Farewelling Mainland Spain for the Balearic Islands

The objective for the season has always been to head east we just seem to have had a few weather, repair and freight obstacles that have ensured that we made the most of Spain before we farewelled her for the foreseeable sailing future. 

190706 2 Celebration Time in Valencia190706 1 Celebration Time in Valencia

After Barry and Kim Mounce headed home to Louisiana we waited patiently in Valencia Harbour for a part for our generator. The first part ordered ended up somewhere in Belgium necessitating the reordering of a second express freight. But that express freight still meant we had to stay in harbour for an unexpected three days. 

As it happened one of those days, Saturday 6th of July turned out to be a huge day of celebration and festivities in the Port. 

A concert was held on the opposite shore of the harbour commencing at 5.30pm and concluded with a huge fireworks display at 2.30am the following morning. No we did not stay up for the concert that could be heard through the hull from across the water but we certainly woke for the fireworks. As did everyone in the harbour as no matter how heavy a sleeper you were, there was no sleeping though this explosive exhibition.

A flotilla of boats headed out of harbour following the lead boat that was adorned with flowers and a statue of Saint Carmen balanced on the bow. The procession returned to land and then paraded the statue of St Carmen for some distance on a cart along the waterfront as part of an annual event paying homage to the Patron Saint of sailors and seafarers.

Another group of young people were dressed in what appeared to be team shirts or colours and were moving on mass through the streets each with their own small band, whistles and horns blasting. We could not determine what their celebration was but we felt it fair to say they were definitely celebrating summer. 

190703 1 Valencia Market

Valencia Central Market built between 1914 and 1928 

190703 2c Valencia Market

We took the opportunity to go back to Valencia’s central market to provision with fresh produce. The Valencia Market was built between 1914 and 1928 and is noted as having a predominantly “Valencia Art Nouveau” style. It underwent a major refurbishment in 2010 and is certainly a stunning architectural building. With a floor space of 8000 square meters it is apparently the largest central market in Europe and is frequented by locals and tourists alike. The range of of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread and wine sold within the walls of the markets ensures you do not leave with an empty shopping trolley - definitely a place to come with a list and not when you are hungry!

190709 1 Arriving Ibiza Cala Characca anchorage just before sunset

Finally on Tuesday the 9th of July we headed out of Valencia early, happy to leave behind the red sand mud that caked the boat every time there was a heavy dew or mist of rain. We were heading for the Balearic Islands that lay east of the Spanish mainland with the plan of sailing to three of the four islands and using them as a stepping stone from which to sail to Sardinia. 

Arriving just on sunset into Cala Charraca a bay on the the northern tip of Ibiza we found ourselves in a very rolly anchorage that thankfully eased the next day. That or our sea legs had been reinstated and the roll less obvious. The day was spent scrubbing the boat literally from top to bottom. 

190712 4 One of the many bays within Cala Mondrago Stunning water

Beautiful water of Cala Mondrago Mallorca

190712 2 Cala Mondrago swimming ladders everywhere

As we continued east our next stay was in Cala Mondrago on the south east of Mallorca. We discovered this Cala in 2017 on our return trip to Cartagena and were keen to spend a couple of nights on anchor here. The pristine waters were as blue as we remembered and the Cala itself much larger than we had appreciated on our first visit. The area was declared a national park in 1992 preserving it from high rise development. The sandy beaches surrounded by rock outcrops and pine trees easily absorbed the large number of sun seeking holidayers and from on anchor made for  a really nice place from which to people, boat and sunset watch. 

190715 1 Mahon Harbour

Port of Mahon

190715 5 Mahon home of Xoriguer Gin

Our final stay in the Balearic Islands was in the town of Mahon on the Isle of Menorca. Marina Mahon was well located for us to walk up the hill to the old town area where we happened upon a fresh produce market, located a Gin Xoriguer store home of the locally produced gin in its signature green bottle, and appreciated a little of the history of this port city. 

Lee celebrated her birthday with a dinner out at the Wine Bar Mestre d Aixa where tapas were served with a definite chefs twist and the pairing of local wines by the attentive waiter made for a very special night out. 

The marina though expensive at the quoted price of 275 euro a night had the most helpful friendly staff so we would most definitely consider returning to this marina as there is a lot to explore on the Isle of Menorca and in the town of Mahon if one had the time. 

190716 6 Sailing Menorca to Sardinia Code 0

Nothing beats sailing by a full moon 

190717 1 Been a while since we raised the Sardinian Flag 2017 in fact190718 1 Porto Pino water clarity is amazing

But for us there was finally the opportunity to sail for Sardinia. A 200 nautical mile sail (370km or 230miles) leaving Mahon around 9am in the morning we arrived some 28 hours later into Porto Pino Sardinia having sailed under the most beautiful moonlit sky. 

We were last in Sardinia in 2017 when we sailed from Cagliari the capital city of Sardinia in the south up the east coast to Porto Cervo an area overflowing with super yachts. Our experience at that time was to say the least not the most enjoyable and we had always stated it was not an area we wish to return to given the choice.

Well obviously we just needed to visit the right side of Sardinia or should I correctly say West. Arriving into Porto Pino we were greeted with a huge expanse of white sand and the clearest blue water we have ever seen. The anchor when the wind settled could be seen laid out on the sand. No problem doing an anchor check here. 

190718 3 Tower of Coltellazzo or Sant Efisio

In preparation for the arrival of Australian friends we spent the next two days surveying anchorages on route to Cagliari of which there were many. 

Our last night before the arrival of our Australian friends was in the bay off Nora where the roman ruins of what was the first major port city of Sardinia remain, having been discovered in 1889 after a storm unearthed a Phoencian-Punic cemetery. The population at its height is believed to have been around 8000 people and beneath the waters lay evidence of roman roads that can be seen while snorkelling. We did not have the opportunity to explore this area but it is in the log book for another of those - should we return times. 

190719 3 Interesting growth on the mooring line at Cagliari

So on Friday the 19th July we arrived into Cagliari the capital of Sardinia. Having been here in 2017 we were familiar with the harbour but had an unexpected surprise when the harbour master insisted he board and help with the mooring lines. As we heaved the lines out of the water it became very apparent why he had offered. The lines were laden with molluscs having not yet been cleaned for the season. 

With just hours to spare before the arrival of friends Paul and Kirsty Nicholls from our home town of Darwin we set about preparing the boat and looking forward to the next few days revisiting the pristine anchorages we had discovered just around the corner. 

Happy to be in Sardinia, never thought we would be saying that!

(Click for more photos)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain