Sailing and Exploring the Balearic Islands: Formentera
LEAVING THE SPANISH MAINLAND
Our destination was the southeast of the Balearic Islands – Formentera, about 135 nautical miles from Cartagena, and we were excited about sailing and exploring this beautiful island. (Map)
Lily and I untied the lines in Yacht Port Cartagena and set sail on Saturday, 27th of June 2020.
We didn’t get any wind to start with and ended up motor sailing from Cartagena, around the cape and up to about the entrance of La Manga. I called up David on the VHF and we talked about going into the lake to anchor up for the night and hope for better winds the day after.
But what if we just went further out northeast for a couple of hours to see if we could find some wind out there?
Sure, why not. The sun was blasting and we really wanted to continue. I changed the course on autopilot and surely enough, we found some wind.
PERFECT! We hoisted the main, unfurled the jib, and killed the old Penta.
The conditions were perfect and a nice breeze pushed us along towards Formentera. David was a bit faster than us as usual with his extra water length, better sails, and expertise in trimming sails, but we didn’t have any rush. We had all the time in the world.
Our beautiful night sail started with a spectacular sunset followed by a crystal-clear sky and interesting conversation making the passage very enjoyable. Lily knew her lines well and sailed like a champ and the mood on board was excellent.
SAILING STRAIGHT INTO PARADISE
We arrived in Cala Soana on Formentera the following day and anchored up right outside the beach. A little tired after the night sail, we went for a quick nap before jumping in for a swim.
The water was turquoise and crystal clear. Steam of tiny little fish was swimming around us and made the aesthetic look like something straight out of a postcard! Or maybe off Instagram in these digital days.
Lily mixed us some Gin and Tonic and all of a sudden, the music went loud and we were having ourselves a little party. Eventually, David came over to join us for some sundowners and good conversations before calling it a night.
The next day was the day for Lily to muster off. She had to leave as she was going to join another boat for a new passage. She was building sea miles for her RYA Yachtmaster and I waved her goodbye and wished her good luck after dropping her off at the beach.
ENJOYING CALA SOANA AND ES PUJOLS
We spent another couple of days in Cala Soana before I decided to escape some uncomfortable swell from the west and sailed around to the other side of the island and anchored up outside Es Pujols for the night.
I had a great sail over there and ended up racing another boat while trimming sails as my life depended on it. It was supreme solo sailing and I felt very excited while reaching away at 7,5 knots!
The other boat never managed to catch up with me after I passed him and I loudly gave lots of compliments to Ellidah.
She was performing excellent and I couldn’t help but wonder what a machine she would be with new sails. New sails are on the bucket list, but a bit outside the budget at the moment.
Instead, I planned on giving the old ones service in the near future and I actually managed to make a mistake a week later in Ibiza that forced me to send them away a lot sooner. More on that later.
The swell died and David sailed back around to the other side of Formentera to pick up some crew in La Savina, the biggest town on the island.
I on the other hand had some problems with Ellie’s outboard and was going to meet up with Simon and Bev on another boat. They are some friends I met in Cartagena and they had brought a new coil that arrived after I left.
With the new coil wired up, the little 2.5 hp Suzuki finally started. The new problem was a stuck throttle damper in the carburetor. While gently trying to get it loose while drowning the thing in WD40, I eventually managed to break it.
What is it with me and parts related to the throttle breaking? The Suzuki has had grief towards me for a long time and I figured that it was time to retire the bastard. We weren’t friends at all.
I put the Suzuki onto Ellie’s stern and drove in idle along towards the town dock in La Savina. It took forever since I couldn’t adjust the throttle, but I got there eventually before dying of starvation.
At least I entertained myself by inventing ridiculous amounts of swearing words to curse the thing.
SHOPPING FOR A NEW OUTBOARD ENGINE
The mission now was to find a shop that could sort me out with a new outboard. I tied up Ellie at the town dock and walked straight to the first outboard dealer I could find. They sold Suzuki’s at a price that made me cry a little bit on the inside.
It has turned out that everything boat-related is more expensive in the Mediterranean than in Norway or the UK for that matter.
I wasn’t sold on getting another Suzuki after battling with the old bastard and especially not at the price of 1700€!
Luckily, I found a Yamaha dealer called Nautica Pins a little further up in town. After having a long chat with the owner, I ended up buying a new Yamaha 6 HP 4-stroke at a price tag of 1670 €. I held my breath, closed my eyes, and tapped the credit card.
Ideally, I would have wanted to get my hands on a 9.9 HP 2-stroke which would be about the same weight as the 6 HP 4-stroke, but these are hard to come by as they are banned from sale in Europe.
The new outboard weighs 27kg and is at the limit of what I can handle alone between Ellidah and Ellie in a choppy sea.
POWERING UP ELLIE WITH A NEW YAMAHA
The guys at Nautica Pins were awesome and could have the engine ready and delivered at the port within the hour.
I went to get a quick pizza and a coffee in the nearest shop while waiting before I walked with the guys from Nautica Pins back to Ellie. The trip back to Ellidah went a lot faster as the 6 HP had a bit more grunt to it than the old bastard.
You are supposed to break in the engine for a while before cranking it, but I just couldn’t help myself HAHA! I literally flew back to Ellidah with a shark grin on my face.
My mission was a success and I felt that some rum and coke were well deserved to celebrate a good day while watching the sunset from the cockpit. Formentera is truly a paradise with a world-class stunning view no matter where you look.
ENJOYING THE MAGNIFICENT PLATJA DE LLEVANT
The next day I moved Ellidah a bit further north to the famous beach Platja de Llevant to meet up with David and his new crew. They invited me over for a lovely dinner and some sundowners.
We spent a few days together exploring the beaches, swimming in the turquoise water, SUP paddling, and generally just enjoying the magnificent views of Formentera and some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
It was to one of these sunsets that I picked up my guitar to start practicing for the first time! My friend and former crew member, Bjørn Gunnar, bought me a guitar as a present last time we were in Alicante. The condition for the gift was that I had to learn how to play it. And so, I practiced until my fingertips almost fell overboard.
Such good times!
Of the three Balearic Islands, Formentera have the nicest water and the most impressive beaches and I can highly recommend spending your holiday here. Check it out on Google Maps.
If you can’t visit by boat, you could get a day tour with this awesome Gaff from Beso Beach!
If you want to stay updatd with the latest posts, don’t forget to sign up for the awesome newsletter that I send out everytime there is any news!
I will never send you any spam and you can unsubscribe at any time. Fill in your name and e-mail in the box to starboard and you’re all set.
Also, don’t forget to share this on social media!