Sailing in Balearic Islands, or how a skipper repaid his debt after 5 years

It’s official, after 5 full years, Greece is no longer my favorite place to go sailing, it has been surpassed by amazing Balearic Islands, Spain. Don’t get me wrong, Greece is still one of the best places to go sailing, but oh wow! did Spain over delivered, that much that we can’t wait to go back over and over again in the next years, as we feel we saw 5% of what those islands had to offer.

My friends at FunSailing decided to add a new route to their calendar this year, and try Spain for the first time. For a week (11-18 July) we were a “small” family of 16 people, on 2 boats: Alcor and Sirius, coming from all over the Globe (predestined names: Alcohol boat and Why so Sirius?:) ), with our “Patrons” Baloo and Horix.

Horix finally managed to pay his debt to me: after years and years I finally got my own cabin, and I slept like a queen the entire week 🙂

Arriving in Palma de Mallorca was pretty tricky, as flights are expensive during high season, especially from Romania, but we managed to find various flights with AirBerlin, Lufthansa, Germanwings or Vueling/Wizzair around 200-300 euro. Lesson learnt: for next year we will plan the flights earlier, as you can find cheaper options under 200euros. People landed between Thursday and Saturday morning, and we all met in Son Veri Nou, where H. found an accommodation until our boats were ready Saturday afternoon in Portocolom.( our host David was very nice and accommodating: AirBnB here). Sou Veri Nou is a pretty quiet area, with lots of rental houses right next to the sea ( from David’s house terrace to jumping right in the sea took me 40 seconds, more time to lock the door than to jump in the sea), but it does have some bars and restaurants when you walk in the direction of S’Arenal.

Now let’s go on my fresh memory lane and write down our adventure day by day.

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Sirius: Bavaria 50 -Baloo, Marcu, Dragos, Laura, Gabi, Mircea, Bogdan, Radu

Alcor: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44i – Horix, Popix, Mitush, Flori, Simona (aka Broscuta), Adi, Andreea, Radu.

Friday 10th July

IMAG1117I woke up early in the morning, excited to wait for the rest of the gang, but bummed because I had to work almost the entire day. Well, bummed is a big word, I was still on a perfect terrace with sea view, in my swimsuit, running for a swim and back between calls:). The H&P power couple arrived first at lunch, I presented them our temporary home for a night, went for a short swim, and shopping, to wait for the rest of the family. They arrived during the evening, around 10 PM, all tired from the flights, hungry and thirsty, and some of them without any luggage( code name Musto 40L) .Since we had a birthday boy to celebrate, we quickly opened a bottle of wine and surprised M. with a chocolate cake (of course baked by me the night before! Okok, bought at the supermarket). Afterwards we went to grab something to eat and a short drink, but our energy run down so we came back home soon. The night ended with a refreshing drink on the terrace, getting to know each other and deciding who sleeps where.

As I keep mentioning the word “family”, I should say that 6 people were completely new to our group, 5 of them never been sailing before. That’s how much sailing unites people, if after a week you can see them this close.

Saturday 11th July

We all woke up excited to leave for Portocolom marina. We had coffee on the terrace, some of us went for breakfast in the city, and at 12 the bus was waiting for us for Portocolom (highly recommended if you ever need any transfer in Palma de Mallorca: +34666256025). The drive was about 45 minutes. We arrived in the port, the skippers went to do the check in, some of us went shopping for food and drinks for the boats, and the rest stayed to eat at a terrace. While waiting, I had the best lunch out of the entire trip (we even came back to eat there again after the sailing week): quail with pineapple and cheese sauce and mixed salad with yogurt sauce. Due to this lunch the “pequena pussy” madness started, but let’s not get into more details than this :). Some of us decided that lunch is sooo overstated, so replaced in with beer ever since breakfast. Complete madness, let’s just say these people never made it awake till evening :).

