We're in Mahon, the island of Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. Quite nice, breezy, clear, dry and not hot. Beautiful harbor. Lovers of Patrick O'Brian's books will instantly recognize Mahon as the setting for many of the key events in the great Aubrey/Maturin series. Those deprived souls who have not read these books (all twenty of them) should immediately start with "Master and Commander" and let the hook be set. There will be no regrets.
|One View of Mahon Harbor|
We reached Mahon after a thirty-six hour 251 nautical mile motoring voyage from Cagliari. The Mistral that had been blowing out of the Northwest for the past week had petered out and a nice little weather window presented itself before the next Northwesterly was forecast. We saw our opportunity and we took it. For a motor job, it was one of the most pleasant we've ever experienced. Seas were almost completely flat. Winds, when not absolutely calm, were less than ten knots and we actually rolled out the headsails and motor sailed occasionally. I did some fishing for the first time since leaving the Indian Ocean, no luck.
|Sperm Whale blowing|
We had a good viewing of a Sperm Whale, the first we've seen in over twenty-two thousand miles of this trip. We left at 0500 on the Monday the 22nd predicting a 1700 arrival on Tuesday. Actual engine off time at Marina Mahon was 1715. Seabird left a few hours later and beat us in by a few hours. They are a power boat, after all.
|Cape Teulada, last view of Sardinia|
So we're beginning to explore lovely Mahon. The Marina is alongside the town wharf and one of several in the harbor. Most of this is very upscale, big money type yachting. We read that it will get more so as we move westwards to Mallorca and Ibiza. For now Marina Mahon is affordable but at the 1st of July the "season" will begin and many places the prices will at least double. We'll be anchoring out a lot more. We've got internet and phone service established. Janet cleaned up the interior of the boat. I changed engine oil and filters. We've gone for an initial walk about and had a good dinner last night. We'll be doing tapas and dinner with Seabird tonight.
|Monti del Gennargentu scene, Sardinia|
So now we're in Spain and we'll be here almost two months. Sardinia was great and we could easily have spent two months enjoying that island. We did rent a car and spend two days seeing a little of the interior. From Cagliari we drove a main super highway Northwest and curved to the Northeast in a broad arc to Nuoro, a provincial capitol and gateway to the mountainous national parks in the east-central part of the island.
|Mario and me, pig roasters|
With just a little research we had found a nice B&B, Casa Solotti, in the mountains east of town. That turned into a memorable evening with congenial hosts and fourteen other guests from four countries enjoying a roast pig dinner and numerous after dinner aperitifs. Great fun.
|Dinner, Casa Solotti|
Country roads were the rule on the trip back and we worked our way through the mountains in lovely country, cork forests, free range cattle and villages plastered onto nearly vertical slopes. Roads were generally quite good and well maintained if exceedingly twisty and turny.
|Cork tree forest|
|Belvi, interior mountain village|
There were a couple dirt tracts encountered but only for a few miles and in dry conditions not a problem. By days end we had worked south to the agricultural village of Tuili where we stayed in one of the nicest and most comfortable B&B's we've ever experienced. "Agritourismo Il Borgo dell Arcangelo" was really first class and although it was a lot quieter evening than the last night the place is a beautifully restored farm house, now part of the village, with all amenities and a very sweet family who are still working the land, very big farmers now, after many generations.
|Tuili, between the mountains and the plain|
So the drive was a success. We scratched the surface of Sardinia and found we liked it very much. The countryside is beautiful, there is probably more unspoiled beach left there than anywhere else in the Med. The island is almost as big as Sicily and has one fifth the population. The Sards, especially the country people, seem to be a decent and hard working bunch who identify with Sardinia more than with Italy as a whole. With a little luck it will remain one of the very best places we've seen since leaving the Aegean.
Love to all,
Bill & Janet
Love to all,
Bill & Janet