We arrived in Cala San Saura at 5.30pm on the 11th, moved on to Cala Turqueta the following day due to the ‘rolling’ of the anchorage and finally arrived in Mahon, Cala Taulera to await the NE winds over the next few days.
Cala Taulera is to starboard of the entrance to Mahon, adjacent to La Mola, a big fort, and Isla Lazareto. It is the only place in Mahon that anchoring is authorised and the rules at present state that you must leave after three nights. It was extremely sheltered and there was plenty of room for up to 30 boats. We took the dinghy into the shore and spent an interesting afternoon exploring the Fort, La Mola. Completed in 1875, this stone fortress was built at the orders of Queen Elizabeth 2 of Spain and boasts magnificent views over the bay and harbour of Mahon.
We also took a dinghy trip up the river to Mahon and visited Judith’s Aunt and Uncle who have lived in the town for a number of years.
Our first night at anchor here passed without incident but night two was slightly different! The wind had increased and we had moved forward to make room for a rather large American Vessel – SV Wiki. At 3.30 am a boat alongside us dragged her anchor eventually resetting. At 4.30am, having just settled back in bed, we heard another commotion. A 30ft French yacht in front of us had dragged and entangled with the stern of a catamaran. It took over an hour to release and re anchor both boats. The fun of boating!!!
At daylight on 16th August we left Mahon for Fornells, a village on the Northern side of Menorca. We had pre-booked a berth for one night with IB Ports in the harbour, time to charge batteries and refill with water. The following morning we left the berth and anchored on the opposite side of the harbour wall in what seemed like a sheltered area of the bay. There were a number of boats anchored and we spent the afternoon swimming and exploring the pretty village. During the early evening we were visited by the Port harbour master asking if we had seen the weather forecast – we had! As time went on, the boats around us began to move. We checked the weather again on a number of websites, nothing untoward ! We were now the only boat left in that area. Oh boy!! The wind picked up just after we settled for the night and with gust of up to 35 knots of wind for the majority of the night, no sleep was had by either of us. We spent the whole night on deck at ‘anchor watch’ as the anchor and chain thankfully did it’s job to hold our position away from the harbour wall!
The following morning we visited the IB ports office in Fornells and managed to book Money Penny into a marina berth. We spent the next three days exploring the area.
Anchorage in Fornells
A meal out!
The highest point in Menorca is Monte Toro, the tallest hill on the island. It rises to a height of 342 m (1,122ft) and is the home of Sanctuary of Verge del Toro. This has been a place of pilgrimage since the 13th century and a statue of ‘Jesus of the Sacred Heart’ with his arms outstretched to bless the Menorcans who died in the Spanish Moroccan wars of the early 20th century, stands prominently in front of the Sanctuary. There is also a stone monument to remember all the Menorcans who emigrated to Algeria between 1830 and 1962 when it was a French Colony. We cycled the 7 miles to the foot of the ‘hill’ planning on taking a taxi to the top but the taxi driver was prepared to charge us the fee plus eight euros for each bike……..we decided to ride up to the sanctuary!!! It was a hard climb, near vertical at times, more pushing than riding!
The views at the top were amazing as we l looked back where we had come from, the bay of Fornells miles below us.
On the 21st August the wind had died down and we decided to make our way back to Mahon. We had an amazing sail of between 5.6 & 8.9 knots and anchored in Cala Taulera for the next three nights. Paula and Nick on La Perla joined us on the second night . This time , we spent the three days exploring the town of Mahon. As the capital of Menorca, Mahon sits on a ridge above the deep inlet that forms the sheltered harbour. The British-style Georgian houses reflect the legacy of British occupation during the 18th century and the town is lined with pavement cafes and some beautiful shops and restaurants. On either side of the harbour there are various marina berths and some expensive villas with waterside frontage and yachts to match.
After leaving Mahon on 24th August, we headed to Cala Coves, the most beautiful calla we had experienced so far. The Cala is surrounded by steep rocky cliffs that contain more than 100 burial caves cut into the rocks. The caves date back to the pretalaiotic period and some are accessible on foot which means that tourists are drawn to the area. We moored ‘stern to’ against the rock face.
Late afternoon saw the tourists depart for their accommodation leaving us with the remaining 4 or 5 boats staying overnight. We swam and snorkelled in the clear waters and were even serenaded by a violin and guitar on the adjoining yacht.
Next stop was Cala Trebalyer. We had heard that you could kayak up a small land locked freshwater inlet from this Cala. We anchored, launched the Kayak and made our way ashore. With a small ‘lift’ across a sandbank, we began paddling up the small river. We were the only people on the peaceful, narrow river and were lucky enough to see a number of freshwater turtles amongst the reeds and many different bir
From Cala Trebalyer we headed to Ciutadella, a port city on the West coast of Menorca. We anchored just outside of the harbour and took the dinghy in to the marina where we walked through the medieval streets and soaked up the atmosphere. I have included a number of photographs which represent this city well.
From Ciutedella we sailed back to Fornellas for an overnight stop before heading back to mainland Spain. Our Summer in the Balearics had been a wonderful experience, leaving us with new friends and many happy memories.