Around 3 PM we were already on the boats, clothes were in the dressers, food and drinks were in the fridge, in our swimsuits, with a beer in our hands, music at maximum, ready to leave Portocolom for the first pit stop of the day for a nice swim. Horix’s boat, seems it becomes a custom in the last year, had some issues with the outside speakers, so they had to be replaced. How can we leave without loud music, and live like that for an entire week??! So we had to wait 1 more hour, watching the owner trying to change the speakers, while he probably brought ALL his utensils and tools on our boat. Still, a nice thing to watch, what woman can complain watching a sweaty well-built and tanned body working in the sun? 🙂 The men had their beers, they didn’t even notice!

zgxWvvzWe eventually left Portocolom, heading for Cala Barques, for a stop and a swim. Loud music, crazy dancing, jumping in the sea sums it all up. The place was so nice, that we decided to change the initial plans and stay there for the night. This is the first moment when we should have realized how amazing the area is, and home-made plans have no value, since we changed them in the first hours of sailing. It also tells you how flexible and free you are while sailing, to go from a place to another, and decide on the spot where to spend the night. We went to sleep pretty early, maximum 12, as everyone was tired of too much “sailing” for the day, but not before inventing a new “supica” recipe by me and P. 🙂

 

Sunday 12th July

11717593_10152872799946813_6940204260999487866_oFirst morning on the boat, awakened by the excitement and smell of fresh coffee. We drank our coffee and jumped in the sea for a morning swim. No wind, the sea amazingly calm, with turquoise colors. Once everyone had their coffees, we headed for Cala Molto, the initial place where we were supposed to sleep on Saturday night, the closest point of Palma de Mallorca to Menorca. We spend a couple of hours there, swimming and fooling around, then we headed for Cala Macarella, on Menorca. It was a 4 hour long sail, with no actual sailing, as there was little wind, with lots of spontaneous pit stops for swimming, as it was really hot.

11701048_10204677671005238_3605782198338267024_nIn Cala Macarella, the more adventurous of us went to have dinner on the shore, then for a walk around (aka getting lost even with clear signs), up the hill, to see the golf from above and take some nice pictures. I was terrorized by mosquitoes, so the only thing I remember was the itching and the fighting with the army of hungry mosquitoes, who it seems were attacking only me. The others were busy terrorizing the entire gulf by shouting from above to the rest of the crew that were waiting for us on the boats, or taking amazing pictures.

When we came back on the boats, it was already dark, and M. decided it’s a perfect night to have a bit of fun with the dinghy, and spin it around a couple of times, making the drive much longer than needed, and the “crew” screaming close to despair “Mituusshhh, stop spinning us!”, especially S., who, surprisingly for a little frog, didn’t know how to swim. Well, it might be because the dinghy was hard to maneuver, we will never know the actual reasons :). We made it back safely, had some drinks and went to bed really tired, thinking we will sleep like babies until morning.

11742793_10204677688045664_2810013045064226814_nBut like any adventure, things are unpredictable, so the night adventure started once the wind changed direction and the boats started to shift their position. Hanze (the enemy boat) decided to wake us up around 2 AM, with a light bump ( seemed hard during sleep). In seconds some of us were on the deck, investigating the damage, and trying to wake up the “fatalai” from Hanze (there’s no best way to translate fatalai from Romanian, something close to “cowards/pussies”:)). H. rearranged a bit the boat by making the anchor a bit longer, and we all went back to bed, but sleeping like rabbits. Hanze hit us again around 5 AM, when H. decided to pull up the anchor and move the boat further. A pretty busy night. No damage.

Monday 13th July

After such a night, most of us didn’t have any energy in the morning to go on the shore for breakfast, so we decided to stay and wait for H&P take some pics, have a swim, and a good strong coffee (as F. likes it, more coffee than water 🙂 ), then we left for the next pit stop Cala Turqueta, a perfect gulf 15 minutes away for some swimming and jumping off cliffs.

11202086_10204678314541326_3127431814516732792_nOn our way to Ciutadella we did our first actual sailing, with great wind. We arrived during afternoon, and it was the first port we had to pay for, and pretty expensive, 120-140 euro per boat in Marina Club Nautico, the only marina which allowed us in due to the boat sizes. So we all decided we should have at least 2-3 showers in the marina, to cover the cost :).  Some of us paid an even bigger price, M. dropped his tablet in the sea, B. managed to recover it after 30 minutes, but was not working anymore. Good bye “ma-ntorc la tine iar si iar mare albastra”.

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We walked around the city during the evening, did some shopping, and had a nice dinner and some wine, before coming back to the boats. Some of us tried to sleep after this long day, but others planned to party until early in the morning (talking about you Sirius!, not so serious), so I ended up waking up again at 5 AM. You know how it goes, if you can’t beat them, join them:). 5 of us caught the sunrise, celebrating it with a bottle of champagne, and went for a short sleep at 8.

