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G + 20 : Waking up to a Dripping Sound

The Sea beyond Punta des Jondal where we went today was calm and turquoise

A dripping sound woke me up at 3 am this morning. It was louder and more regular than the rain drops falling throughout the night. Rain started yesterday just after dinner. Hmm! There was a leak in the cabin. Had to get up. Place a pillow below the leak. Back to sleep again. Hoped it would not get worse – it did not. The pillow was thoroughly soaked in the morning. It would dry in the sun in a few hours though

People living in Ibiza welcomed the rain. The island was dry. There was dust everywhere. The scorching heat the last few weeks had dried the lands and the forests. With the rain came also much colder weather. At 7 am, it was only 20 degrees Celsius. The sky was clear and blue. A wonderful way to start the day. It was Tramontana weather.

The Motor Yacht we crossed on the Way out got as much Spray as we did

Given yesterday’s wind forecast, we did not make plans. By noon, windspeed should top at 20 knots and then drop below 7 kts in the afternoon. We spent the morning with admin, refueling, checking-in for tomorrow’s flights, getting more fruit and going with the Captain over the map. Where could we take the boat after lunch? The Bay with the Blue Merlin Beach Club seemed to be the best option. The ride was rough but also fun. Our boat bounced like a break dancer. There was spray everywhere. The Tramontana – as the north wind is called – had whipped up the sea. But with 17 knots the boat plowed through the waves – not a big deal for its engines.

There were more than 50 boats at the Platjas de sa Punta des Jondal

Turning the corner at the southern tip was like arriving in another world. The sea was flat, no waves despite the wind, the water turquoise, 25 motor yachts and the same number of sailboats at anchor, people surfing, swimming, many had lunch on the boats. Felt like Saint-Barth over Christmas. The bay was flanked by limestone cliffs, the 200 million years old remains of the Tethys sea. They were folded, bent and twisted like in the Swiss Alps. Their creamy color was a perfect match for the turquois sea. About 500 yards in front of us was Blue Marlin, the famous beach club. Occasionally, the wind carried a few sound bites over.

Geology here is amazing - no straight strata - Africa pushes into Europe with great force

Looking at the Beach Club and Ibiza’s mountains behind made me think of how recent the availability of beach holidays and yachts is. Both are rooted in history but were unavailable for ordinary people. This changed only in the 1960s. Highways and cars are needed to get from urban centers to beach destinations. The US got its Interstate Highways under President Eisenhower from 1952 to 1960. The pan European Highways was completed 20 years later. DC 10 and Lockheed Tristar made charter flights affordable in the early 1970s. Sailboats for the middle class arrived at the same time. Big motor yachts had to wait for the oil price shock in the 1980s and the deregulation of financial markets. All very recent.

Dutch Merchants in small Yachts guiding their valuable Ships through the dangerous Canals

Yachts are actually around since the 17th century. Dutch merchants had small sailboats to greet and guide their East India Ships on their return through the treacherous canals to Amsterdam. These sailboats were also used for pleasure sailing – something that was never done before. The sea was dangerous. People went to sea for money. Not for pleasure. But as technology improved, sailing became safer. And young men do what they love to do – they race anything that moves. The yachts were used for regattas and for training kids. It was a hobby for nobles or the ultra-rich though.

English Beach Life in Blackpool - Nobody wears Swim Suits - People came for a Walk

The same was true for beach holidays. For a long time only available to nobles and wealthy people. Railways brought beaches within their reach. By the second half of the 19th century, they could travel by train from Paris to Nice in one day. From St Petersburg to San Remo in two. Luxury trains allowed them to continue their life style on rail. It was the time when Louis Vuitton invented the big suit cases which the household staff schlepped from home to railway station to beach hotels. Queen Victoria travelled this way – many others followed. Everybody travelled with a butler or personal maid. The nobles also had their entourage. People did not go to the beaches for swimming or getting a tan (only working class people were tanned) but for walks along the beaches. Many doctors prescribed fresh air as a cure for almost everything.

Our chef Cleo, a trained nurse, went over to help when a man collapsed - it was too late

Back to today – people come with very different expectations to islands like Ibiza. Party on the boat and party at night – for some it’s a 24-hour passion. Sadly, many are on drugs. On the boat next to us a middle-aged man collapsed today and died from an overdose. Very sad and upsetting. People should come to the beaches for their health and the sun. What else do you actually need to be happy?

Many boats had moved to Formentera in the afternoon once the Wind died down

Our last dinner was in Formentera. We had no place assigned yet in Ibiza's port thus made the best of our waiting time with a sun set dinner. A spectacular end for three weeks of sailing. Epilogue will follow tomorrow.

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