Majorca and Menorca Spain
When planning a sail trip it’s impossible to predict the many different scenarios that could come up; weather, crowds, and individual moods or sickness all play into the trips outcome. When planning for the Balearic Islands there were only so many options. We could go clockwise or counter clockwise but beyond that the choices were limited. We knew Majorca would a huge bonus despite the all day crossing necessary both ways.
We opted for clockwise heading west out of Palma. In retrospect the weather, swells, and prevailing winds would have favored a counter clockwise direction, but such are the choices we make. As a result most if not all of the trip would end up being a battle for calm seas and safe shelter from a series of storms that would taunt us every where we went.
Majorca is an incredibly mountainous island, especially on the north side where we ended up first. After our first night it became evident that the sheer cliffs that majestically shot straight out of the sea provided a spectacular front seat view but little harbor for lunch or the night. We had no choice but to continue straight towards Port de Soller. The seas would hammer the boat and coves that on any other day represented picturesque stopping points with restaurants carved into the cliffside. I had earmarked the location in our book as a worth while place to stop but in passing we saw no other boats and waves crashing relentlessly against the rocks.
The good news was that Port de Soller turned out to be a beautiful town with an old fashion trolly train that took passengers up into the main town. Back in the day the actual town was never at the water due to pirates and other invaders.
In the end Majorca would prove to be a series of beautiful cala’s that remained elusive to our approaches. Seas where either too rough or our boat was too big. Towards the later half of the trip we found ourselves anchored in Cala de Sa Torre located near Portopetro on the southeast side of Majorca. It was here we decided to spend a couple of days safely sheltered from the frustration. We made the best of it connecting with a local grocery store owner who brought us her home built grill via a beautiful old wooden fishing boat. It was a precarious scenario having a large fire balanced on the edge of the boat but we had a steak that needed eating an the boat didn’t come with a grill.
Menorca turned out to be the best part about the trip. The island is so completely different than Majorcas cliffs, rough terrain, and constant presence of resorts. Menorca is flat and sparsely populated. We parked our boat in Ciutadella de Menorca and explored the island on Mopeds. The island is riddled with ancient structures and wonderfully windy country roads lined with rock walls worn with age. It was a pure joy.
Adding to the romanticism of getting to Menorca were the winds which haunted us for days on Majorca became our saving grace as we tracked on a single beam both ways to and from the Islands. As with many of our sailing trips there is a fair amount of motoring because it’s actually a catch 22 with these trips. Wind brings rough seas and good sailing but is bad for the calm coves most people seek, unless the coves are deep into the land or strategically blocked. Our sail across turned out to be the highlight of the trip as the boat cut through the water at about 10 knots dolphins would show up within feet of the boat frolicking around us as if we were standing still. They came so close that I could see just beneath the surface of the water as one dolphin looked up a me. They were in such control with such grace and poise moving through the water like a bird through the air. It makes you realize how cumbersome humans are as creatures. We are creative but not graceful.
Sabine and I would end the trip with a week in Barcelona simply because we love the town so much. I like to refer to it as the perfect combination of San Francisco’s sunny relaxed atmosphere with the intensity of New York. We would go and revisit the food, the Sagrada Familia, Picasso museum and add to our list the Miro.