Aannsha’s Blog #37 – Ibiza, here we come!

Ibiza from Formentera

“I think the anchorage lets you know when it’s time to leave,” Baz said as he gripped the galley top for support. “When it gets too rolly.”

“Yeah, I’ve been feeling like moving for a day or so,” I replied as I swayed back and forth. “I think you’re right. Nature’s giving us a gentle little reminder that there’s more to the Balearics than Formantera. I’ve been looking at Ibiza on the horizon, and I’d love to visit that island soon.”

After looking at the two apps: (Not) Windy and Predict (No) Wind, neither of which gave us a lot of hope for sailing weather over the next few days, Baz and I decided the first order of business was to fill up our diesel, and stock up on provisions (fresh fruit, bread, water, booze), empty out our rubbish and recycling and then choose the best day to leave for Ibiza. Thursday looked likely, but when I emerged from the Princess Suite early-ish on Wednesday morning, Barry showed me Windy’s up to the minute predictions and suggested we leave that morning straight after breakfast. The wind would be light, but we’d have enough in the morning to attempt sailing, so the decision was made.

But I’m a tad ahead of myself. Maybe you’d like to hear about our first attempt at getting diesel.

Refuelling in crazy busy La Savina Port!

Not only does La Savina Port in Formantera have a popular berthing area, it also contains the ferry terminal which sees 90 ferries from various companies coming in and out daily during peak season - and we were right in the middle of peak season!

The fuel dock is situated in between the ferry terminus and the marina area, a few boat lengths inside the port entrance. When we’ve visited the port from the main street on previous trips to the island, we’ve taken time to watch the traffic coming in and out of the marina. It is crazy busy! So even just approaching the dock in A B Sea seemed like a hair-brained idea for us newbs, never mind attempting to dock and refuel!

Jerry cans

At first, I think the whole idea of refuelling there was hugely daunting to Baz, who even suggested topping up the yacht’s fuel tank with our jerry cans and then making a few visits on foot (via the dinghy) to the fuel dock to refill the jerry cans.

One trip hauling one cumbersome re-filled jerry can from the port back to A B Sea via the dinghy, across deeply grooved small paving stoned streets on a folding trolley with a temperamental wheel, hauling the filled jerry can back onto the yacht in slightly choppy conditions proved to be less than a thrilling experience. The fact that the first syphon we bought didn’t go into the fill hole of the jerry can, topped off the episode and pushed us to the decision to bite the bullet, put on more Big Girl and Big Boy Pants and actually take the yacht to the busy marina and refill there. After all, we were going to have to learn to do it sometime.

Baz carries the can

I say “we”, but the person who was really carrying the proverbial can here was Barry. He was the one who’d have to negotiate the ferries, dodge the smaller boats, decide where to queue, keep the boat from drifting, line up with the fuel dock, fill the tank and pay for the fuel.

All I had to do was get two docking lines ready, hand them to the guy and tie them off on the cleats. That’s all. My part was small, but I still felt nervous.

We were both tense as we approached the marina, a good half an hour before the fuel dock opened on Tuesday morning. We figured we’d get there before the boats all began lining up. That would at least give Baz an idea where to wait and more space to manoeuvre. When we arrived, the fuel dock was already in use and a smaller boat was getting filled up. Baz positioned himself inside the port entrance, leaving enough room either side for other craft to pass by if necessary. We were all ready to approach the fuel dock as the little boat left, when the fuel guy gestured at us and shouted something in Spanish. After we replied “Que?” and he repeated himself, we translated it to mean something like, “you’ll have to wait - somewhere else - a large yacht is already on its way in.”

Ferries were beginning to arrive, other boats were starting to move around the port, so Baz realised that he had to wait outside. As we sat – not drifting thanks to Barry’s good boat handling – we watched a massive grey, two masted yacht sail gracefully in and prepare to be refuelled.

We waited. It would take a while, as it obviously had big fuel tanks.

We waited. Very big tanks.

We waited. All the time, Baz had to keep an eye in all directions except for Up, to make sure we stayed clear of everything.

We waited. I had those two slip lines so neat, and ready to go, the only thing I could do was go back to the cockpit and wait with Baz.

We waited. “They could have let us in first – we’d have been in and out in 5 minutes,” we pretty much both said together.

We waited. Baz’s facial hair grew another millimetre and turned slightly greyer.

We waited.

And then…

There was movement on the big yacht’s deck and after a few more long minutes, it finally reversed elegantly away from the dock and began making its way out of the port.

They’re trying to take our spot!

In the meantime, two other small motor boats decided they would be first in the queue. They obviously hadn’t noticed us hovering expectantly, untethered, waiting for our turn.

There was almost a hustle as all three of us pulled in towards the fuelling dock at the same time. The last one to arrive in our queue of three shouted at Baz, “Can we go before you? We’re a charter boat and we’ll be late if we don’t get our fuel first.” I looked at Baz, Baz raised his eyebrows and ignored him. Baz told me later that he’d thought “You need to learn to be organised – this’ll teach you to be better prepared”. The second boat edged towards the dock as we did. The skipper of that one asked us if we were getting fuel. We were so close to the fuel dock, it would have been fairly obvious that we were, but we smiled at him and slid closer.

Wondering if there’d be a standoff at the O.K. Fuel Corral, I was relieved to notice (from my position at the bow holding a docking line) that the fuel guy motioned for both of us to approach at the same time. There were two fuel pumps, the one at the other end was for petrol, and the little guy’s outboard was petrol driven.


Baz docked like an Old Pro (no comments from old DJ mates please) and the fuel guy ignored my slip line, but gave me one already attached to a bollard. All I had to do was o-x-o it off on our cleat. Baz was so organised, he handed the fuel guy the stern line himself.

A few minutes later and 217 Euros lighter, we were making our way out of the port and back to our anchorage for a night or two. It sounded quite expensive, but we had left Puerto Marina de las Salinas with 4/5 of a tank and motored a lot of the way north to Javea, as well as motoring all the way to Formentera. We’ll be keeping a log of fuel consumption in future though.

Once we’d re-anchored – looking like blooming professionals using walkie talkies – we hi-fived and cracked open a couple of cold beers. In a little debriefing session, Baz agreed that while the 1.5 hours wait was painful and added to the tight k