Cruising Ibiza – Week One

Sunday 21 June – Friday 26 June 2020

We spent the next four days in Cala Bassa, relaxing, swimming, sunbathing and generally being very lazy in the glorious weather.  By Wednesday 24th, however, an uncomfortable degree of swell was working its way into the bay, and we needed to attend to domestic necessities, so on Thursday we motored 16M up to the head of the inlet, where the resort town of Sant Antoni de Portmany is located.  In a normal season, this place is reputed to rival Ibiza town for all-night partying and booze-fuelled sunbathing, but in the current climate it’s reminiscent (for Mate, anyway) of Blackpool with sunshine.  Most of the shops, bars and restaurants are closed, and the sands all but deserted.

While saddened for the locals dependent on tourism for their livelihoods, this suited us very well, and we soon found the launderette, clean and well kept as always, with machines automatically filled with detergent and softener – a warning to the sensitive-skinned.  Opposite was the ‘Fruit Market’, a row of four conjoined sections of a prefabricated unit, offering a wide range of good quality local and imported produce at reasonable prices.  In season just now are juicy tomatoes, delicious oranges straight off the trees, aubergines, cucumbers and several varieties of melon, to name but a few.  Mate’s having gone completely veggie is no hardship here.

Having stocked up at the local Eroski supermarket on sundry provisions, including an expensive but very good local cheese, made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk and encased in crushed thyme (other varieties to try include fennel, oregano and basil coatings), we trundled a very full Bertha (shopping trolley) back to the tender and across the shallow bay, weaving our way through many moored and anchored boats.

Sant Antoni de Portmany
Ornamental windmill at S’Estanyol

We enjoyed trying out our new snorkel masks and flippers to explore the world under our keel, spotting several interesting varieties of fish and checking our anchor was well bedded into the sand. We’d managed to wiggle inside a number of shallow-draught catamarans, and were lying in only three metres of clear turquoise water.

Oh, the bliss of being back at sea

Saturday 20 June 2020

After one of the worst nights ever on anchor, the alarm went off at 0430 and the crew was up and ready for sea almost instantly.  Once the engine was on and the anchor up, the first lightening of the sky was appearing in the East and we motored for eight hours solid, as the promised light Northerly never bothered to blow.  Mate gave in to the idea of her favoured anti-seasickness remedy, a French drug called Nautamine, and was soon able to prepare soft-boiled eggs and Marmite toast soldiers, eaten at the cockpit table!

On schedule around noon, the afternoon breeze stirred into a delicious Southerly, the mainsail and genoa relieved Trevver, and BobbyCool took over from Jeanny to steer us ever onwards.  Unusually, and a real treat for our first passage in three months, we were able to sail the course we wanted, and I maintained a steady five to six knots on a close reach, even when the wind built to the forecasted F5, and we dropped to staysail and then first reef in the main.  The skies remained blue, the clouds were swept away (unlike in Northern waters, where cloud = wind, here no cloud = more wind) and the sea was the most beautiful shade of azul – Spanish blue.  The crew took turns to nap on and off through the day, and we completed a heavenly passage of 81 Miles in time to drop the anchor onto clean sand in Cala Bassa, on the West side of Ibiza, before sunset.  The day was rounded off with a quick stir-fry supper in the cockpit and a blissfully peaceful night, fragranced with warm pine and under a velvet blanket of stars.

Cala Bassa, West coast of Ibiza

We cashed in the ‘Get Out of Jail’ card!

Friday 19 June 2020

Well, the crew has turned over my engine a couple of times in the last few months, and got me all excited…for nothing.  But TODAY, eventually, my water tanks were topped up, my fridge is groaning under the weight of all the fresh food they’ve crammed into it, and my mooring warps have finally been loosened – are we actually going somewhere again??

My fuel tanks have been topped up as well, apparently not as cheaply as could have been hoped for, considering the reported crash in oil prices caused by the CV-crisis, and we pottered out of the marina – all the way to the beach on the other side of the harbour wall, maybe two miles.  The plan was sound enough: to avoid paying for another night in the marina amidst the Friday night noise of the locals enjoying themselves, and to be ready for an early start the following morning.  Unfortunately, the beach faces East, the direction of the prevailing wind and swell, and when the wind eased overnight, I was forced to lie parallel to the swell, meaning I rolled through about 40˚ all night, shaking and rattling the contents of every locker, along with the nerves of my poor crew.