Mallorca, Porto Colom to Menorca, Cala Degollador (anchorage) Log
17 July 2016 | Menorca, Cala Degollador (position: 39 59.673'N 03 49.643'E)
The winds in the Med are unpredictable, quick to change and often very different in places only a short distance apart. In Mallorca winds frequently blow from the west, northwest, north and east but are altered considerably by the effects of local topography. Apparently there's a saying that in the summer there are nine days of light winds followed by a gale, which is very close to reality from our experience to date. Since our arrival in Mallorca winds appear to be constantly coming from the NE or E, strengthening by mid-afternoon, not very useful when we're trying to make progress NE along the coastline as we seem to have wind on the nose all of the time. As for visiting all of these lovely calas, well, either we have been very unlucky or they are more suited for lunchtime stops only because of the swell. With a month left until we exceed our 183 days in Spain and with Menorca, the final island of the Balearics still ahead of us to be explored we decided that if we want to get anywhere in a timely manner then it'll have to be done under engine.
With a NE wind predicted again we decided on an early start to take advantage of the virtually nil winds in the morning before the afternoon wind kicked in. By early afternoon we were well on our way to Menorca some 40 miles away and we're lucky that we had just light head winds which made for excellent progress.
Bruce was inspired to drop a line over the side, silicone squids this time to catch 'Bonito'. Text book deployment but the hours passed with no hint of a bite. He's blaming me given that I chose the colour combination, pink and white squid! At the time I was 'thinking like a fish' but as he said, have you ever seen pink and white squid in the fish market... he had a point!
Menorca is the most easterly of the Balearic Islands, only 26 miles long, 11 miles wide. Not as mountainous as its neighbours but instead a low plateau with a few small hills beyond. The oldest island, full of history and ancient monuments.
By mid afternoon we'd arrived on the NW coast near Ciutadella. This gave us time to explore a couple of calas either side of Cuitadella before deciding which one to stay in overnight. First was Cala Degollador, just south of the entrance to Ciutadella with an islet located in the middle. Several yachts were already anchored. It looked busy but given that within a mile there were several alternative calas to consider we headed off towards the northern side of Ciutadella to Cala d'Es Frares. This had virtually no room given six yachts were already at anchor so we motored to Cala Blanes. Upon our arrival we were both speechless with only the expressions on our faces saying an awful lot... far too close to rocks! Next, Cala Brut. With only one yacht at anchor it looked promising until we looked at the depth only to find that he'd anchored in the only shallow spot within the surrounding area which was over 20 meters. We continued to Cala Barcelo where we both laughed nervously! Our pilot book details this as "a very small cala" surrounded by 10m rocky cliffs, no beach or attractions. 'very small' is the optimum word. We care far too much for Flirtie to even consider anchoring in this cala.
By now we were feeling a little 'cala' despondent so headed back into the harbour of Ciutadella just to take a look. The harbour is attractive consisting of a long narrow cala leading to a small inner area edged with quays and plenty of availability (we weren't surprised as we heard that to berth here costs a fortune). Having seen enough for one day we motored back to Cala Degollador which now looked to be the best cala of them all, dropping our hook in about 10 meters. We were particularly careful to make sure our anchor was well dug in because we were pretty close to the surrounding rocks and we set our anchor alarm with a small radius. By the time evening arrived there were 15 yachts anchored, some far too close to one another! It seems the standard practice in the Balearics is to anchor badly and don fenders either side of your vessel hopefully preventing any damage should a collision occur if the wind direction were to change during the night!
Being anchored so close to the rocks became insignificant when by nightfall a Frenchman dropped his anchor and was lying just 10m off Flirtie. He knew he was too close, he knew that HE should have moved - that's normal yacht etiquette if you have respect for your fellow cruisers. Whilst sat in his cockpit he kept looking over with concern and eventually pulled in a handful of chain - more of a courteous thing we feel. As the evening progressed and we all moved with the wind and swell he was continually changing the scope of his chain. He obviously felt uncomfortable so why, oh why, did he anchor so close in the first place - we'll never understand!
Total distance this season: 835.82 nautical miles