Saturday 6 July 2019

Formentera – Es Calo, El Pilar de la Mola, S'Espalmador, La Savina

Sunday 2nd June to Saturday 8th June 2019

We didn't leave La Sahona as early as planned. When Mark checked the engine before setting off, he discovered we’d had an oil leak, so had to clean the engine oil up in the engine room and refill the oil before we could set off. Thankfully it wasn’t anything major,  just a cap hadn't been tightened properly. 

Engine sorted, we set off at lunchtime on Sunday and headed south towards Cap de Barbaria. We would then turn east towards Punta des Far and then round the headland and north towards Es Calo.

As we headed out of the bay and turned south, the scenery was amazing for the first few miles. There were cliffs that looked like layer cake and big caves that have developed over thousands, maybe millions, of years of the sea pounding against them.  When I see these it makes me wonder who has been in these caves and whether they’ve been used by smugglers.

Once we hit the flat lands the journey became a bit tedious. The wind was against us so we had the engine on. Safe to say it was a bit of a slog and rather boring, with the exception of rounding Punta des Far and seeing one dolphin in the distance!

After 4 ½ hours we reached our destination.  Mark had been a bit sceptical about Es Calo, he didn't feel that anything could compare to E'Spalmador.  But wow, were we in for a treat. The bay was absolutely beautiful and unspoilt. 

We anchored in a little bay, with a tiny little beach with no one on it and were completely surrounded by stunning cliffs and caves.  We ended up staying four days. 

Next morning I was up with the larks as I'd decided i wanted a photo of the sunrise.  We had seen numerous beautiful sunsets, but as we're not early birds, no sunrises.  I was not disappointed, the sunrise was just amazing. The stillness of the bay, with the gentle singing of birds was truly wonderful.

Later in the day we rowed ashore to Es Calo and left Upbeat at a fisherman's shed whilst we climbed the hills to El Pilar de Mola.  Google maps said it was 4 miles away would take about an hour, but it didn’t take into account the steep terrain and the maze of woodland paths and 3 hours later we hit the town and had a cold glass of wine.

It was a beautiful walk through the forest and along the cliffs overlooking the bay.  The views from the cliff of the bay we were anchored in was stunning, the water was so clear, it highlighted the different colours of the sea and the smell of pine and rosemary was very powerful.

We also came across caves that had once been lived in.  You could clearly see where the living area would have been and how sheltered they would have been from bad weather. 

By the time we hit the town all the restaurants had stopped selling food, so we just had a drink. But, we were so hungry from the walk that we went to the supermarket and bought bread, cheese, tomatoes and a bottle of water and then ate them sitting on a bench at the bus stop, waiting for the bus. It was like being a teenager all over again. 

We got the bus back to Es Calo, which is a pretty little village with a couple of supermarkets and restaurants. 

High on the joy of a great day, we headed back to the Fisherman's hut to retrieve Upbeat. Mark had made such a good job of setting the anchor, we couldn’t get it out of the water as it had lodged under a rock. Only one thing for it, he had to strip to his underpants and dive underwater to release it. Anchor free, we rowed back to Offbeat as the sun was setting on a perfect day!

Next day, the little beach was so inviting I couldn’t resist spending a day there.  Its not often you have the opportunity to have a beach to yourself, so I wanted to make the most of it. 

We loaded the dinghy with our stuff and headed for the beach. Honestly,  we packed more stuff than when I had 3 young children. There was a deck chair, parasol, towels, backpacks, snorkel/mask/flippers/noodle, sails and poles for the dinghy (Mark wanted to take Upbeat for a sail) plus the ores.  There was only just enough room for us two!

Anyway, it was a lovely day. Mark set the dinghy up for sailing, but it became too windy so he joined in the spirit of everybody else in Formentera and took his trunks off for a bit of nuddy sunbathing. I wasn't so brave! 

The cala itself was very busy, with lots of boats with jet skis and dinghies zooming around. Whilst we were there, a couple of super yachts anchored close by, which provided me with something to look at when on board Offbeat. I do love a bit of people watching! 

Unfortunately by Wednesday evening the southerly swell had found it’s way into the bay and after a very uncomfortable night rolling around like a drunk at a party and with the weather forecast predicting more of the same, we reluctantly picked up anchor on Thursday and headed for calmer waters. 

We headed north towards El Pujols where we could get shelter from the headland and planned to stay there a couple of nights. 

Ha ha, little did we know. When we got to El Pujols, we didn't even bother going into the bay as we could see from our position that the rolling was worse here than Es Calo.   Talking through our options  we decided to head on back to S'Espalmador where we would find good shelter.

It actually turned out to be a good choice, as it meant that we had gone full circle round the island.  I think that by then, we could safely say that we'd done Formentera. 

We had been round Formentera on Offbeat and seen some great sights. I still wanted to try and get to the capital of the island Sant Francesc Xavier as that would be the final bit for me. 

We stayed in S'Espalmador for one night and then moved to La Savina and anchored outside the harbour. We had hoped to get in on Friday, but they had a regatta on so there was no vacancies at the marina until Sunday. 

By Saturday I was going stir crazy as I’d been on the boat too long.  Unlike Mark, who is happy  to be on the boat all the time, I need to have a balance between boat and land but as the wind was blowing up such a swell, neither of us fancied our luck rowing ashore in the dinghy.

We often get admiring glances and compliments about Upbeat and she is a beautiful dinghy, but on that day I did watch longingly at the inflatable RIBs skimming across the water with their passengers holding on for dear life!

In the end my boredom got the better of me and to Mark's delight I baked a rice pudding,  even though it was 27+ degrees outside. 

What can I say, comfort food!

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