Porto Petro, Mallorca (Majorca) - 39:21.619N 03:12.649E

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Thu 3 Jul 2014 16:40

As I'm sure everyone is well aware, frequently not everything goes to plan, and that's how our day sail to Majorca turned out.  Charlie was keen to ensure we left Santa Eulaliah early Sunday morning, which is what we did.  The winds were favourable and we expected a nice day, albeit a long one, as we had over 80 nautical miles to cover, so we really didn't want anything to go awry. 

Once clear of the port and in clean waters, he switched on the water maker, after being at anchor for almost 10 days we had a virtually empty tank, but nothing happened!  Much brain scratching later, he thought he'd realised what the problem was and set to making the necessary adjustments, but still nothing!  By now, the aft cabin was dismantled, as the water maker gadget lives under our bed!  Yes really, but remember we're on a boat and nothing is as it would be at home.  The steps for the cockpit were removed, the area under the galley was opened up, and he was clambering in/out of his engine room.  This isn't an exciting tale to tell, so to cut a boring story short, he eventually managed to rectify the problem, but not until we were ¾ of the way to Mallorca!  By the time we arrived everything had been put back together and we had water in the tank. Bravo Charlie.   

However, on the way, I’m glad to report we actually had some really good sailing with a southerly force four wind and the boat galloped along at a reasonable pace.  We only motor sailed the last bit to ensure arrival at a reasonable time and before dusk.

The downside is that his muscle spasm in his back has returned big time and he's in a great deal of discomfort, so a few quieter days are needed, so he can rest and become vertical once more.

We have come to a place called Porto Petro and it is absolutely lovely.  We brought the boat into the marina here as we wanted to leave it for at least one day while we toured the island. Its a tranquil and most attractive port, and now that we’ve seen a lot of the island, we feel it’s probably the nicest port of them all. Many holiday homes and apartments with a large number seemingly being owned by Germans.  However, we’ve also been taken by surprise at how many Russians and Poles there are now in this area, with many living here and owning boats too.

We had a pleasant day on Monday wandering around the port and the delightful village.  On the Tuesday we hired a car for the day and set off on a mission to see as much of the island as possible.  We had no desire to visit the real tourist areas, we knew without having to go there that they'd be full of holiday makers toasting themselves on the beaches, with massive hotels and a considerable amount of noise, etc. Fortunately the parts of the island that accommodate the bulk of package holidays and crowds, haven't taken over the island and the larger part is quiet and unspoilt.  Once again, there seem to be many Germans living on the island, and the prices and quality of some of the residences, indicates a good deal of wealth is here. There are many very tasteful developments, everywhere is clean and tidy and seemingly orderly, but retains the charm of the Mediterranean.

We were picked up by the hire car company at 08:00 and collected the car from their base in Cala D’or shortly after 8:30. After a 30 minute drive, we stopped off in the delightful town of Santanyi for breakfast, seated in a beautiful plaza in the centre of town (complete with the obligatory statue of Mary raised on a very high marble plinth).  The square was laid out with tables, chairs and colourful parasols, different colours denoting which cafe each belonged to. A very pleasant environment and mostly locals living here as far as we could tell.   From there we drove further inland to Felanitx and onward to Vilafranca de Bonany, en route to the northern part of the island.  We got to know the little town of Petra very well.  For some reason best known to our esteemed navigator - Charlie (assisted by an in-car GPS) we actually managed three visits to this charming little town with tiny narrow streets and a tortuous one-way system.  After our third visit we knew most of the locals by sight if not by name! 

Anyway, by lunch time, and having reached an temporary and unconditional agreement with the GPS thingy, we were on the north east part of the island at Alcudia. Oh dear, a large purpose built holiday area which seemed to accommodate mostly British people and was very busy. Quick exit here, but not until we spotted the old historical moorish town, which looked interesting. As we'd be sailing to this area in a few days time, en route to Menorca, we're going to be brave and call in here, but only to visit the old town.  We'll be anchoring at this point, but the drive through gave us the opportunity to check out suitable bays.

We found a Lidl supermarket and loaded up with food, fruit, veg, water and wine and then headed for the mountains on the North West coast enjoying the stunning scenery. We stopped way up in the mountains for refreshments and then continue our sightseeing drive.  

We eventually reached Soller on the west coast.  This town nestles in a deep valley surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the sea.  The car was absolutely knackered at this stage as we had been in third gear almost continuously for two hours.  Although the roads are well maintained they are tortuous to drive on, with continuous switchback turns going up and then down again.  Even so, the highest point we reached was only 1000 m above sea level.  The most astonishing thing was the number of cyclists we found in even the remotests areas - tight lycra and shaved/waxed arms and legs in abundance!!

At Soller we decided we had seen enough hills and the little Opel we had hired asked for a break, so we turned south toward Palma.  A tunnel has been built in recent years through the mountains and now connects this northern mountainous region with the more accessible west/south west region. On exiting the tunnel, the transformation was clear to see as we drove further into the prosperous areas and toward Palma itself.  As time was limited, we opted to just drive through Palma and although it is an attractive and historical city, our preference was always to see as much of the island as we could, so we kept going, turning eastward toward Manacor.

I have to say, we were not disappointed at all. Scenically, Mallorca (Majorca) is well worth visiting. The countryside, the mountains, the beautiful inland small country towns, the vast plains with seemingly hundreds of old farmhouses, some restored, others virtual ruins, of every shape and size, but all built in lovely honey coloured stone, and in that unmistakeable Spanish architectural style, are a delight.  The incredible colours and flowers in profusion, predominantly bougainvillea in bright pinks and reds, are all quite beautiful.  The roads are good and easy, although going over the mountains they seemed rather too close to the edge on occasion, but all were easy to navigate and with very little traffic on them.

Would we come here again? Most definitely, it's nothing like we expected it to be and would recommend it to anyone.  If you hire a car out here use a company called Roig. Their service and organisation were superb.
We were going to sail to the north of the island today (Thursday 3rd) but it has blown hard all day from the North East - you guessed it, its the way we want to go.  So instead, we will leave tomorrow when the more moderate weather re-appears.