Cadiz to Fuengirola

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

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Friday, February 16, 2007

El Puerto de Santa Maria
While in Cadiz bay we stayed in El Puerto de Santa Maria which used to be the main shipping post for Sherry from Jerez. It still has the sherry bodegas down by the river and one can get trips around them. The yacht club marina is the friendliest we have visited so far. We were met on arrival, assisted with mooring and then given a guided tour of the club's facilities which included tennis courts, a gym and swimming pool. The next day the guy who met us on arrival then showed Gina the laundry and arranged for tokens for her to use it.
On Friday and Saturday we went to Seville (see separate blog) and on Sunday caught the ferry across to Cadiz. Basically it was closed! Perhaps a tad unfair, it was Sunday morning and we were trying to find somewhere to buy food to see us over the next 3 days. The city is a little run down but, like an ageing aristo, has elegance and charm. We would certainly like to re-visit sometime (but not on a Sunday).
We left Puerto de Santa Maria at 8.00 on Monday morning and headed for Barbate, our last stop before the Straits of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean. Crossing Cadiz bay into a brisk south westerly wind was unpleasant. However, once back into the Atlantic we had a glorious sail down to Cape Trafalgar and Barbate. The first real sail since we arrived in Iberia. Tiercel really picked up her skirts and was surfing down waves at up to 9 knots. We arrived in Barbate at 15.00, were surprised at how cheap it was (12 euros per night) and, again, how friendly the staff were. We legged it into town pretty rapidly (we still needed food as the shops in Cadiz had been unfruitful). Luckily there is a big, sod off, supermarket behind the harbour. We also found an internet café in the town so were able to catch up with mail and find that the weather for the next couple of days was going to be very good.
We left Barbate at 8.00 on Tuesday morning heading for Sotogrande (the first marina in the Med. As we left the harbour we saw that low cloud hung on the mountains right down to the sea. This could have been Loch Fyne (except that it was February and the temperature was in double figures). The cloud cleared to produce no wind but plenty of incredible views of the Spanish and African coasts. It is certainly the most scenic sail we have had since Scotland.
We had timed the tides just right through the Straits of Gibraltar. The rock was bathed in sunlight and all was well with the world as we flew through at around 7\knots using very little diesel and loads of tide. At last were in the Mediterranean after sailing around 1700 miles to get here.
Soto -bloody-grande
Sadly our first port of call, Sotogrande, was really disappointing. On arrival we saw nothing but large luxury yachts and were then dealt with by the office staff, unsmilingly, bureaucratically and as if we had just been released from prison!! They then told us that the charge for the night was 34 euros. If we wanted electricity and water they would charge extra and, there was a 125euro deposit for their electric plug, outrageous! In the event we didn't take up the offer of electricity. We also had to pay a deposit of 30 euros for the key to the bogs and showers which would be returned on departure when the reception office opened at 8.00.
The marina was full of luxury yachts; stylish people drinking stylish drinks in stylish little bars and cafes with loads of estate agencies selling stylish flats with the odd designer clothes shop thrown in. Come the revolution I will personally line them up against a stylish wall and shoot them with stylish bullets from my mock designer gun!!
On leaving I trotted round to reception, admiring the glorious sunrise, to get my deposit back and was told that they would have to send someone to see if we had used electricity. This took about 15 minutes to confirm that we hadn't stolen any volts from them!! Bloody supercilious cows!!
I really loved Sotogrande!
Still, the sunrise was pretty (red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning sailors warning).
As we left there was no wind but within a few hundred yards the wind appeared from the North West and grew rapidly in strength to around force 6. This gave us a glorious downwind sleigh ride all the way to Fuengirola. Tiercel certainly seemed to enjoy it. She was surfing down waves at up to 10 knots yet was as steady as a rock. We phoned Fuengirola and they booked us a berth for 3 nights at around 13 euros a night.
We arrived at about 14.00 in strong winds and berthed Tiercel perfectly.
The marina is slightly scruffy but the staff are helpful the costs OK (13 euros/nt) there are plenty of chandlers, supermarkets, internet cafes etc close by. Fuengirola is a popular Brit holiday resort. It is brash, lively and you can't move for English "pubs", Irish bars and 3 million cafes offering full English breakfast. Nonetheless it is quite enjoyable in the marina and the sun is shining. They also have wireless internet.
We plan on staying here till Saturday and then moving further East for a few days before trying to get inland to see Granada..
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