Isla de la Cabrera, Balearic Islands

We noticed Cabrera while searching for the perfect stopover on our way west. Reviews on Navily raved about the island, a marine and nature reserve as well as the very protected anchorage. To visit we had to get an annual sailing permit for the marine reserve (free) and book a mooring (€17 per night for our 14m boat). We booked two nights and are now really happy we made the effort.

The island is steeped in history, including being a defensive outpost against pirates and being a prison for 9,000 of Napoleon’s soldiers (including women and children) who were left on the island from 1809 to 1814. Only 3,600 survived.

Isla de la Cabrera Anchorage from the fort

We arrived late afternoon on Monday so we had all of Tuesday to explore. Unfortunately Maria’s sprained ankle allowed only a walk up to the fort and back, but I went on a hike of about 7km to see the historic spots and the lighthouse. To my delight I was the only person out there and I had about 4 hours of quiet enjoyment.

Cabrera Lighthouse

We could easily have spent a week here, but alas we must away towards Gibraltar while the winds are favourable.

Sunny Spells on a mooring at Cabrera

Cala Nau, Mallorca

Crossed to Mallorca from Minorca and stopped at Cala Nau, Bahiá de Artá for the night. This is marked as “a great spot for provisioning” by the Navionics community, and it indeed has a Lidl supermarket within walking distance of the beach. Other than this not a lot to recommend it as it is a pretty tacky tourist spot with dozens of hotels and beach chairs.

Landing the dinghy was a challenge as the beaches are out of bounds and buoyed. We went to the rocks in the corner of the bay and managed to land Maria safely with two trolleys. Unfortunately she twisted her ankle on the rocks when she came back.

The anchorage was very comfortable in the prevailing light conditions and we dropped a stern anchor again to hold Sunny Spells bow to the wind in the 3 inch swell from the south-east.

Very comfortable indeed, at beer o’clock

Cala del Amarrado, Minorca

It took us just over three hours to motor from Fornells to Cala del Amarrado. This anchorage has rave reviews on Navily, and we were not disappointed. Being October it was pretty quiet with a few day boats coming and going, but by sunset it was only us and one other sailboat that anchored a few hundred meters away.

We spent the afternoon snorkelling and loved the gin-clear water, the schools of small fish and underwater caves.

Snorkelling at Cala de Amarrado

We put a stern anchor out late afternoon to prevent the light winds overnight swinging us beam on to the swell. After a delicious dinner of barbecued pork chops, bratkartoffeln and roast veggies, washed down with beer and red wine, we had a peaceful night’s sleep.

Badia de Fornells, Minorca

Motored the 18 miles from Mahón in absolutely calm conditions and dropped anchor here around 1:30PM. Lovely protected Anchorage, some water sports (dinghy sailing).

We transferred 140 litres of diesel from the jerry cans to the main tank and also pumped about 20 litres from the auxiliary tank to the main. We now have exactly 210 litres usable diesel in the tank (70 hours motoring or 420nm @ 6kt), and one jerry with 20 litres as reserve of last resort. With 550nm left to Gibraltar we need to either sail 130 miles of that or buy another 65 litres of diesel somewhere along the Spanish coast. Engine hours 856.6.

We were going to go ashore to explore and get some groceries but we’re exhausted after the diesel transfer. Also, after the beauty of old Mahón en Teulera anchorage, the modern tourist village with (expensive) shops and cafés was not an incentive to do the 15 minute dinghy ride.

So we started beer o’clock a bit early in stead!