To the Balearics
03 June 2019
A reasonable weather forecast saw us leave Cartagena at 0850 on Friday 17th May (we know, a Friday but we have moved on from those superstitions [Do not tempt providence, Ed]). With a NNW wind we cracked along at 7kts until we met the forecast wind shift at 1400 and had to motor for 40mins, then the SW wind kicked in and quickly built to 12-18kts.
However, by 2100 the wind veered NW and was less than 6kts so we motored the rest of the way to Formentera. We had sailed for 72nm and motored for 67nm, so not too bad.
We had the anchor down at Cala Saona by 0655 and were the only boat so this seemed nice … by 1300 the anchorage was full of day-visit boats, but most left by the early evening. With waves breaking on the shore we did not want to risk a beach landing so stayed onboard and rested after our overnight sail.
A little further north is Espalmador and this had been highly recommended so on 19th May we motored the 7nm. The Balearic authorities are making a major effort to preserve seagrass beds (Posidonia) so anchoring is restricted in many places. The cynics believe this is simply an attempt to drive boats into expensive marinas – we suspect it is a bit of environmental protection and economic opportunity. Anyway, we knew that we might have to pick up a mooring buoy but none were laid. Fortunately, we found a sandy spot to drop but when we fell astern the chain appeared to go over the grass. Hm.
A short while later a Posidonia monitor arrived in a RIB and had a close look at our anchor and chain. The very nice lady came over and said all was OK as the anchor chain was over dead grass … She pointed out the best places to anchor (close in to the buoys marking the swimming areas) and where not to anchor (further out close to the entrance to the bay), but we did not have to move.
We stayed two nights and explored the island – mostly roped off to protect the sand dunes and grass, but the beach is pleasant and we could stretch our legs.