Log #19l Northeast Coast of Mallorca

April 29, 2001 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 19 Spain, The Logs

Log #19l Northeast Coast of Mallorca

Ciudadela, Menorca
April 29, 2001

Hi Folks,

We are finally over on Menorca for a few days before Gilles has to catch his plane back to Canada. We are presently at anchor We are the onlyb in Cala Blanes, just north of Ciudadela, a lovely long narrow cala lined by 50 foot limestone cliffs with a lovely sandy beach at the inner end. A force 4 to 5 southwest wind is blowing outside, but this cala is fairly quiet and secure. We’re the only boat in the cala. Tomorrow we’ll go into town with Veleda and hopefully be able to send this E‑mail off.

We have had more problems and expenses here in the Balearics than all the rest of the trip put together so far. The latest have been our stove rusting out, our dinghy tow having a broken shackle (small detail) and our alternator malfunctioning. We bought a new Plastimo stove, but the pieso‑electric lighter does not work and the thermostat does not heat the oven properly. We replaced, after two days of checking all the wiring and the batteries, our heavy duty alternator with our original 55 amp alternator. We took the alternator and Alpha regulator in to be fixed (hopefully), and will pick it up when we return to Pollensa in two or three days time. Remember, the art of cruising involves doing maintenance in exotic locations.

Enjoy this log of our voyage to the northeast of Mallorca.

All the best,


Log #19l Northeast Coast of Mallorca

Written April 28, 2001
Enroute to Puerto de Cuidadela, Menorca
Covers the period April 13 to 16, 2001

We removed all our lines that were used to keep us off the town jetty and from bouncing into the shallows beside us in the storm yesterday in Cala Bona, including going over to the tour boat to let go the lines we had attached to its bow. We eased out of the narrow camber at 0830 and had a pleasant 8 mile motor trip up to Cala Ratjada. Gilles who was out late last night slept right through the trip, and didnÆt wake up until after we were alongside the public transient wall at 1030. Even then he did not awaken, but continued to sleep while Judy and I went over town to get some fresh baguettes and groceries. We woke him at noon for lunch. We were surprised that so many shops were open on a Good Friday.

On the short trip up, we noticed the alternator was not charging at anywhere near what it should. We have a heavy duty 100 amp alternator, and smart regulator (the Alpha Regulator) that puts out 75 amps or more for longer periods of time before going down to medium and then to float levels as the batteries near full charge. However in this 2 hour trip the alternator put only 14 amps into our batteries, leaving them still in a state of low charge. Thanks to my E‑meter (Link 10 battery monitor), I can identify the state of my batteries including the present voltage level, the present current draw, and the number of amp hours used from the full battery level, as well as thetime remaining to drain our batteries to the 50% level at our current rate of draw. So I knew that when we left Cala Bona, we had used 112 amp hours from the full capacity, but two hours of motoring still left us at 98 amp hours from full. Normally the engine alternator would have replaced the 112 amp hours in two hours of motoring. Not now! We tightened up the alternator belt hoping that was the problem. However, we also plugged in to shore power to charge our batteries through our electrical battery charger.

This Cala Ratjada (39 42.6N, 003 27.8E) is a pleasant tourist town with a large fishing fleet of medium and small fishing boats, the second largest fishing port on Mallorca. There was a lovely shoreline walk from the port area around to the next beach at Cala Gat, passing the villa Sa Torre Cega, and its sculpture park, built by a wealthy family of bankers. The grounds were not open, but several sculptures could be seen in the pine scattered woods. We also saw one of the more unusual birds of our trip, a Hoopoe. It has a long curved bill for feeding on insects in the pines, black and white striped wings, pinkish‑cinnamon breast and neck, and a black tipped crest that could stand up or lie down on its head.

Cala Ratjada was one of the few jetties where boats could tie up alongside rather than bow or stern to. When we entered, there were four boats alongside, but as we circled, three of them were leaving, and we had the length of the jetty to ourselves and only one other boat. During the day a few more came in and by night there were seven boats, two of which were rafted off.

