Mazagon- Puerto Sherry 7th-15th Oct

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Sun 15 Oct 2006 21:56

Mazagon, 7th October


Skirted round the waiting tankers offshore to spend an unremarkable night at the marina in Mazagon, catching a swim on what we are told was “a very clean beach”. Not so sure considering what was up river. Anyhow no three headed fish spotted.


Can I just mention, in passing, that if the harsher, more challenging aspects of Cruising sometimes seem to be absent or played down in this chronicle, I have been engaged in a long struggle with our aft heads plumbing. This has involved several dismantlings, reroutings and the exploration of matters…….that are well just too unsavoury. Should I receive an enthusiastic response, I will keep you posted.


Puerto Sherry 8th- 15th Oct

On to the Bay of Cadiz, where we find 25 knots of unexpected wind. Fight our way up to the marina at Puerto Santa Maria from which we intend to visit Seville and Cadiz. Marina full; for the first time we are obliged to seek elsewhere. Fortunately Puerto Sherry just round the corner.


Plans to sail up river to Seville have been changed in favour of a base from which we can also visit Cadiz. This as a result of advice received on route. Not bad advice, but we both regret not doing the river thing to Seville…….anyhow Puerto Sherry turns out to have many positives, and a few weird features. They started building in 1985, and like many a good Spanish building plot have managed to retain the rustic charm of unfinished buildings.  A 30 minute walk into Santa Maria; charming town, one of two main Sherry ports (other being Jerez). Spectacular church crammed with elaborate iconography, stained glass, themed chapels. A 13th century fort, and break-dancers practicing on its polished marble pavement. Bodegas, and wild gypsy flamenco dancers (the last advertised in the guide book, but sadly not found out on a Monday night).

 Dancers outside the cathedral                               


A 15 minute ferry across the bay to the splendid city of Cadiz. I think we are talking Sally’s favourite city on tour so far…….Certainly we found it to be very warm and friendly (perhaps less tourist stressed?). Set on a spur, the city is like an island. Presumably to compensate for lack of ground space its streets are narrow and towering; heavy ancient doorways open into cool and tranquil looking courtyards.


 Cadiz’s maze of narrow streets open into various green and ornate plazas, where it seems all the kids gather to play. Infact it feels as though different age groups have their own favoured squares, and we are told that all the teenagers meet at night in one particular square to sit with blankets and bottles, to commune the night away discussing matters of teenage importance; all very peaceably. A nice image which felt quite believable in this city which seems to physically embrace you.  (I thought maybe slightly claustrophobic to live in, but I also thought it might be the best city I’ve come across in which to “retreat” !) . We met parents of an English couple who had moved from London to live in the city “they found and fell in love with”. We could believe that.


Cadiz Cathedral


Visited on a public holiday, so city buzzing, especially at lunch time when we had to remain very relaxed and patient before finding a corner. Spanish Tapas at its best, once again! We explored the old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, with, like Cadiz, seductive private courtyards behind robust doorways. Tired by the exertion of lunch we do the horse and carriage tour, the river boat tour, and I decide I am long enough in the tooth to experience, first hand, the reality of a Spanish Bullfight; Seville’s Bullring being second only to Madrid’s. Thirty years ago I would have found the Bullfight morally indefensible, but now I am persuaded by different arguments; or maybe able to justify to myself something which I found compelling and fascinating. I could try and do an Earnest Hemmingway, but will spare you. I will just say that I now understand something of both the brutality, and the nobility of the event. Also I appreciate the difference between an ordinary (however brave) Matador and the artistry that goes into making an exceptional, “poetical” (their description) Matador; (the “poetry” being in the relationship between Matador and Bull). If anyone wants to discuss this further, meet me in the bar ……….




We did not really do justice to Seville and must go back. Especially as we have just met a charming couple, him Spanish, her English (+kids) who live just outside Seville.


Meanwhile back at the marina Puerto Sherry Madeleine has made best friends with the British Paratroopers who have put-in while delivering a “Combined Services” yacht up the coast. Scottish, they are as hard as nails, and as soft as clarts. Maddie and Ist Battalion Parachute Regiment can presently be found engaged in fishing for crabs and odds and sods off the end of the pontoon.

 We are very fortunate to find a riding school who can give Maddie a lesson on a splendid and seemingly huge Spanish horse.

Weather reports indicate a gap in the easterlies, before potential westerly storms, which is enough for us to do the two day run to Gibraltar. So it's off to bed.