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Mallorca Yacht Rally: Cabrera National Park

Maggie's avatar By Maggie | 19 Jun 2017
Cabrera National Park Lighthouse on cliff

After two weeks in the villages, towns and calas of Mallorca we divert from the Island and race 15 nautical miles south from Porto Petro to the small archipelago of Cabrera

The archipelago was declared a marine national park in 1991, so all traffic to Cabrera is tightly controlled. Logistically, getting 6 yachts into Cabrera is not easy, in fact, the plans for our two night stay began months prior to our arrival. Each vessel must have a Permit of Navigation to enter the park, plus a mooring reservation. There are only 50 moorings on the island, each one colour coded according to the size of yacht, so places are limited…and the paperwork is in Spanish.

On arrival, we find our moorings close to the shore and immediately appreciate the hard work we went through to get here. From the back of the boat and in the clearest of water we marvel at the marine life in its pure natural state. There are thousands of fish of all colors. The endemic Posidonia Oceanica, along with everything else under the waters surface is protected.  Neptune Grass, as it is commonly known, is critical as the foundation stone for all marine life in the Mediterranean, even dragging an anchor chain across it can cause permanent damage.
The race to Cabrera national Park
The race to Cabrera National Park

We enjoy our dinner on board, the air is clean and clear and there is no local light to compete with the stars. ‘Gijon’ reports that they cannot locate their inverter switch so we make an immediate service call, complete with a bottle of wine of course. We enjoy a light Spanish white that cost Euro 7.75 in the supermarket. The inverter switch proves to be somewhat elusive but our local yacht technician Cristian eventually locates it. Meanwhile Ros Prowse, a mariner traveller on her 5th rally, proclaims Cabrera to be “the best anchorage I have ever been in, anywhere, ever”.

Next morning we are off on an expedition to the castle perched at the top of a craggy summit, just as I recall the castles from the books of my childhood. A narrow winding path takes us to the entrance and then up an enclosed circular stairway, hardly big enough to fit the oversized human being that I am – so defending the top must have been easy when the assault was in single file. The view from the summit makes the climb worthwhile.

Staircase to castle on Cabrera island Mallorca
Maggie reaching the top of the narrow staircase

Admiral Barbarossa of Ottoman fame in his assault in December 1530 managed to get enough troops up the stairs to conquer the garrison because he then used Cabrera as his Western Mediterranean headquarters for 40 years. Cabrera plays a role in so many historical chapters and the stories we discover send my history craving mind in overdrive.

After gaining a half tick for nearly making it to the light house at the northern tip of Cabrera we repair to the only cantina on the island and enjoy a fabulous tapas and a cold draught beer. The balcony of the cantina is shaded and we sit with a view across the harbor. Lunch for the four of us costs Euro 45 - total!

On the last day of the rally we prepare to return to Mallorca, and our final destination of Palma, exactly where we began! There was some frustration as the wind couldn’t decide where it was coming from - north east, south west, back to north east, and then nothing. After sailing in circles we abandon the race and instead decide to prepare for our final dinner and presentation on the terrace of the Hospes Maricel, which ironically enough overlooks the scene of our unsuccessful attempts to reach the finishing line. Who cares, the crew from ‘Monserat’ affectionately dubbed “Monster Rat” are the winners of the very first Mallorca Yacht Rally, with ‘Gijon’ in second place.

For details on upcoming sailing tours in Mallorca click here
anchorage on Cabrera National ParkOne of the stunning anchorages on Cabrera