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26th April, 2014

Mahon, Minorca

Mahon Minorca

After a night when the effects of the Mistral were rather noticeable, the seas calmed and the sun shone as we made our approached to Mahon. This entrance, through an estuary just two and a half miles long, must be one the most delightful that we travel through. To the right we pass below the old walls of Fort San Felipe and barracks that must have been in place when Nelson used the harbour in the late 18th century. To the left are modern villas, but built to blend in with local housing amongst the low hills. We passed the old isolation hospital on Kings Island and a house believed to be owned by Sir Richard Branson. On the same side, according to the pilot, there are some very expensive houses, and in the harbour there was some very expensive looking floating real estate.

Last year we had to anchor because of silting in the harbour, now dredging has taken place and we went alongside opposite the steps that lead up into the town centre. For those not on tour and fairly able, it was a short stroll to the charming pedesrianised areas where cafes have replaced cars over the last ten years or so. A few of us walked along the waterfront, eventually stopping at a café where the owner was just opening up. A little refreshment and small tapas while we watched the world go by, both across the street and over the water.

We left not long after the ferry bound for Palma, at slow speed through placid waters, the sun low in the sky to the west, but bright enough to reflect off the sandstone buildings of the Lazaretto, originally built around 1803 as a quarantine stop for incoming vessels, but now reputedly owned by an association of Spanish doctors.

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