The trip from Mallorca to Menorca is 35NM at its closest point. But we set out on the back of a 40 Knot Nor Easter. By the time we left harbor the wind was down to 15 knots but the waves were still big with foaming white tops. According to Passage Weather they were only 3-4m…but in a 12 m boat they felt huge. Milly got sick first and spent the whole journey feeling crook. Heather felt lethargic (normal behavior for those of you who know her!) and Ben, well, he seemed to love every minute of it with squeals of delight as the waves washed over the bow. Young and fearless.
We had green water barreling over the boat for the whole 6 hour crossing. The only other vessel we saw was the inter-island ferry, who was making short work of the waves and we were very glad to all arrive in Cuidadela, the old capital of Menorca which is a lovely spot, a nice sheltered harbor cut between chalk cliffs and with a stunning old town. The next few days it really blew hard. Not much less than 40 knots – a yacht arrived alongside us the day after we arrived, they had come from Barcelona and the whole boat was soaked down below and all of the crew (5 German blokes) had been continually seasick for 36 hrs. Why do we do it? One of the guys had never sailed before and vowed never to set foot on a yacht again. Poor sod.
Having recouped in Cuidadela, we spent a lovely (if windy) 2 weeks in Menorca. Menorca lies North East of Mallorca and as a result it is in the path of our old friend the Tramontana as it blows from France towards Sardinia.
Luckily for us Menorca is blessed with a handful of beautiful natural harbours. One of which is Mahon where we spent most of our time waiting a weather window to cross to Sardinia. When the wind occasionally eased we set out along to the coast to visit the stunning bays along the Menorca Coast. The water here is seriously clear.
We awoke one morning to see an English yacht run aground in one of the channels leading into the anchorage we were in, Cala Teulera. James, the skipper, was pottering though the channel on a rare windless morning sipping his tea, well inside the channel markers, when his 38 ft sloop hit the bottom and stuck fast. I went over in the dinghy to see if I could help…and I ended up rounding up a couple of other fellas in the anchorage for a bit of early morning boom riding. Basically, to free the yacht three of us climbed onto the end of the boom while James swung us out over the water. Then using a combination of engine and boom bouncing we managed to free her.
There is a real camaraderie amongst yachties. We are all doing the same stuff, sharing similar experiences and making similar mistakes. It’s always reassuring to know there are people out there who will help you out!