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G + 18 : Phoenicians in Ibiza

Today, on the Way to Cala de Comte, the most western tip of Ibiza

Big problem yesterday. The AC broke down. Temperature in the cabins reached 32 Celsius. The captain reset it several times. Problem continued. There was nothing we could do so we went for a walk to the old town. It was less than 3 km away. Eventually we climbed up the fortified hill. What a fortress! What a view!

The Citadel and the Cathedral viewed from Ibiza's Renaissance Town Wall

The Spanish must have kept valuable cargo in the harbour to spend so much money on its defence. Have to come back during day time to take photos. On the way back we started talking about plan B. Could we stay on the boat without AC? No, cabin windows do not open. Could we sleep on the deck? Yes, but not enough space. Should we book a hotel? Maybe, but then why do we have a boat? Do we need a replacement boat? Maybe. But is there any?

Luckily, the infrastructure in Ibiza is good and the Captain found an AC Engineer

The captain alleviated our fears when he picked us up upon our return. All was fine. He managed to re-program the AC with the help of an engineer and the user manual. We would be able to sleep in our cabins. Celebrating the good news with a glass of Spanish Champagne, we decided to get up early tomorrow and spend the day on Ibiza’s west coast. Weather forecast was perfect with 30 degrees Celsius. On the sea, humidity of 70% is bearable. We could simply dip into the water to freshen up. Destination would be the Cala de Comte, the most western point of Ibiza.

Morning Coffee on the Top Deck outside Ibiza Port

Early this morning, after seven am and a good night’s sleep, the captain started the engine and lifted anchor. Holding our coffee, we watched the TOMI glide out of the port. Nobody was up except the people running the morning ferry to Formentera. Looks like a floating cigar painted in white and light blue. It is so big. On our way west, we were sailing along the coast where the Phoenicians arrived in 900 BC, in Sa Called.

Whilst they also sailed to Mallorca, Ibiza was their main settlement. They came from Gadir (Cadiz), their colony in Spain, not from the Levant. They looked for salt which crystallized naturally in Ibiza’s shallow marshes. Today, jets land here. The marshes gave way to Ibiza’s international airport. Gadir needed salt - it was the only way to preserve food for the winter

Sa Caleta - first Phoenician Settlement on the Island. In 600 BC they moved to Ibiza Town

But why did the Phoenicians sail 2'000 miles west from their home towns? The answer is more simple than we believe - for money. The Phoenician towns in the Levant (Tyre, Byblos, Sidon, Akko, Jaffa etc) were conquered in the 8th century BC by the Assyrians. Now being part of the Assyrian Empire, they had to send annual tributes (call it taxes) to the Assyrian Kings. The annual tribute was heavy and amounted to 20 - 30% of a towns annual income.

Map of the Assyrian Empire showing the Levant Towns

The Kings – of course – wanted it to be payed in something they could not get from their other subjects. As all the rulers, they lusted for gold and silver – exactly what you can find and mine in the South of Spain, close to Huelva, along the Rio Tinto. Cadiz is just a day trip away. No wonder Gadir became the Phoenicians' most important colony. the gold and silver payments kept the Assyrians who were not known for heir humanitarianism away.

Once past Sa Caleta, we set Course for Cala de Comte

(blue point on the map)

The magic Es Vedra Rock we crossed on the way to Cala de Comte was less impressive than we thought. Maybe it was overhyped by the hippies who came to worship the sun and the moon in the mid 1960. But they put Ibiza on the map for tourism. They had influence.

According to Legend, your sexual Prowess increases significantly if you touch the Rock

Rather than bothering about mystical powers, we enjoyed the time on the sea once we arrived. We could have stayed here for the night since bad weather arrives only tomorrow. The surrounding small islands provide perfect shelter. Helas - we did not know that the weather forecast would be wrong.

We were not the only ones who heard about the beauty of the Cale de Comte

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