Lagos to Cadiz

Trip Start May 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 05, 2014

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

After a round of farewell dinners & drinks with friends we finally left Lagos at 920am on the 4th February.We planned a short shake-down trip to Vilamoura for the first night.
We had a beautiful sunny day but no wind so the engine & Otto Pilot took the strain.
When we came to tie up at the reception pontoon 2 marineros were there to take the ropes. That's what I call service!
Villamoura seemed to consist of bunches of lads on stag weekends wandering around various pseudo British bars expressing how cheap the booze was. It wasn't, they were just too pissed to realise it!! We were paying 30% less in Lagos marina
However, despite his whinging, Rob was delighted to find that several pubs had the Wales v Ireland rugby match on. He settled himself in for the duration & then got thoroughly depressed at the result!!
We were up at 6am next day for the 50 mile trip to Isla Canela, our first port of call in Spain since August. We had a beautiful sunrise but a dearth of wind again.
We were sailing head to wind all the time with quite a swell off the headlands so not that pleasant. The dolphins off Faro cheered us up. At one point we had to make a detour inshore to avoid about a square mile of tunny nets. This was apart from the miles of pot buoys!
Upon arrival in Isla Canela we were given a pleasant quiet berth. We were obviously the only residents. The island, once a sleepy backwater, has discovered tourism in a big way and millions of euros have been spent on hotels, apartments, new roads, landscaped gardens and a marina. However, no-one seemed to be using them but us, a few locals and a coach full of lost souls who were dropped off, spent 20 minutes staring at us having a beer at an Australian theme pub and then left confused.
After our beer we returned to the boat to find a strong smell of fuel. We had all the bilges up & cleaned them out, but didn't seem to be a problem. When we stepped into the cockpit the smell was awful; so the aft locker had to be emptied. Rob discovered a petrol can was half empty & the lid loose. We reckon the bouncing around in the day must have caused the problem. The smell is just about gone now 3 days later!
A 9am start saw us on the way to Mazagon. Again no wind so Otto carried us along, with help, to avoid the hundreds of pot-buoys. An uneventful journey saw us tied up in Mazagon marina at 2pm. Excitedly we legged it into town.
The expression "one horse town" would be a gross exaggeratrion for Mazagon. The horse, through sheer boredom, took to reading the Daily Mail and decided that Eastbourne would allow him to live "on the edge". Thus he departed years ago and is now living in fulfilled retirement on the Sussex coast.
After returning, catching up on the laundry and returning to town we found an internet café so looked up the weather, saw it was less than hurricane force and (after casting a wistful eye at a copy of the Daily Mail) decided to head for the Bay of Cadiz so that we could spend a few days sightseeing in Cadiz & Seville.
Thus we left at 8am the next day. Another lovely sunrise & no wind saw Otto heading through the pot-buoys yet again. After a couple of hours we suddenly realised there were no more!! We didn't see any more the rest of the trip so could relax our eyes a little!
As we were approaching Cadiz Bay we saw an ominous jagged black cloud to starboard with rain falling out to sea among the squalls. Could we race it in - feckin' right we could! We were off the entrance to Cadiz bay - about 8 miles (1.5 hrs) from port with loadsa sails set and the engine gunning when it passed over. The sea went from inky black to bright turquoise in seconds. The wind piped up a bit & a few spots of rain but nothing more - phew!
We decided to head for Puerto de Santa Maria as the yacht club is in the town, has a train station to Seville & a ferry to Cadiz.
There was 1 vacant pontoon on the river pontoons so we tied up there with the aid of a Yacht Club member. Rob explained in his best Spanglish that we would like to stay 5 nights. The chap managed to convey that we could not stay there as it was a Catamaran's mooring, but they had 1 space on the end pontoon. By the time we had manoeuvred he was there to grab a rope, which we were grateful for - as it was windy & quite a strong tide was running.
After 4 days sailing we were ready for a break. We had a quick walk round the Yacht Club & nearby streets & were then ready for tea & bed. I woke at 2am to hear really strong winds & a spattering of rain. The boat was being tossed around so it was great to snuggle under the duvet!
After a leisurely breakfast we headed into town & found a very helpful Tourist Info Centre who told us where the train station, P.O, internet etc were. The town is very attractive. It is laid out grid fashion like Lisbon so easy to get around. It has narrow streets with lovely architecture, balconies, & tiled entrances to courtyard apartments. We found the cathedral a lovely surprise with its bare stone walls & magnificent stone altar.
The sherry bodegas are all around the waterfront bringing back fond memories of Porto. There is even a castle in the centre complete with nesting storks! Our train is booked for the morning along with the hotel, as we plan to spend 2 days soaking up Seville.
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