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Tuesday 14th July

We spent Tuesday morning in the marina until they kicked us out at 2.30 PM. We would have left anyways, as it was unbearably hot. Before leaving, M. finally recovered his lost luggage, and had new t shirts to wear.

11222127_10204689242494518_4294891777713717516_nWe left for Cala Trebaluger, which again was supposed to be just a pit stop for a swim, but it was so nice that we decided to stay overnight. Everyone was in the party mode, we gathered on one boat, made some supica, and started the chaos with some nice loud music. But even before we finished dinner, a boat near us (with 2kids) started signaling us with a flashlight, and we had to turn the music down. Damn it, not even in a secluded gulf we can party FunSailing style.
After some quiet dancing, and nice talks, we went to bed.

Wednesday 15th July

11046645_10204689243414541_4366767195279099029_nA nice thing to do in Cala Trebaluger gulf is to take the dinghy and go up the small river that ends in the sea. The guys did that until the dinghy didn’t fit anymore.

Once they were back, we left for the highlight city of the week, Cala En Porter. Due to several stops for swimming, and a bit of sailing, we arrived quite late and could anchor 500m from the beach (H. and I think it was farther away, as we swam for the shore, and it seemed never-ending, at least a semi-marathon swim). Due to the wind, we had to throw the anchor 5 times. Minutes after anchoring, Sirius had an encounter with a new boat which tried to get in, bumping into them. B. was not on board, swimming, so M. tried to save the day (that’s when a new phrase started: “Marcu had a hot flash”- bufeu). No big damages.

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We went on shore for lunch, on a crazy heat we walked up some stairs for forever, searching for a restaurant that was recommend to us, but it was closed, so we had to eat next door, to a nice terrace, with a funny waiter. Due to the heat, we decided to come back to the boats and rest a bit, before going out during the night at the most famous club around: Cova D’en Xoroi.

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It seemed like a bad night on all boats: on Alcor, P. got really sick, and no medicine seemed to have any effect. H. went in search of a pharmacy, and while Alcor remained without any skipper, the boats showers stopped working, so I and M., obviously very knowledgeable and prepared, decided to take action and start the boat motor. After some minutes of stress, we realized we are getting too close to one of the other boats, so we tried to stop the engine. But bad luck, we did not pay any attention to the initiation training, and none of us could stop it:) While panicking (bufeu) we were shouting for B. to come help. Eventually, while pushing all buttons randomly, M. managed to stop it .

P. eventually felt a bit better, and fell asleep. We left her and H. on the boat, we dressed up with our best clothes, and went to the shore, to find Cova D’en Xoroi. After 15 minutes walking, we found it with the help of my GPS and some nice locals. The place looks amazing, is pretty expensive, but it is worth visiting it at least once, due to the view and the location (built inside the rocks). It’s a great place to see the sunset as well, but we didn’t come in time for it. The entrance is 24euros for evening (14 for sunset), which includes a free drink, and a cocktail is between 9-20 euros. Unfortunately they have a dress code, so R. could not get in because he was in swimming shorts. The rest of us stayed until 3-4 AM, dancing and laughing like crazy. Some of us even managed to connect with other nationalities, like New Zealanders and Australians for example :). We left the club in search for something to eat, but everything was closed, so we came back to the beach, waiting for our private taxis (H. and B. were nice enough to come and pick us up).

Once we got to the boats, we found out that, while we were in the club, B. and M. took the dinghy and came right below the club, and shouted at us, but unfortunately we didn’t hear them, due to the loud music. Nevertheless it must have been a nice romantic moment for the 2 of them haha 🙂

Thursday 16th July

We tried to wake up early and be effective, but it was the laziest and slowest morning ever, maybe also because we knew we had to come back to Mallorca. Some of the boys went shopping, as we finished all of the water, juice and bread. While coming back, B. dropped his phone in the sea, and they tried to get it back, but the water was too deep to reach it (12m). We later found selfies of a Medusa on B.’s Facebook, so we imagine the phone has a new happy owner. We just ask her to send us the pictures, and keep us posted about the marine life.

