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Saturday, 3 August 2019

Mountains, Drumming and Sunsets - North Ibiza

Thursday 27th June to Thursday 4th July 2019

We headed back to Sant Antoni to do some chores, mainly washing and stocking up on food. We decided not to go into the marina, but to anchor in a little bay to the west of the town.  

As it was a short visit it was all systems go when we arrived and I think we surprised ourselves by getting everything done in one afternoon/evening. 

Friday morning we pulled up the anchor and headed off to the north coast of Ibiza.  A number of fellow travellers had said how beautiful this part of Ibiza is, with dramatic cliffs and mountains and beautiful calas, so we were looking forward to exploring it.

As is the norm nowadays, there was no wind.  Not even a hint of wind as you can see by the flat sea in the photos.  So, with engine on, off we chugged due north.

As we left the bay at Sant Antonio, the sight of the mountains from the sea were pretty awesome.  Mark believes it is very similar to Scotland, but with sunshine and without midgies. I could tell that we were in for a treat in this part of the island.


North Coast of Ibiza


Motoring no longer seemed too bad, as there was so much to see. One of the highlights was seeing Ses Margalides, which are a series of rock formations lying off the coast just past Cap Negret. Over thousands of years, the rocks have formed a low sea arch through which small boats pass through. From a distance the rocks don’t look that impressive, but once you get close to them you appreciate the sheer scale of the rocks, the clear blue water surrounding them and the intricate patterns of the rock formation.





               Ses Margalides

















Punta de Ses Torretes 



I could have quite easily have spent an afternoon there, just appreciating the beauty of the coastline, but we pressed on.  And I was not disappointed.  The scenery along the coastline was truly amazing and by late afternoon we headed in to Cala d'Albarca where we would stay for a few of days.

We ended up spending a couple of days in Cala d'Albarca.  It was such a beautiful, peaceful anchorage, surrounded by 100-200 metre cliffs.  The bay was 1 mile wide and ¾ mile in depth so plenty of space to ourselves. 


Cala d'Albarca



The shoreline was large boulders and rocks, no beach, backed by pine forested slopes and sheer white, red and brown limestone cliffs.  With no roads or tracks to be found, it would have been a hard scramble to get to civilisation. On Saturday afternoon there were 8 boats and loads of space.  Saturday night it had decreased to 3 boats including Offbeat and by Sunday morning we had the cala all to ourselves. 


The sunsets from the cala were truly magical,  it's hard to describe the colours of the rock as the sun sets, but they change through the various spectrum of pink through to claret red.




Mark improving the flexible water tank
The weather while we were there was extremely hot, 45 degrees in the shade in the cockpit, 35 degrees in the cabin.  We did a few odd jobs whilst we were there, but mostly tried to keep cool and not overheat by taking occasional dips in the crystal clear sea.

We left Cala d'Albarca late Sunday morning to head 5 miles north to either Puerto San Miguel or Cala Benirras.  I was really keen to go to Cala Benirras as I’d read that on Sunday's they have drumming on the beach at sunset.  Apparently, ‘the day of the drums' first started on Sunday 18 August 1991 when hundreds of people gathered on Benirras beach protesting against the first gulf war in Iraq. It turned into an annual event, attracting thousands of people, far too many for the little cala and village to cope with and was eventually banned.  But, since then drummers have turned up faithfully every Sunday to continue the tradition and drum together as the sun sets over the bay. 

We anchored in Cala Benirras and headed ashore late afternoon.  The beach was already packed but buses were turning up with even more people making there way to the beach with beach blankets and cool boxes full of goodies.  As the sun started to descend, the beach was packed to capacity.   We decided to head on back to Offbeat to watch the sunset and listen to the drumming in comfort over supper.
Cala Benirras

Popular beach, standing room only!


Drumming on the beach
Wow, it did not disappoint. I loved it.  The drumming took on a wildly hypnotic tone and we could see people dancing on the beach to the tribal rhythms, completely lost in the music.





Sunset in Cala Benirras

And the sunset, probably  the  best I’ve seen to date.
I think this is the day that my inner hippy was born as there certainly was an overwhelming feeling of care free abandonment in the air that night.




The next day we set off in Upbeat to go to Puerto San Miguel, which was about 1½ miles round the corner, but to get to it you had to go out of one cala, into the sea and then into another cala.  As we were heading out of the cala I said to Mark that the sea looked a bit ‘lively’.  Not a problem we thought, until we got out into it.  When I’m holding onto the sides of Upbeat and my knuckles go white, Mark knows that I may be getting slightly uptight and anxious. So, with the waves lapping at the side of us, we turned round and headed back to Offbeat.


Musical Mermaids 
Later in the day we went ashore and took a walk up one of the cliffs that surrounds the bay. On the way into shore, we met some mermaids who were being interviewed before singing lullabies to those who could hear.  By now I was completely in love with the sheer colour and magic of this place. I think that for me it was one of very few places that I’ve been to where there is an acceptance of everyone by such an eclectic group of people.  You just do your own thing and no one judges you for it!

After a couple of blissful days in Cala Benirras we headed round the corner to Puerto de San Miguel.  Not sure why it's called a port, as there's no marina but it was a pretty cala, with three beaches dotted around it.


Cala des Moltons
Puerto de San Miguel
Wednesday we rowed ashore to one of the smaller calas and headed up into the woods on the cliff.  At the end of the cliff was a disused tower, which had views for miles. So, off we set up the dirt track, following it behind the beach restaurant and outlying buildings.  Then we started to climb, at which point it stopped being a dirt track and turned into a rocky path.  Boy was I glad we had worn hiking boots and not flip flops!

It probably took a good 1½  hours to climb the rocky path up the cliff, in the baking sun.  It’s amazing who you can meet though when out walking and on this particular walk we met some fellow walkers from Brazil who were in Ibiza on holiday.  

At the top of the cliff the views really were worth the effort.  Stunning!  We could see the coastline for miles, together with spectacular views of the bays. 


Illa Murada

Torre des Molar

View from Torre des Molar





After satisfying our desire for a long walk, we headed back down the rocky path towards the beach bar.  It never ceases to amaze me how it's always quicker to get back than going, but I suspect that the barbeque sardines, fresh salad and chilled wine waiting for us may have had a bearing on it!











Unfortunately the next day it was time to move on and with a lot of backward glances, we headed out into the sea.  I really was quite sad to be leaving here as for the first time  in a long time I’d found some inner peace, a feeling that all was right with the world!


Illa Murada


Adios Puerto de San Miguel




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