The adventures of Yacht Flirtie

16 July 2016 | Club Nautico Porto Colom (position: 39 25.263'N 02 15.989'E)
10 July 2016 | Club Nautico Porto Colom (position: 39 25.263'N 02 15.989'E)
09 July 2016 | Porto Petro, Cala dels Mats (position: 39 21.690'N 03 12.805'E)
05 July 2016 | Porto Petro, Cala dels Mats (position: 39 21.690'N 03 12.805'E)
05 July 2016 | Isla Cabrera (position: 39 08.730'N 02 55.892'E)
03 July 2016 | Isla Cabrera (position: 39 08.730'N 02 55.892'E)
02 July 2016 | Sant Jordi (position: 39 18.932'N 03 00.105'E)
30 June 2016 | Sant Jordi (position: 39 18.932'N 03 00.105'E)
29 June 2016 | Santa Ponsa (position: 39 30.859'N 02 28.121'E)
26 June 2016 | Santa Ponsa (position: 39 30.859'N 02 28.121'E)
25 June 2016 | Port Andraitx, Club de Vela (position: 39 32.610'N 02 23.038'E)
24 June 2016 | Sant Elm (position: 39 34.582'N 02 21.070'E)
23 June 2016 | Sant Elm (position: 39 34.582'N 02 21.070'E)
22 June 2016 | Port Andraitx, Club de Vela (position: 39 32.649'N 02 23.074'E)
22 June 2016 | Port Andraitx, Club de Vela (position: 39 32.649'N 02 23.074'E)
22 June 2016 | Port Andraitx, Club de Vela (position: 39 32.649'N 02 23.074'E)
17 June 2016 | Port Andraitx, Club de Vela (position: 39 32.649'N 02 23.074'E)
16 June 2016 | Santa Eulalia marina (position: 38 59.063'N 01 32.406'E)
15 June 2016 | Santa Eulalia marina (position: 38 59.063'N 01 32.406'E)
15 June 2016 | Cala Llonga (position: 38 57.185'N 01 31.439'E)

Mallorca, Porto Colom

16 July 2016 | Club Nautico Porto Colom (position: 39 25.263'N 02 15.989'E)
Caroline
It didn't take long before all the mooring buoys were taken and for the wind to arrive making dinghy trips to and from the shore very wet indeed! We've had the wettest rides yet but making the decision to strip-off to bare essentials (much to the amusement of others) before setting off from the town quay was certainly worthwhile - at least the sea was warm.

It's amazing how time can fly when you're lazing around swimming, snorkelling and generally whiling away the hours being entertained by others around you on kayaks and paddleboards.

A dinghy trip around the harbour was cut rather short when we inadvertently came to an abrupt stop as the outboard engine struck the seabed and stalled. Ops, clearly it's pretty shallow in parts! Thankfully a kind man in a RIB came to our rescue and towed us back to the mooring area otherwise it would have been a long and hard row back for one of us.

Bruce finally dusted down his fishing gear and popped a line loaded with chorizo over the side - that was after a short trip ashore to purchase even more hooks and weights as he didn't have any in stock! Oh how I laughed when he informed me that he needed hooks and weights. Fishing was never that technical was it? I remember fishing with dad who caught various species over the years just with a basic line and rod. I don't ever recall him saying that he didn't have the right size hooks etc, unless of course, he already had them. To our surprise within two hours we (the 'royal') caught two. We threw the first one back as a 'good will' gesture given that the fridge was full. As for the second catch, well it was far too small. :-(


Is this fish smiling?

Our last evening was spent being physically involved in the local celebration of 'Mare de Déu del Carme' - the patron of the fishers as a mass procession of decorated boats proceeded straight through the mooring buoys, around the bay, eventually ending in a race that passed right next to us! Yachts, RIBs, speed boats, Mallorcan boats all heading towards us at great speed before deciding whether to take a left or right turn to avoid a collision with us! The wash created certainly made us roll around for a while whilst our dinghy bobbed around in frenzy.


the calm procession before...


...all hell broke loose!