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That’s the way to say goodbye to Menorca :). After 2h of straight sailing, and another 3h with no good wind, we got to Cala de Safont. The girls cooked some great pasta with tuna, and some of us decided to go on shore for some drinks. Big mistake! First, because the dinghy-skipper was M. (same M. as in the story STOPP spinning us), and secondly because we ran out of gas 1 minute after we left, so we had to spend the next 15 minutes paddling with our hands. At least it was nice and hot outside, with no waves. By the time we reached the shore, most of the bars and restaurants were closed, we met Sirius crew, drank a bottle of wine, and came back. We slowly started a party, with nice music and some supica, but some rude Italians next to us shouted to be quiet (damn you old sailors 🙂 ), so we went to bed.

 

Friday 17th July

IMAG1176In the morning I was woken up by very very bad people at 6.45 AM to see the sunrise! To get even for such a bad thing, I made coffee :).After some nice sunrise pictures, I started writing down this journal, just to make sure I don’t forget anything.

We left for Cala Magraner , being conscious that is our last day on the boat, and we had so much alcohol left to consume 🙂 By the time we arrived in the gulf, everyone was pretty Happy—happy-joy, and we had a party by day, with great music, supica, and jumping in the sea, until the entire gulf was left just for us (all the other boats left probably because they were ashamed of how perfectly we can jump in the sea, and they can’t, fatalai). Around 4.30 PM we left for Portocolom, because we had to be back in the marina at 6 PM. We stopped to put gas in, when a guy ( we now call him Einstein because of his looks and of course intelligence), cut in front with his small motorboat, wife and 2 kids, and put gas first, even though we told him 3 times we were there first. Once he finished, we started clapping as a joke, but he responded with his middle fingers. Stupid! Even now we are sorry that we didn’t throw those oranges at him!!!! B. was making jokes trying to cut in as well:). The first time we saw our skipper H. angry.

We arrived in the Marina, where we parked the boats adventure style (Alcor managed to hit the boat next to it because the space was too tight). We left the boats for some drinks and snacks, as the skippers had to do the check-out with the owners. Final count : nothing lost, nothing damaged, full refund 🙂

During the evening we went to the same restaurant where I had the pequena quail (again tonight of course), and had a drink at their bar, but everyone was pretty tired, so we closed the night early and went to bed. Last night on the boat 😦
Saturday/Sunday/Monday 18-19-20th July

Our last minutes on the boat were spent packing and making sure that we don’t forget anything. Our trusted driver arrived with the van around 10, and we left Portocolom, L. and D. at the airport, and the rest of us to Can Pastilla, where we had accommodation booked for the next night/2 nights, depending on when our flight back was, at hotel Balear . 11401513_10204712341111969_1513888656101907209_nThe hotel had a nice location, close to the beach, and overall it was nice, but we had some mixed feelings about it: for the first night we booked 2 apartments, one was very nice, with 2 full bathrooms and a terrace, the second one was way smaller, with no terrace and 1 bath. For the second night, we needed 2 rooms, and they gave us horrible ones, with no windows, not to mention balcony (even though the description on booking said: spacious room with terrace). The warrior in me awoke, and I argued with the receptionist until we got moved to another hotel close by, with rooms with terrace.

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We spent the last days on the island by visiting Palma, the cathedral and the old town, doing some shopping, and mainly wasting time on terraces and restaurants (particularly Antalya Kebab in Can Pastilla, where we had the best food 🙂 ). Some of us were adventurous until the end, B. and R. went visiting more of Palma island, quite more than they wanted, as one of them fell asleep in the bus twice, and ended up far far away tfrom Can Pastilla :).

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Goodbyes were hard, even if we were somewhat eager to go back home, see our families, friends, we still wished we could have stayed longer, especially since great friendships and new connections appeared, and you are afraid you will lose them once you’re back home surrounded by life’s chaos.

All in All, Balearic Islands is a great place to go sailing: it’s hot, the water has a perfect temperature and the most turquoise color you will ever see, no big waves, great wind to sail, but no wind during the night, dozens of secluded gulfs, and nice ports, great food and atmosphere. I can’t wait to come back in the next years and see the rest of it.

Sailing usually gets the best and the worst out of people, due to the tight space and circumstances. But even with some bad experiences, I will always want to do it, just for those special places we get to see, and those special people you get to meet and hopefully be in touch for the rest of our lives . Thank you FunSailing for everything, I went having in mind fun and sailing as usual, and came back with a new country crush and new great friends. ( thank God I still have my phone 🙂 ).

Picture credits to Baloo, Mitush and Flori.

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