Saturday, 22 September 2012

Cala Basa – Ibiza


July 24-29 2012



We had identified two possible anchorages on the western side of the large San Antonio Bay, far away from the city itself. We edged Alcheringa out of her tight confines in the marina and made our way towards the first, Port del Torrent, but found it a little too small to offer any real protection so we move on further to Cala Basa at the far end of the bay. We arrived in the early afternoon to find a very attractive bay with a long beach packed with people.
Cala Basa proved to be our longest and most enjoyable stop so far.

There were a fairly large number of boats already at anchor but once more most had avoided going close inshore. We could see that further out much of the bottom was covered in thick weed that is hopeless getting an anchor to hook in. By going inside most of the other boats we were able to drop our anchor not too far from the swim line in about five metres of water and were quickly nicely dug into the sand and secure. High cliffs adjacent to our spot also provided us with good protection from the predicted northerly winds.
Alcheringa anchored just off the beach at Cala Basa

After the foul water in the marina it was fantastic to again be able to look down at the sea bed through very clear water. This was going to be a great place to snorkel. There were a number of sea caves visible on the far side of the bay and we quickly decided we’d be exploring those before long.  A number of obviously upmarket restaurants stretched along behind the beach and right in the centre a DJ was pumping out the dance music across the beach.
This was the Cala Basa Beach Club packed with the ‘beautiful people’. We’d only had the anchor down five minutes when a young Spanish guy came over to us in a big rib to let us know his name was Robert and if we wanted to go ashore to the bars or restaurants we could just radio him and he would run us to the beach. It was a free shuttle service for all the boats in the bay provided by the beach club. In fact we could even order drinks by radio and he'd deliver them to the boat. It was incredible watching him manoeuvre alongside a yacht one handed as his other was occupied balancing a tray of cocktails. How civilised. We were beginning to like this place already.
Cala Basa Beach Club - where the beautiful people come to be seen

By the time the sun was setting the beach was almost deserted and most of the boats had also departed the bay back to where ever they came from leaving us to have a nice peaceful evening.
We do it tough on Alcheringa - another of Karen's masterchef meals

Next morning a constant stream of tourist boats ferried beach goers across from San Antonio depositing them on the rocky point right beside us. Before long the sand was packed again and another day of beach partying well underway.  We spent the morning on a long snorkel across the bay to the caves. Again we had a fantastic time and got a very good workout in the process.. Swimming far into one of the caves we could see lots of light towards its end where we found the roof had collapsed and it was now open to the sky. Very cool.

Not having an outboard we lazily made use of Robert’s services to go in and check out the beach club that afternoon. The centre of the beach in front of the main bar and DJ was THE spot for the beautiful people. The sun lounges were much more luxurious, linen table clothes adorned the beach tables with super attentive waiter service running around the sand all day topping up crystal champagne glasses or mixing more cocktails.
This is how to really enjoy a day at the beach

For us this was a spectator sport. With a beer costing five euros ($6.00) compared to the 50c per can our supplies on the boat had cost us, and a glass of wine priced simarly, this was definitely a place to people watch rather than be one of the watched. We treated ourselves to a drink each and enjoyed watching the world go by.


Away from the centre VIP area though, the beach was packed with overseas tourists and local families alike, all soaking up the sunshine and very obviously enjoying themselves. There were also more than enough bare breasted pretty young things to give the boys eye strain while Karen pretended not to be staring at the hordes of, tanned, very fit, six pack equipped young blokes that were parading like peacocks vying for the attention of those pretty young things.
Eye candy for all at Cala Basa
With the music pumping, the whole place just had a great atmosphere and we quickly congratulated ourselves on picking an excellent location to sit out a couple of days until the outboard was ready. The one mistake we had made was neglecting to get the phone number of the place we’d left it for repair so we couldn’t ring to check if it was ready. It was supposed to be done on the Tuesday but we decided not to push the issue and we’d wait a couple of days before going in for it.

Rather than taking Alcheringa back across the bay and hoping we could stay on the fuel dock long enough to pick up the outboard, Rob and Marc caught the ferry back into San Antonio on Thursday morning to fetch it. On arrival we were reminded this is indeed Spain and things happen slowly. 'The mechanic has been very busy, engine not done yet, will fix it tomorrow morning'  the man said. So we left, with a phone number this time and caught the next ferry back. Time for more swimming with the beautiful people.
Friday July 27 and a peaceful sunrise over Cala Basa with no hint of what
was to come that afternoon

We rang at lunch time on Friday, 'mechanic has been very busy, engine not done yet, will fix it this afternoon; the man said.  Late that afternoon a totally unexpected storm suddenly appeared over the headland and almost instantly gusts blowing 30+ knots created havoc in the bay. Ashore beach umbrellas, sun beds and all sorts of beach gear was blowing everywhere and people were running for any shelter they could find.

Out on the water boats were dragging towards each other all over the place. Every morning we’d watched people drop anchor in the thick weed and others put down almost no anchor chain. Many dragged and required multiple attempts before holding  even in the calm conditions. We had not worried about it too much because we knew they were not going to be staying overnight. But now the potential for serious collisions was very real. One good thing appeared to be that very few people had left their boats unattended so crews were getting underway and managing to avoid each other reasonably well.

Fortunately most of the mayhem was occurring further out from the shore and away from us. Alcheringa’s anchor was dug in rock solid and we were holding very nicely. The two yachts closest to us had been in place overnight and Rob had actually snorkelled around and checked the set of their anchors the previous afternoon just so we knew they didn’t pose any risk to us. There was an older live aboard Spanish couple on board the nearest who obviously knew what they were doing and had been quite friendly since they’d arrived despite all our limited language skills.

