Puerto de Santa Maria
36:35.387N 6:13.784W Wed 28th Mar 2018. 74nm, 9:50 hours
Another dash westwards during a short gap in these pesky westerlies! This time we also had to contend with tidal flows in the Straits of Gibraltar, so we had to start in the dark (0700, the clocks are badly set this far west in Europe) and motor out of the marina into the thicket of anchored tankers and freighters in the bay. For several days the forecast said that we might get some helpful winds but the morning forecast showed the opposite and we feared the worst. In the end we had no wind all day and mostly had helpful currents as well. So a long boring day’s coastal motoring, but making fantastic time averaging 7½ kts for 10 hours. We are finally out of the Med and with fully 3 weeks before the first of our visitors join us, we can relax about the weather and making progress westwards.
Puerto de Santa Maria makes a nice change for us. We’re in a small sailing club with pontoons on the banks of a very murky river. I didn’t make the most professional of approaches in about 2kts of current, but the marineros were up to the mark and we are safely alongside for the next batch of strong winds. Actually we love what we’ve seen so far. Fishing boats and the fast Cadiz ferries surge past us and tides cover and uncover the river’s sides, so our outlook is pleasantly varied. The town itself is lovely too, with a great little castle and a real buzz in the streets and squares. The gorgeous scent of orange blossom is everywhere. There seems to be something about the towns of Atlantic Spain which we find particularly attractive. It’s also holy week so there are streets lined with banners and decorative barriers and the cobbles are covered with wax drips from the processional candles. Spanish TV has had non-stop coverage of the daily Semana Santa festivities in many nearby towns so we plan to visit Cadiz tomorrow to see theirs as well as maybe the local one on Easter Sunday.
Today, March 29th our eldest grandchild has her fifth birthday. Where does the time go?
The local castle, built over a mosque and with unusual stuccoed towers:
The courtyard of a local pensione: