3rd July Mahon


A week in Mahon always passes very quickly in a week of socialising with the crews who regularly gather for the last days of peace before 14th July, when the Balearics are invaded by 100s of French boats, with their love of noise and anchoring very close to neighbours. I am a Francophile and used to earn part of my living from their language, but this is a national characteristic I could do without. It is not wrong: just a different sort of cruising mentality from the usual Brit.

The week has been accelerated by the daily arrival of cruise ships, a swimming fiesta and folk music and our need to get Issue 288 of a business magazine written and put in the post and on e-mail. It would be good not to have to earn a living, but how would we fill in the time? As it is, we read and swap plenty of books, use the dinghy for expeditions and have also had the fun of reconfiguring my ham radio aerials and testing the results on the long suffering Bill Hall – G4FRN, who does such a super job every day at 0800 gmt controlling the UK Maritime Mobile Net and disseminating forecasts to all who ask – from Norway and Croatia to the Med and La Rochelle.

At the moment, his Hamburg 5 day forecast is promising NE4 for our anticipated crossing to Mallorca tomorrow. Both Toulon and Cabo de Nao navtexes are also tending that way, so several boats are planning the trip. The debate is whether to go North about, or South. The Ns usually stop off in Fornells and get an 8hr run next day. We usually opt for South and a day at 5.5 knots from 0600 – 1700 or so to Pollensa de Mallorca. If that Neaster comes, it will suit us fine, but I am not holding my breath. Wind here always seems to be on our nose. Forecasting Balearic wx is more a black art than a precise science.

Whenever we go, we cannot escape the facts. The free anchorage down at Teulera is open again. Up here in the city, the buoys and pontoons are increasingly occupied by long term residents and boats left by owners returned to UK. The Club Nautico berths at ’20 a night are not to my taste. Diesel is at 116 pesetas a litre. The ‘ @ 250 psts at least makes shopping very reasonable. The ship is snugged down ready for an early start tomorrow. Life could be worse.