“Kayaking is the perfect way to see the island,” said Paolo, my Ibiza guide, as we paddled into yet another absurdly beautiful bay. I looked along the shore for hungover party animals but there wasn’t a soul to be seen. Water gently lapped against my kayak, a light but cooling breeze rustled my hair; birds soared overhead, vanishing beyond the plunging cliffs and lush hillsides. It seems the legendary clubbing island has a softer side.
Fast emerging as a destination for those in search of gentle adventure amidst untouched surroundings, Ibiza is slowly re-inventing itself. It’s still a home to the world’s mega-nightclubs, which have seen DJs like Pete Tong and Carl Cox, not to mention acts like Florence & the Machine and The Streets. But there’s life outside the VIP room.
It’s possible to kayak any stretch of Ibiza’s 210-kilometre shoreline, so Paolo and I had a tough decision to make. We had originally opted for Cala Nova on Ibiza’s eastern coast but gusty winds forced us to re-think, and we eventually settled on the dramatic southern shores, home to a string of picturesque lagoons frequented by fisherman rather than bronzed tourists.
We set off from the small pebbled cove of Es Torrent, home to just one nice but overpriced beach bar, and glided east along the craggy shoreline. Sheltered from the open water by Ses Illetes, a collection of rock formations just offshore, there was barely a ripple to be seen. I gazed out to sea and up at the gleaming clifftop mansions belonging to a select few who woke daily to these stunning vistas. The tepid water — a mesmerising shade of jade — was as still as it was clear. Below, clinging to the seabed and swaying in the current, were long strands of Neptune’s Grass, a species of seaweed only found in the Med.
The silence was broken by Paolo. “This is one of the most spectacular corners of Ibiza, but hardly anyone ever comes here,” he said slowly and quietly. This really was a local hangout, a secret spot to escape the madness of the island. Just keep it to yourself.