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The Balearics - Ibiza

24th April 2022 - Marina Ibiza - Pou des Lleos ( 14.6 nautical miles)

Marina Ibiza had been our saviour and the scene of our first painful dings on the boat. As the high winds had not abated since our stylish arrival we opted to stay put for a few more days after the family had left. We needed to get the engines serviced to maintain the warranty anyway. As it had been Easter all port police offices had been closed so it was finally time for us to try once again to check in. The Maritima Capitana ended up not being the place we had to go to and in the end after a brief recce, Carl walked off with our documents and passports in search of the ferry terminal where there was a small office for the port police. I stayed behind with the guys that were doing the very expensive 250hr service which Carl could have done himself but we needed the Yanmar authorised service agent stamp. I was a tad nervous about what Carl would encounter and when he rang me I was half expecting him to tell me there had been problems. In fact, he said that the port police argued that he did not need a stamp at all as he was on a boat. Carl politely disagreed but they were adamant. Eventually he managed to convince them to stamp our crew list, a document that I had produced and printed with our names and our little logo on it to look official. Short of wrestling the stamp out of their hands this was the best we could do. The Facebook Med sailing forums are littered with people trying to make sense of what one official has told them versus another. At least we had proof we tried although who knows whether that would be enough to convince the next official.

We’d spent four nights at the marina and it was time to head off. Whilst the wind was still quite strong it had swung round to the west and was due to die off later on so we figured if we could find an anchorage on the eastern side of the island we’d be ok from the swell. After our pre-job brief we cast off the lines and moved off from our spot. It was still pretty gusty but we left Marina Ibiza at midday without incident. As soon as we came out of the harbour we raised the main sail with one reef, and unfurled a full jib. The wind was 21.5kn and the swell was around 0.5m. We ended up having a lovely sail along the southern coast of Ibiza, our boat speed peaking at 8.5kn.

True to the weather forecasts the wind steadily dropped and as we came round the corner between Cap Roig and the island of Tagomago, we spotted our anchorage. No other boats were there so we could pick our spot. It looked like a largish bay but on closer inspection the water was disturbed either side by some rocks, only just surfacing in the gentle swell. Closer in there really was only space for one boat. We dropped our anchor in 4m in a sandy patch and dug it in. Our first attempt at this brought us a bit too close to the rocks but we nailed it on the second attempt. We were bang in the middle of a gorgeous spot. As the water is so clear in the Balearics I decided to go and check on the anchor. The water was not quite warm enough for me to swim out to it so I jumped on the paddle board and, rather ungracefully, leant over the edge, lying on my front with my mask on. It was buried nicely in the soft white sand.

As we had our post passage beer we looked out on a beautiful bay with a small beach bar at the head and fisherman’s huts built into the surrounding rock with jetties to the water. Before the sun disappeared we took the dinghy to a small pier, tied up and decided to have a cocktail at the beach bar. We sipped our Mojitos, listening to Reggae and watched as a few other boats came in, took a look at our spot and the nearby rocks then moved away. One monohull opted to stay but much further out than us. We really had nabbed the best spot.

We opted to stay another night there so the following day we went for a walk along the cliff. The fisherman’s huts continued all long the little inlets of the bay. As did the nude sunbathers on the the jetties. When we had walked a sufficient distance from the nude sunbathers we decided to fly the new drone. This would be its maiden voyage. Carl had previously owned two other drones but both had met watery graves. This one, a DJI Mavic Air 2S, had strict rules applied to it. There would not be a fourth one if this one met Davy Jones so Carl was getting to grips with it on land. The photos of Rockhopper in the bay were fantastic.

26th April 2022 - Pou des Lleos - Cala de San Vincente (2.59 nautical miles)

Since there was not much wind the following day, we opted to up anchor and motor round to Cala de San Vicente which was just a short hop. We had eaten onboard the past few days so fancied a bit more of a town and dinner out. We dropped the anchor in 6m in a large bay with a lovely sandy beach. It was fairly rolly though, the swell was coming straight into the bay. Not nearly on a par with Talamanca thankfully so we opted to stay. We had a couple of drinks along the seafront and ate a lovely meal in a restaurant called the Beach House. It was beautifully decorated with lanterns, buoys and fishing nets, with large leafed pot plants in-between tables to offer privacy.

Over dinner we discussed which way to go the following day. The wind had shifted round to the NNE which made our original plan of heading to Portinatx on the north side of the island less appealing. Even though we would be backtracking we decided on heading back towards the south side of the island and opted for Formentera again.

27th April 2022 - Cala de San Vicente - Badia de S’Alga, Formentera (24.5 nautical miles)

After a miserable rolly night with little sleep, we set off at 9am, glad to be moving on. We raised the main sail with one reef again and full jib. The swell was a bit uncomfortable but we slowly made our way back through the cut, dodging ferries from Ibiza Town to Formentera, and came to the clear blue waters of Formentera again. There were several boats already in the bay and they had already taken the shallow water sandy patches closer to the shore. Amongst them was a Lagoon 46 called Joy. We had watched the Sailing Joy YouTube channel for a while now as the owner, Ed, had previously owned a Lagoon 42 from new and had detailed his specification in some of his videos. He had gone into a great level of detail as to what he thought were useful additions and what in hindsight he would not have bothered with. Perfect for us would-be buyers.

