30 September to 9 October 2016
Chipiona N36° 45.20′ W06° 26.20′ to Puerto America N36° 33.57′ W06° 18.42′
20nm, 4 hours
On our last few days in Chipiona we met fellow Moody owners, Val and John and their blogging dog, Oscar. They were heading east too so we left with them for Cadiz in a rally of two.
We followed SV Seize the Day safely around the exposed rocks off the headland at Chipiona. Also following their lead we attempted to sail across to the Bay of Cadiz but again the winds were too light and Pintail’s sails were soon furled back in! We celebrated our safe arrival in Cadiz with rather too many drinks on board Seize the Day but still managed to get up to wave Val, John and Oscar off on their way early the next morning!
We settled into Puerto America which may be a little industrial and only half finished but it delivered gorgeous sunsets and was a fantastic base to explore Cadiz and around.
We were introduced to Cadiz’s history around every corner: its Roman heritage as Gades; its importance at the birthplace of Spain’s first liberal constitution in 1812; and its heyday as a prosperous merchant city.
In the heat of our days wandering around the city we were grateful for the shaded paths of the Alameda. We loved this very jolly statue of a poet who had danced right off his plinth
and the lollipop trees of the Parque Genoves.
Back in Cadiz we walked out to Castillo de San Sebastian on its tiny spit into the Atlantic for views back to the city
and explored the area around the Cathedral where we found some Henry Moore sculptures.
We found a square inhabited almost entirely by children. Let loose on bikes, scooters and skates they careered around apparently free of any adult supervision. Even the cigarette and lottery kiosk had been replaced by a sweet and toy kiosk!
We very quickly fell in love with Cadiz and its laid back people. It very definitely has an identity all of its own in Andalucia. It soon earned the spot of our favourite place of the trip so far.
But we did have a couple of days away from Cadiz while we were there.
One day we took a ferry trip across the bay to El Puerto de Santa Maria where we had a lucky dip tapas lunch in a café opposite the bullring and walked through the umbrella pines along the beach to Puerto Sherry. Having missed the English speaking tour at Bodega Osbourne we instead started our sherry education at a tiny fisherman’s bar near the ferry terminal.
Another day we took the train to Jerez de la Frontera. From the train ride we could better understand the geography of Cadiz perched out in the Atlantic at the end of a long peninsular and it was easy to understand how the city withheld two years of French attempts to capture it. In Jerez we found more flying buttresses at the Catedral de San Sebastian and some very bored looking statues at the 16th century town hall.
Jerez means sherry and so it would have been rude not to take a tour of the most famous bodegas and home of Croft Original and Tio Pepe, which ended with an obligatory tasting.
With our opportunities to anchor becoming fewer, we decided to spend our last night before heading on to Barbate at anchor off the beach at El Puerto de Santa Maria. After a slightly angry altercation with a French sailing yacht who tacked directly across us in the shallow waters we dropped anchor and took the tender to the beach for a walk along the breakwater. We were followed back by a very friendly couple of kittens who would probably have hopped into the tender back to the boat with us if we had let them!
Back on Pintail we settled down for the night but her anchor kept dragging and at about 11pm we decided we would feel safer back in the marina at Puerto America so had a moonlit motor back across the bay and into the same berth we had left earlier that day.
In Cadiz we decided we had far too few photographs of the two of us together and so using his best sign language Stefan bought a selfie stick. This was our first attempt at a selfie on the ferry to El Puerto de Santa Maria. It also earned Stefan the highest number of likes on Facebook of any photo he had posted to date. We decided to exchange our blogpost end photo of the view from Pintail with a selfie from each place we visit.