Thursday, 21 November 2013

Majorca 2013 - the coastal boat trip & Formentor beach, part four


Here she is – our ‘ride’ for the morning! The glass-bottomed boat that would take us on a trip around the rocky coast to Cala Sa Vicente.
This was one of our ‘must do’s’, as we’d been thwarted by the weather and lack of numbers last year. Today, it was perfect, BUT as this boat holds 250 people, numbers were critical, as he wouldn’t go out without a minimum number (30, I think). Being the end of their season, this was a big ask.
We had our tickets, but no-one was allowed to board. We stood patiently on the quay, hoping that enough people would turn up.

As the group grew slowly, all of a sudden were were bade to get on board – YES!


The tranquil harbour and perfect sky. We all, the few of that there were, took our seats. The engines throbbed and we pulled slowly out of the mooring.
See here; http://youtu.be/abgZOufdQ8I
(Click 'back' to return to this blog after watching any video links)

At first, it was a slow ride, as the boat is restricted in the harbour.

Looking around at the landscape, we recognised several points, this one being the tower on the top of the ridge to Cap Formentor.
More about that later!

Oooooo! a HUGE, what – hotel.......complex.......What?
The driver of the boat told us it belonged to ONE man. He owned that whole peninsula, and it looked opulent to say the least.!
The gardens were landscaped right down to the sea, and on the far side, he had even ‘quarried’ the rock face to build his own beach.
Money, it seems, is absolutely NO object here.

WHAT recession???

Evidence of just how close we were to not setting off this morning.
Lots and lots of empty seats.

Our driver.

We reached open sea, and swung wide of Formentor beach. 
On the trip out, we went fast and wide.

The famous lighthouse at Cap Formentor. Last year we had two amazing times here, one evening to watch the sun set, and back the next morning to watch it rise again.
You can see those pictures here; http://www.biggersteps.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/majorca-part-ten-sunrise.html
Again, click 'BACK' to return to this blog.


The harsh volcanic landscape towards Cala Sa Vicente came into view as we rounded the headland of Cap Formentor.

Some of the strata was almost like an art gallery, with weird shapes and convolutions.

WHAT a view – this boat trip was certainly living up to all our expectations.

One very happy man.

And his very happy lady :-)

This was deliberate by the driver – giving us this far panorama. He would do just the opposite on the way back.
This boat trip cost us 36 Euros each, and we considered it money VERY well spent.

We approached the first of the three bays that make up Cala Sa Vicente, and the driver moved closer to the cliffs so we could see the ‘perched populous’.
From this angle, you can REALLY see how ‘epic’ these constructions are!

The boat anchored up in about 9 metres of water, and a ladder was lowered into the sea.
Sue was into her costume and over the side as fast as she could. With the water being deep, I expected it to be cold, but she said it was JUST like the beach – really warm.

So – there was only one thing for it (who needs steps)???
This was something I‘d ALWAYS wanted to do – (tick).

SPLASHDOWN!!

“COME ON IN – THE WATER’S LOVELY” 

Is that a mermaid?

In her element – Sue LOVES water, especially the sea.

After about half an hour, we weighed anchor and set off at a REALLY fast pace.
It was exhilarating, and made for great shots of the boats signature on the sea.
You can see a video of the pace here; Click HERE

Now for the coast-hugging trip back, with stops.!!


Cala Figuera - GREAT snorkelling here!

Heading for El Colomer rock - see what happened next, click HERE


That was a TIGHT SQUEEZE!!

Aghast at the views above.

Holes and gaps created during the volcanic creation of the island.

This 'eyehole' looks really strange!

The boat swung into Formentor bay and slowed. A quick about-turn and we docked for 2 1/2 hours.

Some good sandy beach here, so reading and lazing about in the warm sun was the order of the day.


 But first - a nice bottle of rose - cheers :-)

Lovely, warm, calm water with lots of fish to see.


After a really good laze about (well, you HAVE to, don't you?), the boat rang the bell to tell us it was time to board again.
Looking out from the glass bottom of the boat.


Passing under the cliff house.



All that - BUT are they HAPPY????


