I was still alone on board and I really enjoyed the sensation of freedom as I sailed around single-handed.
Me, Ellidah, the wind, the sun, and the sea. One can get superstitious by far less out of gratefulness for the purely natural beauty and the raw power of nature.
Watching breathtaking sunsets every night.
The constant fresh and salty smell of the ocean.
Sailing along the waves accompanied by dolphins.
Feeling the warm wind on every inch of the skin while it drives us forward like a powerful turbine.
It might not come as a surprise, but I’m quite a bit of a party animal so it goes without saying that I was looking forward to visiting Ibiza. I wasn’t too sure what to expect because of the pandemic though.
SAILING TO IBIZA
It is July 7th 2020.
The anchor is on its way up and the sun is already boiling. I wanted to get going early and enjoy a full day of sailing.
The wind is still calm, but the forecast tells me that I will get a pleasant breeze from the west around midday. I already made some lunch ready for the trip and I feel ready for some exploring.
The island is on our port side as we approach Cala d’Hort on starboard. It looks like a giant rock someone just dropped in the ocean.
After not too long, we’re closing in on Illa s’Espartar on our port side and Illa des Bosc and Sa Conillera on starboard. The chart tells me that the pass between the two on my starboard side is rather shallow and I decide to take the route around it instead.
I’m in no rush and I know that the catamaran sailing through the strait ahead of me has a really shallow draft compared to my two meters.
ANCHORING IN SAN ANTONIO
A little while later, David call’s me up on the VHF and ask me where I am. I respond with my location and he reports that they have anchored up right up ahead of me in Cala Bassa, but that it is crowded and full of boats.
Not interested in a cramped anchorage, I decide to check out Punta des Trencs a little bit further east and hope to find a nice spot for the night there.
I furl the jib and sail into the Cala with only the main up before quickly finding out that it is packed with boats too.
Okay then, San Antonio it is!
I make a sharp U-turn and unfurl the jib again while pointing us towards our destination at full speed.
Nightclubs, discos, and electronic music is spinning around in my head as I drop the anchor right off the west side of the breakwater of the marina in San Antonio.
Still not convinced that anything would be open, I am still keen on going ashore to find out.
It takes a few attempts to get my Delta properly dug into the weedy seabed, but once set, there magically appeared a glass of rum and coke in my hand. Mandatory “Ankerdram” as we say in Norway.
I like traditions. Especially this one.
Bobbie G has now joined the anchorage and I call them up again to ask what their plan is.
David: – “Well, the girls are keen on going ashore to see if there is any nightlife. Knowing you, I guess that’s where you are headed too?”
They invite me over for a lovely dinner before the four of us get’s cozy in little Ellie and steam away (extremely slowly) towards the town dock.
As we feared, most of the bars and restaurants were closed, but we do manage to find a cozy lounge with a chill vibe to it. Me and David get ourselves a couple of Gin and Tonics and the girls get some snacks and beers.
We were not surprised, but a little disappointed as we walked back to Ellie and cast off the dock.
However, we made ourselves a nice little boat party when we came back to Bobbie G and enjoyed a good time together anyway!
MOSQUITOS AND COFFEE
If you read the first blog post, you might remember the text below and this is the timeline it is taken from.
“I’m lying in my bed while enjoying the gentle movements from side to side. I was dreaming about sailing around the world. As usual”.
The temperature is boiling and I realized that I forgot to open the cabin hatch. Or did I close it because of the 268 billion mosquitos the night before?
I don’t remember and I don’t care.
I’m in desperate need of some fresh air to cool down. I smack up the hatch and feel the gentle breeze flowing in. I can slowly feel my brain starting to work as I’m getting out of my half-sleep. Coffee.
That’s the first thing that comes to mind. I slowly drag myself out of bed, through the salon, and over to the galley.
The smell of fresh coffee in the morning must be the best thing ever. I quickly snap on the propane switch and chuck the kettle with water on the stove.
So, let’s check what the weather is going to do. Are we still safe here? What about that awesome Cala up north that I was thinking of sailing to?
The one with the bongo drums every night? I pop over to the chart table and quickly check the weather. Looks perfect. No winds today and 10kt north-westerlies tomorrow.
That will make for a sweet beam to reach all the way up to the next spot.
BONGO DRUMS IN CALA BENIRRAS
This place is absolutely gorgeous. A giant rock stands in the middle of the entrance, rising a tall finger as a guardian temple watching over the little bay.
