Posidonia in Balearics, a treasure to be preserved

Enjoy your hire boat whilst also protecting the environment

Posidonia is an aquatic plant that is endemic to the Mediterranean. It has similar characteristics to land plants, blossoming in autumn and producing floating fruits in spring that are colloquially knows as “sea olives”.

This aquatic plant forms marine meadows and has enormous ecological importance, as, apart from serving as a significant defence barrier preventing erosion of the shoreline and providing food and protection for various animal and plant organisms, it also serves as a bioindicator of the water quality in coastal marine waters.

At present, posidonia meadows are under threat, primarily from sea pollution (desalinating plants, discharges, water treatment plants), invasive species (seaweeds, fish), trawl fishing, aquaculture facilities, rising water temperatures, building works on the coastline and in marinas, commercial shipping traffic, beach regeneration, etc., etc.

Here at Boatbureau, we propose a route that respects these posidonia meadows, stopping at anchorages created to protect this most precious of treasures from the drag of the anchor.

On this trip, and weather permitting, anchorages are suggested that have been previously agreed upon with the Balearic Government’s Department of the Environment. At www.balearslifeposidonia.eu, sailors can find further information relating to authorised anchorages and the ecological importance of posidonia.

A respectful and wonderful route

Our starting point is the port of Palma de Mallorca, to the southwest of the island of Majorca, Autonomous Region of the Balearic Islands, situated at latitude 039°35′ north and longitude 002°39′ east.

Before departing, and especially on hiring the boat, a check must be made to ensure that all safety and navigation equipment is in good working order.

For the trip, the larder must be stocked up, any necessary shopping must be done, and everything prepared to sleep on the boat. During this time, the crew can get to know one another better before leaving.

Cala Blava and the legend of the Portals Vells Caves

After raising anchor, head in the direction of Santa Ponça and Portal Vells: stopping here and bathing on these beaches is a “must” for anyone visiting the island.

There is a lovely legend about the Portals Vells Caves, which are known as the “Mare de Déu” (Mother of God).

“In the mid-15th century, a sailing boat heading towards the coast of the Spanish peninsula was surprised by a terrible hurricane. The storm tore the sails and giant waves broke the boat’s wooden hull and masts. Seeing the extreme danger of death, the captain and his crew made the following vow: if they reached the shoreline safely, alive and unhurt, they would construct a place to honour the statue of the Virgin Mary that they carried on their boat, in the spot they landed on the shore”.

The offshore and underwater conditions are perfect here to anchor a boat on this beach, that is exposed to east/southeasterly winds. The best anchorage is next to the point that separates the El Rey and El Mago beaches, with and a sandy seabed and seaweed, and a depth that ranges from four to five metres. This beach is very close to Portal Vells Sailing Club, where the Torre des Moro tower is of special interest, a defensive fortification built in 1580.

The next day, the best views of the beautiful anchorage of Cala Blava (Llucmajor) can be enjoyed whilst breakfasting onboard. This is a good location to relax and spend the day doing a spot of snorkelling or heading to the beach in the tender or dinghy.

Cala Blava, which is also known as Cala Mosca, is five kilometres from S’Arenal.

This small, sandy beach nestles between low rocks, although the nearby cliffs in Cala Blava soar up to 25 metres in height, offering stunning panoramic views across the Bay of Palma. The low rocks that are dotted all around are an excellent alternative to the long, sandy beach, with a stream and numerous small beached boats.

All aboard for the island of Cabrera

After a relaxing day, it is now time to head towards the island of Cabrera, approximately 20 nautical miles away (32.18 km). The four-hour sail provides plenty of opportunity to admire the stunning sights of the Majorcan coastline.

The Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park is located to the south of Majorca and consists of 19 small islands and islets. The flora and fauna on the archipelago have evolved in different ways, depending on their habitat and the environmental conditions on each island or islet, meaning that each one has its own native varieties. This is the case of the Balearic lizard (Podarcis lilfordi), of which ten endemic sub-species have been catalogued, exclusive to the different islands and islets.

The stay on Cabrera provides the perfect setting to enjoy a spot of snorkelling, and also to take walks on land to visit the Cueva Azul cave and the 14th-century castle.

Cabrera castle is 72 metres high and stands at the entrance to Cabrera’s natural harbour. It is accessed from the outside by some new steps. Once inside, the first floor can be reached by a spiral staircase where there is a chapel, the governor’s chamber and the chaplain’s room. There is also a terrace. It is possible to reach the highest part of the building using the exterior steps, revealing stunning vistas and where an inscription carved by a French prisoner held captive here during the Napoleonic wars is still conserved: “Fleuri Grapain prisonnier 1809 et 1810”.

In the small cemetery on the way up to the castle there is the tomb of the German aviator Bochler, who fell in his M-109 plane in Cabrera waters on 1st April, 1944.

Early start, and off to Formentera

To cover the almost 74 nautical miles (120.7 km) that separate Cabrera from the island of Formentera, anchor needs to be raised at 6.00am. Leaving at this time should ensure that S’Espalmador in Formentera will be reached at around 6.00pm, where once again the boat can drop anchor.

This small islet, approximately three kilometres long and one kilometre wide, is situated to the north of Formentera and forms part of the Ses Salines d’Eivissa i Formentera Natural Park.

Ibiza coastline

Having rested after the previous day’s journey, the time has come to discover the island of Ibiza with some gentle sailing. There are many enchanting places here with mythical legends such as Es Vedrà, the Illes Bledas, La Conillera, etc. This is one of the most beautiful sailing routes in the Mediterranean.

Before leaving again to head for base port in Palma de Mallorca and to end the journey, it’s time to enjoy a good evening meal in Sant Antoni de Portmany and then to rest. Before casting off to the final destination, the boat needs to be prepared and everything stowed away to ensure the almost 72-mile crossing that separates Ibiza from Palma de Mallorca passes without any mishaps.

posidonea_1Route   Distances

Stretch Miles Direction
From Palma M. to Sta Ponça 9.5’ 237.9°
From Sta. Ponça to Portals Vells 3.64′ 114.7°
From Portals Vells to Cala Blava 9.28′ 85.3°
From Cala Blava to Cabrera 21.93′ 153.4°
From Cabrera to S’Espalmador 73.96′ 253.3°
From S’Espalmador to Es Vedrà 11.42′ 293.9°
From Es Vedrà to Sa Conillera 6.72′ 5.9°
From Sa Conillera to St.Antoni P 3.72′ 97.5°
From St.Antoni P. to Palma de M. 71.72′ 59.8°
Total 212.89



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