We arrived in Portinatx early afternoon and dropped anchor about 400 metres from the beach. It isn’t a very big cala, but it is very popular with yachts coming from or going to Mallorca so can get very crowded.
We planned to stay here for a few days and wait until there was a favourable weather window to blow us over to Mallorca. What we didn’t know at our time of arrival was that it was fiesta weekend, celebrating Virgin del Carmen. Stella Maris, as she is also known, was adopted by fishermen and Mariners as their patron. But more about that later!
We had a leisurely afternoon on Friday, Mark's back was still niggling so we didn’t go ashore. We spent the time pottering about and people watching.
Having dinner in the cockpit I noticed a fork lift truck lifting speakers off the back of the lorry onto a stage that had been erected in the corner of the beach. “Ooh” I said to Mark, “I think there's going to be a concert". I did a quick check on the internet to see what was on in Portinatx over the weekend and that was when I found out it was the fiesta of the Virgin del Carmen and that it was the party of all parties in Portinatx over the weekend with folk dancing, parades, live music and their famous beach party.
Having never being into the Ibiza party scene, we were unaware that the party is an annual event where DJs from all over the island come to play a set from 10pm Saturday evening until 5 am Sunday morning. Oh well, good excuse to have a lay in on Saturday as it will be a late one!
Saturday we rowed ashore and headed into town to pick up a few bits. Shopping done, we stopped at a bar for refreshments and they just happened to have the women's Wimbledon final showing. I haven't watched a final in years, so with wine in hand I settled down for the afternoon. Wow, what a match. Although it didn't last long, it was brilliant to watch and made a nice change for us.
We headed back to Offbeat to have a little siesta before dinner as we knew we were in for a long night. The locals had been talking about the beach party in the bar we were in, explaining that it is very loud and no one sleeps whilst it's on.
Mark was still suffering with his back so we decided not to go to the beach, but like other boats in the bay we would get in the spirit and decorate Offbeat. We put up the bunting, lit the candles and even the disco ball made an appearance. It was fascinating watching the boats come in and drop anchor right in front of the beach. There were about 7 or 8 boats rafted together right next to the swimming buoys. With best seats in the house, they were in for a good night!
By 2am we'd had enough of listening to house music, so we went below and spent a few hours planning for Mallorca.
We woke late Sunday morning to find that Mark's back had gone altogether and being in pain, he was very limited in what he could do. So, whilst he rested I carried on with planning our trip to Mallorca.
Sunday night was the highlight of the weekend for me, with the celebration of the Virgin del Carmen. Her much loved effigy is placed on a flower decked throne and paraded through the streets and taken for a tour round the harbour, accompanied by a flotilla of fishing boats. Brass bands play, crowds cheer and fireworks are let off. We didn't get ashore, but I could hear the brass band playing and watch the procession along the seafront from Offbeat.
The procession around the harbour bay was lovely. With local boats following, the statue of the Virgin del Carmen was taken to the entrance of the bay on a local tour boat, accompanied by clergy, dignitaries and parishioners where a blessing was given and wreaths, for those who have lost their lives at sea, were placed in the sea. The formal bit over, fog horns were sounded around the bay.
Procession over, we were treated to more live music from a live band that had a hot air balloon as a stage prop. It was all a bit random, but they were pretty good and played songs that I knew, so with glass of wine in hand I danced to the music on Offbeat.
Monday and Mark was feeling a bit better, so we rowed ashore and had a wander through the town. I say wander in its loosest term as there are 4 streets to the town. Still its a pretty town with friendly people and we enjoyed our time there.
Back at Offbeat we made final preparations for our crossing to Mallorca. We were planning to leave at 06:30 so wanted to have everything ready before bed.
It's amazing how much work goes into prepping the boat before a long sail. Checking sails, lines, rigging, engine, fuel etc., stowing all the stuff that’s gathered on deck and the dinghy. Then there's below, everything needs to be stowed and secured and when it’s your home, that can be a lot of stuff!
Still, we did it. We had our last dinner in Ibiza on deck and watched the sunset whilst wondering what Mallorca has in store for us.
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