Passages: Roma to Menorca

Mahon anchorage. click photos to enlarge
Roma to Menorca
July 9, 2008
I know I've said this several times before, but we really are leaving Rome this time; in fact, in about a half hour. Today is Bonnie's 30th birthday and I hope that is good luck. We were supposed to leave on the 7th but windy conditions kept us at the marina.
The big winds were gone, but the sea was still feeling their influence. Three foot swells and confused seas gave us a washing machine action and kept me feeling sea sick all day. The seas calmed a bit during the night and the passage was was beautiful. We had an orange half moon the color of an illuminated pumpkin, and the stars were as bright as the brightest anywhere. The Milky Way seemed to pour from the heavens into the sea.
Seas calmer today and with the wrist bands, I felt ok. We only went 3.5 knots most of the way even though we were running at 1900 rpms. We usually do about 5 knots, but our bottom is very dirty. The propeller probably is too. At about 4:30pm we reached Lavezzi Island off Corsica (France). We dropped anchor and thought we’d get a good nights sleep and stay for a day. Gene can clean the bottom or at least the propeller, and I can go birding. It looks like a great Island to walk.
A fairly strong easterly greeted us this morning and the water is pretty bumpy. Gene didn’t want to go in in such surge and as the winds were with us for once, we took up anchor and left for the two nighter trip to Menorca. I was sorry not to have had the chance to explore. We heard strange bird calls all night; sounded like babies fussing. We started out having one of our best sails ever. I even enjoyed it, and I hate sailing. We had 12 to 15 knots behind us with small swells. The wind began to die off around 4:30 and by 9:00pm we had to turn on the iron sail.
(Afterwards, I did some researching and believe the birds were Cory's Shearwaters. I found some recordings and they came close. I couldn't find recordings of Mediterranean Shearwaters and they were also present in the surrounding seas. I found that the Cory's feed their young at night to avoid discovery of their burrows and subsequent predation.)
A windless motoring day until about two in the am when we got hit with 25 to 30 abeam. Swells up to 10 feet. I was sick and spent my watch in bed, setting the timer for every 10 minutes to go and scan and then back to bed. We and things were flying all over. Guess my stow job wasn’t as good as I thought. We were both uncomfortable and tired when we reached Mahon at 11:30 am the next day. We tried to anchor in the first of the three anchorages listed in the guide, no room. We went to another and anchored as suggested at the mouth of Cala Llonga, outside the moorings. A few hours later, we were told by officials that we had to move, and they pointed to an area not listed as an anchorage in the chart guide. We were both tired, had headaches and were happy to be done with such a rough passage. Last night was still and peaceful, a great anchorage. A few Audouin's Gulls here and Yellow-legged Gulls are abundant .
Birds seen at anchor in Mahon Harbor:
Audouin's Gulls
Yellow-legged Gulls
Booted Eagle
Black-winged Stilts
Barn Swallows
Swifts (not sure which kind)
Rock Doves

Lavezzi Island

At anchor in Mahon Harbor

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