Most charter fleets on Mallorca are found near the airport in and around the tourist stronghold of Palma. But not all. In the east of Mallorca, the fishing village of Portocolom has dedicated itself to authenticity and bravely defends its originality. If you set sail from here, you end up in a sea full of fantastic bays on the east coast..
Well, there is no law that requires a basic knowledge of English. But when our cab driver stops after about an hour’s drive (about 60 kilometers from the airport) at a pier full of simple boats and smiles contentedly, the message is probably clear: We are there! I look out of the open window in disbelief. In front of a small café, a few local teenagers are chatting and gesticulating. Two fishermen have laid out their nets along the pier and prefer to check them silently.
Where are the Saturday hordes frantically carting their belongings across the piers in oversized shopping carts? Where the armada of aluminum masts that sing prancing in the wind? No marina supermarket with sea-salted prices far and wide?
Our cab driver got out and gestures me to follow him. And indeed, just around the corner a cottage hidden behind a front garden, where the first charter guests are already sitting and waiting for check-in. The sign with the inscription “Portocolom Yachting“ convinces completely, I pay the cab.
A stone pier further we take over from Oliver Wallpott our Atlanta, a Lagoon 400 built in 2016, after we have checked in with his delightful wife Verena in the office. “We are both from Cologne, but only got to know each other here – when we took over the base in 2012, we also live and work together,” says the professional skipper, who previously spent many years on duty on a 50-meter yacht.
Just 17 charter yachts count the fleet, therefore the waiting times and the service of the young, always obliging team are accordingly low. Thus we succeed in doing the almost impossible in the high season: We leave on the same day. Slowly the old houses and alleys of Portocolom pass us by, majestically the lighthouse marks the amazingly narrow exit from the large bay, which does not want to fit into the picture at all.
A roller coaster of emotions
We conquer the four nautical miles to our first stage destination under motor in harmony with the setting sun. Cala d’Or as the middle of a three-finger bay welcomes us with open arms, because empty. Although still in the middle of civilization, only a few tourists stroll along the small sandy beach at the apex of the bay.
This changes abruptly in the early morning, the scenery reminds of a seal colony, as one knows it from image and sound powerful documentaries on television.
We change the scenery and drop anchor just one nautical mile away in the crystal-clear waters of Cala Mondragó in the nature park of the same name. Just approaching the bay, which is covered in lush green forest and changes its color from navy blue to turquoise, gives us an uplifting feeling of happiness – is this perhaps already the most beautiful bay on this trip?
In any case, the water temperature is perfect, so that we only move on with a heavy heart after breakfast and a morning swim. We find comfort in the set sails, which push us with 17 knots of wind and with up to 8 knots of speed before the Cala Màrmols. This small bay far away from any civilization had been my favorite during the preparation of the trip – but often things turn out differently than you think. Wind from the east was not foreseeable, too strong now the swell, as that one would like to lie here. Would this have been the most beautiful bay of this trip?
We sail around the lighthouse at Cabo Salines to spend two leisurely days on the south coast on the long sandy beaches that are typical here. Playa des Caragol is the first to smile at us and, compared to Playa del Trench that follows the next day, it is the more pristine one – without any supplies on land.
Cabrera, the Goat Island
You will also look in vain for a restaurant with a lavish menu on Cabrera – but you will find yourself in one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the Mediterranean. The onslaught of yachties is met on the island with a general ban on anchoring and 50 buoys, which are to be reserved online exclusively in advance.
Verena has already taken care of this for us for a small contribution towards expenses, so that we can take a leisurely stroll around the countryside, climb the castle, learn about the history of the island in the small museum, and decide to have dinner on board at La Cantina – nomen est omen – with beer and coke. A decision that we shall not regret: After the second bottle of wine, the sky above Cabrera is adorned with an overwhelming canopy of stars that seems close enough to touch.
The next day also heralds the return, but we still have two nights. So we leave Portocolom on the left and dangle ourselves further up to the north. “Cala Barcas,” Oliver had told me before we left, “that’s my favorite cove!” We were there and gladly confirm: this breathtakingly beautiful bay really offers everything for which the numerous calas on the east coast of Mallorca, which is left natural over long stretches, stand: Turquoise water, white sandy beach, caves, cliffs, rock arches, excellent anchoring and snorkeling spots …
Many attributes that can be summed up here in just two words: “Calas fantásticas”.
Text: Tahsin Özen | Photos: Zoi Krzyvon, Markus Silbergasser | Source: ocean7