We had a nice breeze and a wonderful sail to Mahon and were almost tempted to just keep going, but we were not confident about the weather forecast. We waited for two days in this beautiful, natural harbor. Mahon is another place where we could easily have spent a week or two, but we were feeling anxious to put the long, overnight crossing to Sardinia behind us. We waited for only two days for what looked like a good weather window. In retrospect, perhaps we should have waited another day or two. On Monday, 09/22 we departed at dawn for a rougher-than-expected passage to Sardinia.
Dates: 09/16/08 – 9/20/08 Distance: 22 nm Sailed from: Porto Cala de Ratjada, Mallorca Lat: 39°59.9’N Long: 03°50’E
Although there was still a large swell, we had a relatively smooth crossing to Menorca in light winds (motoring and motor-sailing again). We arrived in Ciutadella during the early afternoon when everything is closed for siesta, so we tied to the fuel dock until a berth was assigned on the other side of the harbor in a small cala. Yachts are not allowed to tie-up to what used to be a visitors dock because this is now the main channel for the huge car ferries with service to the other islands.
Dates: 09/15/08 – 9/16/08 Distance: 18 nm Sailed from: Porto de Colom, Mallorca Lat: 39°43’N Long: 03°28’E
Just as we were about to continue and make the crossing to Menorca, the wind switched, so we decided to put in at Cala de Ratjada for a night. What an experience! We rafted off a 48′ charter boat with eight Austrians onboard, and by the end of the day, we had four boats rafted off us. And we were only one of about five rafts, all five and six boats deep. It felt like a mini-Horta marina experience, the Azores being another place where rafting up to a seawall is the only option. Almost every other boat was a charter boat, and most of the people aboard were German.
After an exhilarating sail to Porto de Colom, we could have spent at least a week in this attractive, well-protected harbor, which is why it was hard to tear ourselves away after only one night. But the weather was beautiful, and with the season getting on and only three weeks left before Lisa’s family arrived for a visit to Italy, we wanted to keep making progress in that direction. We weighed anchor, adding this to places we could always visit again on the way back.
We stayed at the Real (Royal) Club Nautica de Palma where we found plenty of space at the nearly empty visitor’s dock. Although the high season is technically over, the prices have not gone down to reflect this fact, but it was our best option for staying in Palma.
Dates: 09/06/08 – 9/08/08 Distance: 52 nm Sailed from: Puerto de San Miguel, Ibiza Lat: 39°33’N Long: 02°23’E
The day started with great wind for sailing and ended with us motoring through confused seas in light winds — the swell seemed to be coming from several directions at once making it very uncomfortable near the end of our crossing to Mallorca.
With a slight haze, Ibiza did not clearly come into view until we were about ten miles out. Approaching Puerto San Antoni, we admired the small, rocky group of islands, Islas Bledas, and then the larger Isla Conejera which according to our cruising guide is where Hannibal’s stone slingers came from. Given its small size, we figured that this was more of a myth than fact since Hannibal’s army included 1,000 slingers from these islands. The name “Balearic” is from the Phoenician word meaning “man who throws stones.” Behind these rocky islands, the pine covered hills for which the southern islands in this group are known come into view. In fact, the name Ibiza comes from a Phoenician word ‘ybsm’ or the “Isle of the balsam tree.”