We left Vilamoura behind happily and set off for the passage to Rota, some 90+ miles across the Gulf of Cadiz. It was a pleasant trip with good winds, albeit from an unexpected SE for a good part. We have come to expect the unexpected with the wind in this part of the world! We made good time - so good in fact that we had to shorten sail in the small hours in order to time our arrival in Rota in daylight - we were not keen to sail through fishing marks, nets and fish havens in the dark!
We arrived in Rota at 7 on Saturday morning, immediately put our watches forward to 8 and went to bed for a couple of hours till the Marina office opened and we could check in. Formalities completed with a very nice lady whose English was better than our Spanish, we were soon berthed and although tired after the night passage, went for a stroll around the town.
We had a good feeling about Rota before we had even left the Marina, and this was further reinforced when we went into the town. This is a Spanish seaside town for Spaniards, and we heard only Spanish being spoken and saw only Spanish on notices and menus. This is more like it! The streets of the old town are narrow and cobbled, with a distinctly Moorish influence. We wandered around and came out on the promenade beside a beach of clean, yellow sand packed with families enjoying the sunshine. We had a leisurely lunch in a beach cafe, ordering what turned out to be fried baby squid and cuttlefish fingers. They were delicious!
Today we have explored the town further, setting off to find a supermarket which turned out to be closed, but then finding a little place selling fresh bread and pastries, where we bought bread and stopped for a coffee. We found the tourist information office where we asked about public transport to Seville as it's only about 50 miles from here. We plan to get the bus there tomorrow. That's if we can navigate our way to the bus station of course!
This afternoon 'Sealion' arrived in Rota, and it was good to have a beer with Richard and Chris and hear about their travels around the coast since they left us in Vilamoura.
We have been reconsidering our next passage since chatting with Richard and reading Serafina's blog. We had planned to sail next to Barbate, and then on to Gibraltar, but as Barbate seems to be somewhat less than straighforward to get into because of the fishing nets, we may instead sail straight round to Gibraltar from here. We are currently looking at the tides and predicted winds (huh!) to see whether this is preferable, and will make a decision tomorrow.