We had to anchor a bit further away from them all, hunting out the small patches of sand in-between the sacred Posidonia. We finally found a spot and anchored in 3.8m. I did my paddle board flop-over-the-side manoeuvre to confirm all was good. It was at this point I think that we decided that our threshold was 19C. If the sea temperature indicated 19C, we would consider it warm enough to swim. We were a few degrees off that still. We were actually glad that we were a bit away from the other boats as ours was filthy. After months in Queensway Marina in Gibraltar there was a nasty scum line around the hulls. We were starting to feel a bit embarrassed about it. Especially when Ed and a friend paddleboarded past our boat. Carl sat on the paddle board and dutifully made his way around the boat, one hand with a sponge and the other holding on to a sucker that clamped to the boat. Bless him, he made it all the way around one hull and was nearing completion of the second before I heard a splash. Carl had had his first swim from the boat. Just as graceful as mine.

With the boat looking lovely, outside and in we decided to put on the blue underwater lights that night. We hadn’t managed to talk to Ed from Sailing Joy but we wanted to show we were proud of our boat too. No sooner had we put on our lights than we saw Joy, light up with blue lights too, not only underwater but on the spreaders too. We were suitably outdone.

29th April 2022 - Badia de S’Alga, Formentera - San Antonio, Ibiza (30.1 nautical miles)

Throughout our meanderings around Ibiza, our friends Steve and Carol on Innamorata II had been nearby. They had managed to find a spot in Botafoch marina (the one that had no room at the inn for us on our Talamanca nightmare day) and had waited out the strong winds there. Friends of theirs had joined them there too. Bill and Laurie from SV Toodle-Oo were from the US and had met Steve and Carol when in the Caribbean several years before. In fact, when we were in Formentera before with Charlotte and the family, we saw Toodle-Oo come into the bay and watched their greeting with Innamorata II. That was the first time they had met up since then. It really is a great community! Steve had introduced us to them at the time but as we had guests it was difficult to have a proper chat.

Innamorata II had told us they were in San Antonio and the wind looked favourable for a sail up there so we decided to go for it. We again raised the main sail with one reef in and full jib (our go-to set up for Ibiza in April!). We sailed up the SW side of Ibiza, the swell sufficiently small so that we could have the water maker on. At this point we noticed that we were getting 1600W from our solar panels. That was a record! As we came up the western side of the island the wind became stronger and the angle was such that we had to sail close hauled and tack a few times. There was at least 25kn AWS and every time we tacked the jib sheet had twisted so much that the self-tacking jib did not fully move over to the other side. One of us had to get onto the coach roof and twist the block that was attached to the clew of the sail so that the sail would move freely over to the other side. There was so much force on the sail at this point that once sufficient twists of the block had been removed you had to be very careful that your fingers didn’t get trapped as it suddenly flung itself to the other side. At this point we thought this was such a terrible design and messaged our Lagoon 42 friends to see if others had found a solution. As we rounded the corner into Badia de Portmany to head east towards San Antonio the wind was on the nose and we put the sails away. We motored into the Port de Sant Antoni and saw a sea of mooring balls in front of us. We spotted Innamorata II between the mooring balls and the beach. Steve had previously told us that there was room next to them to anchor but as we neared the spot we saw that Toodle-Oo had come in next to them. We passed Toodle-Oo and edged further forward towards the beach looking for sufficient distance between us and Toodle-Oo to drop anchor. The problem was that it was getting pretty shallow. At 1.1m below our keels we had gone as far as we dared so we stopped, drifted back a bit and dropped the anchor in 2m of water. We were a tad close to Toodle-Oo but we weren’t expecting strong winds that night so figured we would be alright. In fairness a bit more strength in the wind might have helped us all stay pointing the same way. Apparently, whilst Carl and I were off tasting the delights of the party capital of the Balearics, Bill had to pull his anchor up a bit to put a bit more distance between us and them. We’d swung a different way to them as a cat is prone to do in light winds compared to a monohull. The following morning he said we could have ‘passed the mustard last night’. Oops. He was good natured about it though.

As a promise to our good friend Niki, we headed for Cafe Mambo and had a cocktail watching the sunset. The season was due to start in a few days so it was still fairly quiet. San Antonio doesn’t hold much charm to be honest. Beyond the beach front bars there really isn’t anything to recommend it. Bill and Laurie took off the following day but we opted to stay another night. Carol had told me that there was an Overseas Store there which sold things like HP Sauce, Yorkshire teabags and English mustard. I was running dangerously low so we stocked up. That night we had drinks with Steve and Carol on their boat then headed out for one last dinner in San Antonio.

