Navigate with Kiko and Hooky through the Port of Mahon in Menorca
We are with the Mô mermaid watching the sea from the shore at the harbor. My grandfather told me old stories about mermaids. They use to beckon their melody to mariners to guide them safely to land on stormy days. Hooky says he has seen them swimming among the rocks playing with fish.
As you can see, we have come to the port of Mahon. Hooky was eager to visit the natural harbor. Did you know that the it´s the largest in the Mediterranean and the second largest in Europe? It is over 6 kilometers long and it moves along Mahon and Es Castell, in the east of Menorca.
Struggles to conquer
According to history, this port has been the scene of many battles for over more than 200 years, were the Spanish, English and French wanted to control the maritime traffic and trades, as well to serve as a shelter for their boats. The port of Mahon is in the center of the Mediterranean and is well protected by strong northerly winds.
Those battles and the years that Menorca had belonged to the United Kingdom have become good examples of what occurred at this spectacular harbor.
The British Heritage
We boarded a Yellow Catamaran to get to know the port from out the sea. The starting point is at the dock opposite the Naval Base that was built by the British in the eighteenth century. Beside it is the Pinto Island which is connected to the base by a wooden bridge were old boats are restored.
Whilst navigating towards the entrance, looking back we see the city of Mahon to the right side and at the top there are all small houses on the north shore. Soon we will arrive to Kings Island, named like this because it was where King Alfonso III disembarked when he conquered Menorca in 1287. The British built there a hospital that still exists, although it is not running anymore. Hooky, who sailed on a British ship, tells me that the English called this island "Bloody Island" because this hospital was for the wounded soldiers that were attended during the battles.
Loved ones and ghosts
The English Heritage is seen in some of the houses that we see from out the sea. They are painted red with green windows.
The catamaran guide tells us to look to the north shore. Where we can see one of these houses. It´s called the Golden Farm and it´s legend has it that there was a romance going on between the famous Admiral Nelson from the British Navy, and Lady Hamilton.
Hooky points to the other side where we see another English styled house. It used to be the Admiral Collingwood’s, who was the commander of the British fleet in the eighteenth century. It is now a hotel where according to legend the ghost of Admiral still wanders around.
We arrived at Lazaretto. This island was formerly joined to the mainland but that part was demolished so it would become completely isolated. It´s function was to hold people and goods that arrived by sea and those who were suspected of having contagious diseases. That why it´s called Quarantine Island as it was for the sick people and contaminated products that had to stay there for at least for 40 days.
As I've told you before, the history of the port of Mahon is full of battles and struggles. Hooky reminds me that many have been those who, for over two thousand years ago, have tried to conquer Menorca. To defend Menorca, at the harbor entrance there are two impressive military constructions: La Mola and the Castle of San Felipe. In each, there was a guard.
La Mola is also called Fortress of Isabell II, because it was the queen who gave the order to build it to prevent the British naval fleet entering the island. The buildings are kept in very good condition and in these days you can visit the cultural events that are been currently held.
The Castle of San Felipe, alongside the Fort Marlboroguh in Cala San Esteban, was of great importance to prevent invasions of other towns coming in. This Fort was built in the rocks by the military Englishman Sir John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough.
We'll be back!
Wow! We really liked this trip through the port of Mahon and getting to know more about the history of Menorca. We´ve learned so much! Hooky loved it and is scheduling to visit each one of these islands where we´ve seen the military fortifications.
And to finish the day, we will go back to say goodbye to Mô the mermaid.
By the way, if you want to learn more about the history of the Port of Mahon. To do it in a fun way do it with the comic from the Yellow Catamarans: see the comic
Will you participate to learn more about the port of Mahon?