Monday, May 17, 2010

Still in Menorca

The weather is settling a bit here in Menorca, but the forecasts for the Gulf of Lyon and closer to Sardinia are still for force 8 and 9 winds from the northwest causing “rough, very rough and sometimes high” seas between here and Cagliari, Sardinia, where we’re headed next, so we’re staying put in our nice, calm anchorage. (Beaufort force 8 winds are 34-40 knots with 13-20 foot waves, force 9 is 41-47 knot winds with 20 foot waves, and a knot is a nautical mile per hour. Nautical miles are slightly longer than land miles.) Friday was the worst weather here with big winds and thunderstorms most of the day so that we ended up staying on the boat. Despite the winds, the waves can’t build up in this anchorage, so it was very smooth. It was cold enough, though, that we got out the kerosene heater we bought in Amsterdam to take the chill off. I’d been hoping that it was simply taking up space and we’d never need it again. With the Wallas diesel furnace not working and no shore power for our electric heater, I was happy that we still had it.

Saturday after pumping the rainwater out of the dinghy, we went into Mahón (or Maó in Catalan), picked up some groceries, enjoyed a few minutes on the Internet, and found out about museums and archeological sites. We were too late on Saturday for the museum, but we got up earlier Sunday so that we could be in town when it opened at 10 a.m. The Museu de Menorca is primarily a history museum, and its presentations about the prehistoric ruins on the island were quite good. From there we walked to one of the ruins (Trepucó) and had a look then called a taxi to take us to another site nearby. Talatí de Dalt is the ruin of a prehistoric (Talaiotic) settlement, and it was impressive. The houses were built of stones stacked up to make walls with huge, flat slabs of rock for roofs. You have to wonder how people managed to build those structures three thousand years ago. I just wished that John hadn’t started with the Flintstones theme: I had that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Taula and talayot at Trepucó

Taula at Talatí de Dalt with Shirlee for scale

Taula and wild olive tree

House roof support

House interior with grinding stone to right

Today we’re going to go back to town for more groceries and Internet. (That's why this post has pictures.) Then in the afternoon we may go to the old fort right above our bay, the Fortress of Isabell II “La Mola.” We took Märzen ashore for a walk on Saturday and saw that the fort is open to the public. Or we may put that off until tomorrow. It looks like we won’t be leaving here until Wednesday at the earliest.

The only reason we’re under any time pressure now is that we would like to make it to Ostia, the harbor for Rome, in May. In June the high season rates kick in, and it will be more crowded. It will be more crowded everywhere once summer is officially here, and we want to be sure to visit Sicily and Tunisia before we head back to the Atlantic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to hear that you are taking in some of the history of Menorca. Nice photos. Have a good trip across to Italy. God speed ! San Jaime