Whimbrel Sailing Adventure travel blog

Whimbrel and medieval castle in Cabrera

Man ashore on Cabrera island

Puerto de Cabrera

Cabrera castle

Puerto de Cabrera viewed from castle

We’d been trying to go to the fifth Balearic Island for a while, but because it is a marine reserve you aren’t allowed to anchor and have to book a buoy. We’d managed to get one for tonight so we headed south towards the island which is called Cabrera. The forecast was for a Force 5 wind all day (which for once turned out to be accurate), so we set off with a reef in the mainsail and had a great sail past the northern most islands of the archipelago and right round Cabrera.

Most of the coastline is steep cliffs of a lovely red/ochre coloured sandstone and we finally saw a pair of Eleanora’s Falcon which are supposed to be quite common in Mallorca. We picked up our mooring buoy in Puerto de Cabrera just after midday – 18 nautical miles in 2 hours 55 minutes.

The harbour is totally sheltered, except from the north, and surrounded by hills with a castle guarding the entrance. It was thought to have been built in the 14th century to protect against pirates. During the Peninsula Wars, 9000 French prisoners were interned on the island and nearly two-thirds died of disease or starvation. In the 1st World War the island was requisitioned by the Spanish government (from private owners) to stop it falling into enemy hands and ever since then a small army garrison has been stationed on the island.

Visitors are allowed to visit the castle and walk to one of the lighthouses but otherwise the island is off limits, mainly because of unexploded ordnance. The water in the harbour is deep but very clear with lots of sponges and different varieties of fish that actually swim up to you as though curious rather than disappearing when you approach, so it’s good for snorkelling – and no jet skis allowed! It’s a really beautiful, peaceful spot.

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