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Nr 102. Mallorca – part 1

We have been in Mallorca for 3 weeks now and it is a great island to sail! Lot’s of beautiful sheltered bays and high mountains in the background.

Let me take you back to the end of February, when we finished sailing Ibiza and were on the east side of the island, ready to sail to the west coast of Mallorca!

This crossing would be 60 miles and with an average of 5 knots per hour, we estimated to be sailing for 12 hours. But the conditions were very good: a lot of wind in the right direction. So, when we started sailing at 8.30h, we hoped to arrive at Port d’Andratx before dark (18.30u) and we did, we arrived at 17.30u, so it took only 9 hours in stead of the 12 hours we estimated.

I call it ‘The Big 5’ you need for sailing and this was how it turned it sailing to Mallorca:

  • Windforce: 15-18 knots constantly
  • Wind direction: West, so we could hoist our biggest sail, Code0
  • Current: we had the current in our favor, giving us 1 to 1,5 knots extra pushing us forward
  • Swell: the waves were moderate and coming from the same direction as the wind (West)
  • Clear skies, sunny. We don’t mind clouds or even rain when sailing, but fog is killing!

When these 5 conditions are all aligned, you have a great sailing day. So on average we reached 6 to 7 knots and we could sail 100% of the 9 hours. If 1 of the Big 5 is not in your favor, you immediately drop 1 or 2 knots per hour in average speed and have a far less comfortable sail (think of waves crashing against your ship, slowing you down or the current holding you back 1 knot per hour).

But you have to expect the unexpected while sailing! So as smooth as the trip above sounds, it didn’t start that great! We planned to leave at 7.30u when the sun would rise, so we could enjoy 12 hours of light while sailing. In the harbor of Ibiza we dropped the mooring lines at 7.30h from the quay into the water and Gilles enthusiastically pushed the throttle. Then all of a sudden, 1 of the lines of the harbor got stuck in the propellor. We shut down the left engine, and slowly went back 2 meters to the quay. The line wouldn’t come out of the propellor when we pulled it. So the only solution was to get into the water with a snorkel set and try to release the propellor from the line by hand….

The water temperature in the harbor was 12 degrees and Gilles spend 20 minutes in the water, diving to untangle the line. He succeeded and returned on the boat, drank 2 cups of coffee and enjoyed a hot shower. And at 8.30u we sailed of…..Bad start, but after that a good sailing day to Mallorca!

In the last 3 weeks, we have seen the west and south part of Mallorca. Here are the places we have visited and the activities we have done on Mallorca.

Port d’Andratx

We reserved a place in this harbor for 3 nights when we arrived at Mallorca. A nice harbor, surrounded by mountains on which many trees grew. The sunsets in this part of Mallorca are great, so we filmed the sunset with our drone when the sky turned orange one night:

Cala Illeta
When we left Port d’Andraxt, the weather was still fine, 20-22 degrees and lots of sun, so we decided to visit a few bays on our way to Palma de Mallorca, where our next harbor would be.

Cala Illeta turned out to be very sheltered and the turquoise water still keeps amazing us here. It’s 5 meters deep, but such clear water, that you can see the sand and the bottom very well!

Cala Portals Vells

We continued sailing to south coast of Mallorca eastbound. Cala Portals Vells was mentioned as 1 of the most beautiful bays. It has the shape of 3 fingers and is surrounded by hills with trees.

We really enjoyed staying there and slowly we noticed more and more sailing boats. So the quiet season of January and February is over and from March more tourists are coming to Mallorca (many Germans and British).

I use the app Navily to check good spots for anchoring or tips from sailors about harbors. And in the app it was mentioned that Posidonia is a hot topic in the Mediterranean. Posidonia is the sea grass that grows on the sand. You can spot posidonia easily looking down from your ship. You are not allowed to drop your anchor on the sea grass or even have your chain laying on the seagrass. Maritime police are checking regularly and you have to move your boat or can get high fines. And this will be the case throughout the entire Mediterranean unfortunately! It makes it sometimes hard to find a good spot to anchor, especially when more boats are in a bay.

Palma de Mallorca

We arrived in the Bay of Palma de Mallorca, there are 8 marina’s here and we reserved a spot at Real Club Nautic de Palma de Mallorca. We made a reservation for 1 week, because this would be the week that a group of Dutch Trainers would arrive in Palma for the 4-day Train-the-Trainer we organized on the catamaran. It was such a great time, we really enjoyed working with the trainers. Gilles did a great job at catering and the BBQ we had on the 3rd day after a short sail was a success as well. This is the after movie we made of the 4-day training course:

We got great reviews by the Dutch trainers, it motivated us to do this 4-day training course again on 2,3,4,5 October in the Bay of Napels. So the Italian version is coming up!

After the 4 days of training in Palma, we stayed a few more days in the harbor and did sightseeing in Mallorca, before we left again.

Cabrera

When we left Palma, the wind had changed from West to South, which made it hard to shelter in the cala’s in the south part of Mallorca. We found out that a small island south of Mallorca (about 1,5 hour sailing) would be a great option, because it had a bay on the north side of the island.

I checked the island, it turned out to be a Natural Park consisting of 19 small islands called ‘Parque Nacional Marítimo – Terrestre del Archipiélago de Cabrera’.

On the main island only 20 people lived and only 50 visitors per day are allowed. You have to online reserve a mooringball in the bay and only 20-30 boats are allowed per day. During summertime, it’s fully booked 1 month advance. Now I could still book a spot on the website. I had to buy a permit for visiting the island as well. All together € 15, which is a not a commercial price at all!

It was a stunning beautiful environment, the island of Cabrera. I got flashbacks from the fjords in Norway, because this bay was surrounded by high mountains as well, called Majorca’s Sierra de Levante mountain range. The green hills were surrounding us by almost 360 degrees.

There is a 13th century castle on top of 1 on the mountains, we walked to the castle and had a great view over the bay of Cabrera.

After spending a quiet night a anchor, we left Cabrera again and sailed back to the mainland of Mallorca, to start to explore the east side and north coast of Mallorca. More about that in the next blog ‘Mallorca – part 2’!

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