16 – 30 September 2016
Mazagon N37° 05.25′ W06° 49.00′ to Chipiona N36° 45.20′ W06° 26.20′
30nm, 5 hours 15
It turns out that Spanish fishermen are very much like Portuguese fishermen with their nets to be dodged and pots to spot. The Spanish ones however do seem to be easier to see with their multiple and colour coded flags.
The coastline between Mazagon and Chipiona is the low flat sand of the Parque Nacional de Donana. Nothing much to see but long stretches of beach until the exposed wreck promised by the chart at the mouth of the Rio Guadalquivir.
Whilst Mazagon had shut up shop for the winter, Chipiona was still in holiday mode. Seagulls competed with sunbathers on the beaches which stretch all the way from the marina, passed the town and the lighthouse and beyond the big Catholic church on the seafront, further than we ventured.
Chipiona is, as Henry Buchanan (1) promised, a lovely, leafy town with a pedestrianised shopping street which depending on the time of day is either full to bursting with people or all shut up and empty. We are still struggling with the siesta and its strict observance yet arbitrary hours. Luckily on our first visit to town we found the only tiny supermarket that didn’t observe it and therefore had it entirely to ourselves!
We had read about the corrales along this stretch of coast, a method of fishing dating back to Roman times where pens with sea mud walls were created to trap fish at low tide. Before too long they appeared although now they seem to be used more for swimming and mud bathing – apparently the mud has restorative qualities. We didn’t try it!
Chipiona sits at the mouth of the Rio Guadalquivir which joins Seville to the sea and we cycled a little way up along the river to Sanlucar de Barrameda. Having a coffee along the way and seeing how low the tide goes we were glad we had decided to leave Pintail in Chipiona and get the bus up to Seville! On our cycle we saw lots of horses – it seems everyone has one if not two.
We cycled into an area of salt pans – huge mountains of salt and incredible colours.
Cycling back inland through the farms we happened across a rather random remote control grand prix track – it seems men never tire of their toys!
Beautiful though it was, this ride did not fare well for me. Having thought I had got the hang of my new clips (2) I managed to fall off not once but twice, resulting in a very swollen ankle and grazed knee, seriously bruised pride and renewed hatred for the inventor of this entirely tortuous bit of kit.
We liked Chipiona a lot with its housing estate proudly promoting women’s equality,
its educationally apathetic yet UFO curious youth
and its celebration of its most famous inhabitant – actress and singer, Rocio Jurado.
Chipiona was also a good place to leave the boat for a birthday trip to Seville…
Sunset in Chipiona Marina.
(1) author of the Atlantic Spain and Portugal pilotbook, our by now well read and used guide to marinas and towns since A Coruna
(2) torture device which keeps your feet attached to your pedals when cycling and which leads to unfortunate consequences if you forget to unclip again when you stop!