Ok, so I didn´t actually MEET the leathery one, but his face is plastered all over the place on the West Coast of Mallorca, which is beautiful (the coast, not Michael Douglas´face)
Another day, another revelation. The north west coast of Mallorca is stunning and destroys any idea of the island I had before coming here (to be fair, I´d only ever visited Cala dÓr and Puerto Pollensa before, which aren´t the most tranquil of spots). Just around the corner from Palma, the rocks start getting higher, the sea bluer and the anchorages get virtually empty.
Even the fairly busy resort of Port de Soller was impressively attractive, with a beautiful mountain backdrop and a huge sheltered bay. I met Jess and Stuart Williams on their Sealine S34 who were visiting for the day, but were huge Soller fans. They usually anchor in the bay, but had managed to blag an available berth in the little marina (which is quite a rarity apparently) for the day and were going to take the tram into Soller old town, 2 km inland. I asked them why the anchorages below Port de Soller seemed so empty, especially when the sea was flatter than any I´ve ever seen, and Stuart seemed to think that some boaters felt safer pottering close to their home port, rather than venture round there. It doesn´t seem too much of an epic journey, so I´m not sure about that, but it was certainly far emptier than the anchorages around Palma.
Driving on the coast road down past Deia (which has a stunning location high above the sea, but appears to be completely up its own backside – think Á year in Provence´times twelve…)the coves below came thick and fast, with only a few boats bobbing about in each. Then came the Michael Douglas faces leering at visitors from billboards around Valdemossa, where I think he has opened some kind of Mallorca theme park or something (Old-un Towers?). Nearly ruined the impression the area had left on me, but not quite. Then I scraped the car on a rock, which did. Ho hum.
Back in Palma tomorrow to take some piccies and pillage the tourist information office. Mallorca has really impressed me so far – loads more picturesque than the mainland – and after meeting the Magnums yesterday have got a far more positive picture of berthing availability. They flew out in May for the weekend to have a look around and booked a 5-month slot in their Palma marina from mid-August, with the option of extending it afterwards no problem. It seems that if you´re willing to make the effort and try to speak to the marina staff face-to-face, the long-term berths magically become available.