Log #19M North Coast of Mallorca

May 2, 2001 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 19 Spain, The Logs

Log #19M North Coast of Mallorca

April 14 – 16,  2001

We took Sprite for a leisurely long dinghy ride around the inner end of Bahia de Pollensa. The west and south sides are fringed with about three miles of sandy beaches right around to Puerto del Barcares in the southwest corner. Ominously, there was a wreck of a 50 foot yacht on one of the shoals off the beach, a reminder that careful navigation is necessary even in these idyllic beach-fringed bays. We sounded some of the sections to identify depths were we to bring Veleda over to them. We keep a hand lead and line in Sprite for that very purpose, as part of Sprite’s inventory lashed into the stern bracket I made inside the transom. We also keep a compass, sun tan lotion, a few short lines, bailer and sponge, a coiled length of wire for locking to dock rings, and a collapsible grapple anchor in this small bracket. In addition to the fuel tank, a hand pump, a stainless steel commando knife (hidden), a couple of life jackets and a 15 foot painter line with a carabiner on the end make up the inventory we keep in Sprite.

Crossing over to the north side we saw Cala Formentor, and its offlying island with a couple of boats at anchor. There is a large elegant hotel nestled in the cala beneath the mountains of Cape Formentor. There are three other anchorages indicated on the charts northwest of this location, in calas dramatically placed beneath the jagged cliffs of this rugged cape. However, we did not dinghy out that far, but returned around Pointa de la Avanzada, past the Base de Hidros, a military seaplane base, and residence area, back to the large yacht harbour. We got our bath toiletries ready and dinghied across to the showers on the outer end of the Club Nautico. Lovely! Hot water and good clean showers are an occasional, much appreciated luxury, as we have no shower on Veleda. No one from the club was around to pay, so we had free showers.

While in Pollensa we phoned Bill and Jean on Soleil Sans Fin who were now around Cape Formentor at Puerto de Soller on the north coast. We welcomed them to Mallorca, as they had just arrived from the Spanish mainland together with Dany II, another Canadian boat (but with French flag and registration) with John and Laurie whom we met when we were in Barcelona. As they were going to be there for a few days we decided to go around to join them.

We left shortly after 0900 on the 16th, a lovely sunny day, little wind, looking forward to a quiet motor sail the 36 miles around to Soller. We had a light west wind, which increased to a light force 3 to 4 creating a bit of swell we had to motor into. We sighted a couple of dolphins astern of us, but they didn’t come over to play.

The north coast is a dramatic rugged series of jagged peaks, valleys, sheer cliffs (many with caves eroded in their sides and bases), a few craggy offlying rocky islands. There is deep water right up to the cliff faces. A few of the calas on the north coast had anchorages indicated, but with their northern exposure, I would be reluctant to use them for more than daytime stops. They were in picturesque locations with the cliffs towering over the entrances, ending in valleys and torrents (dry river beds), some with sandy beaches. Cala de San Vincente is on the opposite side from Puerto de Pollensa across the base of Cape Formentor, less than a mile from where we were moored, but ten miles around the peninsula by water. It has a large holiday development with hotels and restaurants fringing the two sandy beaches at the head of the cala.

A haze developed, reducing our visibility up this dramatic coast line to about 15 miles instead of 25 or 30. A few of the 3000 foot peaks were caressed by occasional passing fluffy cotton-batten clouds as they tried to drift over the mountain range. Cala de la Colobra is a spectacular cove with three small anchorage arms nestled beneath overhanging cliffs. The central anchorage terminates at a narrow slit in the rock face where the Torrent de Pareis has cut a gorge through the valley to empty onto a narrow sandy beach. There is a small hotel/restaurant development at which tour boats disgorge day passengers to enjoy this spectacular setting with its sheer cliffs, sandy beach, fractured rock walls and intriguing cave openings.

As we continued to motor along the coast, we could see the occasional ancient stone watch tower high on a mountain peak, keeping its isolated, silent, lonely vigil for pirates of a bygone era. We could see the holiday developments high on the cliffs to the east of Puerto de Soller before the entrance opened up to reveal a 500 metre wide channel entering in a southeasterly direction into a large, round, well sheltered, sandy beach-ringed bay with the naval, fishing and public docks in the northeast sector. It is the only sheltered port of refuge on the entire north coast from Dragonara in the southwest to Cape Formentor on the northeast. It is another idyllic setting, the clear Mediterranean blue waters cupped in a wide round bay guarded by rocky pinnacles at the entrance. The valley behind the port going up to the town of Soller leads into the 2500 foot high mountain range separating the north coast from the central plain gently rolling into the Palma area on the south coast.

As we entered the bay, we saw Soleil Sans Fin and anchored between her and the beach in about 14 feet of water over a sandy bottom. At 1730 we went over in Sprite for cocktails with Bill and Jean, and John and Laurie from Dany II came over as well. It was a good get together; we had not seen them since Barcelona in January.

There is a quaint narrow gauge open tram railway service that links Puerto de Soller with Soller, 3 kilometers inland, on a half hourly schedule. From Soller, there is a tunnel through the mountains and a narrow roadway going over them in a series of 36 hairpin turns going up, and 29 hairpin turns going down the south side. Gilles counted them when we went through by rental car to Palma one day. The tunnel is 3 kilometers long.