Day trip to Soller

My Mum pegged Soller as one of her favourite places in Mellorca. She spent a season here back in the ‘60s so I expect at lot has changed since but she has made a few visits since. The original idea was to anchor here and visit Palma by train but then we heard that the South/East coasts were generally nicer/safer places to be so we decided to do it the other way around. The weather was also pushing us that way and, well, you can’t argue with the weather can you?

It was a bit of a late start as we had some important boat chores to do, so Simon stuck around to do that while I went and got my hair cut. It was about time 🙂

Then a frantic cab ride to the train station to try and make the 1300 train, which we did just in the nick of time. We ran onboard the quaint little train without buying a ticket as there was no time – but in hindsight there probably was – and we’re not sure if we ended up paying more from the conductor, but we made it and we were glad we did.

The little chain winds it’s way through the orange and olive groves, across the island and past huge mountainous vistas. The views are simply stunning! Before you reach Soller, and without any warning, the train stops off at a viewing point. This doesn’t seem to be advertised and there was no announcement, but slowly, slowly people started to pop their heads out, then a toe and after a while about half the passengers had cautiously picked their way out onto the platform for lots of photo opportunities. Five minutes later the horn toots and everyone hop-footed it back onboard.

From there the train starts its downward descent and picks up speed, next thing you know you’re heading through dark tunnels and waiting apprehensively for a few ghosts to pop out at you. Then as quick as a tick you land in Soller.

Soller 1

Most people raced to get in the long queue for the tram to the port.

Soller 3

We meandered down into town for a spot of lunch. There’s a lovely town square with a lovely church. It’s surrounded by lots of cafes and restaurants catering to the tourist, but as is often our way, we wandered down a lane off the square and found a little cafe where the locals go. They served a ‘various tapas’ menu which was delish!

Soller 2

After a bit more wandering through the back streets and past the little shops we headed back up the hill for the tram stop to the port. By now the queue was much shorter but many trams passed us without letting anyone on which was bizarre, especially considering the timetable said there was a tram due.

Soller 4

Anyway we made it on eventually and tootled down to Soller port. Interestingly some of the carriages for the trams have been shipped over from Lisbon and regauged to fit the smaller tracks.

Soller is beautiful. Lots of boats anchored here in what seems a fairly protected harbour. A lovely beach with lots of bathers, it was hot too so we wished we’d brought our swimmers. Instead we opted for an ice-cream in the shade.

Soller Port

Lots of nice shops here and I managed to bag myself a new bag – well my birthday is coming up (no age jokes please) and my other one is disintegrating – I’m not sure if it’s the salt, the suncream or just overuse.

We dipped our toes in the warm waters and then headed back to the tram for our journey home. The last train was due to set off at 1830 but the previous one was 1400 with nothing in between so we thought we’d better get there early. When we jumped off the tram there was already a crowd of people at the station but we headed down to the square for a drink.

We were quite worried about the train being full and having to pay a cab fair across the entire island so we turned up at the station an hour early to try and get a spot. We were not looking forward to this! Anyway when we arrived there didn’t seem to be the crowds and the the train was already waiting at the platform. It was pretty jam-packed, we jumped on board managed to find a couple of seats and then we were off! At least an hour before the scheduled time. I’m not sure what the go was, maybe they had put on an extra train, but we were sure glad to be on our way back to Palma after an amazing day out in Soller.


After ten days at anchor Helen and I were very grateful to get some marina time. We had a few rolley nights towards the end of our time in Ibiza and they really take their toll.

This was perfectly demonstrated in the anchorage we stayed at the night before heading into Palma marina. After a lovely sail over from Ibiza to Mallorca we headed to a small anchorage five miles outside of Palma. There was a small swell when we got there but nothing crazy so settled down and then it just grew, and grew. By 1am some boaters couldn’t take it anymore and left, others actually came into our bay (I guess to see if conditions were any better than where they’d previously been). Pretty sure the entire area outside of Palma was getting hammered. We weren’t happy bunnies.

