Friday 23 July 2021

Good Morning Mallorca!

Sailing through the night from Ibiza to Mallorca was quite special.  Leaving at sunset and watching the sun lower behind Isla Vedra was quite a moment for Mark and me as we had wanted to experience this from the first time we had sailed around Ibiza, two years ago.

Once the sun down it was full concentration as we passed through the passage between Formentera and Ibiza.  With fast ferries whizzing between the islands and boats buzzing in and out of the marinas in Ibiza Town, we had to have our wits about us. With the sails up and engine on, Mark at the helm and me on lookout, we motored through with no problems.  Once through we raised the mainsail and staysail.  Phew, an intense 20 minutes or so.

Once through and past the busy port of Ibiza Town, we had something to eat and settled in to our nightly routine.  With a south easterly wind we were maintaining a speed of between 4.5 to 5 knots.

As night fell and darkness surrounded us, we could see the twinkling of  lights from resorts on shore and the rhythmic flashing of the lighthouse on Isla Tagomago and later, Punta des Gat.

By 23:30 the wind had dropped and we were only managing 3 knots. Mark decided to put the engine on to give us a boost back to 5 knots. Our ETA to Andraitx was 11:30 the following day.

By 03:30 we had left the lights of Ibiza behind us and with no moon, it was an extremely dark night.  During this time, there was a few things of note that happened.

Firstly the stars. Oh my what a sight.  They were everywhere and there was the milky way again, showing us the depth of the unknown. And then, to top it off, there were shooting stars, whizzing through the sky to keep us alert and entertained.

Later, there was the hue of the bright lights of Palma that indicated where the horizon lay and where we should be pointing Offbeat.  For me it meant that I could steer using this course rather than looking down at the compass every few seconds.  It was also rather comforting to see the glow and know that our destination lay straight ahead.

The other really weird thing was a low flying, brightly lit subaquatic drone breaking the surface of the sea.  When we had left Ibiza we had listened to the navigation warnings and they had spoken about drones undertaking survey work between Ibiza and Mallorca,  and they warned to not approach if you saw one.  Having seen one of these appear on the starboard bow and then disappear into the distance, the last thing on my mind was to approach it.  If I could have run away, I would have fled to the hills in the opposite direction. Spooky doesn't come close to explaining that moment when in the pitch black of the night you see a bright light appear and then disappear.  Thankfully my watch on the helm ended soon after that moment. Mark seemed much less perturbed.

By 06:20 the wind returned and so the engine was turned off.  It was about the same time as the sun was starting to rise to the east of us, lighting up the mountains of Mallorca. It was a beautiful sight, with the sky turning different shades of red and then orange until it was fully risen.

We continued sailing for the next five hours, watching the boating world gradually stir and take to the sea, boats whizzing out of ports and along the coast in search of the perfect spot to drop anchor for the day.

Sailing past the island of Sa Dragonera, we knew that we were nearly at Andratx, one of our favourite parts of Mallorca and at 
11:15 we called Club Nautica de Andraitx on the VHF radio and picked up a bouy to Moor to and went to bed for a few hours.

Let the Mallorcan adventure begin!

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