Thursday, May 20, 2010

La Mola and the Fortress of Isabel II

La Mola is the promontory on the north side of the entrance to Mahón harbor. Our anchorage is protected by it. What we can’t see from the boat is the huge fortress that sits atop La Mola. We knew it was there from our earlier exploration ashore, and we see it when we’re coming back to the boat from town. It’s open to the public, and yesterday we decided to visit it.

Wow, what a fortress! We’ve seen many forts and fortifications in our travels, but nothing else comes close to the size and complexity of this one. (I’m sure John will have a photo page of it for the Web site later.) The fortress and associated military buildings cover the whole point, and the fortress itself was built using a combination of state-of-the-art plans for such structures. It has two moats on the outside, and in case the main defenses are breached, there’s an inner fortification with its own moat as a fallback position. Entrance to the fort is a little pricey at €7 each, and we got one audio tour for an additional €2, but we thought it was worth the price of admission. I’d probably skip the audio tour, though, because it was primarily about military stuff, and the multilingual signs at various points had enough of that for me.

Besides the fort itself, the views were spectacular. La Mola must be one of the highest points on the island, and we could see for miles. One of the things we saw was the sea state. It was quite windy yesterday, and lots of whitecaps were plainly visible. What really drove home the conditions, though, was watching a sailboat motor its way north into the wind. Being on that boat must have felt like riding a mechanical bull.

The wind is supposed to drop off this afternoon. When it does, we’ll put the dinghy back on board and go over to the fuel dock for diesel and water. It’s been nearly three weeks since we left Cartagena, and it will be good to top off the tanks. Then we’ll return to the anchorage and plan to leave early in the morning for Cagliari, Sardinia.

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