Whimbrel Sailing Adventure travel blog

Dragonera Island - first sight of Mallorca

Approach to Port Andratx, Mallorca

View from anchorage

Small fishing boats sheltering in creek

Whimbrel on end of pier

Our "ferry"

Bay of Palma from Puig d'en Ric

Made it to the top!

Still on track above Port Andratx

One of the gullies we scrambled down

Left Portinatx at 9am and headed north-east across the Canal de Mallorca. There was a bit of swell against us and light winds so we made slow progress to start with but then the wind picked up at about 2pm and we sped along for the last part of the crossing, arriving at 17:30 in Port Andraitx in south-east Mallorca (51 nautical miles in 8 hours 35 minutes). It’s a busy harbour and deep quite close to shore but we finally found a spot to anchor between other moored and anchored boats (British, American, German and Spanish) not far from the main shops and restaurants. It’s very touristy but the development is not overwhelming and it is still a proper fishing port with a daily fish market.

Next day Francis did his bit for Anglo-American relations – the boat next to us couldn’t pull their anchor up as it was caught on something. The harbour guys were going to put a diver down to investigate and charge them €100, so Francis offered to dive down and discovered it was caught on a chain. It was about 7 metres deep, but on his second dive, he managed to free it for them. They were moving to a buoy on the other side of the harbour and later came over with a bottle of wine to thank him, which was very kind.

With a storm forecast for Sunday and Monday and some lack of confidence in our anchor holding as it had already dragged once, we decided that we should also move somewhere more secure. The marina was full and supposedly expensive and the people on the boat moored next to us were familiar with the harbour and recommended either moving to a mooring buoy or to the public town quay, which is what they were about to do. The public quay sounded a better bet and would let us get the bikes off the boat more easily, so we went for that.

It was our first experience of having to put the anchor out and then reverse into a mooring space, securing the stern to the quay and then tightening up the anchor chain to keep the boat away from the quay and stop the bow swinging around. The people mentioned above gave us lots of advice and helped secure to the quay which was really helpful. The only problem was that with the storm coming we needed to be at least a couple of metres away from the quay and our gangplank was therefore no use. So we got the kayak out and secured it to the boat and the quay and used it as a “ferry” (see photo). Unfortunately it isn’t very stable and Jane managed to fall in trying to get into it the first time, soaking phone and camera, although amazingly they now seem to be working again! As it turned out, it was impractical to take the bikes over in the kayak and because of the wind direction and strength we had to babysit the boat for two days to make sure it didn’t hit the quay or the next door boat as the wind changed! So, we’d have been better off on a mooring buoy!

The wind finally dropped on 22 May and we had a lovely walk up in the hills behind the port to Puig d’en Ric which at 312 metres high gave fabulous views across the Bay of Palma. The countryside is steep escarpments with stony outcrops, pine forests and olive groves lower down. We followed what we thought was the right track but it turned into a goat track (we heard the goats) and then nothing, so we ended up traversing the edge of the escarpment, scrambling over boulders and through thickish vegetation until we finally found the track again – a bit disconcerting with a steep drop on one side at times!

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