We left Soller in Mallorca to head for Menorca ( similar name different island ), the weather was set to be fair for a while and we really wanted to visit Menorca (the windy isle) without it blowing a hoolie and so we set off . There was no wind (of course ) so we were under engine again , no big deal its a short trip of around 50 miles from Soller to Ciutadella Menorca.
Once we cleared the last headland on Mallorca, cap de Formentor ( nothing to do with Formentor island of course ) we started to get a slight breeze, on the nose (what else), but we plugged on under engine, within an hour we had 20 knots of wind and a two meter swell - completely un forecast.
The forward lashings of the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) on deck worked loose , the rib which weighs around 100 kgs slid sideways on deck as several feet of water washed from the bow all the way to the stern as the drain holes struggled to cope with the amount of water on deck, the spare drinking water barrels broke free from the stern of the RIB from the constant pounding and slid across to the side rails , thank fully the netting stopped anything from going over the side, we altered course to ease the merciless pounding we were now getting at the hands of mother nature.
Six hours of struggling to windward before we felt the lee of the island have any effect on the sea state , we were pretty relieved to have gotten into Ciutedella harbour.
On the last 10 miles we could see in the distance behind and to the side of us a few masts which was unusual as up until now we had seen very few vessels at sea other than fishing boats , once we safely tied alongside a bedraggled selection of Spanish flagged vessels came in alongside of us, they were a regatta from Majorca that had been caught in the same un-forecast weather as us, out of the 24 boats that had left only 6 made it into Menorca , the others electing to turn back rather than face a headwind and two meter seas.
Our intention had been to go into a cala Sa Galera and anchor but what looks like a large cala on a chart looks much smaller closer up and is also ringed with rocks so we chose to go alongside the old harbour walls at 50 euros per night rather than face moving on down the coast or risk waking up on rocks the following morning , it was a good decision as it blew hard all night long.
We woke the following morning to brilliant sunshine and a flat calm sea, the view in Ciutadella is stunning,white washed buildings and red quarry tiled roofs give a distinct feel to the place, the old harbour has an old feel that we enjoy, its a place to relax, drink some wine and pass the time of day.
Its still early season here and the bars that ring the harbourside are mainly closed, we walk into the old town to sample the delights of home cooked food and good quality wines, the buildings still retain an aire of grandeur as in the past Ciutadella was the capital of Menorca, many of the buildings fly huge Spanish national flags and of course the Catalan flag that we have seen so much of.
We have been really fortunate in our travels to Menorca , there are some fantastic people here , so welcoming and friendly, it really is a place worth exploring, we have only scraped the surface of Menorca And have vowed to return as soon as we can.
We decided after a week of luxury living in a marina to get off our backsides and go to anchor, after all we do have a shiney new windlass and chain to test ! So with the wind astern of us we hoisted our headsail and slid out of the marina en route around the island.
The sail down the river out of the marina was great fun and plenty of people stopped and waved farewell as we slowly glided past the rocky river banks and the club Nàutica office buildings out to sea.
Picture Courtesy of David on QI
Once a little way offshore the wind built and the sails filled, the old ketch lifted her skirts and we were sailing along nicely at a little over 5 knots of boat speed in 15 knots of wind on a beam reach (wind on our side) .
As we rounded the first headland the wind dropped and we slowed to a crawl of course, but it was fun while it lasted, the seas flattened and the dorsal fin of a large dolphin appeared a close distance off , followed by several others , we left the wheel and went to the bow, go pro camera in hand I quickly mounted it to the extending pole , tightened the clamping bolt as hard as possible and with a shudder of apprehension thrust the camera underwater.
I hadn't connected the blue tooth to my Ipad , nor taken my Ipad on deck with me, so I had no idea what I was filming, it was simply a hope and pray event, Ill post the video on youtube and the link onto here once we get good wifi....... you'll be pleasantly surprised
There were a pod of maybe fifteen very large Dolphins, some were jumping clear of the surface others dancing in the small waves we created as we slowed to a stop, natures version of the red arrows, danced before us and we gaped in amazement at this unprecedented display of leaps and spins, I doubt I will ever see the like of this again in my lifetime , but the memory of today will never leave me (I hope)