28 July to 9 August 2020
Playa Trocados, Formentera to Cala d’Horts, Ibiza, 38° 53′ 3″N 01° 13′ 4″E, 15nm, 2 hours
Cala Tarida, 38° 56′ 4″N 01° 14′ 0″E
Cala Codola, 38° 57′ 0″N 01° 13′ 31″E
Cala Benirras, 39° 05′ 23″N 01° 27′ 5″E
Cala Blanco, 39° 06′ 2″N 01° 29′ 0″E
San Antonio, 38° 58′ 5″N 01° 17′ 9″E
Cala Xarraca, 39° 06′ 2″N 01° 29′ 51″E
Total 67nm, 12 hours
It was clear that any thoughts of a quiet life at anchor in the Balearics were something of a fantasy. These party islands are still partying. It’s definitely not as busy as a normal summer but there are still a lot of people about and most of them on boats. Ashore there are fewer people but also not the same adherence to social distancing or mask wearing as had been so reassuring in Almerimar. It is as though being on holiday is in itself a vaccine to the virus.
This steeled our resolve to spend as little time on land as possible.
We had spent only a very short amount of time on Ibiza on our way into the Med. Out of season it had been mostly closed up and although the interior had been beautiful on our one day road trip the White Isle had not inspired. With time to kill before heading back to Gibraltar it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a second go. Just this time from a social distance.
We made the short crossing from Formentera, fuelled by our favourite tostadas con tomate. We planned to go around the outside of Es Hedra, a high rock island off Ibiza’s south west coast. When Babs and Rene had last taken the narrow channel between the rock and Ibiza they had seen the wind escalate from 5 to 35 knots. With 15 knots already we didn’t fancy that kind of escalation. However, the closer we got the more confident Stefan was that we could make it. The wind crept up to 20 knots and we were hurtling for the gap at nearly 8 knots. Reassured by the presence of others doing the same we held our breath and then, wham! No wind whatsoever!
At our first anchorage at Cala d’Horts, tucked behind Es Hedra, we found a rather large neighbour, and enjoyed a spectacular Ibizan sunset. From there we started a clockwise navigation of the island.
Isolating on the boat is a little more restrictive than our life in Margate. No Netflix to while away a few hours, not so easy to pop out for a long walk, no volunteering to tell us what day it is. However, the reality is that it’s not being on the boat at anchor but the heat that has proved more restrictive. It is almost impossible to do anything more useful between 11 and 5 other than lie around. Enjoying an hour of air conditioning during the generator run only makes emerging back into the heat more difficult. Luckily we have a big swimming pool on our doorstep and the boom tent has really come into its own, providing much needed shade in the cockpit and down below. We’ve kept up our daily Spanish lessons but our exercise routine has been abandoned in the heat!
We willed the sunsets for which Ibiza is so famous to come sooner and dreamed of finding an anchorage where the sun might disappear sooner. As we headed away from the west coast we were hopeful.
At Cala Benirras the headland in front of us looked as though it would do the trick but as the sun got lower Stefan said “It’ll be just our luck if the sun sets between the land and that rock!”
That rock is Isolate Bernat but is better known as Queen Victoria due to its resemblance to the monarch on her throne. And Stefan was right, provided no respite from the sun until it was gone.
From the busier anchorages of the west coast to the quieter more rugged bays of the north we just took each day as it came, moving a few miles at a time.
Twice we sailed back and forth along the beautiful northern coast with its sharp rock islands and towering headlands.
We went ashore very little. We were just content to hang out in our Pintail/Momentum bubble drinking coffee, whiling away several hours reminiscing about past adventures, discussing the state of the world and mourning the freedom coronavirus has robbed us of. This also meant lots of time hanging out with our favourite boat dog, Rizzo, who would whimper with delight whenever Stefan was around.
One day it also meant being treated to freshly baked by Babs scones complete with jam and clotted cream (sourced from the British supermarket in San Antonio!)
Babs and I passed another enjoyable afternoon having a leather making workshop on board Momentum. I came away with a brilliant monogrammed notebook case complete with memories of the Med in the form of a Turkish lucky eye bookmark. I just need to find some notebooks to fill it!
Driven from the northern coast by an increasing swell, we spent more time anchored off the busy resort town of San Antonio than we had planned but it was good and safe and offered proximity to Lidl! We were also just off the famous sunset bars which provided a chilled out soundtrack to our sunsets – even when the big boats plonked themselves right in the middle of it. As the sun dips completely into the sea a huge round of applause rings out from the shore.
The closest Babs and I got to hanging out with the cool crowd was a quick photo opp on an afternoon walk with Rizzo!
Somewhere around San Antonio our fixing free streak ran out. During a fabulous sail around Isla Conejera (Rabbit Island) our genoa refused to furl properly. A good greasing of the furlex soon had it wound up nicely again. It was also around this time that our dinghy woes began and those were not to prove so easy to resolve. Until now we had been using our small outboard which is much lighter but much slower than the big one. When we finally winched the big outboard off the deck and onto the dinghy it started to fill with water, lots of water. Getting the dinghy up on deck Stefan filled what he thought was the hole but water still came in. We resolved to use the small outboard to avoid sinking but Stefan wasn’t happy with how it was running so took it apart to give it a look. And as he did, in a slow motion bounce from deck to swim platform to water, the plastic fuel jet from the caburetor fell to the bottom of the sea. Just like that we had to revert to the oars!
From our final anchorage Cala Xarraca we revisited Portinatx, the holiday town where Stefan had started to dream of living on a boat and anchoring in quiet bays. We had been totally alone there out of season in 2017. Now the anchorage was stuffed full of boats of all sizes and the beach packed. It felt like a completely different place.
Only the entrance with its high cliffs and flat rocks were familiar.
Babs and Rene planned to cross to Mallorca to make their way towards a winter in Menorca. Weather windows for the crossing came and went and with it our thoughts about joining them. We had said to ourselves that Ibiza was as far east as we wanted to go with everything that was going on but the truth was, now reunited after 2 years, we weren’t ready to say goodbye to the Momentum crew just yet. That and we had ordered the replacement outboard part from the Honda dealer in Palma!