The next morning we moved Cadence to Port De Las Caletas, a spectacular empty bay with high dramatic cliffs. We were the only boat in the bay. The next morning Jess and I left headed for Mallorca, a quick 55 mile hop. There was some significant wind forecast from the west, 20-25 knots and this would be perfect to blow us to the next island putting the wind behind us. The wind quickly built to sustained 35 knots and the seas were pretty steep and closely packed. This made for a different sail than we had in mind. Cadence handled it with no problem and we arrived Mallorca looking for some protection from the gale force wind.
We ended up in Santa Ponsa which is a nice little town, again predominately British. We stayed a few days and took care of some much needed items, laundry, food provisioning etc etc. One quick mention to the night we got basically booed off the stage at a karaoke bar. From Santa Ponsa we went to Les Illets, a small Cala not far from Palma which we wanted to visit. We were able to catch the local bus near the beach to take us into Palma. Palma is a busy metropolis with a harbor to match. There are several thousand berths for boats. The marina pretty much encompassed the entire bay surrounding the city. Mega yacht heaven, yuk. Makes me feel really poor. Where does all the money come from. In Palma we visited a Gothic Cathedral that dates back to 1230 AD. The cathedral is the dominant building in the city as it stands right on the water front and is enormous.
From Les Illets we sailed to Puerto de Andraitx and anchored just outside the harbor. We met our first Americans since we were in Portugal. They were a lovely couple from Mystic CT and were on their spectacular Nordhaven motor yacht. A real ocean going vessel built to go anywhere. This could very well be our next floating home one day. They have been all over the world the last 10 years with no plans on stopping their nomadic lifestyle. This little harbor was very much like the Edgartown Marthas Vineyard of Mallorca. Very upscale with wealthy Britts and Germans dominating the town.
Port Soller Mallorca
We left Andraitx heading up the North West side of the island headed for Port Soller. The landscape was amazing, sheer cliffs straight into the sea with huge mountains behind. We had numerous catabolic gusts hit us coming down the mountain slopes. The wind would change direction and go from 5 knots to 30 in an instant, then die suddenly. We were able to cruise very close to the coast as the water is all deep. We have arrived Port Soller which is the only safe harbor on this side of the island. From here we will go on several hikes and get some good land exercise. We have only just arrived but the anchorage is spectacular. We are surrounded by high mountains and a small town on the harbor where there is an old wooden tram still running between the port and the little mountain town of Soller. We enjoyed dinner with a lovely Belgium couple on Cadences sister yacht, another HR43 of the same year. We will wait here for a few days until our my sister Joan arrives. Very much looking forward to having my sis aboard.
Joan arrived mid day and we found each other in town. We decided after spending several days in Port de Soller that it was too nice to leave. The port town is right on the water and connected to Soller by an old victorian tram. The port town was centered around the harbor and the main town a few miles or so in land. The entire island is connected by pathways for both pilgrimages to the monastery as well as marked foot paths to every town on the island, which is 62 miles long and 47 wide. So we did a lot of hiking. Joan and I started with a short hike to a little interior town call Fornalutx. Really nice old villages. Of course being that its 2015 and people now vacation as they do, the town was over run with outsiders like us. But still very nice to visit.
The next day Jess Joan and I went for a 7mile hike, 2900 feet, coming close to the second tallest peak on the island. We ended up hitchhiking back and were lucky to get picked up right away by some other hikers that dropped us back in our town. If anyone reads this little blog, and likes to hike as well as spectacular little towns, this is the place to go. Crazy beautiful with a lot of history. We rented a car for two days and did some village hopping, and the oh so dreaded shopping. The interior towns on Mallorca were the ones that drive in the old days as the seaside villages were always being attacked by pirates or foreign invaders. We visited Deya, where Robert Graves lived and toured his home. We also visited Valldemossa and then the next day drove out to the monastery in Lluc. We were fortunate that at the monastery we came into the chapel just as the choir of children were setting up to sing. It was really something to hear twenty or so beautiful young voices sing in the old chapel. In the towns we enjoyed some nice meals and some interesting people. Don’t forget Mike Hunt, or Horn I mean.
Menorca After spending 7 days anchored in one spot we were ready to move on. Not really, we all could have stayed here longer but had to move on as we had other beautiful places to find, which we certainly did. Next stop was Cala De La Calobra for lunch and a swim and then to Cala Figuera for the night. Cala De La Calobra was absolutely breathtaking, we swam ashore and enjoyed lunch on the boat before heading to our night time anchorage. The next morning was off to our last island in the Balearics, Menorca. Unfortunately we had too little wind to sail so we motored most of the way. We landed in Algayerens, another beautiful bay. There are so many little beautiful bays that you easily forget their names and what they look like. Waking the next morning with signifiant swell and wind we decided we needed to vamoose and head for a safer harbor as there was some big wind forecast for the next few days. We had a beautiful sail into Fornels which was yet another nice town to visit. We anchored over a nice patch of sand and Cadence didn’t budge over the several days with 20-30 knots of wind. The Rocna anchor did a great job. We did a few hikes here as well and enjoyed ourselves. Pinch me. Its been a really great past few weeks as we have been visiting some beautiful places without the crowds. Thank goodness August is behind us and the kids have gone back to school and their parents are not on their mandatory month long vacation. There is always a place in the anchorage and the towns are not overrun.
After the weather settled we left for Mahon. It is the largest town in Menorca with some interesting history, from ancient monuments and relics to their more recent history of British rule, Lord Nelson even lived here. Now of course the culture is of laid back Spaniards going about life at a slow pace, but with a cosmopolitan feel. The town center is high above the harbor and is lined with upscale shops and restaurants. The harbor below is naturally protected and very large. We took a berth at the quay in town. We were tied up, mediterranean mooring style, where we come in stern first to the quay, tie it off, and then you take a line that is led from the quay but connects to a large concrete block on the sea floor and tie off the bow. So the boat is just in a stationary position with the stern close to the concrete quay. We used our 6 foot plank that is tied up on the lifelines used for fending off pilings or carrying extra diesel jugs as our passerelle. It seemed a little unstable but did the job and got us on and off the boat without trying to jump from the boat to the quay. How nice to be at a marina where you can just come and go as you please. The quay was busy as it was on the main street running along the harbor and had a lot of pedestrian traffic as well as boats coming and going.
We met up for drinks with a guy we met in the Azores, Inaki who comes from Menorca. He lives in Barcelona but happened to be visiting his parents over the weekend we were here. He apparently is a bit of a celebrity in the town as he just returned from a 2 1/2 year circumnavigation with his buddy Pol and Bruno. On Saturday Inaki took us out in his dinghy to visit the first British overseas hospital built which was on a little island in the middle of the harbor. It has been left in ruins since the 1960’s but recently has been undergoing some rehab and renovation into a museum. They are only open on Sundays to the public but no one bothered us and we had the whole place to ourselves. The pictures do it more justice than I can on this blog. Great little visit. Unfortunately Joan had to return to real life and was flying out after we were able to spend a few days here in Mahon. We had a fantastic time traveling with her and saw some great places and made some great memories. Cant wait to have her, and KIRK, back. Kirk, you would have loved it.