September 16 , 2001
Gaeta, Italy

September 3 , 2001
Stromboli: The Lighthouse Of The Mediterranean

August 26 , 2001
Cefalu: Another Medieval Jewel

August 23 , 2001
Sicily: Land of Lovely Desserts

August 15 , 2001
En Route to North Africa

August 10 , 2001
Ormeggiatori

August 8, 2001
Supermarkets and Amphora

August 6 , 2001
Sailing South in Sardinia

August 2 , 2001
La Vie en Corsica

July 30, 2001
Jonathan Joins Us

July 27, 2001
One Sea, Seven Colors

July 24, 2001
Say What?

July 23, 2001
"Va Bene"

July 21, 2001
Venturing Into Italy

July 20, 2001
And The Mistral Blew

July 18, 2001
The Spell Of Menorca

July 12, 2001
Culture And Concerts

July 7, 2001
Cha Chas

July 6, 2001
Red Dust

July 4, 2001
Rare Birds

July 3, 2001
Clear Empty Water

June 27 , 2001
Quick Friends

June 22 , 2001
Reconnecting

June 13, 2001
Eastern Hemisphere

June 6, 2001
A Weekend in Cartegena

May 30 , 2001
A Time Or A Place

May 29 , 2001
Several Lovely Sails

May 21 , 2001
Free At Last

May 25, 2001
On The Hard

May 18, 2001
A Boat Again

May 14, 2001
Time Warp to Morocco

May 03, 2001
Still On Stilts in Malaga

The Spell Of Menorca -

 July 18, 2001 


Floating Island in Mahon, Menorca

We have fallen under the spell of Menorca: its south coast of limestone cliffs covered with rich vegetation and ravines opening onto white sandy beaches and the north coast with a rugged, specatcular coastline of flat-topped, and even steeper, cliffs. The population of 69,000 live in eight towns around the island. Tourism is the major industry, but agriculture, shoes and gin also bring in revenue. There are archeological sites of neolithic man, Roman ruins and early Christian basilica as well as wonderful anchorages and charming cities. We spent just under two weeks exploring here, but could easily have spent much more time. In Cala Covas, in the south, we dropped our anchor next to 4 other boats in a row and tied a stern line to the rocks so that we looked like a mediterranean mooring, without the pontoon. Almost all docking in marinas in the Med, so far, has been bow or stern to with port and starboard lines to the dock and a mooring line provided by the marina (or an anchor provided by the boat) tied to the other end, and lots of fenders on either side. It is really a good use of space and quite easy to do.

In Cala Covas, we tied to shore to prevent swinging because there was so little room for so many boats. By the evening there were twelve or thirteen boats dotting the little harbor. We climbed around the cliffs, poked into some caves, swam and watched the show as more boats came in and tried to find space, anchor and tie lines ashore. There are many charter boats and many people who do not know what they are doing. It can be amusing, except when their actions threaten us, which happens more than we would like.

There is always an anxiety and excitement as one enters a new port, somewhat different from entering a new town by car or plane. I felt it as we motored 14 more miles, into Mahon, on the southeast coast, the largest city on the island, set in a long, large, beautiful and beautifully protected harbor. We found this one to be easy to navigate and a lovely mix of urban and greenery. And finding a berth turned out to be easy.

We Med moored on Isla Clementina, a man-made floating island in the center of the harbor: 75 feet on each side, this square platform with a 'swimming pool' in the middle, moors 20 or more boats, 5 on a side. The ready made community comes complete with water, electricity, garbage facilities, an outdoor shower, a barbecue and a planter. We were a short dinghy ride across the harbor to the steps which lead up to the old city. Mahon has an excellent vegetable market, a café with the best tapas (small plates of a wide variety of dishes) we have had in Spain, and a very nice feel, even when the cruise ships are docked right across from us.

Our island provided a perfect spot from which to watch a sea procession of almost 100 boats, all decorated and tooting horns, as they followed a Navy Patrol Boat carrying a statue of the Virgin of Carmen around the harbor in honor of this patron saint of the fishermen. We celebrated by throwing an American style barbecue for our British, Danish and German friends. The cheese nachos were the biggest hit.

We are now anchored in Cala Addaya, a harbor on the east coast, with a tortuous, narrow, entrance which provides great shelter from the wind. It feels more like a Maine anchorage or even a New England lake, with gentle hills surrounding the placid waters. We are ready to make the 200 mile crossing to Sardinia, but the weather is not good. Strong winds forecast everywhere for tomorrow. So we shall wait.