Sunday, January 21, 2018

Camí de Cavalls. Binigaus, Cala Escorxada.

In a splendid morning of January we have completed the stage of the coastal path that goes from Santo Tomás to Cala Escorxada.

The route always passes near the sea, through pine groves, rocky trails and cliffs. It is not difficult and in just over an hour and a half we have reached our goal that was Cala Escorxada -very lonely at this time of year- and found a paleontological site of what I had read, but I had never seen before.

 Cala Escorxada


 Gastropod fossil on the rocks near Escorxada.

What is this I found on the beach? is it a mermaid's purse?

The enchantingly named structures are the egg cases of skates and some sharks. This is why they are also known as skate cases.

While some sharks bear live young, some sharks (and all skates) release their embryos in leathery egg cases that have horns and sometimes long tendrils at each corner.

The tendrils allow them to anchor to seaweeds or other substrates. Each egg case contains one embryo. The case is made up of a material that is a combination of collagen and keratin, so a dried egg case feels similar to a fingernail.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Barranc d'Algendar and the story of "Es Capitanet"

Barranc d'Algendar, in Ferreries.

 One of the nicest walking routes in Menorca.

Es Barranc d'Algendar is a wonderful place in the area of the south of Menorca. There are few legends and stories that are hidden among the majestic vegetation and cliffs. Stories of distant times, lost pirates, looting, mysterious animals, lovely ladies ... There are many topics and stories, but there is one that arouses a special interest: the story of Jaume Soler Adrover, popularly known as "Es Capitanet".

"Es capitanet" which is a diminutive of captain that was applied as a consequence of his short stature was a very peculiar person. Is is believed that he was born in Ibiza and in Majorca is where his military career started, he bravely fought in the Carlist Wars in Catalonia and after having made a small fortune he came to Menorca where he married a woman from Ciutadella and bought the farm called S'Aranjassa in Es Barranc d'Algendar.

 An old picture of S'aranjassa. Might be taken while "Es Capitanet" was still alive.

Those who knew him, say that over the years, he lost his mind and saw enemies where there was nobody, and so, sometimes he was seen fighting with his sword in the middle of a path against .. .no one.

This situation got worse with the years and even more after his wife passed away. Then, his extreme religiosity was added his undoubted belief in reencarnation and also in the witches that he claimed were watching him.

When he felt close to dying he did not want to make a will in favor of his distant relatives -the couple never had children-, nor did he want to give his belongings to the Church in case he returned from his grave, so he finally wrote a document in which he agreed the Bishopric of Menorca could use in the following 400 years his estates S'Aranjassa and Es Canalo, (which, incidentally, was another farm that he had won to another farmer playing cards in a stormy night), but the two farms had to remain under his name, so he could recover them in case he came back.

Es Canalo.

Jaume Soler "Es Capitanet" passed away in 1922, so the Bishopric of Menorca can use the farms but not sell them. Not in the next 304 years as he might come back to claim for them. Today, both properties are carrying out enviromental education activities for children and teenagers.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Tot-Lluc is one of the oldest farms in Menorca. It probably dates from the 11th century, when Menorca was part of the Ummayad Caliphate, because when the island was conquered by King Jaime there was already an estate here with a variant of that name.

The facade has two unequal arches and a curious system of inverted tiles to collect rainwater and channel it to a cistern.

On the grounds of this farm there is a cave with prehistoric petroglyphs representing boats.
I have only seen them in photography, never in person, but if this magnificent time is maintained next week, I will try to dedicate a day to find that cave.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Minorca Regiment

The Minorca Regiment was raised in 1798 by Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Stuart from German-speaking prisoners of war of Swiss regiments, formerly in Spanish service, when Minorca was under British control on December 12th. 1798. 

François Théodore Rochard (French, 1798-1858)
An Officer of the 96th Regiment of Foot, wearing double-breasted red coatee
 with gold epaulettes and collar, white cuffs, black breeches, crimson sash tied 
at his waist, white cross belt, the belt plate bearing 96, and 
a gilt-handled sword on his left hip

The regiment embarked to Gibraltar en 1800 and in 1801 took part in the expedition to Egypt to dislodge a French army of occupation. During the Battle of Alexandria, French cavalry charged the British infantry and were about to break through the lines, such was the ferocity of their charge, but the Minorca Regiment advanced in support and launched volley after volley into the mass of cavalry with devastating effect.

The regiment embarked for Portugal in spring 1808 for service in the Peninsula War. It saw action at the Battle of Vimeiro in August 1808, the Batalla de Talavera in July 1809 and the Battle of Bussaco in September 1810.It also fought at the First Siege of Badajoz In February 1811 and the Battle of Albuera in May 1811 before sailing for home in October 1811.

 The regiment was dispatched to Canada in May 1814 and took part in the Siege of Fort Erie in August 1814 before arriving back home in July 1815. It was renumbered as the 96th (Queen's Own Germans) Regiment of Foot in February 1816 and was disbanded at Limerick in Ireland in December 1818