Cala Portals Vells, Mallorca
The goings on!
When we wake up in the morning to bird song from the shore, we are almost entirely alone in this beautiful Cala; just a couple of other sail boats bobbing about. We gaze up at the surrounding headlands that are tree covered and verdant and lush. There is a lone worker rearranging sun beds and cushions on three newly swept little beaches nestled in between promentories. Beach goers will arrive later by car or on foot. The view out to sea across the Bay of Palma is clear and cloudless. Bliss!
On the southern most headland are incredible Phoenitian caves which have been here for 2000 years and where there is an amazing shrine carved into the limestone rock. There is a tomb tucked away in there too and cavernous rooms that go back far under the surface and are cool and damp. The ground is sandy under foot and above there are only the tiniest of stalactites illustrating how little water makes its way through the rocks to the cave.
Huge square arches have been cut to let in as much light as possible and you can really imagine an ancient community of people living here, safe and invisible from marauding pirates. Around them there would be access to water, sea food and some limited vegetation as well as the chance to do some hunting of wild boar, wild goats and other mammals that would have lived in the densely wooded areas around here.
So, breakfast can be enjoyed sitting on the deck in serenity. The lapping of the waves, the wind wafting the branches of the trees, the sun twinkling on the water and the sea bream darting beneath the surface of the azure sea.
Then the fun begins. Being only 8 miles or so from Palma de Mallorca the day boats and tourist glass bottomed boats start to arrive.
One or two sailing yachts make their way in. Everyone wants to be as near to the beach as possible, they want to anchor over sand, where the water appears most turquoise in order to enjoy the day.
Gradually, this small Cala fills up. Mostly large, stealth-style, motor boats with snarling mouths and jagged shark-like anchor teeth. Their smooth lines, glistening metalwork and gleaming gel coats glide in; shining and beaming out to the world around,
‘Look at me, haven’t I done well?’
They anchor in pole position with the aplomb and supreme confidence only those who exude success can do. On board, heads begin to emerge like meerkats, curious to see where they have arrived.
We give them names! The East End Bank Robbers! The Boy Band, The Frenchies, The Oiks on the Black Boat, The Britannia Jet Submarine Day Trippers (with a slide on the side ), The Hamburgers , The Danish Bacons, The Five, No Six, Times a Day (lots of anchor practice) , The German Industrialist, The Gin and Tonics, The Sales Reps Team-Building Outing, The Boat That Rocked, The Nosy Missing an ‘I’, The German Space Invaders….
The stern hatches open and jet skis scoot out and roar off with whooping youngsters aboard, paid crew dart about like anchovies, pumping up paddle boards and lowering dinghies.
Wine, beer and food appears on sun decks to the waiting owners and friends.
There are shrieks of laughter and lots of guffawing. Then a period of quiet whilst people digest their lunch and drink more hospitality wine. Suddenly, an urge for activity strikes, and jet skis tear about, ribs and dinghies chase their wake and girls scream with delight. Men paddle about sedately, chatting companionably to each other, as they glide along.
Music starts to beat out a rhythmic tattoo and the high hat and bass compete for attention. People are heating up in the sunshine and the leaping, diving and jumping begins. Increasingly daring jumps of bravado are made from higher and higher parts of the boats. Some of those on The Sales Reps Team-Building Outing leap in naked to shouts of abuse.
Meanwhile, there is much to entertain Ian, as if naked people wasn’t enough!, as he watches and notes dropping and weighing anchor techniques.
The wind constantly shifts in the bay and so we all swing round, the noses of the boats sniff out the wind direction. This leads to some hasty fendering as crews realise that boats are too close together and they will need to limit damage when they collide. Luckily, most of these vessels have bow thrusters so they can avert any imminent catastrophe. We work on the theory that we were here first so others need to watch out for us, especially as we are the least manoeuvrable.
As the sun dips down over the headland, the jet skis disappear back into the lockers and lazerettes the size of a small child’s bedroom. Pink bodies head for the shade and more refreshment. The sun loungers and mattresses on the beach are stacked up like the bed in The Princess and the Pea. The shouts and shrieks gradually fade away. Boats weigh their anchors and creep away in to the dusk.
Peace at last.
Oh, wait a moment, The Nosy but Missing an ‘I’ boat decides to stay longer and spends the next two hours tearing around the bay creating unnecessary waves on their rib. The rest of us tut and raise our eyebrows and finally cheer a silent cheer as the drunken lot head off back to Palma.