I´ve just come back from a 7-nights sailing trip around the coast of Mallorca. Together with my little brother, my mom and stepdad and two friends of ours we chartered a sail boat in the harbour of Palma and spent some incredible days on our Bavaria built sail boat, called “Ruck Zuck” (no idea who gives a boat a name like that..) with 40 Foot length . Jörg our skipper, who has been sailing for a few years initiated this idea and we were all keen on a holiday like this, as non of us except him had been on a sailing trip before.
We flew to Mallorca on a friday afternoon and spent the first day walking around the beautiful city of Palma (don´t only think of the Ballermann if you think about Mallorca – one mistake I made myself) and soaking up the sunrays. The weather forecast for the coming week was just how we all wanted it to be: almost no clouds and everyday clean blue sky with moderate amounts of wind (sure, for sailing sometimes the wind could have blown a liitle stronger, but for us beginners it was just good).
On Saturday we made our way to the harbour and prepared everything for the coming week. The most important task was the shopping. We needed quite a lot of food and drinks for seven days and six people. We made a list, which is an absolute must, and headed to a mall, where the four men of us spent around two hours getting all the things we needed. Finally we ended up with three trolleys filled with food and had to take two taxis to get back. Around three o´clock we could finally board our beautiful little sail boat.
The Ruck Zuck comes with a little more than 12m length, a sail area of 85 square metres and space for six people. Three cabins, two at the stern (back) of the boat and one right in the bow (front). We had a fully equipped kitchen with a gas stove and two toilets on board. Nevertheless all of us knew that it would become quite cosy on board with six people and no space to go to.. Already now I couldn´t wait to start sailing.
After storing all our food, equipment and baggage Jörg gave us an introduction to the boat and we spoke about emergency matters and how to deal with life vests etc. The sun fell already and we decided to start sailing the following day as it wouldn´t be the best idea to have the first sailing experience in the dark. We spent our first night on Ruck Zuck with a couple of beers and wine and some good talks. All of us were looking forward to tomorrow – finally we would start sailing and using only the power of nature to move forward on the essence of life: our oceans.
We woke up early sunday morning and prepared everything to leave the harbour of Palma de Mallorca and sail towards Isla Cabrera, a beautiful nature reserve close to Mallorca. The most important part is surely the proper storing of all the things inside the boat. The are special kind of drawers inside the boat which can be closed with a small push button. One shouldn´t underestimate the swinging of the sail boat during sailing or even using the motor. Not only once things flew around inside the boat bevause they weren´t fixed properly.. No need to say that the deck should be clean of all loose things as well.
As the wind is not always blowing out the direction you need it for your course, you sometimes might have to sail a liitle different than a motor boat would go. Sailing zigzag describes this quite good. You only gain height slowly, because lets say you want to go straight but the wind isn´t right, so you´ll want to sail to angular right, make a turn and sail angular left, make another turn and so on. This way you´ll reach your destination even thogh the wind isn´t right (but obviosuly it takes way longer than going straight with a motor boat). But this is one thing that especially amazes me: using only the force of wind to move forward – even though it might take longer, it is a way of moving in connection with nature!
Jörg always told us what to do when we had to help him with something and slowly everybody got used to the situation. None of us got seasick so far even though the boat was swaying constantly. We sailed for about six hours before we switched on our motor for another hour and a half or so to reach Cabrera still during some daylight. The island was breathtaking. We sailed into the harbour right during the sunset and the light was warm and beautfiul. We passed the fort, which was standing at the entrance of the bay like a guard from ancient times. Jörg had organized us two nights to stay, which is the maximum time allowed to spent here. As there is no traditional harbour for sail boats here, we towed at a buoy and first drank the obligatory landing beer 🙂
We had a long day behind us with almost eight and half hours at sea. Even though it was quite chilled, all of us were kind of exhausted. We went to swim in the warm water and enjoyed the beauty that was surrounding us. Our “little boat”, called dinghy, that we were carrying with us now entered the sea and we mounted the little motor on it, that we also brought with us. There were some toilets and a pub on land and in order to get there we had to use our dinghy. Paul and I packed two beers into the dinghy, my tripod and camera bag and we “anchored” at the shore and I took a couple of long exposure shots. We cooked a great rice dish packed with vegetables and vitamins and I went to sleep very satisfied and happy. Wow, what a day!
Waking up on a boat with the warm sun rising and the water surrounding you is a beautiful feeling. Today could just be spent with things we all like to do – sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, driving dinghy, hiking on land, reading, drinking… in the early afternoon Paul and I went to check out the bay a little to look for some birds to photograph and to simply have some fun 🙂 Indeed, I found the following two birds quite close on a tree, mounted my Tamron SP 150-600mm on my Nikon D7100 and started taking photos. I must have looked quite funny with this incredibly huge lens but the photos that came out are really worth it!
Definetly a thing to remember for all you hobby photographers and filmmakers out there: on a sail trip you have to take good care of your equipment, make sure you insure everything BEFORE your trip. Then also make sure that you rinse your camera gear that came in contact with saltwater – especially if you are using a GoPro to film underwater. Otherwise the salt will slowly but surely destroy your gear and corrosion will take place on all metal parts..
For the evening we had some special plans: we wanted to get on land with our dinghy and from there hike to a lighthouse where the sunset was supposed to be quite awesome. We needed two drives from the boat until all of us, our bags plus the wine and snacks in it made it to land. We then started hiking our way up the slowly ascening hiking trail and were offered beautiful scenery as a reward. The sun had started setting already and offered us some magic with the warm sunrays meeting the greens of plants and blues of the sea. We actually wanted to hike right up the lighthouse but decided to stay just at the foot of the last hill to enjoy our two bottles of wine here. When the night fell we were on our way back to boat that all of us were missing already – especially the movement of it caused by the water 😉 A great evening packed with impressions!
When we got back to the boat it was between nine or ten o´clock (not so sure about it as I was living without a watch for almost the entire time on the boat). In the meanwhile some of our neighbours, who had their boats on a buoy around 40m next to us, had started to sing some songs accompanied by a guitar. We had already observed them earlier this day, when the towed two boats next to eachother and these ten guys (!) in the range of 60-80 years were drinking, laughing and clearly having a very good time on their boats. Some of them were completely naked just as they were born. I, for my part, sat down on the stern of the boat, talked to my girlfriend on the phone and after that listened to the spanish songs sung by these extraordinary life-loving men. These people were a inspiration: they were “old” , yes, but the clearly showed to everyone, that you can still love life and have fun with friends. That has nothing do with age, it´s just a matter of your mind set! I for my part want to be like them once I am that age! 🙂
Tom is a marine biologist, photographer, and filmmaker specializing in conservation imagery and film. His scientific background is a strong asset in creating appealing imagery, articles, and short films. Tom has won several awards and nominations with his images and films, such as the German Prize for Science Photography in 2016/2017. Tom’s images and articles have been published in international magazines and newspapers such as The Guardian, Welt am Sonntag, Diver, Tauchen, In-flight magazines, Bild der Wissenschaften and more. In 2017 he launched www.tomvierus.com for a wider portfolio and business requests.
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