Cabrera island, so close, yet so far. I see it practically every day, calling out to me to come visit. Just south of my lil town of Sa Rapita and I have been wanting to take a boat ride there to check it out. Finally, with my friend Perla in tow, I did.
Cabrera is sometimes called Goat Island and measures four by three miles (about 6.5 x 5 km). It’s a charming rocky island, much frequented by pirates in days of old. On a darker note, it also served as a prisoner-of-war camp during the Napoleonic Wars. Many died on this island during this period. Cabrera is beauty incarnate, rich in wildlife and plants, and the island has been a national park since 1991.
Daily excursions by boat run from Colonia de Sant Jordi. The boat leaves at 9:30 a.m. and arrives back on the mainland at 5:00 p.m. You can also visit with your own yacht, but you must get permission in advance, and only 50 boats are allowed in the harbor (the island’s only legal mooring place) at one time.
Perla and I got up early, drove over to Colonia de Sant Jordi, had a quick café con leche and boarded the small boat. We made a reservation a few days before and everything was very easy peasy japaneasy. We headed for the back of the boat and pulled on our rain jackets, the day was starting out a bit cloudy. The trip took about an hour to get to the main island of Cabrera.
Once there, we had a “guide” give us some “guidelines”: There are no trash cans, so please bring your trash back with you. There are very few toilets, so please use the one at the port while you can. There is one small cafe and there is not a hotel on the island, so if you miss the boat back, well, have fun roughing it. After that, we were on our own for about five hours.
Perls and I had packed a deeeelish picnic and we decided the castle on the cliff was our destination for lunch. The castle was built in the late 14th century to ward off pirates, and later it held mostly French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. Pirates and prisoners, sounds treacherous. Let’s go! Climbing to the castle …..
We picked out a cozy spot where many prisoners probably once sat. But I bet they didn’t have as good of a spread as we had; Mallorcan Pere Seda rosado wine, Mallorcan olives, pickled onions, grapes, yummy Mahon cheese cubes and a baguette from the local bakery.
Even the ants enjoyed it ……
The castle (which dates to the end of the 1400 century) was the popular place to see once the boat docked. But Perla and I stayed long after everyone had checked it out. It was only us, and the ghosts for the remainder of our stay. We looked down towards the water 80 meters below, pretended we were prisoners for awhile ….
The prisoners probably never looked as happy, or pretty. And then, sadly, time to head back down so we wouldn’t miss the boat. Back down the skinny stairs.
Cabrera is famous for its population of Balearic lizards, of which there are about 10 subspecies. Here is one lil dude we saw. Cutie.
Past the graveyard where the prisoners who died are buried. Of 9,000 sent to Cabrera, only 3,600 survived.
And to the cafe for a cerveza.
Life is good.
But wait, the trip isn’t over yet. There is one more stop. Picture a bright bluejay. Picture the vibrant blue of fresh turquoise blue paint. Now mix those up, multiply it by 1000 and you are a little bit closer to the color of the water in the cave. Cova Blava was incredible. The boat enters the cave where you can jump in the water and swim around. And though it was a bit chilly out we didn’t want to miss out on anything. So swim we did! And it was cold. And beautiful.
Alas, the trip is over. The clouds started to rain. And we became the captain of the boat. Go see Cabrera.