(I suspect they just MIGHT be) 





Friday, 15 November 2013

Majorca 2013 - Albufera & Cala Clara, part three


Tim, a friend of ours, had suggested a good day out was the nature and bird reserve at Albufera, just outside Alcudia, so we caught a bus early this morning. We intended to hire bikes in the reserve, as it’s a HUGE place, as Tim said you could get bikes there. It was a 20 minute walk to the visitor centre where, we discovered, they no longer hired bikes out. With a 25 minute walk back to town, we decided not to bother, and would walk instead.
The day was VERY hot today, but we were all ‘oiled up’, and were were also wearing ‘Avon skin-so-soft’ as a mosi’ deterrent. To be honest, with all this water about, it didn't work, and we were bitten a few times. However, the reserve IS lovely, and we had quite a bit of luck ‘twitching’.
This is one of the waterways. The reserve is full of these, with hundreds of water bird species to see.


We walked down to the first of the man-made hides, and bingo! There, perched on an old tree stump, was an OSPREY!
I don’t have a great zoom on my camera, but it was magnificent through the binoculars.


As we walked back to continue, we saw several people with big lenses on their cameras and cameras on their spotting scopes.
This is what they were looking at – a long eared owl, asleep not 15 feet from us!!



Tim said he was; ‘well jel’ (oh, I HATE that) as he’d been twitching for years and never seen one so close!
There was lots of other wildlife too, aside from the birds. We saw lots of really pretty butterflies, but this was the only one that would pose for me.

Looking across the grassland marsh to the mountains and the edges of Alcudia.

With all this grass and sunshine, there were loads of grasshoppers.
Not sure what these two were up to though {:-0



Another hide, with wooden access walkways.

Wetlands, there were several egrets hunting in the shallows as we watched.

We saw this crested coot below us as we sat quietly.


After our trip around the reserve, we caught the bus back to Pollensa and went for a drink at a bar where I’d heard Mariano sometimes played. Unfortunately, he no longer played there (damn).
We went back to the hotel, and as it was still warm and sunny, dropped everything, put on our ‘cozzies’, and went to the local beach (five minutes walk) for and evening swim and catch up on reading our books.
Later we went back for dinner at the hotel, which was particularly good that night, then took a bottle of wine to out room and had a relaxing read.
Next day, we planned to walk over the ridge to Cala sa Vicenc. We’d done this walk last year, but got caught in a short shower, then, while we were there and holed up in a bar, it lashed it down with proper rain! However, it stopped by the time we’d had lunch, and we walked back in the dry, so that was ok. This time there was no hint of rain. The sky was clear, and the day about 25C, just right.

It’s a warm climb in this sort of weather, but Sue just gets her hands on her hips, and she’s off!

As we descended, we passed the ‘perched populus’. These houses are built on what would seem to be impossible sites. You know just how serious things are when you read the contractors and builders are called ‘Construcciones epic’!!

We soon crested the ridge and began the descent into the first of the three bays that make up Cala sa Vicenc. The first is called Cala Carbo, the second Cala Molins, the last (and our favourite, Cala Clara).
You can see the boat out in the bay, we intended to take this trip this year, as we’d tried and failed, due to sea conditions and lack of numbers, last year.

Some of the perched houses – epic! Lovely positions, though.

What a super view to wake up to, and watch go dark in the evenings.

Cala Carbo, the quietest and most secluded of the three bays. I will snorkel this one day, as it looks like it would be really good. We’d seen some guys with snorkels and suits here, so they must know something.
No beach to speak of though, just stones, so we headed on.

Cala Molins, and the perfect sky.


The ship looks beautiful juxtaposed with the rugged, volcanic cliffs.

The sandy one – Cala Clara. We went onto the beach, and I did a little snorkeling but came out when I saw several jellyfish.
I told Sue, and it put her off going in. Good job really, as I think more came in with the tide as several people were stung while we were there, and the water emptied.
Such a shame, they are a curse on paradise.

After some serious relaxing and a jug of Sangria in the ‘snack bar Marinas’, we decided to get a snack.
This is their interpretation of a snack!


Fed and watered, it was time to head back. It had been a perfect day (apart from the jellyfish) and the evening was a good match.
The views on the path back.



A panorama.
Click on the picture for a larger version.

It was getting towards the end of the 
day now, and the sun was slowly falling behind the hills.

With the last rays casting a glow on the villas, we made our way back.

With the sound of villa residents BBQ'ing and having fun in pools, we reflected on a great day.