Portals Vells, the bay with a beautiful legend!
We left around 9 in the morning for our sail to the next island: Mallorca. The girls would fly back in a few days from Mallorca. We arrived around 17.00 in this pretty little sheltered bay on the south-west coast of Mallorca in Portals Vells where the beach is called Sa Caleta. Very easy when coming from Ibiza! It’s was quite busy with many boats anchored here. Probably in summer a very busy spot. We found a good spot for now and we enjoyed some drinks and the sun. At around 6 o’clock most of the boats left the bay and we went to anchor at another spot. A bit more sheltered for the night. That night we were 4 other boats anchored in this beautiful little spot. We went to the beach with the dinghy to explore this nice little place and beautiful cliffs.
On one side of the beach, you can find a giant cave that has three entrances which look like giant portals (hence the name, translated as “Old Portals”). Inside, some of the walls are decorated with inscriptions and drawings. There is a beautiful legend about the caves of Portals Vells, also called “Caves of Mother of God”. It tells that around the middle of the 15th century, a Genoese sailor had been caught by a horrible hurricane near the Bay of Palma. The storm tore the sail to pieces and the huge waves cracked the planks and masts of the ship. Seeing that their lives were in danger, the captain and his crew decided to make a vow, promising that if they were going to save their lives, they would build a place of honor for the statue of the Virgin from their ship, exactly at that place where they were going to be driven ashore. Actually, the storm ceased, and the ship was driven to the little natural bay of Portals Vells, where the sailors discovered several caves. They decided to place in one of them the statue of their Madonna, carved an altar into the rock and decorated the walls with religious inscriptions and drawings. At first, the Virgin’s statue was worshiped only by sailors and fishermen, but later the caves became a place of pilgrimage. During the 18th century, the Madonna statue had to be transferred to the church of Calvia in Palma, in order to protect it from the enormous boulder that had fallen from the ceiling of the cave. Nowadays, the statue can be admired in the church of Portals Vells. The Caves still preserve the inscriptions and paintings of those rescued fishermen as well as a wonderful view on the charming Bay of Portals Vells.