Chipiona, Cadiz and Gibraltar next

Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Sun 16 Sep 2012 21:49
36 11.073N 5 55.955W

Our last sails have included relaxing and interesting layovers for exploring. Chipiona is at the mouth of the long river that leads up to Seville (sadly too many motoring miles for us) and is opposite the famous Cota Doñana wildlife (bird) reserve (sadly just early of migration season). It's also where an ex student of mine spends lots of time but we missed Bev and Toby by a few days.

It is a great place and we swam and cycled and found where fino is 'distributed' from casks - scores of varieties of 'sherry' (from 'Jerez', just up the road). Nice people, great end of summer holidaying still going on.

We moved on to Cadiz and again were grateful for our crazy little bikes as the city, the old city is a good mile and
half from the puerto. In there we found great secondhand bookshops, the castle and cathedral, joined in a wedding, shopped in the central Market (fisheaters' paradise), and sat in various squares day and night lively, full of people of all ages and always lots of kids making lots of noise.

But before the exploring I had to send Tom underwater in the Cadiz Marina, knife between his teeth, in mask and snorkel, as we'd somewhere along the line snagged (and broken off, luckily) a nylon fishing rope. Half a dozen submergings, wrestling with the rope wound tightly around the propeller, did it. Could have been nasty. We have German friends who spent a week and a lot of money in Calais when the same thing happened.

The other bit of luck was that the beautiful but rather scary underwater sponge things, which pulled their fanning fronds into their tubular bodies when touched, didn't get him, thank goodness.

All the photos of this episode somehow have not stored in my phone. So you'll have to take my word for it.

Tomorrow should be after about 10 weeks of sailing, our entry into the Mediterranean at last. We think we have the tides and currents sorted. But those are the knowns. The wind is still a variable (although looks pretty favourable) but the bigger unknown is the whales. There is a special note in the pilot guide to 'keep a jolly good look out'. We will.

Pillars of Hercules here we come.

Then another two weeks to La Manga, to rest in the arms of known waters and dear friends.

Still living it
Faith and Tom