Bay of Cadiz and return to Lagos

Rob and Jacky Black
Wed 5 Nov 2008 19:09

36:32.5 N 06:17.0W

We left Seville on Monday 20th of October and of course had to go through the lengthy procedure of waiting for the lifting bridge to open at 2200 and then down the river to the lock which was meant to open at 2300 but in fact did not as there was a ship in- bound so we eventually got in around midnight! We finally arrived at our chosen anchorage around 01.30 and got to bed. The next morning we took the dinghy up river to visit the port of Gelves where we had been told we could get some shopping etc. This involved going under some electric cables which have an air clearance of 19 metres and we wanted to find out if we may get under these at low tide. On arrival we called into the marina office and were informed that if we kept to the port side of the bank and came under the cables at a low water spring tide we should be o.k.!! We decided however that we would rather not take the risk! The marina was small and the facilities limited although we did sit in the sun at a bar looking over the boats and enjoyed this after the rain of the previous few days. We also discovered that we had anchored further south in the river than necessary so on our return we moved further north  and re-anchored about 200 metres south of the low electric cables. We stayed for three nights as the weather was pretty unsettled and we had a very quiet and secure anchorage here with no passing fishing boats or ships to disturb us. We did some ‘spring cleaning’ on the boat – emptying out the kitchen cupboards and up-dating our supplies inventory while it rained and generally ‘chilled out’ after our rather hectic schedule in Seville. We saw some interesting birds while here and although we could not specifically identify them we were sure they were some kind of ‘bird of prey’ bigger than sparrow hawks with pale yellow coloured chests and brown wings. I will really have to get a book about the wild-life in this part of the world. On the way down the river on Thursday we saw at least 30 gray herons all perched in the same tree as well as numerous white egrets and at one point were surrounded by small fish jumping out of the water – one of which actually landed on the deck – hit the spinnaker pole and bounced back in the water! We had to clear up the fish scales which it had left behind!

We spent several nights in the port of Chipiona awaiting the arrival of our next visitors – Graham and Suzanne Nye who flew to Seville on the 25th of October and then after a couple of days there caught the bus down to meet us. We had a lovely day on the 27th with clear blue skies and warm temperatures so much so that Suzanne and I managed a swim in the sea. However the weather then broke and we had some very strong winds and rain for a couple of days which meant an alteration to our plans for the rest of the week. We discovered that Chipiona is famous for its locally grown grapes which are generally used to make a sweet wine – Muscatel and that there were several Bodegas we could visit to sample their delights! Needless to say we  bought some of the products and have been enjoying them either as aperitifs or after dinner with chocolate! We finally left for Cadiz on the 29th and went to the marina near to the city centre so we could spend some time exploring the city. Again our plans were rather spoiled by more rain however we did have one really lovely day when we walked around the city boundaries and had drinks outside in a sunny spot near to the cathedral. On the 30th of October we found a wonderful restaurant to go to for dinner - Cumbres Mayores in Calle Zorrilla -  well worth  a visit!

Saturday morning 1st of November saw us up at 0600 to see Suzanne and Graham off – they had a bus to catch to arrive in Seville by 0930 in order to make their flight home to Gatwick. We then left the marina and sailed back to the west arriving in the River Guadiana for dusk to anchor off Ayemonte for the night. We had a great sail and it was so nice to be able to turn the engine off for a change. The following day we motor-sailed to Portomao and anchored in the river around dusk. We had another quiet night although the boat did role quite a bit. The following morning we took the dinghy to Ferragudo and had a light lunch out. It was a glorious day with wall to wall sunshine although the air temperatures have definitely dropped considerably on average around 20 degrees now during the day and about 15 at night. We are just imagining how we will feel when we return to the U.K with the temperatures around 9 or 10 degrees!

Tuesday 3rd of November we finally arrived back in Lagos having been away for over 3 months. It was lovely to see some friends we had met on our journeying who also winter here and we were soon given details of what was going on for the next week!

We did a cliff walk on Wednesday having caught a bus to Bergau ( a town along the coast to the west) – we chickened out at Luz after 5 kilometres but others did the whole route (15 kilometres)! We are hoping to get fitter and manage longer routes in the future!

We now have some work to do on the boat before flying home on the 10th of November for a month- so this will be the last of our ‘blogs’ for a while. Thanks to those of you who have bothered to read them all, and to friends who continue to email us with their news. It is good to be in touch with what is going on at home.

Jacky and Rob