We arrived 15 minutes late. It would have been considered early if we were meeting Spaniards, however Mark and Chris are proud Yorkshire men. They are also the father and son team who run the yacht charter company in Puerto Soller, on the western coast of Mallorca.
As it happened, Mark had already departed, so we boarded Chris' 50 foot Bavaria as quickly as we could and cast off. We were three adults and one child but the boat is capable of taking up to 10 clients on a half or full day tour. For those seeking something more adventurous, trips can be tailor made to include overnight stays around the island, or longer trips venturing off to Ibiza or Menorca.
It was an absolutely glorious day as we left Port Soller and in the distance the dusting of snow on the west face of the Puig Mayor was still evident. However, at sea level it was 16 degrees and pleasant, and the recent winter weather seemed a distant memory. Unfortunately there was no wind, which meant there was no sailing to be had on this occasion. Consequently it was under motor that we made our way south west along the coast.
As we sat aboard relaxing and admiring the views back across the mountains, Michelle suddenly spotted a dolphin. Chris steered the boat in the direction of the sighting and within a few minutes we were surrounded by these magical creatures as they played near the yacht's bow. There were 2 pods, approximately 6 in each. It had been a while since anyone had seen this many, especially in February, when sightings aren't as common as in summer. Our 6 year old daughter simply shrieked with delight every time they surfaced.
After spending 15 minutes captivated by the dolphins, we continued our journey, passing the quaint cove of Bens d'Avall and the stone steps that lead up to a small cave high up in the cliff face. It was here, a century ago that smugglers hid their cargo (mainly tobacco) to avoid detection. One of the smugglers made so much money through his illegal enterprise that he eventually formed his own bank, which is still thriving today.
We continued in the direction of Puerto Valldemossa and soon passed Cala Deia, a popular little beach in summer, especially for snorkelling and diving. But as the sea temperature is currently 14 degrees, no-one had thought about bringing their swimming trunks along for this trip.
It is 7 miles from Puerto Soller to Sa Foradada, a famous landmark on Majorca. From land, it's an impressive rocky peninsula with a 12 metre diameter fissure at its far end. Forat means hole in Catalan, hence its name. Sa Foradada is no less spectacular from sea and provides a perfect, sheltered spot for boats. It also boasts an authentic Mallorcan restaurant, renowned for paella.
We arrived a little over an hour after departing Puerto Soller and were greeted by another yacht. It was Mark and his friends. The 2 boats were rafted together and we spent the next couple of hours soaking up the sun and a few cold beers.
At 5.30pm it was time to head for home. The sun would be setting in about an hour's time and the plan was to watch it from the sea. As we set off and left the sun trap behind, we were reminded that it was still winter and put our fleeces and jackets back on. As Nick strummed a few tunes on his guitar, the 2 yachts cruised along as close possible. Before long, the sun was turning the mountains a spectacular pink hue. Chris cut the engines and in this peaceful setting, we watched the sun slowly sink over the horizon. It was the perfect end to a fabulous day.
Andy Mitter & Michelle Holland operate Tramuntana Tours, an adventure company offering a range of outdoor activities
- Calle de la Luna, 72 07100 Soller Mallorca