A whale of a time on a sloop
Could there be a better feeling than the fresh salt tang on your face as you skim over the sparkling Mediterranean sea on a sunny summer day? Even better if you're on a traditional old sailing vessel, sails billowing in the breeze, and lovingly looked after and updated for the 21st century.
Thanks to the family which own one of Spain's oldest sailing ships, Rafael Verdera, built in Ibiza in 1841, you can experience the sheer joy and thrill of cutting through the waves on a ship which has seen many changes through its fascinating history.
Changed and updated many times throughout the years it was used to carry passengers and goods around the Mediterranean and now looks nothing like its original form which has been altered in order to increase efficiency and safety. Now it would be classed as somewhere between a sloop and a ketch and these days has a couple of Volvo engines as back-up to wind power.
However, despite this, it still looks and feels like a traditional old sailing boat, almost like a pirate ship to a landlubber like me, and is available to us all for excursions by day or night based in Palma. Departing from the main jetty in the city, it plies the waters on cruises around the coast (or beyond if you wish) in the morning, afternoon or evening.
On board you'll find plenty of lounging areas, fresh food cooked to order, entertainment with some piratical acrobats in the rigging, and diving equipment, canoes and water games when the good ship Rafael Verdera drops anchor in some secluded bay. Even better, you get to help the captain by hoisting the main-sale, walking the plank, or splicing the mainbrace or whatever other nautical terminology you can think of!
Now I've left the best until last because as well as daytime excursions, there are sunset cruises where, yes, you get to see the sun setting and drink flaming rum punches and best yet, whale watching excursions where the boat gets up real close with these giant, yet gentle creatures of the seas.
They can certainly put me down for a couple of trips when summer comes! You can find the details of when, where and how much, by contacting the family - Mikel, Nuria, Iñaki and Sara – on their website Rafeal Verdera.
Please mention that you heard about them from Mallorca Spotlight – thanks.