Yacht charter The Balearics: Ibiza and Formentera - Spain
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Suggested tour : Palma – Andtratx – Dragonera – crossing to Ibiza - Tagomago – Espalmador (Formentera) – Conejera (San Antonio) – Cala Binirras – crossing to Palma - Palma.
Mileage (approx) : 140 – 180 miles, including 2 crossings to and from Ibiza from Palma (55 miles between Palma and Tagomago)
Difficulty : medium - low
Weather : the southwestern side of the Balearics has a different weather pattern compared with the Menorca section. Warmer, less windy and calmer… This of course does not mean bad weather is non existent. Moreover, in case of NE winds in the whole area, common also in summer, a lively swell is likely to reach all the way to Ibiza. Make a good use of the excellent breezes around both, Ibiza and especially Mallorca. They rarely flow towards the coast, but mainly at an angle… The main breeze in mallorca flows strong from the SSW after 1 pm. It leaves, unfortunately, an uncomfortable chop. Northerly blows can be very strong, with big seas, even in summer. Expect 1 a month. Special care must be taken in planning the crossings, but weather forecast are reliable and this can be don in good advance. A good modern sailboat can do the crossing from Andtratx to Tagomago (44 miles) in less than 7 hours, a calm night of power…
History and art : Palma is a pleasant city, with a very nice, if small, old town. If you have tome the advice is to visit Deya and Valldemossa, to very picturesque villages 1 hour N of Palma with a bus. The attractions in Ibiza and Formentera are somewhat of a less artistic kind.
Gastronomy : Menorca and Maiorca, like most of the Mediterranean Islands, have a culinary heritage that is more attached to the land than to the sea, which is where the invaders came from. Maiorca has superb meat dishes, especially lamb and pork (hams, sobresadas, sausages), while Menorca has a fine choice of pork and cheeses. The lamb leg at the Bardia in palma is the best I ever had. Fornells is famous for its expensive lobsters. The local fish soup is the caldereta de pescados Y mariscos. Overall, the French and the Italians can do much better, and at better prices. Prawns are so expensive that one loose the appetite.
Recommended restaurants of the Blue Prawn guide : Palma : Bardia (on the street between Placa da Lotja and Carrer D’Apuntadors) and Patxi (Plaza del Puente). Nothing to report on Menorca yet...
Ports and anchorages in W Mallorca and Menorca
Andtratx: this is very well developed harbour offers a wide anchorage area outside if you do not want to moor to the mooring docks, managed by PortBalear and very honest in price. In case of strong winds the port authority allows boats to anchor inside. The whole area is very popular and fashionable with the English crowds… Excellent bars, expensive restaurants. The Marisqueria Gallega is probably the best bet, but does not deserve a mention in the Blue Prawn.
Dragonera: this magnificent island is a national park and is well worth a visit. Anchor as close as possible to the small cove on the NE end, where there is the NP dock. In case of NW gales, good shelter can be found well into this tiny cove, with lines ashore to the dock, the anchor in 3 metres and the stern in 2.5. You can disembark here and do one of the well maintained hikes.
Tagomago: a very nice welcome from Ibiza will reward those who anchor in the SW side of this small private island. Let go in sand, 5 metres, as close as possible to the coast. Magnificent waters.
Eivissa: the E coast of Ibiza is not our favourite, and I’d personally skip Eivissa altogether, with obnoxious mooring prices and a crowd that makes you wonder how the newer generations will ever find a job.
Formentera-Espalmador: the N tip of Formentera is just a 2-mile long spit of sand that at one point dives in to reappear after 100 metres and form Isla Espalmador. This whole Indian Ocean style marvel creates a wide bay where a varied collection of yachts, from 20 to 250 feet, find shelter and solace. Isla Espalmador itself provides more shelter and creates a magnificent bay where mooring buoys have been placed (reservation essential in high season) – not free. The clear waters, white sands, thermal pools, long beaches and beach-bars provide ample scope not to get bored.
Formentera: tour around the island and anchor wherever convenient in front of the big beaches
San Antony and Isla Conejera: from Espalmador to San Antonio, this steep coast offers very nice anchorages, which we suggest for day use. Once in the San Antonio bay you can either spend the night anchored or moored close to the very lively town, where the chillout-famous Café Del Mar is located (expect the same crowds), or let go in the bay on the SE side of Isla Conejera, another National park. The hike to the lighthouse starts from the dock and is well worth the effort. If you can, anchor and snorkel in the outer islands, Islas Bledas. Unless you are on a ferry or sailing an AC boat, the passage between Isla Conejera and Isla Bosque is clear of danger in mid-channel.
N coast of Ibiza: this shores offer a very different side of an otherwise fashionable island. Steep and abrupt, the cliffs are impressive and barren. There are several anchorages, none sheltered from all sides but overall not bad. Our favourites are those around Cala Binirras, a deep cove well sheltered from most winds (except W-NW). Further E you can also anchor in Cala Portinatx, a very convenient jumping off point for Mallorca. Well sheltered even in strong NE, but swells finds its way in. Get away from the whole coast in case of NW gales.