Discover Mallorca by boat
“Cheers and welcome aboard.”
Skipper Nigel Lewis raises his glass. It’s barely 11am, but onboard the Vita Bel II it’s already “wine o’clock.” Which is perhaps only fitting, since the name of this boat means “the good life.”
“You’ll find cava and several Mallorcan wines in the bar. Help yourself,” Lewis says.
We cast off and slowly make our way out of the harbor at Cala d’Or in the south of Mallorca, past large yachts and a quayside packed with fish restaurants and beach stores. Along the beach, fancy white villas rub shoulders with brightly painted houses where laundry is hanging out to dry between the windows.
The sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze and all in all, it’s a pleasantly warm spring day. At the bow of the boat, there are some comfy-looking cushions but Lewis has other ideas.
“Pär, help me with the fenders. Monica, take over at the helm,” Lewis barks. He’s the sole crew member today.
Little pieces of paradise
Monica, an Italian, positions herself behind the wheel. She’s come to Mallorca for a spontaneous sun holiday with a friend.
“We rented a car and drove around the island,” she says. “It’s a great way to discover tiny mountain villages and hidden beaches. We particularly liked Cala Llombar and Cuevas del Drach. During the off-peak season, you can have these little pieces of paradise to yourself.”
Lewis hoists the mainsail and steers the boat southwards along the coast. To the north, there’s Porto Colom, the largest natural harbor on Mallorca. To the south lie the fishing villages of Porto Petro and Cap de Ses Salines, the southernmost point on the island. Today, Lewis is taking his guests to a location in between, Cala Mondrago.
Sailing in the Mediterranean
Sailing in the Mediterranean is a dream for many people – and a dream you can realize even if you don’t own a boat. Several charter companies on Majorca rent out boats, either with or without a skipper. You can find every kind of vessel moored in Mallorca’s marinas, from luxury yachts to llàuts, traditional Major can fishing smacks. Lewis’s boat is a 16m motor sailor, which is available for private and shared charters and day trips.
Left his job as realtor in London to become a Yachtmaster
Today there are only six people onboard, including Lewis. He learned to sail, he says, as the result of a midlife crisis.
“I had dreamed of working at sea ever since I was little. When I hit the big four-O, I realized it was now or never.”
Lewis had become bored with his job as a realtor in London. He saw an add in the newspaper about a boat for sale and flew to Majorca to see it, even though he had no sailing experience.
“It was love at first sight,” he says. “As soon as I got home, I started investigating how I could finance the purchase.”
A while later, Lewis was the proud owner of the boat and a Yachtmaster certificate. Now he’s living his dream.
“I spend the winter in London and the summer here. It’s the perfect lifestyle for me. I’m out and about and meet new people every day. There’s always something exciting happening – I’ve witnessed a number of marriage proposals onboard, for example.”
Mallorca is a great destination for sailing, Lewis says.
“The weather is very predictable, with 240 days of sunshine a year, no undercurrents and waters rich in marine life. You can see sea turtles, rays, barracudas, flying fish and even dolphins if you’re lucky.”
Cala Mondrago is a bay with three fine sandy beaches that form part of the Mondrago National Park in an area that is relatively undiscovered, far from the charter tourist destinations of Magaluf and Alcúdia. Even so, it is by no means deserted. Along the cliffs above the coastline, you can spot hiking tourists and families with young children equipped with beach balls and umbrellas.
Lewis casts anchor in the quietest bay where the water is clear and as turquoise as in the Caribbean, then sets up a sail as an awning to provide shade. On this trip, he serves up fresh prawns, smoked salmon, goat’s cheese salad, manchego cheese, ham, olives and a warm tortilla, with chilled Mallorcan wine to wash it down.
A young family passes us on a pedalo. With such fabulous weather and spectacular scenery, this is truly la vita bel(la).
Published: January 21, 2022