News from El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz (Spain) & gannet incident

The Talulah's Web Diary
Ali Pery / Shane Warriker
Wed 7 Oct 2009 09:26

36:36.922N 006:21.159W


36:35.313N 006:13.860W


We had a wonderful time with Denise, Shane’s Mum, who joined us for a few days sailing and exploring around Culatra and Faro.  We swam in the sea, watched storks and spoonbills, ate well, and Denise, much to Shane’s horror, climbed the cathedral steps in Faro and rang the bell …. good on ‘er!


We said our sad farewells to Denise on Friday 2nd October.  On Sunday 4th at 3am we raised anchor for a 14 hour night and day sail southeast direct to Rota, in Bahia de Cadiz.  The dolphins joined us briefly in the early hours of the morning, and again we saw lots of sunfish (our favourites) and flying fish enroute.  Unfortunately, however, a juvenile gannet mistook our fishing lure for a tasty snack, and as it swooped down it got its wing caught up in the fish hook.  It would have been cruel to cut the line, so we brought Talulah to a standstill (as best we could mid ocean!) and gently reeled the poor bird in.  Until you see these gannets up close, you have no idea how huge they are!  It was way bigger than our fishing net, so with a mighty struggle, Shane managed to grab hold of him, and turn him on his back to calm his struggling (his beak leaving a few nasty holes and bruises in Shane’s arm) whilst Ali had to remove the hook from his wing (and stuck it in her own finger) and administer Avian First Aid.  It is fair to say he looked and sounded a tad disgruntled when we let him go, but we’re sure on the inside he was mightily relieved, if a little sore on the outside.


The strangest thing then happened …. And for the cynics out there skip this paragraph …. As we guiltily packed away the fishing gear for the day, (having suddenly turned vegan), the clouds formed a flying-gannet-like shape above us – I kid you not – it was huge and there was no mistaking its shape (though Shane at first thought it was the Mayor of Gotham City sending out the bat signal).  We scoured the horizon for our injured (and hopefully still floating) gannet, at which moment he appeared above Talulah and flew a full circle, slightly crooked to one side, above us!  He was alive, and flying! Hoorah!!  That night we ate fish.


There was no room for us at the marina in Rota, (there is no anchoring allowed around here due to close proximity of US Naval base) so we tied up at the fuel pontoon where the enormous Cadiz ferry almost ran us down every few hours.  Its nice to be in Spain, and Rota is an attractive old town with strong Moorish influences, with massive stone archways which span its narrow, cobbled streets.  And tapas!  And Rioja!  After 2 sleepless nights, we set off this-morning (6th October) and took ourselves out for a beautiful sail (good wind at last!) in the Bahia de Cadiz, and then headed upriver a little to El Puerto De Santa Maria, where, at last, we have tied up, and can walk into town (famous for its sherry bodegas).


Today is special – 6th October - we have had Talulah for one year exactly, and its Shane’s birthday.  So tonight we are going to eat an Argentian cow (so we’re no longer vegans then).