About 3 kilometers inland is Capdepera, an old hillside town of ochre coloured houses and narrow streets clustered below a massive walled fortress dating back to Roman and Moorish times. We visited this fortress a week before when we were touring Mallorca by car, but it was closed at that time. However, I walked around the foot of its battlements for a panoramic view over the town, the valley and the surrounding hills, and out to sea past Cala Ratjada.

We left Cala Ratjata shortly before 0900 the next day, April 14, and as we were heading northwest across Bahia de Alcudia and Bahia de Pollensa, we were going into a light force 3 northwest wind, enough to make the swell uncomfortable, and cause us to hoist some sail to try to stabilize the boat. Gilles does not have his sea legs yet.

The sky was clear and sunny, giving us a good panoramic view of the Mountains of Cabo del Pinar, and the rugged peaks of Cabo Formentor and its peninsula. Cape Formentor is a five mile long mountainous finger projecting off the northeast coast of Mallorca, protecting the three mile wide Bahia de Pollensa, Puerto de Pollensa, and a half dozen dramatic anchorages around the bay.

However, pounding into the swell caused a shackle on our dinghy tow to break with an ominous crack. No problem, as Sprite is secured on the dinghy tow by two arms, four anti‑sway lines and her painter. Judy was able to temporarily msecure the block to the arm with a line until we got in, when we replaced the shackle.

This system has been one of our best investments as it allows us to tow Sprite backwards on two rigid arms, raised up at about 45 degrees so that just her bow trails in the water. It also allows us to leave our 10 hp outboard on, gas tank in and connected, lifejackets, anchor, bailer, etc. strapped in, and the dinghy ready to launch and be fully operational within two minutes of anchoring. The only time we removed it was crossing the Atlantic. It has been through some horrendous storms in the North Sea and here in the Med, as well as being towed on the rivers, canals, 173 locks and the 800 miles from the English Channel to the Golfe de Lion through France. We put a high priority on a good reliable dinghy and outboard to take us long distances from anchorages and able to handle heavy seas if necessary. More than once we have used Sprite as a tow vessel for Veleda and other vessels in need of help.

We were still having problems with our alternator not charging properly. As our batteries were not fully charged, even after 5 hours of motoring up from Cala Ratjada, we went in to the public docks in Puerto de Pollensa (39 54.2N, 003 05.0E) to hook up to electricity, as we have found them to be very economical. For our 10 meter boat we pay only 500 pesetas, plus about 350 pesetas for electricity (850 Pesetas is about $6.50 Cdn) per night. This is a radical difference from the 3000 to 5000 pesetas we would have to pay at their private Clubs Nautico.

Alongside us were a couple of friendly Brits from Wales who brought their power boat over from Barcelona to put into charter service here. The trip across that took us 30 hours took them only 5. When we told them of our circumnavigation of the UK and our visit to Wales, we found out that they were familiar with Landshipping Ferry, a small hamlet up the river from Milford Haven which I dinghied up to, and that TerryÆs (one of the Brits) mother was born near there. They were cleaning their boat for the charter season, and Gilles and Judy had all our anchor chain flaked out on the dock painting depth marks on it. We had a pleasant conversation with them as we did our boat chores at the sunny dockside, and had them on board to see what a cruising sailboat is like.

Puerto de Pollensa is the port for the town of Pollensa, about 6 kilometers inland. The port is a tourist town with hotels and restaurants along the seaside, broad sandy beaches, and a good variety of grocery stores, hardware stores, and boat repair services, as well as a British take‑away and café that has a book exchange. The dramatic setting of the wide bay fringed by the mountains to the north and west, the sandy beaches, the well‑sheltered anchorages, the large breakwater housing the public docks, an elegant Club Nautico, fuel dock, and modern repair yard with heavy duty travel lift, all contribute to making this an idyllic full service location for cruisers as well as for the unfortunate land‑bound tourists.