We were actually feeling reasonably secure and were being entertained by the range of flying beach toys etc heading hell, west and crooked. Boy those blow up air mattresses can sure get airborne.

But that all changed in a flash as we heard a very loud crack sound and the Spanish boat was suddenly bearing down on us very quickly  bow first . It had clean snapped its anchor chain less than half a meter from their bow roller and was now adrift. The shocked Spaniard, who we should mention at this point was not a fan of clothing, was racing stark naked to his bow to see what had happened, all the while heading straight at us at fairly high rate of knots. Halfway to the bow he looked over to us and Karen pointed and called out to him that his chain was broken and he only had this much hanging down, indicating about a foot with her hands. There being a significant language barrier, momentarily a very confused look came over his face until he realised Karen was referring to the length of anchor chain hanging from his bow and not what was dangling between his legs. He then reacted extremely quickly, racing back, getting the engine started and reversing away from us at full revs with only about three metres to spare before heading out to sea. Well done naked Spanish man. Great job.

The storm was gone almost as fast as it arrived. The wind dropped to nothing, the sun returned and within twenty minutes the beach looked like nothing had ever happened with everything set back up, the music pumping again and champagne flowing. After our short but intense excitement we also settled in for a couple of sundowners to relax  while watching Robert and his Rib, redeployed from their normal duties for a while and now towing a motorboat out from where it ended up tangled in the swim line after dragging its anchor in the storm.  
Robert and his rib tow a motorboat out of the swim line. The weed clumped
on the anchor may just explain why the boat dragged.

Saturday was Karen’s birthday and time to celebrate. When in San Antonio Rob had considered buying her a nice game fishing rod and reel he spotted at the chandlery for her birthday present but wisely reconsidered. A real splurge was in order so instead she was in for some luxurious indulgence with a looonnnngggg birthday lunch ashore at the Cala Basa Beach Club. It was time for us to be the beautiful people being waited on with champagne, awesome food, more champagne and even Gin & Tonic Sorbets for desert. We had an absolutely fantastic afternoon that stretched into the evening and remarkably Karen did not seem the least bit upset about not getting a fishing rod.
Karen fielding bithday calls on the I-Phone and facebook birthday wishes on
the I-pad before having a great I-Spoilt party at the Cala Basa Beach Club
Outstanding birthday lunch in the centre of the action.
Gin and Tonic Sorbet - what a genius idea for a desert
Oh! Rob did squeeze in time to ring about the outboard and ‘mechanic has been very busy, engine not done yet, will fix it this afternoon’ the man said. Oh! and Karen did slip away from the table briefly to greet some people arriving on the beach in Robert’s rib. After having just narrowly avoided colliding with our boat as they anchored theirs, it was still swinging perilously close. After the words ‘Hello, do you speak English’ answered by a nod of the head, the rest was not so much a welcome but more a ‘What the hell are you thinking anchoring so close to my boat. Go and move.’ We’d already watched them fail to set properly and drag almost hitting other boats twice in previous attempts to anchor and were far from confident they’d got it right this third time. As Karen had stormed down the beach to protect her baby, Alcheringa, a concerned Marc asked whether she would be alright or should we all go down. Rob just replied ‘Don’t worry about Karen. Worry about the poor bastard that’s going to be on the receiving end.’  

The  macho skipper of Jabato didn't feel he'd anchored too close to
our Alcheringa but Karen pointed out the error of his thinking.

The gentleman concerned seemed a bit taken a back at having his seamanship questioned in front of people and by, of all things, a woman. His efforts to patronisingly explain to the little lady that she needn’t worry her pretty little head about these things, he was a very experienced captain and her boat was in no danger weren’t going down to well but were then totally undermined when the resort’s boat staff stepped in and expressed the opinion that he was indeed too close. They’d be keeping a very sharp eye on it and would take action themselves if need be. The scorecard then read Birthday Girl 1 vs Male Ego 0. Time for more champagne.

Amazingly we did manage to rise reasonably early on Sunday morning and right on nine Rob made our now daily phone call about the outboard, all the while expecting the standard reply but instead ‘Yes no problem is fixed’ the man said. He and Marc then jumped the first ferry over to San Antonio and hot footed it to the charter office. Sure enough the motor was ready to pickup but there was a small problem. The guy in the office was only filling in and had no idea what the bill was.  It didn’t take him long’ he said. ‘Just leave what you think is OK for the mechanic.’ Not having a clue what was a fair figure we really tried to push for some sort of guidance but in the end left a crisp Fifty Euro note for the very busy mechanic. As we headed out the door Rob turned and asked the obvious question, ‘Do you know what was wrong with it?’ and Marc almost choked when he replied ‘Spark plug all dirty.’

Back on the boat the trusty Yamaha was quickly on the dingy and, of course, started first pull again. Of we went over to the far headland for a test drive and to checkout a huge sea cave we’d seen on our way into the bay the previous Tuesday. The motor never missed a beat and the cave was very impressive. A nice finish to the day.
Have outboard will explore. Here we're deep in a huge sea cave
Definately a banana tube ride with a difference for these tourists

Rob’s slip of the hand in Cala Grazio may have cost us a spark plug spanner, an expensive 153 Euro marina stop in the awful Club Nautico San Antonio, a 50 Euro repair and a week hanging around waiting for the mechanic to spend ten minutes cleaning the spark plug. But it had been a  fantastic week spent in the glorious Cala Basa so maybe it was all worth it anyway. We still needed to find a new spark plug spanner though.

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