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A day at sea on a classic boat

Day boat trip with Bonnie Lass Charters

Emily Benet | Mallorca Reporter | Published: 4 Aug 2017

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A day at sea on a classic boat

Some views of Mallorca can only be had by boat. Rugged cliffs where sea eagles nest, caverns cut deep into the rock after years of erosion and tranquil coves of crystalline waters inaccessible by road. A charter on the classic wooden boat, Bonnie Lass, is to be transported to uplifting beauty by a piece of maritime history.

It immediately stood out from the other boats in the marina of the picturesque coastal town of Port de Soller. Sleek white yachts have become the norm, and the Bonnie Lass has so much more character. It's a 1949 Scottish ringnetter which owners Roo and Pete found at the maritime museum in La Rochelle and lovingly restored. Once upon a time, sailors on the North Sea would have loaded it full of herring. It retains its history in all the classic details; stepping into the cockpit with the wooden helm and vintage instruments, I breathed in a sense of nostalgia. "A proper boat," a passenger remarked.

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I was one of a group of 9 on the day charter which sets off at 10:00 from the port and returns at 17:00. It costs €120 per person. There's also a sunset charter from 19:30 and, for those who want the boat to themselves, private hire is available. With a maximum of twelve people, including a crew of two, the great appeal of the Bonnie Lass charter is that, unlike many other commercial options, it feels really exclusive. We were two couples and a family, and the atmosphere was friendly and respectful. Our crew consisted of captain Edouard, an experienced skipper from Bordeaux, and Josh who, when not on a boat, is a professional skier with Team GB. Both went out of their way to make sure everyone was happy

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There was plenty of space onboard for lounging in the sun or sitting at the table in the shade, and for those wanting a spectacular panorama a climb up to the Crow's Nest is a must. The Bonnie Lass has charming classic cabins too but, with the sun shining, few ventured below deck.

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Our first stop was at the remote Cala Costera, or 'Cala Mushroom', as the crew called it due to the mushroom-like rock formation jutting out of the water. Backed by the pine-coated Tramuntana mountain range, the cove is stunning. We swung into the sea by rope, (stairs are available but not as fun!) and eagerly put on snorkels and flippers provided. The water was incredible. Brightest blue and full of these little black fishes which appeared too relaxed to swim and just seemed to float like leaves in a breeze. Utterly mesmerising. With over an hour to enjoy the stop, there was no sense of having to be anywhere fast. We scouted the rocks and swam to our heart's content before returning to the boat to have a go at paddle boarding.

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The popular water sport had never appealed to me before but, with four paddle boards to choose from, it seemed silly not to try it. And I loved it! It was bliss to gently glide through the vast expanse of deliciously clear water. Why had I waited so to give it a go? I wondered. But that's the beauty of a trip like this. It breaks the routine. You relax so deeply and completely that you become open to new experiences.

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We continued up the northern coast until we reached Cala Tuent. It's a pebble beach about 45-minutes from Soller and popular with locals. We dropped anchor and headed ashore for lunch on the idyllic terrace of the upmarket restaurant Es Vergeret which enjoys a stunning ocean view. It offers an extensive menu with options for all the family. We were encouraged to try the fish of the day (€24) and homemade cheesecake for desert. Lunch at the restaurant isn't included in the charter price but all snacks and drinks onboard are. There is also an option to have a barbeque on the boat, which is a great alternative if you want to spend as much time at sea as possible.

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After a post-lunch splash where my lucky companion spotted an octopus, we set off back to Port de Soller. I climbed up the ladder to the Crow's Nest for the spectacular view. I had thought it might feel like a rather long day on a boat but, instead, I found I didn't want it to end.

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A charter on the Bonnie Lass is an experience with real heart. The owners of the ex-fishing boat are passionate about marine conversation and the boat has been used as a research vessel for divers and marine biologists. As we all grow more aware of the need to care for our environment, it feels good to partake in responsible tourism.

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That said, the cares of the world are far from your mind when you board the Bonnie Lass. I disconnected for the entire day and it felt absolutely wonderful.


Read more from Emily.

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