Unleash Your Inner Action Star on This Mediterranean Boat Trip
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because it’s underwater acrobatics followed by cava and canapés.
By Mike McDowall
I am zooming beneath the waves at what feels like 100 miles per hour. It’s all I can do to avoid swallowing seawater through my shit-eating grin. I am a secret agent! I am Ethan Hunt on an impossible mission! In fact, I am being towed behind an RIB (rigid inflatable boat), gripping a Subwing, which is exactly what it sounds like — a “wing” for performing acrobatics underwater — and it is awesome.
The RIB belongs to the Bonnie Lass, a 57-foot converted fishing boat available for charter from Port de Sóller, a stunning horseshoe bay and the only harbor on the north coast of Majorca in the Mediterranean. The four-hour sunset trip starts at 6 p.m. and takes in the spectacular coastal cliffs.
For the adventurous — and let’s face it, that’s why you’re here — there’s a rope swing for launching yourself overboard, scuba diving and deep-water soloing (i.e., free-climbing those sheer cliff faces and throwing yourself into the sea). When you’ve lost your action-hero mojo, there’s paddleboarding with a cute shaggy dog and snorkeling in a grotto with an underwater tunnel that leads to a cavern packed with brightly colored fish.
The Bonnie Lass takes groups of up to 11 people on day and half-day trips, sunset cruises and overnight stays. Built near Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1949, the vessel was originally used to net up to 18 tons of herring, but, as co-owner and captain Pete Lucas explains, “that was back in the day when there were plenty of fish to catch.” The ring-netter ended up in La Rochelle, France, where Lucas and his partner, Roo Hughes, found it, rotting, in 2014. It took two winters of rebuilds, but now the deeply curved hull is repaired, varnished and painted baby blue. The refitted interior includes a large dining table in front of the wheelhouse. Down below, the big fishhold has been converted into berths.
Teeth gritted and heart in mouth, I leap, Ethan Hunt once more.
Lucas’ job as a superyacht captain kept him away from family, so he quit and bought the Bonnie Lass, which allows him to do local charters. His broad grin tells me he has no regrets: “To be able to go out and enjoy the day with guests on board is just fantastic.”
During the journey, guests are served cava and canapés. This makes for a refined interlude, but action calls. At Sa Foradada, a huge rock wall juts out into the sea. I swim ashore and climb to a narrow ledge. Forty feet below, the water is so clear it’s almost invisible. Teeth gritted and heart in mouth, I leap, Ethan Hunt once more.
“In the last half-hour before the sun goes down, the cliffs and the entire mountain range are lit up orange,” Lucas says. “It’s quite a spectacle.” He’s not wrong. It is mesmerizing, and notably romantic. Be sure to bring a date.
You can take a trip on a modern, white plastic sailboat just about anywhere. The Bonnie Lass, with its history-soaked timbers and old-school luxury — not to mention a captain accustomed to looking after multimillionaire bosses — well, that’s something you don’t see every day in the Mediterranean. Plus, you get to feel like a pampered action hero for a few hours.
Go There: Bonnie Lass Charters
- Price: Sixty euros ($68) per person for the four-hour sunset trip, which includes limitless booze and canapés.
- When to Go: If you love to sizzle, visit in August, when temperatures are routinely above 100 F; otherwise book for June, July, September or October, when the sunsets are at their finest.
- Where to Stay: Port de Sóller and the nearby little city of Sóller have a variety of hotels to suit most budgets. Hotel 1902, a newly refurbished traditional Majorcan town house, offers a double room and breakfast for 131 euros ($150). A double room and breakfast at Casa Bougainvillea starts at 90 euros ($102).
- The Local Language: The Balearic Islands, which include Majorca, are part of Catalonia, so the locals speak Catalan, not Spanish. In Majorca, they speak their own version of Catalan: mallorquí. Instead of Buenos días, say Bon dia!
- Pro Tips: Bring a pair of wet shoes or scuba boots to make climbing those jagged cliffs a little easier. Don’t forget your action cam.
- Mike McDowall Contact Mike McDowall