I think a few nights in a row of this, which we had, is the closest Helen and I have come to having a new born child. You sleep very lightly (if at all some nights) and we even got to the point to saying “You sleep, I’ll go…” as yet another bang or anchor chain noise scared the hell out of us. Sure there are no dirty nappies to change but the tiredness can really effect you. We haven’t had any issues yet, but we still don’t have to the experience to know what we can ignore and what we can’t.

With tired eyes but big smiles we entered the marina the next morning and were quickly safe and sound in our berth. Or so we thought. Turns out the Marinaro had put us in the wrong spot so we had to move. Oh well, it’s all good practise I guess?

So.. Palma.. Wow. What a city. I really loved this place. Amazing food (we had the best Thai food since leaving Sydney at ‘Appetite’ restaurant), bars (especially the one we were in until 3am listening to an amazing rock guitarist smash it song after song- he seemed more than a little frustrated at the rest of the bands talent which was fun to watch), culture, shopping, you name it, it has it. It’s just a very beautiful place with miles of little back streets waiting to be discovered. I could have stayed another week easy.

Palma1Palma2We’ve noticed that we never have enough time to enjoy places as we’d have liked actually. There was a lot of small little boat chores that needed doing after 10 days at anchor and poor Interlude needed some TLC. For some reason we’ve always left cleaning, polishing, repairing, etc until we’re in a marina. This past two weeks has opened our eyes to keeping on top of that while coastal hopping so things are already pretty ship-shape when you get into a new port.

Basically when we get somewhere new we want to spend as much time exploring and enjoying this place rather than cleaning and fixing things. Let’s see how we get on with this as we press forward.

Talking of the cleaning side of things it’s relentless. There’s always something that needs polishing or scrubbing. Don’t get me wrong I think our little Hanse yacht is doing great when you consider the miles we’ve already taken with her but that comes at a price. We haven’t had a large issue (apart from the sail drive back in Hamble which was dealt with extremely well) but there are a few little niggles that you need to keep on top with and they extract time from your day. Sounds like I’m whinging a bit in this post but I wanted mention that it’s not all amazing sunsets and sandy beaches every day. You really have to work hard to keep on top of everything boat wise and I’m sure that will only get harder as the trip continues and poor Interlude gets older. At least the view from the marina was nice as we worked.


Farewell Ibiza

After a wonderful ten days or so of (re)visiting the island of Ibiza our time here has come to an end.

Ibiza1The place sure has changed in the last 12 years since we visited it last. It’s been cleaned up, is far more family orientated, feels safer, etc. In a lot of ways those are good things but there’s also a side of the island we missed. Beach bars opening up onto the sand have been replaced with concrete promenades. Everything seems more watered down and less edgy. Sometimes things can be too safe and most of the island could now be any other resort which (to us) is a shame.

Being able to sail around the island was fantastic however as we found some hidden little calas that did remind us more of the old place. We were very lucky to get some really good  tips from the Cruisers & Sailing forum as well. Many thanks for those!


The coastline all around the island is amazing. You almost get complaisant as you sail into yet another a perfect little bay, set anchor, and wait for the perfect sunset.


Talking of anchoring, we did a lot of it. In fact we anchored every night we were here. The marina prices here are batshit crazy. We didn’t even bother with Ibiza Town after the horror stories we’d heard but the two marinas we did get quotes from were well over 200 euros PER NIGHT! Er… no thanks. This actually makes the island pretty dangerous. We’re used to anchoring but always plan our passages with safe marina bolt holes in mind- just in case things turn nasty. You can’t do that here. It’s too expensive plus the marinas are jam packed full as soon as the wind gets above 15 knots. You can see many a boat sailing around the island trying to hide from the wind and swell as they have no other option.

Anchoring for an extended period brought new challenges, we were very aware of our water use but never went without showers, or limited ourselves in any way and our Hanse 385 coped really well. After seven nights we were down to 25% water in the main tank but we could have reduced our usage more than we did if needed so we’re quite happy.

