There is more to a sandwich than bread and filling.

Amazing graffiti covers every surface.

3rd May 2021

Casa Basa, Ibiza, Spain – Puerto Cabrera, Isla Cabrera, Mallorca, Spain via San Antonio, Puerto De San Miguel, & Portinatx, Ibiza, Spain

The perfect sandwich has a delectable construction. The central filling gives a great textural and taste contrast to the soft crusty bread that surrounds it, and the flavour of the bread complements the filling, but that on its own could be a taste sensation. On Ruffian we live a sandwich life where fun ashore and great sailing are the bread and filling, but sometimes the bread is beautiful and the filling foul.

Finding ourselves once again in a near empty near perfect anchorage on the north coast of Ibiza we set out for a day trekking along the other worldly coastline.  As we walked the cliffs plunged into the clear waters far below, while swallows swooped above, and critters scuttled into the flower fringed bushes.

As we rounded each new headland new delights were there to be explored. Lighthouses towered above us, which gave way to moonscapes, which opened up to miradors and the final mirador gave a view of something that really needed exploring. An eerie abandoned hotel.

The approach to the hotel was like a scene from a horror movie. Knurled old barbed wire clung to the top of chain-link fences that had been worn by time and rusty metal reinforcements sprung out of the concrete at painful angles. In true horror film style, there were abandoned files and enticing papers gently blowing in the wind asking us to dive deeper into the bowels of the dereliction.

To add to the eeriness of the surroundings, local artists had taken it upon themselves to cover every surface with amazing street art portraits. The eyes followed us as we walked through room after room uncovering more horrors and more art. The scene culminated with a screaming blood-stained face that seemed to the looking to the skies for salvation but would be forever stuck in this desolation. Exploring this place was both fascinating and frightening.

If the walk was the first piece of bread in the Ruffian sandwich, then the sail-based filling would have to be a culinary sensation to keep up with the high standards that had been set. Everything was right for it to be tip top, we had 60 miles of open sea, a perfect forecast and an exciting destination.

The filling we got wasn’t the cordon blue we wanted. For hour after hour the swell shook the wind out of Ruffians sails, the rain dampened our spirits and Iain turned an alarming shade of green while Fiona, as usual, pottered about without a care in the world. This filling, however, was about go from nasty to nauseating.

The sky lit up with lightening and thunder shook the rigging as squall after squall flew by us. The radar was telling us they were moving in all directions, at breakneck speeds and all we could do was hang on, hope and rely on lady luck. Thankfully lady luck proved to be a winning tactic and finally we entered sanctuary in Isla Cabrera where we hoped the Ruffian sandwich filling was finished.

Venturing ashore we knew that the only way around the island was by joining a group taking a guided walk, not our usual style. What we didn’t expect was the group would be just us, the time was when we wanted it to be and the route was where we wanted to go. This was going to be a tasty finish to the sandwich.

Setting off across the island, Toni, our guide, regaled us with stories about every plant, every tree and every nook and cranny. Where we would have seen scrub he saw survival, where we saw rocks he saw resource and where we saw a hole he saw a home. He even made us feel better about the difficult anchoring in the Balearics as we learnt the sandy beaches are not actually made of sand.

He spoke deeply and fondly of the ecology of the sea and the importance of the Posidonia sea grass that we are forced to anchor around. It turns out there is no sand in the Balearics, only rotted Posidonia skeletons, so with no sea grass there would be no anchoring as every bottom in every cove would be a plain un-sustaining and badly holding rock. Love live the Posidonia and its skeletons.

Toni also opened up about a secret that is only available to a few. That secret was a huge sea cave, which from the outside looks tiny and uninviting, but from the inside is a cathedral like cavern where the blue for the sea mixes with the red and yellows of the rock giving a crescendo of colour.

Blasting across the bay in Brock we sought out the blackness of the cave. All we could hear from the inside were crashing waves and all we could see was unfathomable black. Nudging closer and closer the blackness suddenly gave way to blueness, the vaulted ceiling lit up and those crashing waves were no more threatening than a small dog with a big bark. What a find; what a secret.

The adventures on Cabrera were the crowning glory to the Ruffian sandwich and the beautifully baked bread packaging on both sides more than made up for the foul filling.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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