1st May 2022 - San Antonio - Portinatx (16.3 nautical miles)

May had appeared and we were thinking that we should be making our way to Mallorca soon. Time was ticking and even though the port police said it didn’t matter, we decided to keep the 90 day Schengen clock running. We opted for one more stop in Ibiza before we would make the jump to Mallorca. Portinatx had been recommended to us by several people for its crystal clear water. The forecast was for light winds so we decided to rig the Code 0 sail. All things looked hopeful as we set off and unfurled the Penguin sail. Innamorata II had left just before us so as we came up the west coast we came along side and then overtook them. Feeling smug we came round the corner on to the northern coast. The wind started to wane, we moved further out to try and capture a bit more wind but it then died completely. Innamorata II had already furled their forward sail and had started to motor. We were now further out and they merrily overtook us hugging the coast line.

We’d managed 40mins of sailing. As all sails were furled and we were motoring on one engine, we decided to try and untwist the jib sheet by trailing it in the water behind us, a suggestion from our friend Tony. Carl untied it from the track, not easily done after having that much tension on it and we trailed it behind us. Worked like a charm.

Innamorata II had already been to Portinatx so opted to go into another bay on the north coast. As we approached Portinatx we saw Toodle-Oo anchored in the bay. They had nabbed a prime spot. This time we gave them a bit more room and anchored in 3.4m of crystal clear water. It was beautiful. The water was so inviting. We checked the sea temperature. It was 19degC. That was it. We donned our swimming costumes stood on the port side sugar scoop, jumped into the water, swam across to the starboard side sugar scoop and climbed the swim ladder out. It was bloody freezing! As we warmed up in the sun, we saw Bill and Laurie coming over in their dinghy. They have a really lightweight dinghy with an electric outboard, very stealthy. They invited us for drinks onboard later on. So at 5pm we went over to Toodle-Oo. Their boat was immaculately clean, beautiful inside. They offered us G&Ts and crudités. I decided I needed to up my game on the snacks offered with drinks. A tube of Pringles would not suffice. We had a lovely evening with them. Us, ever eager to hear all about their adventures in the Caribbean and the east coast of the US. They told us about the Ocean Cruising Club which they and Innamorata II are members, and the Salty Dog rally which would be a good option to meet like minded sailors coming down the east coast of the US. As US citizens (although Bill was originally from the UK) they suffered from the same third country 90/180 day affliction that we did. However Laurie had a relative from Portugal so, whilst they were still in the States she applied for Portuguese citizenship. She told us it took three years and she had to learn Portuguese but she got it - a Portuguese passport! The golden ticket to unlimited travel in the Schengen zone. Bill, being her husband, could be taken along for the ride.

The conversation came round to where we were headed next. It appeared that they were also waiting for an appropriate weather window to get to Mallorca. Steve and Carol were too. We all decided that the 3rd May was the day and that we would head for Santa Ponsa if possible. It was a good 50nm so an early start was required.

3rd May 2022 - Portinatx - Andratx, Mallorca (51.8 nautical miles)

We set off at 6:50am the next morning. We knew it would be a close-hauled sail as the wind was coming from the east, the direction we were going. We also knew that our boat doesn’t point very well so it wouldn’t be as fast as if it was beam on. What I had failed to check was the thunderstorms and rain forecast. From my previous experience I checked wind and swell. But of course if you have rain and thunderstorms, there would be squalls with localised increases in wind and a confused sea state. The sea was rough from the start. We had 1.5m swell and we were bashing in to it. We had set off with one reef in the main and full jib but that quickly dropped to 2 reefs as the wind picked up. The swell increased to 2m and as we tried to create enough of an angle to have some speed in a forward motion it appeared we were destined for Barcelona rather than Mallorca. Eventually we had to put both engines on in order to make headway in the right direction. A bit soul-destroying to run the engine when there was plenty of wind. Just not useful wind. At its peak the swell increased to 2.5m and we had to put a third reef in the main and a reef in the jib. All the while ferries were going back and to. It was pretty miserable to be fair. We had started out in front of Toodle-Oo and Innamorata II but as we bashed through the waves we watched the two monohulls overtake and pull away from us, making much better headway in the right direction. By 3pm we were able to finally shake out one reef in the main and turn the engines off. We were fast coming to realise that we would not make Santa Ponsa by nightfall and opted to head to Andratx instead. We had heard that Andratx had mooring balls to tie to but out of season you could also anchor as the mooring fields had not been set up yet. We came into the bay it was clear that one field was already set up. We saw on the other side of the bay that one boat had anchored. We headed over there. As I stood on the bow looking at the sea bed all I could see was rocks and huge concrete blocks where mooring lines were supposed to be tied. I told Carl I wasn’t happy about mooring there. We contacted the marina and asked to tie up to one of their buoys. They guy came out on a dinghy and pointed us in the direction of one, sandwiched between a fish farm and another large catamaran on the next ball along. As we lined up to throw the lines to him the wind gusted up to 20kn. We backed away and tried again. Once tied off we sighed a huge sigh of relief and cracked open a beer. I messaged Steve to ask ‘how was the crossing for you?’. One word reply - ‘Shit’

On the positive side, we were now in Mallorca!



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