Porto Colom is set inside a deep natural harbour. Small fishing boats lie alongside make shift jetties in front of pastel coloured boat houses that line the waterfront. It's one of our favourite harbours so far, quiet and peaceful, certainly not over developed or touristy.

From a cruisers point of view, diesel and petrol can be purchased along the harbour wall and an Eroski and Spar supermarket are just a 10 minute walk away from the dinghy pontoon. With regards to swell, from this day forth we'll be rating the significance of swell on what we shall now call our 'swell-o-meter' scale. We give Porto Colom top marks - a grand 10/10 as our sleep was not disturbed at all during our time here. Hurray!

Mallorca, Port Petro to Porto Colom (buoy-anchorage) Log

10 July 2016 | Club Nautico Porto Colom (position: 39 25.263'N 02 15.989'E)
Bruce and Caroline
The day has arrived for us to move along the coast - all of 12 miles to Porto Colom! Sea conditions were exceptionally calm with no hit of wind so we decided to spend the day cala hopping. This part of the SE coast of Mallorca Bruce knows reasonably well having spent many family holidays here so he was keen to see how things may have changed and to visit some new calas'.

First up, Cala Mondrago. At its extremity this is a wide, attractive and largely unspoilt cala between low rocky cliffs. It has four arms two of which are visited by tourists and are buoyed off for swimming. We tried not to be cynical when we noticed swimming buoys extended so far out that there is barely enough room for a couple of yachts to anchor in shelter. Unnecessary in our opinion! Even the 'Starfish' glass bottom day tripper catamaran couldn't land alongside the rocks. They have certainly made it difficult here possibly forcing yachts to head up towards Porto Petro or Porto Colom to the mooring buoy fields. The remaining two arms of the cala offered little protection because they are so small.

Next, Cala d'Egos. A twisty, rocky cliffed cala surrounded by luxurious detached houses. To us this is a really small cala with room for one or two boats. Without doubt you would need a line ashore or stern anchor. We wouldn't have been brave enough to anchor here overnight but would have certainly considered it for a lunchtime stop.

Talking about lunch, our next stop would have been Cala Llonga. The pilot book suggests that we could anchor off Calo d'es Pous at the entrance to Cala Llonga out of the marina approach channel but we found it buoyed off for swimming. There's also a large sign that states no anchoring.

Cala d'Or, a lovely unspoilt cala with a significant area roped off by swimming buoys. There were already two yachts at anchor and probably room for us however we decided to look at Cala Gran.

Cala Gran is a reasonably large and attractive cala. Even with the swimming buoys extended out there is still room for several yachts to anchor in sandy patches spread amongst the sea grass. We dropped the hook here for a lunchtime stop and swim and to reminisce. This is where the dream started for Bruce some 16 years ago as he recalls swimming out to a Heavenly Twins, "Patricia Mary" that was anchored here in the cala whilst imagining our own Heavenly Twins 'Camargue' anchored here. The feeling is indescribable! To realise a dream, the fact that we are now here sat aboard 'Flirtie' at anchor in a cala in the Balearics... fabulous.


Cala Gran

Next stop, Cala Ferrera, Esmeralda and Serena where there has been some significant development. These calas' were barely recognisable, certainly spoilt by hotels, apartments, innumerable restaurants and cafes. It's fair to say the place was packed....but not necessarily in a good way!


Cala Serena

Next, some new calas.

Cala Mitjana, an attractive triple cala with two beaches and room for at least 10 yachts as long as lines are taken ashore.


Cala Mitjana

Cala Arsenau, a narrow angled cala where yet again a line ashore is required but not much room to manoeuvre - unfortunately just as busy as Ferrera, Esmeralda and Serena.


Cala Arsenau

Our final cala for the day was Cala Marsal, a double cala with rocky cliffs, where we felt there was still room 'at the inn' but again a line ashore would be required.

If the forecast winds were in a different direction we would love to have stayed in Mitjana but Arsenau and Marsal would have been fine also.


Cala Marsal

...and finally Porto Colom. A very large natural and well protected harbour with a choice of berthing at either PortsIB or Club Nautico de Porto Colom who also maintain the mooring buoys. Price varies. We paid €27 per night, which included showers and water to fill tanks. Upon entering the bay we noticed several yachts at anchor just off the beach at Arenal Gran just before the mooring buoys.

