20 April, 2007

Malua in Balearics

Palma de Mallorca has been the crossroads of the western Mediterranean since man sailed the seas. We visited the Museu de Mallorca and saw pots and tools dating back before 1000 BC. Also in the museum are a few bronze statuettes of warrior from the 4 century BC along side Arab, moor and Christian relicts. The town of Palma is dominated by the Cathedral built in the 15 century on top of an Arab mosque. The sun sines through the giant rose window right into the main building. The exterior is of local sand stone with high pinnacles which were added during the 19 C along with Antoni Gaudi’s iron work and canopy over the main alter. Quite extraordinary. Adjacent to the Cathedral is the old town with its narrow streets, three story buildings and beautiful doors and windows. We strolled through this old quarter taking pictures and taking in the atmosphere. Further uptown there are shops and boutiques to satisfy the massive tourist demand. The number of people on the street has increased dramatically since we arrived before Easter. It must be very crowded in the summer.

After unloading Malua we moored in a marina overlooked by the Cathedral and set about getting her ship shape and Bristol. Not an easy task as the crane which loaded and off loaded Malua dropped small pieces of rust on to the deck and topside. These have now rusted and left brown marks. When the weather improves I will set about removing the rust and shining the topsides but till them we have some sailing to do.

We left Palma and sailed south west along the coast. This part of the Balearics is very developed with German and British tourist, even this early in the season crowding the sidewalks. Unfortunately the weather has been cold and wet since we arrived in Palma so the sun has not brought them out onto the beaches.

Our first anchorage was at Las Illetas – a small bay behind three islands. It is close enough for the day trippers to come from Palme when it is crowded but in the evening we had it to ourselves. The following day we sailed south into a cove dominated by three large square holes in the rock face. The pilot indicate these are Phoenician tombs cut out of the rock. They are large and deep 40 *40m into the cliff face and defiantly carved from the sandstone. I am not convinced that the final size was created by the Phoenicians but they are impressive and makes one wonder who came this way back in the mist of time.

Further westwards we stopped at Puerto de Santa Ponsa which must be the most beautiful marina in the world. The entrance is narrow but it opens out into a 522 berth marina surrounded by overlooking hills and cliffs. The facilities are great right up to a travel lift at the far end of the valley. We chose not to enter but anchor out for two nights. It rained day and night the entire time we spent in the anchorage. We had to move just to stay sane and sailed/motored into the port of Andraitx. This is a fishing and yacht harbour. The fishing boat are similar to those in Ulladulla but more closed deck to protect the crew from the bitterly cold wind. The crew look the same the world over.

We anchored just outside the harbour in a quit spot with good holding so we were able to go ashore and explore but that story will have to wait.

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