With the sun dropping behind us, we made our way back down the estuary and out to sea. Getting back to the open waters the emotion of freedom was back, the full moon giving us all the light that we needed, the wind, boosting us west and onward to the party island..

We pull in on the coast of Ibiza that night with a full storm brewing behind us while its cousin circled in front, blocking our way. The direction of the wind was shifting rapidly as we were thrown amid the storms. I’ve never taken sails down that quickly as one of the storms pulled in on us; the wind climbing from zero to force-nine with the rain lashing down brought back memories of the last time I was navigating with Ian when we just missed the rocks in Corsica.

storm at sea

Here we were again, at night, on a distant coastline, surveying the lights between the squalls of rain. This time we had the added uncertainty of the city lights camouflaging the red and green of the harbour with its own pallet of colours. With all the sails fastened down and the motor keeping us pointing into the wind we waited for our break, happy that the trip was not in the icy North Sea as we were now soaked to the skin. Half an hour later we were secure, the sea walls of Ibiza giving us the protection that was required. With Elvire now unscathed in the yacht club’s marina it was time to explore.

Ibiza harbour Elvire mooring Ibiza

Unfortunately most of the callers to Ibiza miss the hidden secrets of this Mediterranean island, better recognised for its all night parties that draw the crowds from all corners of the globe. We were fortunate as Fred, a friend of a friend and French expatriate turned up on the harbour wall with all the local knowledge that was required.

Dropping down onto the West coast of the island that afternoon in Fred’s truck, we found a small bay that was receiving swell. “Surfs up” was the cry from the back seat drivers as we pulled in behind a trendy beach bar, crammed with hip tribes getting down to the latest Ibiza beat. We yanked on our wet suits and unloaded the boards from the car, before charging across the private beach into the sea. The response was unrestrained from the sun worshipers; we even got a tune dedicated to us from the DJ. You had to be there!

Surf waves ibiza

Ian and myself established that one night getting out of our heads was sufficient after we crawled back to the marina at sunrise the next morning. But we had a situation; we had lost Didou somewhere in the depths of the Pasha Night Club. The last time I had noticed him was across a dance floor with over a thousand people partying away to the music of the clubs closing night. Then he had vanished. The last thing I recalled him saying was that he wanted to check out the Space; a club specialising in daytime opening hours.

The following evening he landed again, with tales of a party of parties, up in the hills, which was still hitting the Ibiza beat. We had only one choice, which was to tie him to the helm of Elvire to stop him flying off to connect with his new group of companions for the afters.

With Didou now well fastened to the boat and a fridge full of locally made gin it was time to move on, our new objective the island of Fortuntera. This island was another story, sand beaches and a tranquil pace, a far measure from the extravagance that we had left behind. That evening we were invited to a friends hacienda concealed in the centre of the island, the woods cutting it off from the world, the harmony of the island different from its neighbour only three miles away, at last things were getting back to normal again!

island of Fortuntera island of Fortuntera island of Fortuntera Ian “skipper”

Suffering from land sickness (too much gin at the hacienda) the tired “party animals” decided that is was time to stir again, this time west; direction Gibraltar. Fortunately for “the crew”, Ian “skipper” decided to take the first watch, so Didou and myself took the opportunity and dissolved down into our pits to catch up on a few extra hours of sleep.


written : 2003 updated : 2020