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Spanish Armada in Mallorca

Visit from the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I

The Spanish navy's biggest ship, the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I, paid a visit to Palma this weekend and thousands of people turned out to visit it. The carrier, officially a 'Landing Helicopter Dock' is named after the monarch reigning at the time of its launch, a tradition which dates back hundreds of years to the time the Borbons took the Spanish throne in 1700.

The boat is an impressive sight and a veritable floating city with up to 1500 crew on board and a capacity to carry about 30 aircraft – helicopters and Harrier jump jets. It weighs in at 26,000 tons, is 231 metres long and in both peace and war can cover 9,000 km at an average of 15 knots without having to stop for refuelling.

Juan carlos I carrier in palma

The highlights of its weekend stop in Palma were the guided tours of the boat for the public who queued in their hundreds to get a glimpse of the inside of the armada's biggest and one of its newest (it was inaugurated in 2010) ships. Comments on the carrier's Facebook page (credit photos) expressed the delight of the visitors, particularly the kids who were allowed to get quite touchy feely (under close supervision) with the sophisticated equipment.

The only downside to the visit was the serious injury suffered by one of the crew who was knocked down by a car when returning to the boat at four in the morning after a spot of shore leave. Currently in intensive care at the hospital, we send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery.