The trip home was a whirlwind. Time flew by but it was nice to see family and friends. The wedding went off without a hitch thanks to Joys super organization and planning. I returned to Agua Dulce to move Cadence to the Balearics in time for Grace to arrive Ibiza. Jessica went on to Colorado to visit with her sisters family.
I decided to break the trip into two legs. The first was about 70 miles and the second leg an overnight that was 150 miles. I had the wind right on the nose the first day with some significant swell and wind chop going against, which made for a very slow first half. There are limited places to anchor off of southern Spain so I had no choice but to press on and make a night entrance into an anchorage which I hate to do. Usually at the head of bays, actually all over the place but especially in the shallower bays, there are numerous fish nets and buoys marking fish traps that you cannot see. I came in very slowly into a horseshoe shaped bay that had high cliffs on all sides. I didn’t arrive until about 11pm and was pretty nervous with the fish trap situation. Of course my powerful torch light failed me when i needed it most. Damn boat products, some are such crap. Any way, I was the only boat in the anchorage, so I set the anchor and backed down hard on it to make sure it set well and hit the rack. I planned on leaving the next morning for my trip to Ibiza. I woke up to what was pretty dramatic scenery. Huge cliffs on all sides, and of course the essential fish traps in front of the bay. Once again I dodged a bullet with the fish trips. In the morning there were several row boats with fisherman tending the nets. When I pulled the anchor I had a fish net wrapped around it. These damn things are everywhere. Regardless, the first leg I made without a hitch.
I left the next morning and started out motoring as there was no wind but by the afternoon I had 15-20 knots and sailed close hauled until the wind blew out. I motor sailed for hours than found wind again and would sail and motor the rest of the way, putting the sails out and taking them in multiple times, what a pain. Not the steady wind field that I was used from the Atlantic. They say in the med there is either too much wind or not enough. I found myself in and out of this situation for most of the day, that being not enough. I arrive the Island around 9am and was overwhelmed at first by the shear number of boats. Everywhere there were as many mega yachts as smaller boats. All going a million miles an hour. I pulled into a small Cala hoping to anchor and spend the day and night there but it was so crowded I could not find a space big enough to fit. I moved on to the next calla a mile or two up, found some space between a couple of like sized boats and put down the anchor. The first thing I noticed was that having clothes on put you in the minority at this spot. The boat next to me had a nude middle aged nude couple that after an hour of being next to me felt comfortable enough to have sex in the cockpit of the boat, out in the open. Welcome to Ibiza I guess.
The next afternoon I made my way to San Antonio, a large harbor with an anchorage in a fairly large town. I needed to provision the boat as I had pretty much no food on board. I purchased just enough in Agua Dulce to get me to Ibiza. So after my fourth attempt to anchor the boat, as I continually dragged in the super thick seaweed bottom, even with my superior Rocna anchor, I held fast and dropped the dinghy and engine to go ashore. I was greeted with what I will call the Wildwood New Jersey of Spain. I literally was expecting to see Snooki or the Situation at any moment, but of the English variety. The town is taken over in the summer by young Brits with minimal couth. I had to wait here for a few days until Grace arrived so I could only grin and bear it which is what I did. Once Grace arrived we decided to head to the closest Cala to San Antonio, as it was already late afternoon. We went about 3 miles and pulled into what ended up being my favorite anchorage in Ibiza, Cala Salada. There was one small beach bar surrounded by red cliffs and dug into these cliffs were fisherman shacks. There was decent number of yachts but just enough room for all to fit. We stayed here for a two days and then decided to head further north on the island to another cala. We stopped in the Cala Portixol which was Graces favorite spot. A tiny horseshoe Cala with enough room for 1 or 2 boats. We were the only one here, at least for the time being. Grace took a hike up one of the cliffs and was rewarded with a view up the island from high up, and the anchorage. This was truly a beautiful spot, but as expected, we were over taken by smaller power boats who anchored dangerously close, there was next to zero swinging room so we left.
We went our merry way to Cala Binirras, another fantastic spot. The coastline on the way here was amazing. Unspoiled high cliffs straight into the sea allow you to cruise very close to shore with deep water. The depths were 100 plus feet right up to the cliffs. Absolutely stunning scenery. Binarras has a big hippy scene going on. There was a little shack that drummers set up at and played beats and chanted weird music. Pretty cool spot and again super beautiful. We had a really nice few days, just daughter and dad but were excited to have Jess back the next day from the states.
