Liz's Journal - Mallorca

Page 33

Mallorca: Monday 9th June 2003- Friday 28 May 2004

During our eleven-month stay in Mallorca we explored the south coast of the island and in some places were on first name terms with the locals.

Before going onto the public quay in Andraitx for winter we did day hops along the coast and found to our surprise how, in some respects Mallorca had changed since our last visit in 1997, but also how it had managed to survive, preserving some of its culture and in our eyes, its honour.


In Palma, the Cathedral, known as La Seo, was promised to the Virgin Mary by King James I when in 1229 his ships, on approaching the island, were surprised by a fierce storm.

Situated around the Cathedral in the old part of town are The Patios, a collection of old courtyards preserved for the enjoyment of tourists and locals alike.

The courtyards are accessible through the "always open" gates that mark the entrance of the property. The first part of the patio has a roof over it produced by the building above, two doors on either side of the entrance mark offices in which people did business. This front half of the patio is "public property" open to all those who seek shelter from the midday sun. The patterns on the floor suddenly change, marking the end of the public property and the beginning of the private part of the courtyard. Although there are no actual boundaries marking the distinction between private and public, no one ventures into the private area as respect to the residents.

The next five months were spent visiting various anchorages. Moving from west to east. Here is my opinion on the following bays:


St. Elmo, is a charming little town we had the pleasure of staying in when we were last here in 1997.

Much has changed in this town, due to the ever increasing number of tourists the sound of construction work is ever present. Although most of the streets are packed with gift shops and restaurants, we did manage to meet up with some old friends that we had made years before. I have found that in some places we have been, the smiling faces and friendly gestures are only a mask, they don't want to know you unless you mean business to them. This however is what separates Mallorca from the rest, people are actually happy to see you return, they remember your name and even a bit about you. In return all they ask is that you remember them however faintly.

One Spaniard we met in 1997 owns a restaurant along what is now a bustling walkway. I was, as always, sent ashore first and told to look this man up, I don't know how I was supposed to recognize him as I had not seen him since I was eight, even if I did recognize him, would he be able to recognize me? Even if six years had made no difference to him, it had sure changed me. When I arrived at the restaurant I recognized Juan the owner immediately, although he had a bit of difficulty figuring out who I was.

With my feeble Spanish I tried to communicate with him and he tried to communicate with me in the end he must have thought I made a reservation for six, three days ago. In a bit of a huff I excused myself in order to go back to the boat and get dad, so that he can have the hassle not me.

Later that evening Dad, Mom and I walked up the same road to the restaurant to meet Juan. You will not believe what happened next, as soon as Juan saw me with my parents he seemed to recognize us immediately, 'hablaring' away to dad in Spanish. I sometimes ask myself if he actually recognized us, maybe he did understand my Spanish and when I returned with mom and dad he just pressed rewind and play, lengthening what I told him.

When dad had finished talking he caught up with mom and I further down the road as we had started walking unable to understand most of what dad was saying. Apparently Juan did remember us, recollecting things that I knew I did not tell him. About the time we went swimming with his dog, when I got bored sitting at table and went across the road to pet the stray cats etc. So you see, a first impression really makes all the difference.

That is how I will always remember St. Elmo, how I first saw it.


Andraitx, a strange name you might say, and in response I would have to agree, but then again to the Spanish my name is one which gives them much humour as they pronounce it "Lith' like the people saying it have a lisp. Much can, and can't be said about Port de Andraitx, as this is where we wintered, but I must concentrate on what for me are the important things.

Thanks to Steve Brown an old friend of my parents I was put in touch with a girl of my own age named Kayleigh. They say first impressions die hard and you had better believe it, for I still remember the day we met as clear as if it were yesterday, and I am ashamed to say that I have been so caught up in other matters that I am writing about our meeting an entire year later.

Mom and dad had arranged to meet up with Lynne and Crick from 'Moya" to talk about sailing and where to winter. We all sat down together outside Bar Central, a small restaurant along the Paseo Maritimo or the waterside road. Dad went off to a phone booth to phone up Jill, Kayleighs mom, to arrange a meeting between Kayleigh and me.

