Menorca, the quiet Balearic Island

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Our next stop in the Balearic Islands was Menorca.  Twenty-five miles northeast of Mallorca, Menorca is the 2nd largest of the Balearics and has a reputation for being a bit quieter and less frenetic than the other Spanish islands. Still ultra-popular with tourists, but with a more laid-back vibe. We fell in love with its beautiful beaches, isolated coves, and sweeping views from massive stone cliffs.

We raised anchor around 8:30 am from Pollensa, Mallorca, and motor-sailed (once again) until we reached Menorca in Cala Degollador – just outside of the town of Ciutadella – well before sunset.

Cala Degollador was partially protected from the 15-20 knots of SE winds we were experiencing, but the massive ferries that rolled in from Barcelona and Mallorca kicked up huge waves making this anchorage a bit rolly – even for our catamaran! The monohulls around us were really rocking!

Our first sunset in Menorca.

Ciutadella is a beautiful historic town known for its old quarter and medieval cobblestoned streets. Its buildings are an eclectic mix of Italian architecture – both baroque and gothic style.

The view of the harbour in Ciutadella from the town perched above.

Menorca’s coastline is peppered with dozens of calas (coves) to explore. Some calas are narrow with soaring cliffs while others are wide and open with sandy beaches and bottoms. We started our tour by heading east along the southern coast.

Towering rocky cliffs with sparkling blue-green water.

A strong NE wind was forecast for the next days so we searched for a cala with lots of room to anchor and preferably a sandy bottom! Cala Son Saura seemed to fit the bill and fortunately, when we arrived there was plenty of room in the wide open cala. We had a delightful evening on Mira entertaining a German couple and a Spanish couple we met while swimming around the cala. The next day – hordes of sailboats descended upon Son Saura – all looking for safe refuge from the forecasted winds.

Sunset in Cala Son Saura on our first quiet night.
Sunset in the same cala on the next night – packed with dozens of boats seeking safe harbor.

Once the weather cleared, we continued along the south coast and discovered Cala En Porter. Rounding a towering cliff from the sea, we literally gasped. Vertical, imposing white limestone lined a cove filled with crystal clear turquoise water. At the end of the cala was a big, white sandy beach with the town balanced up on one side.

As we nosed our way into Cala En Porter that first morning, there was not a lot of room to anchor. Lots of sailboats packed into this beautiful cala on this sunny August day.  We were forced to drop our anchor in 45 ft of water near the back of the pack. But, our trusty Rocna held easily and firmly, and we settled in to enjoy.  The next 3 days were spent paddle boarding, snorkeling, swimming, and sunning – loving life in the Balearics!

Cala En Porter
The town and beach of Cala En Porter

Cova D’en Xoroi is a natural cave carved into the cliffside around the corner from our cala. Legend tells the store of  a turkish pirate who hid in the cave for years, but upon being discovered, jumped to the sea and was never seen again. Today, there are a series of outdoor bars and terraces connected by caverns and corridors. The view of the Mediterranean Sea is spectacular!

Cova D’en Xoroi

Our Menorcan sailing journey continued up the east coast – stopping at Isla Colom, a small natural island just off the coast of the popular resort village of Es Grau. Again, we were able to spend several quiet days swimming, exploring the small, rocky beaches and hills of Isla Colom.

Sunset over Isla Colom

On the north coast, we arrived at Fornells, a beautiful fishing village located in a deep protected bay and was our next night’s anchorage.

Seafood dinner out in Fornells at Sa Xerxa

Once again Mediterranean weather intervened, nasty summer thunderstorms with high winds, heavy rain and lightning were predicted so we weighed anchor and headed quickly down the west coast back to Cala Degollador with a plan to try to med-moor to the cliffs for more protection. Our first experience of this type began with Glenn in the dinghy to attach two mooring lines through the holes in the rocks while Pam manned the helm onboard Mira.  Once back aboard Mira, Glenn dropped the anchor and backed up to the cliff. Pam jumped off the stern to swim the mooring lines back to the boat and tying them off – all in all, about an hour of time – but, Success!! Mira was anchored firmly and had 2 stern lines attached to the cliff. We were very proud of our team work and new skill.

Once the storms passed through and the weather cleared, we said good-bye to Menorca and were off to our next destination!


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