Tue 25 Aug 2009 12:57
wonderful bay of Soller, Mallorca (pronounced ‘Soy-air’). Years ago, when
I was commuting in London and dreaming of sailing into the sunset, this is
the kind of place that used to fill my imagination.
To get here from the sea, you have to look for a 200 metre gap in the
cliffs, with a lighthouse high on each side to show the entrance at night.
As you sail through the gap, the bay opens out into a big horseshoe with
steep, tree-covered hillsides most of the way round and buildings perched
on the slopes. The seafront forms a long crescent, partly occupied by the
Spanish navy, who hold a short ceremony every morning to raise the ensign.
Next to the naval station is a small, friendly marina, where the Soller
trawler fleet is tied up, along with local recreational boats. There are
some visiting yachts, but most, like us, choose to anchor in the bay
itself, which is free of mooring charges and bureaucracy. In Spain, every
time you arrive in a marina, there’s a form to fill in with lots of
questions about how many masts you have, what type of engine is installed
and so on. Passport, insurance and ship’s registration details are also
recorded every time, so I take a folder with all this stuff in whenever I
arrive at a marina office. As for marina fees in Mallorca, you can expect
to pay €100 or more per night at many places. The final advantage to
anchoring is the spectacular view, especially at night when the shore
lights in Port Soller are coming on. Ashore, there is free WiFi at Bar
Albatros, where they bring you coffee or a cold beer whilst you catch up
on Emails, weather and Facebook.
The town of Soller is actually about two miles inland, because they used
to get plagued by pirates landing in the bay. The best way to get to the
town is to board an ancient tram that clanks along the seafront, then
turns inland towards the town. The tram cars are all open, with wooden
seats and varnished wood everywhere. There was a great view of the bay and
we saw VOLARE lying at anchor and looking pretty. Soller is a very old
town, with narrow streets and stone houses. There is a main square fringed
by restaurants and the cathedral which is nice, but if you want somewhere
to eat, it’s best to wander a bit further away from this area and find out
where the locals go, because you get a genuine welcome and the prices are
quite a bit lower.
Next stop is Pollensa in the north of the island, where we’ll be for about
one week before crossing to Menorca.