12 May 2015
The sail from Sant Carles to the Balearics (just over 100 miles) on my own felt a little daunting. However I had the choice of weather and although wind direction and strength was vague there was nothing extreme on the horizon. Passage plan: leave the harbour and sail to whichever Island the wind blew me to!
Ended up at Soller Majorca. A delightful sail till midnight when the wind faded, motored overnight and then had a brisk morning sail to arrive midday. The Hydrovane self-steering did most of the work and a dozen small dolphins joined Malibu for half an hour at breakfast just to raise the spirits, doesn’t get much better as passages go!
The anchorage at Soller is spectacular, a beautiful inlet with a small harbour surrounded by quiet tourist bars etc. A charming old tram service toots and clangs serving the main town inland.
After a couple of days wondering what the flags were; some similar to St Georges Cross and others Turkish style red flags with a white scimitar. The answer came on Monday morning with wild bangs of fireworks every few minutes -The Nuestra Senora de la Victoria; a fiesta to celebrate a victory over Moorish pirates in 1561. The tee shirts read, "Soller Firo". The racket continued as the peaceful town began buzzing.
The anchorage had been very busy the previous night but everyone seemed to be leaving or going into the harbour? The port captain’s launch had chased a couple of the big motorboats nearby early in the afternoon but ignored me, leaving only Malibu and a couple of older ketches in an almost deserted anchorage.
From the safe (I thought) distance of the boat I watched the parade starting at about 3pm from the west end of the promenade about half a mile along to the harbour; hundreds of folk marching, singing, shouting and firing fireworks, shotguns and flares. There were bands and fancy dressed groups spilling onto the beaches. When they got to the harbour more fireworks and carry on. A square rigged ship anchored off and fired cannons onto the harbour just to destroy what eardrums we had left!
Thinking that must be the climax I breathed a sigh, but then realised that the throngs on the prom where now flooding back along to the west end beach matched by an armada of small boats charging across the anchorage, past yours truly in the middle. The little boats were crammed with pirates, blacked faces, firing rockets at the shore and each other, right over Malibu!
Fire extinguisher at hand, you’ll be pleased to know we suffered no direct hits. All good fun, but mixing alcohol and fireworks looks reckless and probably is! On reaching the west beach the flotilla bombarded the beach where a mass re-enactment of the battle took place with dozens of costumed participants charging at each other, curved swords flying amid palls of smoke and bombs going off.
Amazingly when I dared to go ashore at 8pm the whole thing was over, dozens of binmen tidying up the litter, shotgun cartridges by the dozen amongst the debris. By Tuesday morning tranquillity resumed, picture perfect combed beach, not a pirate in sight, paradise restored!