2nd Oct 2008 - Off to Menorca and another tricky docking

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Thu 2 Oct 2008 23:10
Last night we headed into town for something to eat.  Cala Ratjada is quite pleasant but it is best not to mention the war as the place is heaving with German tourists.  There were almost no other nationalities around and all the restaurants are geared to catering for Germans.  We eventually found a restaurant without any towels on the chairs and, at their recommendation, ordered a fresh fish platter for four.  This turned out to be enormous, each person had half a sea bream, a tuna steak, a salmon steak, a whole squid and two large prawns.  The bream and squid were excellent, unfortunately the other fish was all rather overcooked. Remarkably, with two bottles of wine the meal still only came to Euros 25 each.
In the morning we left at nine for the 45 mile trip to Mahon, the capital of Menorca.  It was warm and sunny with a gentle breeze.  Unfortunately the wind was behind us so we motor sailed for much of the way and it was only the last couple of hours when the wind rose to 18 knots or so that we managed to get some good sailing in.  However, we were treated to another spectacular lunch from Mo - a tuna and bean salad.
On arrival in Mahon it was still blowing strong.  Mahon is allegedly the second largest natural harbour in the world after Pearl Harbour and, being so large, does not provide great protection from the wind.  We were allocated a stern to mooring on one of the floating pontoons in the middle of the harbour and it turned out to be a repeat of the Barcelona docking with the wind coming across the boat and I was unable to hold the bow up with the bow thruster long enough for the crew to attach the lines.  To make matters worse after the third attempt the bow thruster packed up altogether.  Fortunately we had two marina staff to help us and eventually we managed to get into the berth by hauling oursevelves alongside a neighbouring boat.  It was a very difficult mooring but full credit to the crew, particularly as this was their first experience of going stern to.
The broken bow thruster is a problem.  After spending several hours looking at it and calls to people in Barcelona for help we have figured out that it is a problem in the electrical circuit for both the bow thruster and windless and not a potentially very expensive fault with the bow thruster itself.  However, without it being repaired I am not going to be able to anchor or attempt any difficult dockings.
By about 8:30 there was not much more we could do and so headed over the city for dinner.  We are not sure how long we are going to be in Mahon now, with the electrical problems and storms with gale force winds forecast for tomorrow.