There is definitely something spiritual about this place and you can feel it as soon as you pass the guardian rock, locally known as “God’s Finger”.
A group of people gathers before sunset with their drums and various other instruments. They sit outside the old house while drumming and chanting away till the late dark hours every Sunday night during summer.
The air smells of the sea and the temperature varies for every step you walk along the beach after sunset. There is a strong feeling of an unseen presence that is hard to describe other than spiritual.
It is even said that Cala Benirras is a place highly loved by some supermodels, rock stars, and even the royal family.
I made friends with a couple of siblings from Argentina one day. They were visiting Ibiza for a few days in their car before returning to Valencia where they were studying.
We enjoyed soaking up the sun at the beach all day together and I invited them onboard Ellidah to watch the sunset and have a few beers before the drumming started.
The brother preferred the beach, but his sister wanted to see Ellidah and jump off the boat for a night swim.
HEAVY WINDS AND BOATS DRAGGING ANCHORS
I left Cala Benirras a few days later and sailed down to Cala d’Hort to meet up with Bobbie G again. To our surprise, Bernard showed up out of nowhere and decided to anchor up next to us! He was our former neighbor from Yacht Port Cartagena while spending winter there.
It was nice with the three of us catching up and talking about our adventures so far this season.
The forecast spoke of some heavy gusts in the morning. It was Sunday, July 12th and I sat outside in the cockpit with my morning coffee ready to take action in case any of the other boats were anchored poorly.
Only moments later the gust kicked in and it didn’t take long before several boats started to drag their anchor around the anchorage.
It was a proper freakshow.
I saw the chartered boat in front of me named “Windy” starting to dance towards me so I ran downstairs to get my air horn and quickly jumped back up to the bow while honking away like crazy. Apparently, there was no one onboard attending to the boat.
Shit, Shit, Shit.
I went back to the helm and fired up the engine in an attempt to initiate my escape plan, but the wind increased and I realized it was too late and no time to move. Windy was already at my bow and I didn’t stand a chance to try and push it away.
She scratched her stern all the way along Ellidah’s sport side until her anchor grabbed onto my anchor chain.
Two boats were now held to the seabed only by my little Delta anchor and the wind didn’t make any sign of weakening off. The skipper must have realized that he was about to lose his boat and finally came out in his dinghy.
There were quite a few people in the boats around us that watched this freakshow happen and luckily, David was one of them and he came over in his dinghy to assist with the situation.
I shouted at the skipper of Windy and asked him to start his engine and to go forward to release some tension on his chain. I could see his anchor around my chain right under Ellidah‘s bow and I heard the chain scratching under the hull making me really worried about my rudder getting damaged.
As he thrust forward, David and I managed to unwind his anchor and chain away from mine, and he was finally loose and away from us.
I went over to Windy as soon as the wind died down and we exchanged the insurance information. A quick dive revealed that I had been lucky not to get any serious damage to Ellidah except for some scratched-off antifouling off the bottom and paint on the side.
She is a tough lady and she didn’t move one bit during the windy conditions, even with two boats hanging off her anchor.
That’s my girl!
The skipper of the other boat was extremely sorry about the situation and very humble about the entire event.
We even ended up having a few drinks and a long friendly conversation about anchoring that night. I worked many years with anchor handling in the North Sea for the big oil rigs and know a thing or two about the matter.
There are a few important lessons to be learned here.
Shit happens and it often happens rather fast. You can be as angry you want and start pointing a finger against whoever’s fault it may be, but that doesn’t solve anything.
The best thing to do in a situation like this is to do your best to get out of it safely and then learn from it.
Always keep your head on top of the weather forecast and have an escape plan. Look at potential hazards when anchoring and think through how you can react in different situations.
I hope the skipper of the chartered boat learned his lesson about how important it is to properly set the anchor and NOT to leave the boat in weather like this that was forecasted a day in advance.
SAILING BACK TO THE SPANISH MAINLAND
It was time for me to go back to work in Norway for a couple of weeks and I had to find a place to park Ellidah in the meantime. The Marina prices in the Balearic Islands are seriously insane at between 1000 and 1500 euro PER NIGHT for Ellidah.
Well, that was not going to happen as I had to be away for at least 16 days.
The price was a reasonable 55 euros a night and I announced my arrival in port on channel 55 in the late afternoon.
With Ellidah safely moored and locked down, I went to the airport to fly off the following day. The only thing I could think about on the plane was the next adventure.
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