Looking back at the time Kayleigh and I spent together I have no regrets, but having said that when meeting a new person for the first time one can't help being a little apprehensive, after all Steve had not seen me since I was seven and had no idea what kind of person I was or what my interests were. I could have been introduced to someone so different from me conversation would be virtually impossible, luckily all my worrying was without reason for Kayleigh and I got along like a house on fire, the flames doused by water every now and again due to minor disagreements.

Being summer we soon left Port De Andratx to see more of the west coast, returning at the falling of the leaves, autumn.


Santa Ponca, a bay three miles away is rich both below and above the waters surface. During the heat of summer we were diving three or more times a day for an hour or so at a time, now that I think about it, it is a wonder we did not grow fins. A normal day consisted of doing school for a few hours, eating when we were hungry and swimming. Occasionally we would go over to another boat or have people come over for sundowners, which we had at six, the sun still high in the sky. A pleasant place to stay and a few minutes walk away from a big supermarket. Santa Ponca is a tourist town and has few architectural or cultural treasures. One thing that did happen to us in Santa Ponca that blew us away, literally, was a freak tornado, with a sudden down burst, mauling everything is its path, thank goodness not us. Our dinghy flipped and our Yamaha 15 outboard motor was submerged for some time, the wind generator took a bow and collided with our boomkin sending its blades catapulting into space. Although there was total destruction all around I couldn't help but feel excited, going snorkeling in a tornado was something I had not done before, everything loose in the dinghy as well as on deck had to be recovered before the muddy water from the chaos ashore emptied itself into the sea.


Not much can be said as this town lacked a certain spark and it is that spark so to speak that I enjoy writing about. Son Matias is a built up bay around the corner from Magaluf. The water is crystal clear and warm, a lovely place for a swim, which is why the beaches are packed from dawn till dusk. Restaurants, bars, shops and odd stands are abundant. If noise bothers you when you are trying to sleep, I suggest you bring earplugs, as there is always music from some or other disco. If swimming is not to your fancy you can rent one of the hundred or so pedal boats and see the bay close up, but be warned an offshore breeze comes up in the afternoon so don't fall asleep on your air bed.


So quaint, this little town that we even thought of living here, although the streets are still packed with tourist shops the people are more Mallorquin and are always willing to help. We anchored in a little bay behind a small isthmus partially joining a small island at low tide. The islands vegetation consists of short thorny shrubs that have a tendency to somehow get hold of your legs and make a right mess of them, unless you follow the paths, I don't think I did. As always, I follow Jack, he takes me wherever he wants to, although I must add he is an excellent pathfinder, when he wants to be. Situated at the highest point of the island which is still pretty low, is an abandoned watch tower which can be accessed by wrought iron steps leading into an entrance half way up. Through that entrance it a small tunnel, opening up into a cylindrical room with yet another ladder on the other side. Climbing this ladder is a tad tricky as the hole from which you emerge is small. The view to the south, the Bay of Palma, west is Son Matias, clearly visible to the north the town of Illetes, so small and yet bustling with activity and to the east Palma, the capital.


Palma is the capital of Mallorca and is continually bustling even early in the morning. We only stayed a few days doing boat work and sightseeing. Out of the commercial area, Palma is a picturesque town with monuments, gardens and old buildings a plenty. If you are into a bit, (but not too much) history and architecture you will surely enjoy Palma, the people there are friendly and will always greet you with a warm smile, and if they don't its your fault not mine.


Es Trench is an 'oh la la beach', in other words a naturalist beach, conveniently separated from civilization by a thick pine forest. The beach itself stretches for miles and is separated in certain areas by an outcrop of rocks forming a bay within a bay and a beach to match.

We were anchored in this little bay, separated from everyone else so Jack could run around on the beach and swim without disturbing anyone. On one particular day I was bored, it was raining hard, so I decided to go to the beach and make myself a small fort. Jack came of course and although he was swimming he didn't particularly like the rain, which I find rather odd, as he was wet anyway. It must be one of those dog things, like when you blow in their face they get annoyed but will gladly stick their heads out of the window when you are screaming down a highway at sixty miles and hour.