We plan to spend the next few days here as strong winds are predicted.

Total distance this season: 788.11 miles

Mallorca, Porto Petro

09 July 2016 | Porto Petro, Cala dels Mats (position: 39 21.690'N 03 12.805'E)
Bruce and Caroline
The marinero was right. Another sleep deprived night as we rolled constantly from side to side listening to the waves breaking on the rocks nearby. A quick call on the VHF radio the next morning followed by a short motor across the bay to a buoy off Cala dels Mats - what a difference a few hundred metres makes! We had three blissful swell free nights before something changed. Even though we were well out of the direct swell it was reflecting back off the sides of the cala resulting in a confused chop, rolling and more disturbed sleep... arrrgghh!

Over the past week the weather has become hot and humid, we've even had rain! The simplest of tasks like food provisioning and sightseeing have become more of a challenge as we spend more hours in the shade trying to keep cool. Trips ashore have been reduced to early mornings or late afternoons and suddenly we find ourselves eating very late, just like the Spanish. The oven has been 'officially' banned and anything taking more than 15 minutes to cook is off the menu as the heat produced in the confines of the boat is becoming unbearable. We haven't got to grips with afternoon siestas preferring an afternoon dip instead so Flirtie has received some TLC as we removed oily stains and weed forming on her waterline. We're not convinced that the International Micron antifouling (underwater paint) will last the 3 years in this warmer climate but we'll wait and see.

We've spent several hours trawling through the various pilot books, charts and the internet to decide where to visit next and where to spend this winter - somewhere in Sardinia!

With NE and E winds predicted for another week and many lovely calas' of all shapes and sizes to be explored we are concerned about how sheltered some of these might be for overnight stays along this stretch of the coast. Given the forecast, we've decided to book a mooring buoy at Porto Colom, a large natural and well protected harbour. Although it doesn't necessarily mean swell free nights it gives us the security that we've got somewhere relatively sheltered to stay as the winds pass through and flexibility to visit calas' during the day should conditions allow. The regular visitors appear to be doing exactly this so if you can't beat them, join them!

Porto Petro is a really attractive harbour and village. We've thoroughly enjoyed walking around the small marina, admiring the traditional Mallorcan style fishing boats, walking the streets amongst the white washed stone buildings, cottages and trinket shops and following the path along the rocky shore alongside pine trees and bushes that lead to two secluded (and busy) beaches.


traditional Mallorcan-style fishing boats

From a cruisers point of view a new dinghy jetty allows for easy access ashore for those of us on mooring buoys. Non-potable water can be purchased but at an astonishing fixed price of €20! The club has a self-serve laundrette. €3 per wash and €3 for dryer however the dryer didn't successfully dry our towels as someone overloaded it - ops!

Mallorca, Isla Cabrera to Porto Petro (buoy-anchorage) Log

05 July 2016 | Porto Petro, Cala dels Mats (position: 39 21.690'N 03 12.805'E)
Bruce and Caroline
With the wind predicted to shift to the south, we thought that we would get a leisurely sail along the SE coast of Mallorca... how things can change!

We motored past the offlying islets of Cabrera as they sat there like giant stepping stones heading towards Mallorca. It wasn't long before we found ourselves in lollopy seas, presumably leftover from the previous winds which made our progress slow and pretty uncomfortable. It didn't help that the southerly wind predicted was still northerly so we continued on under engine with a view to meandering into the various calas before deciding which one to anchor in overnight. Our requirements are simple - room to anchor and swell friendly - not much to ask for! :-)

Suddenly, out of nowhere the wind increased from virtually nothing to 25 knots, bang on the nose. Wham! Within fifteen minutes we had a short choppy sea with white cresting waves heading straight into the calas, putting pay to any ideas that we had of meandering around. For a moment we considered turning around to head south to the point before working our way north in the lee of the land to anchor just south of Sant Jordi. It would have been a quick sail with both wind and waves coming from behind but instead we decided to press on for Porto Petro, hopeful that the wind would blow itself out. Before our arrival we tried to contact 'Real Club Nautico del Porto Petro' who run the marina and maintain the mooring buoys but without success.

