Formentera: A ragged blob of an island, hanging like a pendant off Ibiza’s south-west corner. The pendant’s cord is represented by an equally ragged and discontinuous isthmus, a couple of miles long, punctured by gaps though to the sea on both sides. The western side has a fine beach stretching northwards from Formentera.
There are numerous small islets, the largest of which is Espalmador – a favourite anchorage of the Swanky Boat Brigade. It’s always been crowded but when we were here before at least you could drop the hook for free. Now there are buoys, ostensibly to save the sea grass, but who’s going to believe that – particularly when they charge by the millisecond? Just a few hundred yards south it’s just as nice and you can anchor for free. It’s not altogether astonishing that most sailors do.
It’s eight years since we’ve been there and not much has changed. Formentera’s reputation for the relaxed hippy lifestyle lingers on. You dress down to go there – or don’t dress at all if you’ve a mind to. Nudity abounds.
On which subject I must tell you about this catamaran that slid slowly through the anchorage. On the foredeck was a young woman tending the anchor. Naked. By which I mean the young woman was naked not the anchor. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The anchor was definitely naked but she wasn’t ... well, not totally naked for she wore a pair of hideous rubber kitchen gloves that clashed horribly with her lovely blonde hair..
I’m sorry if I sound confused but I found the sight shocking. The blood drained from my face. My heart palpitated. I had to struggle to constrain myself – to fight against my impulse to call across and cry: “Oh no, sweet lady – think of your reputation. That shade of blue is so not your colour!"
The wayI see it is that there are standards to maintain, even in laid back Formentera.