A Compromise Win at Cala Deia


After a windy day in Santa Ponça, the following few days were forecast to have only light winds. We were keen to get on, so we resigned ourselves to a 30nm motor around to Puerto de Soller on the west coast of the island. However, with the forecast as it was, there was a good chance that conditions would be right for an overnight stop at Cala Deia along the way.

During our years of travelling by sailboat, we’ve learnt that there are many kinds of compromises to be made. One of these is seeing places vs sailing. We live on a vessel whose movement can be powered for free by the wind. However, certainly in the Med, the wind often just doesn’t want to blow in the right direction at the right time. Also, there are places where the conditions for anchoring contradict those for having a good sail. The result is we end up motor sailing more than we’d like to, to get to where we want to go. The alternative is to miss out, which is very frustrating. I’ve learnt to be a bit more zen about it, more so now than in the early days, but I still find it frustrating.

A short, accompanying video

Majestic Mountains

High cliffs line the coast along the south west corner of Mallorca and as we passed between it and Isla Dragonera, the scenery became more and more magnificent – the craggy, granite grey mountain tops of the Serra de Tramuntana, jutting up above green slopes that fall steeply away to the sea. It was a welcome distraction from the noise and heat of the engine on a hot and wind free day.

We passed calas along the way where we could see boats anchored, it was the weekend after all with local boats out enjoying the fine weather. Would Cala Deia be full?

Arrival at Cala Deia

We didn’t get our answer until we’d rounded the large rock guarding the entrance: not full but busy with three yachts and two powerboats anchored in the best depths. The inner end of the cala is limited by swimming buoys. However, we later learnt that the seabed there is covered in huge boulders and would be no good for anchoring. Well not if you want to get your anchor back afterward.

All alone in Cala Deia

Instead of squeezing in, we dropped outside the other boats in 12m and settled in to wait. The sea was so clear we could easily see the sandy seabed. It didn’t take long before the first two left; within thirty minutes we had moved closer in to 8m depth. As the evening wore on, everyone else left leaving the cala solely to us. The result was bliss; totally unexpected and very much worth the motor to get here.

The sea state remained calm overnight and I had one of the best sleeps I’d had in over a week.

Fish Spotting

Those huge boulders littering the cala floor, whilst being totally unsuitable for anchoring, provide the perfect spot for snorkelling. Jewel anemones coat the jumbled rocks, sparkling in the sun’s rays and fish of many kinds swam lazily about or fed in a frenzy.

The Village of Deia

200m up on the hillside, safe from pirate attack, is the village of Deia. We planned for an early start to walk up before the day’s heat set in. However, every morning we have to fettle our fridge through a cycle of switching on and off at least three times before it runs properly.

And it’s not just a case of switch it on, wait a few minutes, then switch off. No, we switch it on and have to wait for it to get stuck. This can take up to forty minutes. And by getting stuck, we mean that it cools the fridge down to a point, but then can’t do anymore and the temperature goes up again. We switch it off and leave it to settle for twenty to thirty minutes. And repeat, until it doesn’t get stuck anymore. It can take a couple of hours.

So it was an early start to put the fridge through it’s motions, but we got ashore by 9ish.

This is another compromise: the choice between having had it fixed, which would have been costly with at least two nights in a marina on top of a fridge engineer’s fee – or live with a work around until we get to our winter stop, that sometimes impacts on our plans.

Money vs fun?

A Walk From Cala Deia to Deia Village

The walk up to the village took us twenty minutes, following a signposted route – part road, part cobbled track that crisscrossed the road.

Welcome shade was provided by leafy trees and we were kept distracted from the “up” by the bizarre shapes of the gnarly olive trees that dotted the track.

The village was pretty but quiet; we suspect a large majority of the caramel coloured, traditional stone cottages are holiday homes, but there were a couple of cafes open and a bakery. Our reward for the hot walk up hill was two huge pastries and chicken pies for tea (empanada in Spanish). Proper pies too, with bottoms, sides and hats!

Back in the anchorage, a huge catamaran had arrived. Emerald looked tiny against it

We spent a few hours relaxing, trying to ignore the annoying hum of the cat’s generator, before continuing north to Puerto de Soller.

Sailing Info

June 28th: Santa Ponsa to Cala Deia – 27nm
Anchored first in 12m (the water was so clear we could see the sand on the seabed) in position 39 45.776’N 2 38.458’E before moving into 8m at position 39 45.729’N 2 38.447’E, also sand.
Closer to the swim buoys, there are large boulders.
Ashore there are two restaurants (we didn’t try them) and a pebble beach.
There is a channel along the swim buoys to get ashore; we tied the dinghy to the steps to one of the restaurants.
Great snorkelling along the sides of the cala and hiking trails ashore.

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