We motored to a close cala the next morning where we would meet Jess who was due in. The anchoring in many of the areas I have been thus far has been suspect at best. It is often heavy seaweed on the bottom and the anchor has trouble setting. Up until Ibiza, we have only experienced dragging once, in Belize. So far here I have dragged 4-5 times and the anchorages are crowded so its a difficult situation. Sometimes you set it and it somehow pops out of the weed and off you go dragging slowly, until you realize your too close to another boat. As I was getting the dinghy ready to go into shore to find Jess the wind picked up, changed direction and we either dragged anchor or the boat next to me didn’t have proper scope on his anchor and we hit one another. There was no one on the boat after I yelled several times trying to alert them. I had Grace quickly bring in some chain to pull us away. Their bow hit me on my new stainless rail I had installed in Rhode Island and put a small bend into it. I hope its not a big deal to fix and don’t expect it to be but we shall see. This boating life is supposed to be relaxing but more often than not, its pretty stressful. Thank goodness I had Grace there to help. Once I left in the dinghy to go get Jess, Grace staying on Cadence praying we would not drag as there was significant wind that day, the skies opened up and we got a downpour. Talk about salt in your wounds. I was soaked but got Jess. Then with Jess on board we decided to move as we again, dragged anchor in this awful bottom. The windlass decided it had had enough and quit working. We quickly changed the fuse but to no avail. It was not going to work. I brought the rest of the chain in by hand and lashed the anchor down in the roller while we drifted out of the harbor into deep water and were coming up with plan B. Somehow, the anchor windlass started working again so we went back in to another close by cala and dropped the hook. These anchorages are so over run with boats its hard to find space. I thought Block Island was bad in the summer, its got nothing on Ibiza. We did manage to get settled and enjoyed a peaceful night in the Cala however. Grace and Jess wanted to get off the boat so we went in to a hippy bar and melded into the scene. Im sure I stuck out like a sore thumb but whatever, we had a few beers and enjoyed sunset.
The next day we needed fuel and a few groceries so we went back to San Antonio, the Wildwood NJ of Spain. Just as we entered the anchorage after getting fuel Cadence came to a dead stop and would not go into gear. I thought we ran aground as the boat just suddenly stopped, but there was a bigger issue with not getting into gear. We dropped the anchor in 10 feet water while I put on a mask and snorkel to go over board and have a look. We had caught a mooring line. The “F” ing town people have taken over the harbor with permanent moorings and this one had no ball marking its location. It had wrapped around our prop and totally immobilized us. Damn it!! It took me about 15 minutes to cut us free, fortunately there was no damage and we hit no other boats. Stressful. We left and went to another beautiful Cala, again crowded. The next day we went to Espalmador where we took a mooring provided by the Balearic preservation society. In the marine reserve they don’t want the ecosystem disturbed by the abundance of yachts so they put out moorings you can reserve in advance. The bay was stunning as well as the beach and we enjoyed a day in this little paradise. The next day we went to Ses Salines, the “beautiful person” beach. As its marketed. Well, they were wrong. The place was absolutely awash with beach goers, and certainly not the “beautiful person “ beach they sold us. Whats up with the tattoos. I thought Florida was bad as it seems 2 of 3 people are covered. Here is the same deal, they love their tattoos. We did manage to enjoy ourselves as the people watching was priceless.
We left the next morning for Cala Llonga where we would anchor up and taxi into Ibiza town. Ibiza town is the most populated town on the island and has a UNESCO world heritage sight. The D’Alt Vila (old town), founded in 6th century BC by the Carthaginians has many old interesting buildings with narrow little winding streets. Now they are filled with little restaurants and shops. We enjoyed a nice dinner and the ladies enjoyed some therapeutic shopping. The next morning Grace had a 7am flight so we arranged a taxi to meet us at the beach at the head of our cala and I brought Grace ashore before the sun was up so she could start her full day of travel home to Boulder. All in all, a great time with Grace aboard. We can’t wait to have her back next year while we cruise Greece.