Around Menorca (Part2)

25 July 16                              Mahon

With the Tramontana still howling we were still penned into Mahon Harbour so we spent another day pottering around on the boat followed by dinner in the Paput Bar again.

26 July 16                              Mahon to Fornells

Early in the morning we left Mahon for the last time and made our way down a very busy harbour to the open sea where we turned left to make our way along the north coast of the island. A gentle force 3 enabled us to motor sail in bright sunshine. Our destination was Fornells on the north coast. By this time we had travelled the south coast of Menorca 3 times and we now wanted to see some of the north coast while the weather was relatively calm.

The Old Naval Hospital, Mahon

The compass heading in the autopilot had appeared to be in error for some time so we tried to reset the compass system. Unfortunately this required turning very slowly through 360 degrees, several times and the traffic was so heavy that we were getting in the way of other boats, so we had to abandon the attempt.

It was a very pretty run along the north coast until we arrived at Fornells, a large open bay with the town on the western side. We hadn’t booked a berth, but on calling on the radio we were met by a man in a rib who led us to a mooring buoy. Our initial impressions of Fornells Bay were not good; the town looked very modern and uninteresting but, as is often the case, first impressions were wrong.

Sunset at Fornells

27-28 July 16                       Fornells

We were so impressed with Fornells (pronounced Fornays) that we decided to stay for a couple of days. We were nice and secure on our mooring buoy, there was almost no wind and the sea was warm enough for us to just step off the boat and go swimming. Fornells Bay is a haven for water sports being almost completely enclosed, only the narrow (ish) entrance to the bay being exposed to a north wind.

We spent our time swimming, reading and watching the multitude of sailors, paddle boarders, canoeists and wind surfers who were having fun in that idyllic spot. It was a tough time! We made a couple of trips ashore in our tender (now firmly nick named “Tommy,”) for provisions and to try the local restaurants. The old town, proved to be really pretty and well kept.  A walk around revealed some lovely views of the bay and took us to the castle, although little was left of it.

We stopped for a meal at a restaurant which was punctuated with the waiter pouring a glass of wine over Jacquie. He was very apologetic and claimed that it was his first day. Jac wasn’t sure whether to be upset by the wetting or the wastage of wine but, being British, we didn’t make a fuss. On the way back to the boat we took our first pictures on Synergy at anchor.DSC_0983

29 July 16                      Fornells to Pollensa

We had originally intended to make our way to Greece in 2016 but, having seen the Balearics, we decided to spend our time around the islands and delay the departure to the Eastern Med until 2017. Our plan was then to make our way slowly back down the island chain to the Spanish mainland. We thought another stop at Ciutadella would be nice so we left our mooring buoy in Fornells Bay and turned westward along the north coast of Menorca.

Leaving Fornells Bay with the distinctive tower to the west of the entrance

Sailing in the Med seems to be motoring between storms and 29 July was, for us, no exception. With light winds and almost no other traffic, we motored along the very pretty coast and took the opportunity to reset the compass system in the chart plotter. Having driven around in circles at the prescribed rate of turn for a while the system reset and reduced the compass deviation from 15 degrees to a far more sensible 1 degree. How it had become so in error is a mystery, but now our compasses agreed which made passage making a lot easier.

Arriving at Ciutadella, we called on the radio and the port authority had no spare berths. We were now firmly into the mid summer in the Balearics lack of space that other sailors had mentioned to us.

Change of plan and with a little bit of wind (force 4) we motor sailed across to Majorca heading for the port of Pollensa. On arriving at Pollensa the marina again was crammed to capacity, but the bay, reasonably sheltered behind a peninsular, was a large natural anchorage and there must have been around 300 boats all swinging on their ground tackle, some of them very large and very expensive motor cruisers.  We found sufficient swinging room to drop our anchor and, having established that we were indeed stationery we settled in for the night.

Built on the peninsular is a large structure which, after dark, was illuminated by coloured lights accompanied by loud music. We could not identify what this place could be and we decided that it was either a Casino, a nightclub or a brothel. Oh, those first impressions again! It transpired that it was a private estate owned by Lord Lupton, a Tory fund raiser and the most expensive property in Spain. What we had witnessed was a lavish party, supposedly attended by the Spanish King and Queen. This was also where a large chunk of “The Night Manager” had been filmed. If you haven’t seen it this is a great series to watch, but at the time we hadn’t even heard of it.

Lord Lupton’s Estate (In the trees)


Author: chrisgowers

Retired pilot now sailing around the Mediterranean accompanied by my wife Jacquie.

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