We left Lagos on the 7th of June and motored out of the marina and turned east along the coast. It was very calm and the tiny breeze was from the south east so we motored.
We were headed 40 miles east to Faro, or at least the Isla de Culatra, which is a big lagoon with sandy low lying islands sheltering it from the sea. Faro is up the channel from the island. It’s all very shallow and it’s amazing that the big boats get all the way up to Faro, although it is well buoyed. We made good time and dropped anchor at 6pm with only one other boat next to us. It was lovely to be at anchor again after 2 weeks in the Marina at Lagos.
Anchorage at Isla de Culatra
The next morning it was an early start and we were away by 8am as we had 50 miles to go. There were lots of little fishing boats out in the lagoon and a few dozen eager fishermen ranged along the harbour wall.
There was even less wind than the previous day, so the engine was used again, much to Andy’s annoyance. The flat calm was good for wildlife watching though and we were astounded to spot a flying fish! Neither of us had thought that you see them here, having read about them from the tropical seas. Soon afterwards we were also treated to a nice dolphin display, but they were fishing and not up for playing. Lots of dolphins jumping out of the water and thumping down on the surface (perhaps to stun or disorientate the small fish)? We got the Portuguese courtesy flag down and the Spanish one up as we crossed the border. The skipper was relieved, as the Portuguese have a reputation for dishing out very large fines if anything is not correct with the ships papers or equipment. There are many instances of boats being boarded at sea and although we had all the relevant bits of paper, you are never sure what they might ask for. In the event we were never stopped and everyone we met was very friendly.
After the wildlife watching, the wind got up and we managed to sail the rest of the way. We were goosewinging doing 7 knots so had to get some sail in which proved quite challenging in the increasing wind. By the time we were approaching the breakwater at Mazagon (almost 1 mile long) we were very glad to be getting into shelter. Despite the huge breakwater, it was quite a bouncy anchorage.
We left the anchorage next morning and luckily the wind had dropped a lot overnight, however the swell was still pretty big so sailing was not possible. No wildlife to spot, instead lots of pot buoys with their coloured flags and fishing boats.
The wind got up from the NW and by 11am we were sailing. As we approached Cadiz, the wind increased again and we had to dodge a cruise liner leaving. The channel into Cadiz is very narrow and quite shallow so the cruise liner took up the whole width. We got in after the liner and just before a big freighter, glad to be safely tucked up in the marina at “Puerto America” as the wind was getting very strong.
The last few days we have been exploring Cadiz. We are stuck here because there is a major firing exercise south of here all this week and it would be a huge detour to try to avoid it. Having had a run-in with the Portuguese navy previously, we were keen to avoid a similar incident with the Spanish navy! Also the infamous “Levanter” wind (easterly) is blowing at 20 knots so no chance to get through the straits of Gibraltar. The wind is bringing fine Saharan sand with it, which is turning the boat into a beach!!
Cadiz is a beautiful city. It is said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, founded by the Phoenicians in 800BC . You know you are in Andalucía, as there are many Moorish influences, as well as Roman ruins. Of course it was ransacked by Francis Drake, and Nelson had a go with the Spanish and French navies at the famous battle of Trafalgar, only a few miles from here. There are many well preserved old Barrios with small, cool streets and lovely parks, trees and cooling fountains.
The weather is now very hot but the boat is reasonably cool during the night, so we have not had any problems sleeping. We have had to put the mossie nets up though for the first time this year!
One of the town beaches
Typical street in one of the Barrios
Puerta de Tierra (land gate in the city walls)