24th April 2021
Ibiza Town, Ibiza, Spain – Espalmador, Formentera, Spain via Es Pujols, Formentera & Illa Redona, Formentera
Usually when you fail a test you get a low score and if you preform really badly, you’ll get a negative one. A bad result can be catastrophic, change the direction of your life, stop you from having dreamed of freedoms or wiping out options that you hoped would be open to you. On Ruffian we we’ve taken a test but would our score be positive (bad) or negative (good)!
The ping of the iPhone heralded the result of our PCR (2ml of spittle into a test tube) test and in big letters it heralded that negative result. That negativity would enable us to enter the Balearic islands, roam free and legally around them, and in the best Ruffian tradition do chores.
Taking to the Brompton’s we whisked around Ibiza town ticking off chores. Laundry spun in big machines removing all our filth and we searched fereteria after ferreteria for precious cooking gas. Finally with the clothes clean and bottles full we just had the somewhat precarious cycle home. What could be more dangerous than cycling along a busy road on a little Brompton overloaded with laundry with essentially a bomb strapped to the back of it?
As we could now roam, that’s exactly what we did and we headed for the idyllic island of Formentera. The big draws of Ibiza are its nightclubs, throbbing house music and nights that last until morning, Formentera offered something quite different. At night the skies were peppered with stars and nothing else, the silence of the beaches made us feel like we were deaf and the water was so clear it made Fiona’s gin look cloudy. This was the Balearic island(s) that we’d sailed so far to experience and for days this was our reality.
Although views were sensational, they were somewhat dampened (although the sea still glowed!) by a grey sky, lashing rain and clouds that sat heavily atop of Ruffian’s mast. Ignoring the outside, inside the sewing machine needle was smoking. It put trendy shoulder straps into Iain’s rompa suit, to match the elastic ruffs in his offshore trousers (he’s so trendy!), gave the OCC flag a brand-new flying fish and turned the Spanish courtesy flag, back into a Spanish flag.
With the ocean glowing again the exploring on Formentera could extend far beyond the beach and we set out to find the life and history of this little gem. As we cycled along smooth dirt roads fringed by salt pans and past charming beach bars things were about to change significantly. The empty dirt roads gave way to busy highways complete with articulated lorries, the ancient salt pans were replaced by the industry of tourism while the sleepy bars had transformed to kebab houses who served English beers.
Just as the charm of Formentera were wearing thin the afternoon siesta started. In moments the island we’d come to know was back. The roads emptied allowing us to discover stone age monuments, birdlife quietly flew over the salt pans gently ruffling the water’s surface and we happened upon beaches that were so bright they made your eyes hurt. Formentera was proving to be an island of many faces and we could only discover those faces because of the magic negativity we’d been given in Ibiza.
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