A wake-up call of 4:30am with a 5.00am departure for Ibiza after a late night is no easy thing. However, we were soon cheered up as some prankster played 5 minutes of chilled Ibiza music on channel 16 on the VHF.
Ibiza was a 13 hour sail away and the wind was on the nose, meaning we’d have to motor to get to Formentera to pick up friends Roger McElroy and Judith Feuwachtwanger. We motor at around 5-5.5kts but were quite surprised to see other yachts motoring even faster. Such long days under motor are filled with reading, sleeping and fishing.Tom had acquired a new lure and was keen to land something despite these not being fertile seas. The lure worked but the fishing line was too thin, snapping and leaving the less than 24 hour old lure behind! Six bites, one landed, five lost means time for enhanced gear! A new reel with better lures and hooks is on its way from the motherland.
We sneaked in an hour of tacking only to get a text telling us that Judith and Roger had landed and were on the ferry to Formentera. A dash to the anchorage and we inflated the dinghy. What a beautiful place to pick friends up. Formentera is probably as close to the Caribbean as the Mediterranean can be. Said friends were in a beach bar sipping on sangria as they “were parched”. Best join them then!
The next morning was all of a 20 minute sail to a particularly fine white beach with turquoise waters. But sail we did and squeezed Adina in amongst the fast filling bay. Lunch at the Spanish time of 3pm was in Juan Andrea – a restaurant full of white chairs, tables and umbrellas on the beach. We took full advantage of the free pick-up from our boat to be deposited on the beach at the entrance to the restaurant. This restaurant is clearly THE place to eat in Formentera, not only to eat but be seen too! In walked Didier Drogba, the ex-Chelsea and Ghana football star with an entourage of 10 friends who looked like members of some rock band. To be fair it took us some guessing as to who he was but google images got us the answer! A fabulous paella eaten, we ambled along the beach. Back onboard Adina, we sailed a mighty 5 miles to our overnight anchorage. Ibiza is meant to be played chilled!
It was a sundowner evening of exploring small sea caves and Roger resisting pulling up lobster pots. BBQ on deck was followed by trying to work out the name of the super yacht anchored nearby and it’s country of origin. Guessed name was Royale but the next day it was shown to be Stargate, a name which later profited Roger 5 euros as Judith seemed to have missed the sighting and refused to believe it could be Stargate. Needless to say it belongs to the Qatar royal family and is registered in the Bahamas. Tax havens are clearly the only way to afford these luxurious yachts.
Monday we set sail for the main island of Ibiza. With no wind we motored. Tom’s dolphin radar alert went off as in the distance we could see a pod tracking across us. A change in course and we were soon within reach. Now no sailing trip is complete without dolphin sightings and we hope to enjoy many but this in all likelihood will probably go down as the best. With crystal blue waters we could clearly see them. Soon they were playing at the bow of Adina, dashing backwards and forwards. It was a glorious 30 minutes of watching these friendly creatures. The older dolphins stayed abeam, every now and then darting underneath but it was the younger ones who were loving to play. Shooting backwards and forwards, hugging the bow or pushing each other along, twisting around seemingly to look at the excited adults on the bow, they were having fun. One particular playful dolphin loved to spin around showing its belly or dive down then shoot up and out of the water, flipping its fin.
It was a fabulous experience.Our days soon took on a familiar pattern of anchoring, swimming, chatting, eating. Once anchored, Tom would head off with snorkel and fins to check the anchor and at the same time do a jellyfish check. Judith is a keen swimmer and having been attacked by jellyfish before, the waters needed to be clear of these stinging nasties. At least twice a day Roger and Tom would request a coffee or tea. These soon became known as “dependencies”. Judith is probably one of the healthiest people we know and avoids caffeine but Roger and Tom were having none of it, claiming it was social and created creative genius!At Cala Bassa we raided the local supermercado for more BBQ food and Spanish delicacies. A very fat sausage with juicy spicey chorizo style filling was devoured.
The next day we set sail for Portinax and the wind at 16-20 knots from behind meant we could sail deep with our jib alone. Roger’s dependencies now had him fantasising that fishermen were asylum seekers keeping cocaine in lobster pots. It was in Portinax that we discovered sangria is a whole lot better with cava instead of red wine. Dinner that night was a Burmese cheese curry cooked by Roger and Judith. The big thumbs up and one to use on our Atlantic crossing.
We have been really keen to get our new spinnaker/parasailor flying and wanted to show it to Judith and Roger. The next morning lines were prepared and we set sail. We’ve been following the parasailor instructor’s rules in only hoisting it in light winds to start and slowly incrementing as we get used to it. Once we were out the winds were 14-16 knots. Rats! But Tom was soon to be excited as the wind strength dropped. 8 knots the shout went up for action stations. Up went the sock containing the parasailor. Down dropped the wind to 4 knots. Then it swung 180 degrees. Just not sporting. So we anchored on an island for lunch and enjoyed an afternoon swim.
Overnight we stopped in … Tonight was clubbing night! Since the trip had been planned Judith had been asking if we want a clubbing night out and had various suggestions on where to go. This is Ibiza, why not try it? The venue was Ushuaia. 50 euros entrance fee. Now in my day, entrance fees were largely non-existent and if there were charged it was for a ball and you got fed! In we walked. This was essentially a hotel adapted to double up as a clubbing venue. In the centre was an area the size of a football pitch containing a swimming pool. It was full of people – perhaps 5000. In the front was a big stage with DJs, elaborately dressed dancers and some impressive lighting. Initially we were in a state of shock. Were people this much mugs to pay 50 euros for this?! And then drinks were 15 euros each! But it slowly grew on us and Roger and Tom fascinated away on how much money the owners must be making.
Your every VIP need was catered for. Different VIP areas, indeed you could even be escorted to the VIP toilet. It was well done. Surrounding it all were apartments clearly in demand by youngsters where you got front seat entertainment. And it was full of pretty people. Judith oblivious to our state of bewilderment enjoyed the music and bopped away. The stage flashed its lights, dry-ice was pumped out, a girl flew high in a helium balloon passing over the crowd, and the DJs had the kids waving their hands and filming it all on iPhones. On the stroke of midnight it all stopped and the crowds poured out seeking the next venue. Outside they queued for public buses – so that’s how they all afforded it! Fly easyjet, catch the bus! Best we do something similar! We were glad we had done it.
The next day normality resumed with a sail to the north as this was Roger and Judith’s last day. The weather gods played fair and the parasailor went up, flying magnificently. It really is state of the art. The winds didn’t last and soon we were motoring again. Back to Portinax and Roger who had learned to row the dinghy was off again with Judith highlighting the direction of the beach. We enjoyed a farewell dinner of paella overloaded with seafood and chatted late into the night. Our friends left for a few days on land. The boat felt empty without them.Ibiza had been throughly enjoyed – white beaches, turquoise sands, swimming, sailing, sundowners, clubbing, dependencies, dolphins. Heaven on earth. Judith, Rodger, thank you so much for coming to visit us. We loved it!