Formentera

31 May to 2 June 2019

Palmanova, Mallorca to Playa Trocados, Formentera, N38° 45.90’ E01° 25.86’, 76nm, 12 hours 30

to Calla Saona, N38° 41.92’ E01° 23.22’, 5nm, 2 hours

Formentera promised crystal clear water over bright white sand so in light winds we motored most of the way there from Palmanova and passed Ibiza. That didn’t stop Stefan trying his luck again with his new rod. Late in the passage the reel whirred into action and, despite his best efforts, another lure was lost! This fish was the biggest yet, he said.

The approach to Formentera was perhaps the busiest and without doubt the most chaotic bit of sea we have had to navigate in the Mediterranean. Being so close to Ibiza makes Formentera the ideal day trip. From enormous yachts to small motor boats, by the time we were arriving at 6pm everyone was making their way back to the big island. Add to that a constant stream of fast ferries in both directions. When we finally made it safely round Espalmador, the separate and private island at the top of Formentera, all we could see on the AIS was a sea of red in our anchorage. Beautiful Formentera most certainly is. Isolated it is definitely not!!

But we eventually found a good spot to drop the anchor and watch the sun set over nearby Ibiza.

In the wonderfully clear water of our anchorage we were surrounded by fish. Stefan couldn’t resist trying his luck with these smaller specimens. With bread for bait it wasn’t long before he had caught four. His first catches of our adventures so far. These small sea bream, grilled with garlic and chilli, were very tasty indeed. (We don’t mention that they cost €31 each if you count the cost of the new rod and not to mention our near entire bread supply!)

Formentera and Espalmador more than delivered on their promise of tropical paradise. Even the air temperature was hotting up. The sea temperature was not quite warm enough, however, for us to brave swimming!

But such surroundings were not lost on the hundreds of other boats full of people we had to share them with. However, there was one boat with a couple of people and a dog on board we wanted to seek out amongst the throng

and that was MV Ala Fresca and its crew, Roger, Carol and Boysie. We had first met them when we moored up next to them in Calpe in March 2017 and had kept in touch. They have become some of this blog’s most committed readers and Roger keeps track of us via the AIS. We have frequently received emails from him berating us for not having fixed the dodgy cable yet! It was brilliant to see them again on their lovely boat and Roger wasted no time in imparting all that brilliant sailing advice and experience we remembered him so fondly for the first time we met. We quickly made a plan to meet again the next day in another anchorage around the corner.

Having not even set foot on the island in the 36 hours we had already been there, we woke early the next day to take a barefoot walk before the day trippers arrived. It was just us and the resident lizards on the narrow spit of land that points up towards Espalmador.

We found elaborate stone sculptures left by other visitors

and enjoyed a breakfast picnic of hot cross buns given to us the day before by Carol.

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Back at the boat Stefan couldn’t resist seeing if his winning fishing streak would continue and within 10 minutes he had another four bream in his bucket. I really didn’t want to sound ungrateful, or indeed spoil his fun, when I told him I thought he should stop at four. It’s just our fridge could start to get a bit full and our diet a little monotonous!

We sailed off the anchor from Playa Trocados all the way to Calla Saona. In very light wind the five miles took us 2 hours but we were in no hurry.

Settled in the crystal clear waters of the bay we enjoyed the company of the Audouin’s Gulls which we had first encountered in Ibiza. They are very distinctive with their lipstick red bills and very persistent in pestering for food!

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In the afternoon Boysie and his shipmates came over for a cup of tea

and later we took him for a walk ashore along the cliffs, landing at the very rustic fishermen’s boat sheds which had an almost en suite toilet!

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From MV Ala Fresca we enjoyed one last Balearic sunset and Carol cooked the fish Stefan had caught in the morning.

Roger and Carol left for home in the early morning and in their motor boat were home by lunchtime! We would take a lot longer and planned to set sail for the mainland later. So we took a morning walk inland from the beach to stretch our legs, finding little more than some fields and windmills along an unmade road. Formentera is definitely all about its coastline. Few venture inland it seems.

Back at the boat we decided to head off early hoping for a good crossing to complete our Mediterranean circumnavigation…

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