To fill back up we radioed San Antonio marina and popped in for an hour, washed the salt off the boat (and ourselves), did all our washing and refilled the tank. Total marina fee costs in one of the most expensive sailing areas in the world… 24 Euros (for 1 hour). 🙂


Most of the anchorages we stayed at were pretty darn perfect but you do have to watch the weather and try to hide from winds and swell. Our last two nights that were rock and roll city, not pleasant when you’re tightly packed in with many other boats all swinging around. Also when anchoring here you really need to watch your swinging arc. The winds whipping around mixed with random swell means that no one swings the same way – something that caught one or two people out (and almost us the first night).

It doesn’t help that a lot of people seem to be very modest with the amount of chain they let out, we saw quite a few cases of people dragging in quite light winds so you need to be on your guard. No one seems to bother with anchor lights here for some reason either?  Oh well, it just adds to the fun when you have to up-anchor at 3 am and try to find a new spot!

The highlights of our time here were –

– Booking one of the mooring buoys at Isla Espalmador (which isn’t free like the pilot says but now costs 30 euros per night but is well worth it).

– Dusting off our dancing shoes and clubbing until 6:30am at Amnesia then rowing back to the boat!




– Needing two days to fully recover from the above in some secluded calas doing not much of anything. 🙂


– Only needing to travel 5-10 miles per day to get to the next spot rather than the 30-40 we’d been used to down the Spanish mainland coast.

– Actually sailing most of the time, which was pretty lucky from what we’ve read. We had good winds most days and great sails.



We tried to see as much as we could, we can’t be too unhappy with the places we were able to visit!


Tomorrow we head off early for the 58 miles over to Mallorca.

Around Ibiza

Cala Tarida

The first stop in Ibiza was Cala Tarida, we anchored and headed straight inshore to try and catch the World cup final. The first place we found didn’t have any screens so we had a cheeky beer and left. The second place was an ‘all inclusive’ or rather ‘all exclusive’ as they couldn’t serve us. But finally we found the perfect beach bar with friendly folks, a complementary dog to warm your feet and a great atmosphere. If you ever find yourself here, head to the North end of the beach.

Cala Tarida

Cala Bassa and San Antonio

The next day we headed out to explore on Interlude – with no passage plan!! Finally we’ve reached the point of ‘wandering around’ without a destination in mind. We found ourselves in Cala Bassa for lunch, we avoided the expensive beach clubs, and found instead a lovely beach cafe at the west end of the beach and had a couple of awesome chicken Bocadillo and french fries. Yummy!

After 12 years away from Ibiza we were keen to revisit San An, so we sailed over there. We were surprised to see a huge marina which was not there before. Not really sure why we were surprised, after all we’d seen it in the pilotage, but we were taken aback by the scale. Where had this come from?

There was also a huge anchorage here so we dropped the hook and set out on the dinghy to explore. We visited one of our old haunts, ‘Bar M’ which used to be a sandy beach bar but now is just another concrete establishment by the name of ‘Ibiza Rocks’ – but we had a couple of vodka oranges for old time’s sake. The anchorage is pretty protected and we were close to a nice beach with a few bars and restaurants so we stayed the night.

Cala Torrent and Cala Jondal

Next day, more exploring. We ended up at Cala Torrent, a quiet bay for lunch and then the wind kicked up so we set off again to find some greater protection.

We found ourselves at Cala Jondal which we knew nothing about. The wind was gentler here but there was more swell, not least caused by the non-stop dinghies flying to shore and back from all the mega-yachts. There’s another exclusive bar/restaurant here that attracts the hoity toity. We stayed onboard and enjoyed the people watching instead.

It was pretty calm the next day though when we went on our way again.

Cala Jondal

Isla Espalmador

Espalmador was on many people’s ‘must see’ list (thanks for the tips) so we booked a mooring buoy online the day before and sailed over there. The advantage of booking online and paying up front is that you get the best spots. We arrived in the bay and were helped to our buoy by a lovely chap on a dinghy who helped us pick up a mooring right ahead of the whole pack near the beach – we were made up! It’s just a beautiful spot with white sands and pure aqua water 🙂


Not long after we arrived a huge motorboat came in behind us and showed us the worst bit of mooring yet. I think he nearly took the poor chap’s hand off. These motorboats are just so powerful and they couldn’t control her at all.

