John and Oscar on board a couple of times. Oscar just loves being on boats, running round and round the deck trying to catch seagulls!
During our stay in Palma Nova we took the bus round the bay into Palma. Amongst trying to buy various things we needed and trying to get my camera fixed, we did manage to see some of the sights, dominated by the wonderfully Gothic cathedral.
Amongst the jumble of architecture and blossom trees we found a tiny shop which, as well as selling Mallorca’s version of black pudding, also sold dried chillies. Stefan had nearly exhausted his supply on the boat and, as fresh hot chillies seem very hard to find in Spanish supermarkets, was grateful to be able to stock up.
Before we left the anchorage in Palmanova bay we had time to cook a meal on board for Fiona and meet her husband, Fernando. It is so good to share stories of Pintail’s adventures with those who have sailed in her. Every time we see them we hear about more places that she has been before.
After leaving Palma Bay and our detour to Cabrera, we continued our journey anti clockwise around Mallorca.
Our next stop was Porto Colom, a wonderfully unspoilt fishing village with a fantastic well protected natural harbour. We arrived to some rather incongruous and loud reggae music on a neighbouring boat and the aftermath of a local triathlon but the next day peace and quiet returned. There was nearly no one on the streets in the tiny old town.
We followed the tamarisk lined street and the sign to find the “interesting beaches” and out to the lighthouse, enjoying our morning coffee in the shade of more blossoming tamarisk. They reminded me of my garden at home.
In Porto Cristo we found a town busier with tourists but a few streets back from the bars and restaurants near the quay we found a shady square and watched swallows soaring and swooping around the old church (though too fast for my camera!).
Porto Cristo was also our first experience of mooring on a public quay. With people walking up and down it does feel a little bit like living in a goldfish bowl. We were slightly disconcerted when groups of people gathered at Pintail’s stern pointing their cameras and smartphones at her. Until, that is, we were told that the boat opposite us belonged to local boy, Rafa Nadal. They weren’t interested in Pintail at all. I later tweeted Rafa to apologise for the view of our laundry!
Our final stop in Pollenca was our base for our Easter roadtrip. Surrounded by limestone peaks on nearly all sides it was a resort town gearing up to the holiday season and a lovely place to stroll along the long beach stretching around the bay and around the little wetland reserve.
Pollenca was the setting for the evil arms dealer, Richard Roper’s Mallorcan home in the BBC’s adaptation of John Le Carre’s The Night Manager. The former military fort, owned by Lord Lupton, is incredibly imposing perched on a peninsular stretching into the bay. In its shadow we were inspired to watch the series for a third time. If you haven’t seen it already, we thoroughly recommend it!
We were really sad to leave Mallorca after just over three weeks. That time had enabled us to really explore the island. Importantly though, time spent with John and with Fiona and her family, gave us more of a sense of being part of a place. We know from our time with The Germans and in Gibraltar that finding a community always helps us feel more connected to a place.
So thank you John and Oscar for all those “long walks” to the Blue Bar. Val, we are sorry we didn’t get to see you but wish you love and strength for your treatment and a recovery that sees you back on the water really soon.
And to our Pintail family, we look forward to seeing you again with tales of more adventures, only next time of places she hasn’t been before!
Selfie, with Fiona and Fernando.