We passed Cala del Llamp which lies at the entrance to Porto Petro, but the anchorage was just too small to tuck ourselves in out of the way so continued into the bay. By the time we arrived there didn't appear to be any buoys left, however the marinero managed to fit us in at Cala d'els Homos Morts but mentioned that we may find it rolly given the now NE wind direction and that we could move to another buoy in the other cala, Cala dels Mats room permitting in the morning.

Total distance this season: 776.62 miles

Mallorca, Isla Cabrera

05 July 2016 | Isla Cabrera (position: 39 08.730'N 02 55.892'E)
Bruce and Caroline
Cabrera Island is the largest of the nineteen islands and islets that make up the archipelago of Cabrera. This coast has beautiful cliffs, impressive headlands, coastal rocks, deep coves, several caves, sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Inland there are pine woods, juniper, rosemary and heather scrubland - all of it protected as it's a National Maritime and Terrestrial Park.

The tiny harbour is small with no port facilities beyond a couple of short jetties for dinghies and ferries to moor up to. Despite the ferries arriving daily the volume of tourists seem to be kept to a minimum and didn't spoil the tranquility of the island.

With only a few inhabitants and a few military personnel, the harbour has a warden's office, police office, chapel and a tiny cantina where ice creams, tapas and refreshments can be purchased and bread can be ordered for the following day.

There are guided excursions up to the peaks and along the ridge lines of the island and a variety of nice, easy, dusty walks that you can enjoy on your own over to the castle, museum, the French monument and lighthouse - far too much to do in only a two day visit so we headed off up to the castle, climbed the winding staircase barely wider than shoulder width to enjoy the views over the bay and out to sea.


15th century castle overlooking the harbour

From there we trekked along a path behind two small beaches before it headed uphill and meandered around bends up towards the lighthouse at the extreme southeast tip of the island. The perfume scent coming from the surrounding pines, junipers, rosemary and heather scrubland will never be forgotten together with the many lizards that we saw en route. We didn't actually finish the walk as we were finding it a bit too hot so after a brief stop at a vantage point to admire the view of the lighthouse and nearby cala we returned back along the track to the harbour for a cold beer and then back to Flirtie for a refreshing swim and snorkel around the bay.


lighthouse

Snorkeling in the crystal clear water was a delight with shoals of fish, varying in size, species and colours, including star fish. It's the best snorkelling that we've experienced so far. Admittedly we've been sceptical about buoys' being laid for marine conservation thinking more of the revenue being raised but there is certainly evidence here showing a difference. By comparison, Sant Jordi has a similar seabed, sporadic patches of sea grass, minimal fish and species.

Day 2, and with no wind and flat seas we were able to become intrepid explorers as we ventured offshore in our dinghy armed with a few essentials; lifejackets, vhf radio, cameras, oars, additional fuel for the outboard in search of a 'Blue Cave' and only accessible by sea, some 1.4 miles from Puerto de Cabrera. We found two with crystal clear blue water. Being so close to the coastline provided some excellent views of the rock formations, cliffs and caves.


cave with crystal-blue water!

Two days just wasn't enough, we wanted to stay a day more but the online calendar showed no availability despite there being several 'free' white buoys around us. We headed over to the office to ask on the off chance whether we could stay another night but unfortunately this wasn't to be.

This is one peaceful spot in the Balearics, without jet-skis, water skiers and speedboats (they're not allowed), making it a very special place to moor in a stunning horseshoe shaped bay. Without doubt this is another favourite on this season's cruise!
Vessel Name: Yacht Flirtie
Vessel Make/Model: Trident Voyager 40
Hailing Port: Dartmouth, UK
Crew: Bruce and Caroline Trott
About:
We've sailed the South and East coast of England, the Channel Islands, Northern France and the Brittany coast. [...]
Extra: email us: bandc.trott@gmail.com skype us: distant.drummer797
Yacht Flirtie's Photos - Main
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Yacht Flirtie

Who: Bruce and Caroline Trott
Port: Dartmouth, UK

Where are we now?