The trip to Majorca took place in the week prior to Christmas, arriving back on Friday afternoon to give people one full day to buy all their Christmas presents. The idea of going to Majorca was conceived early in the year, and booked in July after good reports of this winter sun spot from two old ULSA members. We opted (two of us) for the cheapest hotel on the island which was located in Cala D'Or, about 1 hour's drive from Palma, as many of us hate built-up and smelly towns (Palma). Bookings and money were taken from 19 people in two weeks to take advantage of group bookings (pay for 7 and 10 people go) so costing only £75 each.
Day of departure went very smoothly with everyone arriving on time (unbelievable considering it was 6am) to find our plane was delayed. Only one person [your beloved Ed, of course] managed to lose his luggage on the way out which duly arrived the next day.
We landed to glorious warm sunny weather and with about three hours of daylight left we all went on a short stroll to explore the town and to hunt down the cheapest car hire firms. One was eventually located on the outskirts with Fiat Panda's at £30 for 6 days so 5 cars were hired the following day (the only disadvantage is that these cars normally require bump starting, but on the plus side have a good top speed of 150 km/h, and are very cheap to run).
The hotel was quite adequate (good) for us with the best part being buffet style meals allowing us to eat at least 2 helpings of starters with normally 3 further courses to follow (especially hake).
The week then went well with people going caving, sightseeing or sunbathing/swimming. Two show caves were visited by most: The Caves of Drach and The Caves of Arta - the latter not worth visiting unless you like building sites and concrete, but the guide was most entertaining with his "Stalagmi e Stalalagti three centimet a hunert year". The Caves of Drach are well worth visiting with a free 'Caves of Drach 1989 calendar' and boat trip on the underground lake all for £2.50 a superb and well lit cave.
Two proper caves were visited, the first being Cueva de Sa Campana. This cave is well worth a visit, being very easy and also the longest and deepest cave on the Island with good formations. [I thought they were more than just 'good'!- Ed.] It basically consists of four large descending chambers ending in some smaller passages with a final 60m pitch. The equipment needed for this trip is 30m rope for the entrance pitch, followed by a 40m, and a 20m which takes you through most of the cave and into all the pretty parts including the final chamber with two foot helictites. The final pitch of 60m, which is reputed to consist of loose boulders and be not worth visiting, leads off from here, where the nature of the cave changes. This was not descended since we had no rope, and it gets rather small. Petzl Zooms are not recommended for this cave as you will miss out on the vastness of the chambers.
Clothing needed for all the Majorcan caves is shorts with an oversuit over the top as it is very warm underground, but be prepared to get very sweaty and muddy. It is also not recommended to leave any valuables in cars as they tend to get stolen as some of our members found out. Credit cards, and money were stolen with which they managed to spend £60 in one day, some task in such a short time.
The other cave was located while spending a day on the beach and visiting the caves of Arta. It is located approx 200m along the road before the caves of Arta, and is clearly visible from the road. The entrance forms a low arch leading into a chamber approx 30 feet in diameter. This contains a few large damaged stals covered in some kind of algal growth. Just inside to the left a walking sized passage carries on across the head of a pitch (free climbable with care) into a further large chamber approx 100 feet by 40 feet and about 30 feet in height. This chamber contains a row of large stals which reach to the roof. This is all that separates this chamber from that of the entrance chamber. A profusion of helictites can be seen in the roof and other areas away from damaging hands. All the formations are no longer forming except for one, this is a small stalagmite with small gour-like rims surrounding it (most unusual). At the far end of the chamber a crawl leads off, but was not pushed to an end due to only wearing beach gear. The pitch prior to this chamber has been descended for 20 feet landing in a small chamber containing some further formations. A crawl also leads off this, but has not been looked at. The cave has been well photographed with Jenny - the President - posing in Sue's swimming suit (being somewhat different in size). This cave has therefore been christened Bikini Cave. The cave is well worth visiting if you're in the area, but it is feared that its existence will be short lived due to the encroaching building work.
Apart from the caving, several trips were taken down the two most popular Gorges in the north of the Island, the Torrente de Pareis and La Fosca. The Torrent de Pareis was done by almost all; that is, after we had found out where to go. This is a very pleasant walk consisting of much boulder scrambling and, if the weather has been wet, some wading and swimming through static pools [Please see a warning about this]. Hopefully there will be someone waiting at the end to bring you back to the cars at the start, otherwise you'll have a very long walk back.
The idea of doing the La Fosca Gorge came about after meeting some ULSA members who had just completed it. It took them some 12 hours, our lot thought they must be having us on, and so decided to go out and prove them wrong. Well, as you can read in this Journal, they were not having us on!
Good fun was had by all (except maybe the participants) when three members of our group (Patrick Warren, Jeremy Rodgers, William Stead) were involved in a magic show held in the hotel one night. This involved someone throwing knives at Jeremy, while William and Patrick had unknowingly been hypnotised and were involved with the electric chair act - most entertaining.
Cocktail parties were also held in the evening with nearly every conceivable colour being made and drunk. The weather proved very good with only one drizzle shower one evening around Braunig when some were going to go for a swim in the sea. Everyone enjoyed themselves as far as I know and a return trip to this island or similar location is almost certainly going to happen this year.
|Chris Densham||Chris Sharman||Derek Robinson||Gwyneth Martin|
|Ian Millar||Jenny Moss||Jeremy Rodgers||Joe Greaney|
|Julian Todd||Keith Millar||Mark Fearon||Mike Martin|
|Mike Richardson||Patrick Warren||Rebecca Lawson||Sue Sharman|
|Tina White||William Stead||Wookey|