Anyway, Jack was swimming and I set about building a high circular wall out of sand, leaving space to get in and out, I then found some sticks and laid them across the wall making an untidy looking roof, I then placed on top of this assortment of sticks piles of sea grass constructing a roof, all in all a great architectural feat which would last, at least as long as it was kept in an airless chamber in a controlled environment and people were only allowed to look at it through bullet proof glass. As luck would have it, I did not have an airless chamber or any bullet proof glass, instead I had a very happy dog who after having a dip decided to go psycho and plow the beach, my fort being the starting point, needless to say it didn't take long to turn my work of art into a pile of sand, sea grass, sticks and dog. Deciding that I was not going to give up, but merely improve my design I set about building again, this time against a smooth rock and with rocks. It took me forever to carry those stones, I must have carried a hundred, no joke. I built a circular wall with a small doorway, the roof was made out of the same material, just more sticks, less sea grass and then sand. Using a trick I learnt in Blanquilla I dug down inside, instead of making the wall unstably high. In the end I could comfortably kneel inside. My 'mans best friend', Jack, decided he was going to make sure it was safe and promptly took up residence while I added a few touches outside. A pathway, garden wall as well as window which I preformed by playing a well know game where people pile up blocks, making a tower, when its finished each person has a turn trying to take a block out without making the entire tower fall, thankfully I succeeded. At last my work of art was finished and I spent the rest of the time in Es Trench keeping it ship shape so that it would be in perfect condition when the local kids came over the weekend to smash it to pieces.


As summer drew to a close we went onto a dock in Andratx to winter.

Compared to our last winter in Almerimar our Andratx winter was lovely. Tied stern-to a public dock we were in the middle of town and walking distance from everything we needed. So many things happened I can hardly recall them all and to put them in date order would be virtually impossible, so we will start with a normal week. After school I would go to the supermarket to get 'barra' for lunch. After lunch I would put on my rollerblades, get my Walkman and skate over to the bus stop to meet Kayleigh and Niels as they came off the bus from school. After school activities would vary between roller blading, cycling, hiking, snorkeling, swimming and watching movies.

When weekend came Tony and Mari, friends of ours would come down to their boat "Seestern" with Danny, Chisco and Miguel, Mari's kids. As Kayleigh and I were always together it was nice to dilute for a change and we always had a blast together, them generally wanting to go on tiring hikes. Once, we were up in the mountains and somehow ended up on private property, hearing the dogs barking gave me quite a scare as I had Jack with me, not to mention Chisco and Miguel whom I was responsible for. Kayleigh and Danny hopped over a fence that we came across hoping we were getting out of the private property not into it. We then helped Chisco and Miguel get across, the only one left was Jack, just then we saw the lady coming towards us and I still hadn't got Jack out of her property. Hurriedly I told Danny, Chisco and Miguel not to talk as they spoke Spanish and the lady would then have the full ability so shout at us. Instead I did the talking in English mixed with really bad Spanish which made Danny and his brothers look at their feet to stop from smiling. I told her how only I had climbed over the fence because Jack, I pointed at the dog, crawled under the fence and I had to get him back. After a few more angry words from the lady we were free to go, thank goodness. Kayleigh gave me a 'I told you so look' as she was against going for a walk in the first place, oh well at least it made it exciting, as if we needed more excitement as we were already lost.

Kayleigh and I also went water skiing a few times, although brave enough to risk the water in the heart of winter we were not tough enough to do it without wet suits. Our first ski was a memorable experience, as I slipped into the water I thought our position over again, Kayleigh had never skied before nor had she driven a dinghy on the plane by herself, with this little voice nagging at the back of my head I climbed onto the board and gave Kayleigh the nod to go onto the plane. As it turned out, Kayleigh learnt incredibly fast and by the end of our first ski could drive the dinghy with confidence. Arriving back on Gilana we rinsed off and bailed out the dinghy, we then walked up to Kayleigh' house to have a shower with our wetsuits still on. We must have looked so stupid; everyone was walking around in jeans and jackets while we marched up the street in wetsuits leaving a puddle of footprints behind.