We spent the day at the beach swimming and relaxing onboard Interlude. We were surprised that some people disappeared in the evening. It’s a lovely spot and seeing as you’ve paid your 30 Euros I’m not sure why you wouldn’t stay. The same motor boat behind us who’d had mooring issues disappeared, as did the mooring buoy they were attached to – seriously it was gone. They must have taken it with them!

Then a cheeky cat appeared and dropped anchor right in front of everyone. The mooring buoys are there to protect the environment so it was pretty disappointing – oh well hopefully someone will catch up with them in the morning and give them a ticking off and make them pay their fees.

People watching, one of my favourite pastimes, along with sunset watching – ahhhh bliss!

San Antonio – again!

So we popped back to San An as the anchorage is pretty protected and we wanted to head out to a club without paying the marina fees. We also needed to refill with water.

As it happened some 25 knot gusts blew in the next day and we did actually drag the anchor for the first time. Fortunately Simon was on deck and woke me from my post-clubbing stupor to re-anchor! Grrrr! The holding seems to be weak here with weed over sand and stone, in fact, we weren’t the only ones that dragged.

San Miguel

What can I say? Another beautiful anchorage. We headed ashore for a beer and a delicious Salmon roll.

San Miguel

Cala Blanca

So our plan today was to head down to Cala Llonga for some beach party action. We got a good sail around there but then the swell picked up. There were some crazy gusts coming through the valley and that on top of the swell that mean’t that the tightly packed boats were swinging in every direction. The weather was just not doing what it was supposed to.

We camped out in Cala Blanca a lovely small bay but pretty open. Then later on we were pushed out by a few closely anchored boats that kept swinging our way so we tried for Cala Llonga again but again we turned back. It was just not settling down in there. We tried to head further around the headland in search of some better protection but the swell and headwinds mean’t we were travelling at a lousy three knots so we headed back to Cala Blanca for the night. Everyone disappeared leaving us alone. I’m not sure what’s more disconcerting a packed anchorage or a deserted one. I guess you have to be careful what you wish for.

Cala Blanca

Cala Talamanca and Ibiza Town

By mid-morning the swell at Cala Blanca was making us feel retched, so we headed out early and made our way to Talamanca, an anchorage just outside of Ibiza Town. It’s a lovely place. We had a lovely (long, hot) walk around the marina to the old town. We sat in a bar overlooking the castle reminiscing about the last time we were there. Then after a yummy cheese plate headed back to Talamanca for sundowners and to check on Interlude. We get separation anxiety every time we leave her in an anchorage now.

Cala Talamanca

Cala Cana

One last stop before we head to Mallorca. We got a top tip from my Mum who has stayed at Cala Cana before. It’s a pleasant little town with a small fishing harbour and a big bay in which to anchor.

Cala Cana

Our boat attracted the many pedalos – like bees to a honey pot. I think they were just interested in the boat but some of them got a little bit too close for comfort. Then a bigger, flashier yacht appeared in the bay and some of the interest waned.

Interestingly, the first time we headed to shore we left the outboard behind and just took the oars. We don’t have a good way of chaining the engine up so we opted for the old fashioned way. Anyway, I decided to give this rowing thing a go and we weaved our way in, slowly. When we got to shore the pedalo man helped us in and gave ‘the Captain’ a hard time about making ‘the little girl’ do the hard work – hehe!

He also told us we had just rowed down the ‘engine lane’. Apparently there’s two lanes, the one between the red and yellow buoys is for engine power and the one between the green and yellow buoys is for manual power (oars or pedals). Well now we know!! The pedalo man blamed this on the English education system, but honestly, I’m not sure where you’d squeeze that information into the syllabus. Good to know though 🙂


Hopped (55 miles) over from mainland Spain to the Balearic Island of Ibiza yesterday. Last time we were both here was 12 years ago. Let’s see what’s changed (our stamina is one thing I suspect!).


We managed to get anchored and ashore in time for the World Cup Final. Nice spot for a few beers (Interlude is third boat from the left).


First time I’ve ever had to row back from watching a game, and I wouldn’t want to see our track over ground getting back to the boat! 😉