If I had not seen it, I would not believe it
The Balearics are an absolutely stunning place, with plenty of anchorages to make ones delight. All the potential to be a great sailing destination, but in our opinion, it’s not because of the overdeveloped tourism that has done more damage than good.
Particularly in Ibiza and Mallorca.
Imagine arriving in the Balearics (Ibiza or Mallorca) on your boat, early during the day or maybe late afternoon, making landfall on a Cala that already has a handful of other boats anchored, nothing excessive. You make your way in, find a spot with a reasonable amount of swing room that won’t upset the other anchor buddies and you drop your anchor thinking, cool now you can relax, any stress from the sailing or anchoring is now behind your back, it is time for that well-deserved drink.
A few hours later or, if you’re lucky, the day after, all of a sudden this little anchorage that was already composed with a few anchored boats starts getting invaded by 30 of your new best friends (mostly charters sailing and motor vessels) that will anchor all over the place, in spaces you wouldn’t imagine another boat could squeeze in safely (lets be real the boat doesn’t fit safely but they will make it fit anyway just because they really want to be able to say they anchored in that Cala and Instagram it) so many that at some point you won’t leave your cockpit with fear one of them will hit your boat, because they just drop their little anchor (so little that there’s a good chance your dinghy anchor is almost the same size) and chain in a pile and go to the beach for drinks less than 10 minutes later.
When you think things can’t get any crazier, a huge ferry/tour boat will squeeze in between that mad fest of recently “anchored” boats to drop a stern anchor and tie to shore to allow who knows how many more people to go that tiny beach that is already insanely crowded.
And for the cherry on top of the ice cream, there will be jet skiers speeding in between the anchored boats and swimmers... oh and eventually smashing the jet ski into their own boat! And then carrying on partying as if nothing happened.
Just like they all appeared in a very short period they all disappear at the end of the day, leaving you and other cruisers behind to finally relax once more.
If I had not seen it I would not believe it, but I have and it wasn’t in just one anchorage, it was in quite a few despite the fact it was late May, not even the summer vacation period.
The fact that people behave like this was the last day of their lives, the only chance to experience this or that makes it a very stressful and unpleasant experience to sail (your own boat) in these islands.
Menorca, Formentera and Cabrera seem to be quieter, maybe because the first one is not very developed with many marinas and harbours, the second with few and less protected anchorages and the last with controlled mooring.
All well worth the visit and beautiful in its way but avoiding the weekends.
Don’t get me wrong, the Balearics are an amazing place from 7-8pm until 12 pm the following day, during the time between its a mad fest.
I wonder if there’s an offseason where the Balearics can truly be enjoyed and explored like the amazing place they are...