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Balearics: An update on anchoring

By Phil Gordon — last modified Oct 06, 2015 07:27 AM

Published: 2013-11-06 00:00:00
Countries: Spain

Balearics: An update on anchoring

S'Espalmador: © charternautico.com

Espalmador (north of Formentera)

Anchoring is now forbidden in this beautiful, sheltered bay.  Moorings are provided (book in advance) at 29 euros per night  up to 12 m,  40 euros for larger yachts.

 

Salinas (Ibiza)

One can anchor on sand in the western half of the bay, moorings are provided in the grassy eastern half. The last time I was there 20 yachts were anchored - only one took up the mooring option.

 

The claim is that the purpose of this anchoring ban is to preserve the posidonia (sea grass). I was informed by a marine biologist that the posidonia in Espalmador is all dead anyway, witness the huge piles of it on the beach in the spring.  As a non-expert I note that in San Antonio where one can anchor at will, the posidonia appears to be thriving and unlike Espalmador there are plenty of fish.

(Editor's Note: See noonsite ariticle about the Posidonia LIFE Project)

 

Mahon (Menorca)

Anchored in Cala Tuelera below Mahon (arguably the most sheltered anchorage on the island)  we were approached by the harbour authorities who told us this is an ILLEGAL anchorage.  It becomes a legal anchorage when all the berths off the town are full.  The charges tied to the town wall start in excess of 100 euros a night.  The cheaper alternative is to moor to one of the pontoons.  There however there is no electricity or water and the dinghy has to be used to get ashore.

Phil Gordon

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Markeprior
Markeprior says:
Oct 05, 2015 06:52 PM

This sort of news backfires on everyone. I'm in Denia and have decided, having heard everything about the Balearics, NOT to go there.
I lose out on a magnificent cruising ground that sounds as if it has comprehensively ruined itself and priced me out. The economy of the Balearics loses out on myself and no doubt many others arriving at the same conclusion. It is with some regret I am turning tail and heading west, where I can rely on the wind and weather, if nothing else. Is there a good feedback system so these islands know they are killing the golden goose ? 60 euro for a buoy ? You can stick that up your anchorage.

pburgess
pburgess says:
Aug 22, 2014 11:29 AM

Anchoring in Porto Colom for emergencies and the cost of an overnight on a Buoy during August is 20 Euro.

ANCHORING in the Balaeric Islands.

I would say that I’m quite a considerate person, to the extent that I’ll go out of my way not to cause a nuisance. I don't make unnecessary noise and when it comes to anchoring, I make sure that I give plenty of room to other vessels that are near to me allowing for a full 360 degree swing, I display my anchor ball during the day and put an anchor light on at night; so it really pisses me off when other people don't give me the same consideration. The vast majority of boats don't put up an anchor ball, they park so close to each other, but usually to me, that their swing will inevitably cause them to collide, and sods law says that will happen in the middle of the night or as soon as I take the dingy ashore to walk the dog or do a bit of shopping, so it’s a constant source of worry but they don’t seem to care or worse they don’t appear to understand.

Sheer incompetence or arrogance or ignorance; whichever it is, it gives me the hump. I came away to sail in the Med so that I could de-stress, not so that I could replace one stressful life with another. In the same way that I didn’t buy a house that was slap bang on the bend of a dangerous road notorious for HGV trucks driving through the living room; when I anchor I leave plenty of space and hope for a trouble free evening, what I don't expect is that everyone can later invade that space and end up with their bow sprite in my cockpit. I put fenders along both sides of my boat but they seem to see that as an invitation to anchor even closer. I swear; it doesn’t matter how much room is available in an anchorage, these lunatics seem to be attracted to me and each other like magnets and it doesn't seem to matter how new or shinny their own boats are.

In the more popular spots, Port de Soller is a good example; there is the 5 o’clock rush. Boats flee the surrounding Cala”s and head for the bright lights bars and restaurants that encircle the anchorage and they pack themselves in like sardines. Most of the boats are charters but regardless of ownership, most of their skippers are brainless. 6 or 7 o’clock arrives and then the wind shifts 180 degrees. The carnage is a sight to behold, and everybody is blaming everybody else as boats start to bounce off one another. None of them have an anchor ball up and they all have varying degrees of chain length deployed, anything from 10 meters to 50 meters but all in 5 meters depth of water, nobody is really sure what kind of swing the other actually has.

My strategy is simple, I always display the correct day an night anchor symbol and have a tripping buoy marking the location of my anchor. That can backfire if someone decides it might be a pick-up buoy for a mooring. When they arrive and park too close, I politely ask them to move. When they shrug their shoulders with indifference and don't move, because they are just plain stubborn, rude or clueless, or all of the above, I take out my log book, record all of their positions relative to me and photograph them with my phone, making it obvious that I am recording all of their details. I then casually ask them if they have insurance…

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But at least I have a clear log of events if the worst should happen and I would be able to prove that I had done everything reasonable to prevent a collision under IRPCS. Or at least that’s what I would expect in an EU country. The reality is that there are no authorities, harbour master, port captain or port police that you could call on to mediate, not because they don’t exist, but because they are nowhere to be seen. Even where such people exist they seem to spend their lives at siesta or working hard at doing nothing that anybody could reasonably constitute as being of any reasonable value or worth.

My experience to date is that if there were to be a collision while at anchor or indeed an accident in any circumstances, that the authorities would likely apportion fault based on a single factor; who is the Mallorcan or Spaniard and who is the foreigner. In The Islas Balaerics, respect based on nationality seems to adhere to the following hierarchy; Mallorcan, Spanish, German, French and then the rest of us.

There are harbour speed limits that aren't enforced or observed, speed boats drag children through a packed anchorage at 30 kts on an inflatable doughnut or a banana while Red Cross or Balaerics Government lifeguards watch from the beach. Either they don't like their kids very much or it’s somebody else's responsibility or they didn’t see anything or simply mannyana.

There is a real sense of apathy, an attitude of do nothing until something happens, the saying; “an ounce of prevention” …. doesn’t seem to exist in the Mallorcan mind.

This all sounds like I’m having a right old bleat, and I am, but running parallel to my frustration with the lack of order that exists here is also a sense of freedom, because no real rules means no real restrictions either. Sure, there are some areas where you can't anchor anymore because the Government is trying to protect the sea grass, but in reality what they have done is to mark off areas that are either of no value to someone wanting to anchor or they have put buoys out, but they’ve really only done that in commercial ports like Porto Colom or Porto Petro where its easy for them to collect their 20 Euro per night, placing buoys in all of the Calla's would be too difficult for them to manage, so you see I’m a real fan of apathy in the right circumstances.

The longer we spend cruising around the Balearic Islands, the better we are able to anticipate what someone is likely to do or not and so taking precautions becomes more intuitive and so less stressful. Don't get me wrong, i’d prefer it if everybody would just learn and apply the IRPCS rules, but I think I’ve got more chance of winning the lottery.

pburgess
pburgess says:
Jun 27, 2014 11:02 AM

Porto Colom. June 2014.
Despite there being no formal update from Ports IB or the Mallorcan Government, there is no longer any anchoring in Porto Colom, the anchorages have been replaced by buoys which can be booked for an average 60 euro per night for an 11 to 12m yacht. Ports IB berths can be booked online in the IB marina for 35 euro per night for a maximum 5 day stay. Club Nautico Berths are on average 100 euro per night.

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