Departure: Calpe, September 27, 12 am Arrival: Port del Torrent, Ibiza, September 27, 10 pm Nautical miles: 56
We finally had an opening to sail to Ibiza, and although the wind looked to be quite light at least we were now close enough to motor the whole way, if necessary. However as we have next to zero faith in our engine, ever since bypassing the oil cooler in Le Havre, Leo decided to do an oil change the night before – just to be safe. But no good deed goes unpunished – in the morning we turned on the engine, lifted the anchor and then we discovered (just in time) that the seal of the oil filter wasn’t on right and we had now leaked almost all of our oil again. So we dropped anchor again using the sails, and Leo had to go for a rather strenuous mission around the local town to find oil, while Pernille stayed back onboard in case the boat drifted onto the rocks (what she would have done in that case with no engine or wind to steer the boat is still a mystery).
Despite our dramatic/annoying start to the day, we managed to leave the Spanish south coast at noon for what turned out to be a beautiful sail to Ibiza. We are never keen on arriving anywhere in the dark, but we arrived in Ibiza with a beautiful sky full of stars above and below. We hardly knew whether to look up at the shooting stars or down at the bio luminescence, lighting up the world below as we passed by leaving a trail of jellyfish lit up like beautiful little light bulbs.
All in all, a chaotic start to a day of sailing in the Med that ended just as peacefully. However this was not the only dramatic contrast we experienced this day – we were also (yet again) faced with the juxtaposition of life in the Med.
As we sailed to Ibiza we witnessed via the radio the pressure on the Spanish rescue service – people who work very hard with insufficient resources to save numerous refugees from a wet and painful end. Over the radio we could hear how the rescue services on land communicating with a rescue plane identifying refugees boats and assessing who to save first based on questions like “is it a rubber boat or fiberglass?” and “do they have life vests?”. On this day we listened in as they were rescuing a boat of about 16 refugees, including children and at least one pregnant woman. Unfortunately they were 100 miles out and even for the superfast Spanish rescue boat, it would take fours to reach them. So the rescue service asked a nearby sailing boat* to go close the refugee boat’s position and standby in case they would need rescue before the official rescue boat arrived, the boat was assessed to be “in imminent danger of sinking”.
*The sailboat name was ‘Yours Truly’, which despite the tragic of the situation made the entire radio communication slightly more amusing and Yours Truly, kept them safe until the Spanish MRCC vessel collected them all safely.
The contrast of spending our day listening in on the every day life of rescuing people who are risking their lives for a fighting chance to have a future in Europe, versus arriving in Ibiza to the sound of loud boozing was mindboggling. It’s insane to think how ‘We’ the privileged people of Europe are partying and having the “time of their lives” under the glittering party light, while just a few miles out at sea people from our neighbouring continent are fighting for their lives in the cold dark sea.
While in Ibiza we stayed in San Miguel (on the way there we had a lunch stop in a lovely bay called Es Portitxol) and in Cala Portinatx. BUT it gets so swelly every afternoon like clockwork the swell sets in, and it is almost unbearable (at least to us). If you ever decide to sail to Ibiza and anchor, there’s only one way to do it: sleep during the day and party all night!
Sadly, we’re not really party people so that aspect of the island was a bit lost on us. However we would still recommend a trip to Ibiza’s north coast; the coastline is stunning with dramatic cliffs, little bays and hiking here was such a positive experience. We especially enjoyed the loop hikes from Cala Portinatx – hills, cliffs and sea view in just a few hours, a little challenging, but not too strenuous.
*Nerdy advice, if swelly or rather full, consider anchoring close to the buoys that separate the swimming area, then if able set a stern anchor to prevent drifting in the area and orientate the boat to face the predominant swell, make sure other boat don’t swing into you 🙂 it worked well for us.
Departure: Cala Portinatx, Ibiza, October 2, 7 am Arrival: Port de Sollér, Mallorcaa, October 2 27, 8 pm Nautical miles: 71,5
If you are already a bit familiar with the Balearic islands you may agree that the northern coast of Mallorca is like Ibiza – just grander. We aimed specifically for a stop in Port de Sollér as we knew the bay was decent for anchorage and Pernille (who’ve been there before) knew about a few good trails in that area.
Up until we arrived in Ibiza it had been quite a while since we’d been able to offer Kai a proper long walk – it had either been too hot or not urban for him to run around and explore. So as soon as we arrived in Port de Sollér we wanted to exploit the good hiking options – one of which was a 23 K loop between Port de Sollér and Deià (where we stopped for a delicious lunch at a garden café).
We ended staying quite a few days in Port de Sollér as we were both waiting out a storm (we decided to stay in the public marina as the swell was just unbearable – luckily it was relatively cheap at 20 euro per night), and we needed to get our second vaccine before leaving Spain. We’d been able to get our first shot in La Línea and, despite some administrative hoopla, we were able to get our second shot in Sollér. Thank you so much Spain for helping out two foreigners! It was such a relief to finally be fully vaccinated.