March 10, 2020
Discovering a different side to Ibiza
Touchdown in Ibiza and my expectations have already been blown. The hordes of drunk tourists I thought I would see are nowhere to be found. Sure there are billboards flaunting upcoming parties, DJs in residence and promises of a fun night out. But they are few and far between. Instead it’s the lush green mountains, towering palm trees and old stone buildings that capture my attention. Jo, my host for the week who will quickly become a firm friend, explains that many people have the wrong impression of this magnificent island that has been her home for the past three years. Partying is expensive, reserved for tourists. She, herself, can’t remember the last time she sipped on cocktails into the wee hours of the morning. Instead her focus is now on discovering the best beaches, preferably by boat. And it’s exactly that boat I have come to see. Because I am to spend the next week on a gorgeous wooden gulet in search of wind and blue waters where I can kitesurf, stand up paddle and wakeboard in the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.
But first I’m itching for a tour of this majestic island and that’s where Jo’s other half Javier steps in. Dressed head to toe in black, Javier’s other life sees him working in those clubs that apparently do exist. But that life is far from his mind today. He’s on one mission – to see if he can take us to as many beaches as possible, each one more beautiful than the next. And boy, he does not disappoint. From discovering an authentic beachfront restaurant, owned by a typical Spaniard known lovingly as ‘the moustache’, where a delicious fish curry is cooked on an open fire, to exploring hidden coves with seas as blue as blue as can be. I’m visiting in May so the summer tourists haven’t descended yet on the white sands and the heat hasn’t reached its peak but the gorgeous turquoise colours of the water just beckon for one to jump in.
As the day descends into darkness long past 9pm, we eventually find ourselves in yet another secret bay (Javier himself – an islander most of his life – even gets lost on the way) and it is here that our adventure truly begins.
As we approach the boat in the dead of night, I can feel the excitement mounting. She looms before us like some ghostly pirate ship. Her wooden hull framed against the moonlit sky. Climbing onboard, it takes some time to become accustomed to the sway of this 24 meter ship as she gently rocks with the swell. But soon enough the ‘motion of the ocean’ rocks us to sleep and we dream of the days that lie ahead.
Awaking to the sound of the engines early the next morning, we are drawn from our bed in the belly of the boat and venture upwards to where an epic breakfast spread has been laid out, back dropped by the blue ocean filled with hundreds of pink jellyfish. While swimming sure isn’t on the cards for the day, we marvel at the jellies of every shape and size as they glisten in the rising sun. But there’s little time for reflection, because soon enough Captain Miguel is at the helm and its time to head to Formentera – a smaller flat sandbank style island to the south of Ibiza. Here we’re promised steady winds and a quiet beach where we can enjoy a spot of kitesurfing. We can hardly wait!
Arriving at Formentera we’re rearing to go. We’ve used the journey to assemble our boards, get into our wetsuits and prep our kites. We’re ready! Setting off for the beach in the boat it’s hard to imagine that such a magnificent kiting spot exists here in the Balearics. The ocean is as clear as glass, stretching out for as far as the eye can see and the wind is blowing consistently in a cross-off shore direction. But what makes this sheer perfection is that there’s only our group on the water. We don’t know what the rest of the week will hold so we make the most out of the afternoon and with a variety of skill levels in our group, each person is able to progress in the calm, quiet waters. Some practice new tricks while others try to get the hang of riding upwind, and others still simply master the art of standing up on the board – a feat that isn’t as easy as it looks! Trust me!
Exhilarated and enthused, its smiles all round as we check the weather report for the next day. The wind looks good, better than good, in fact; it seems a storm is brewing. However in the morning, it’s not to be. The wind has arrived with a vengeance, sending us looking for a safe harbour in which to take refuge until it clears. We’re told that this type of storm is uncommon for this time of year, perhaps a sign of changing weather conditions and a foreboding that the winds of change are coming. However, by the afternoon it’s back to normal. The dark clouds have cleared and with that the wind is gone, unfortunately with no signs of returning for the remainder of our time in Ibiza.
Kitesurfing done, now what?
But that’s not stopping us. Kiteboards are quickly turned to wakeboards as we jimmy a rope to the speedboat and practice our jumps and tricks with the help of some petrol power. Then the stand up paddle boards arrive and the next few days are a blur of swimming, SUPing, relaxing, eating, discovering the old town of Ibiza with its majestic cathedral and cute cobbled streets and the bustling the quirky side-walk cafes and street art of Sant Antoni, then of course, eating, sleeping and SUPing some more.
All too soon, our final day approaches and looking back, its hard to imagine when last we saw proper civilization but at the same time, our week onboard this beautiful boat in Ibiza has passed by in the blur.
But luckily for us, the adventure isn’t quite over. The crew has one final surprise planned before we bid island life goodbye. Flying over the water like some mythical goddess, arrives our instructor on our afternoon of fun. It’s an electric hydrofoil board! Powered by an electric engine, the board (which looks just like a bodyboard) is built to hover over the water on its foil. While the instructor makes it look simple, mastering the art of the board requires a level skill not to be underestimated. With a tendency to stick its nose into the air when you get up to speed, it requires a good sense of balance to keep the board level and the swimming to the board when one does inevitably wipe out is no doubt the hardest part of all. We’re all exhausted but what a great end to a fantastic week of sun, salt water and sunshine.
When we take that final step off the boat the following morning, it takes a few moments for us to acclimatize to solid land, walking as we are with a sway in our step reminiscent of the ocean swell. But lasting longer than this slight uneasiness are the memories made and the lifelong friendships that we have formed on our unique discovery of the island of Ibiza. We hope to one day return!
Planet Travel Holidays and Ibiza Cruise Experience
Janine travelled to Ibiza with Planet Travel Holidays and Ibiza Cruise Experience. Planet Travel Holidays is known for organizing tailor made watersports holidays to the world’s most luxury holiday destinations. Ibiza Cruise Experience is just one of these offerings. This unique one-of-a-kind accommodation in Ibiza is brand new for 2019. Book for as many, or as few, nights as you want, as a group, family or individual, and spend your holiday in Ibiza enjoying a different side to the island as you kitesurf, SUP, snorkel and dive wherever the wind and waters take you. To find out more visit the website