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                               CADIZ, Spain

Gates of Hercules

With some careful planning to time the current and tides in the Gibraltar Strait, and a lot of good luck with the wind direction and strength, we  passed through the Gates of Hercules  on exile from the Med.  5 of us transited together, 3 of us turned right toward Atlantic Spain, the other 2 turned left toward Morocco.

We headed to Cadiz, Atlantic Spain making an overnight stop at Tarifa anchorage.

 

It was somewhat of a relief to be free of the Mediterranean. Although we enjoyed visiting the different countries and the land travel, we found sailing a challenge, no wind, too much wind or wind from the wrong direction! And there were very few protected anchorages which forces one into expensive marinas.

So.....as we emerged into the Atlantic Ocean we all rejoiced...The Med is Dead!

September 21

We sailed into Cadiz bay on the Atlantic coast, 60 miles north of Gibraltar, surrounded by a beautiful Spanish town with a medieval area of cathedrals and domes. We had completely managed to make it through the Med without putting the boat in a marina, except for our one stay in Greece at the cheap marina where we left the boat to take the ferry to Santorini. But we decided that we really wanted to do a day trip to Seville by train so bit the bullet. 23 Euros/night wasn't too bad.

We headed into Marina Puerto Americano, tied beside Aliesha.


 

Cadiz City

Jutting out of the bay of Cadiz and almost completely surrounded by water, Cadiz is Europe's oldest city, once Spain's main port for ships coming form America.

It was a 2 km walk from the marina along a waterfront full of gardens and open squares. 

The fascinating city is full of narrow streets, towering facades and wrought ironwork that is 3000 years old.

Along with Dick & Pam from Aliesha, we took the "Hop On" Bus for a tour.

 

Cadiz' stunning waterfront with a long expanse of sandy beach

 

Entrance to Old Town with narrow alleys busy with street life.

Cathedral Nueva, Spain's largest cathedral, is undoubtedly a major landmark with its Baroque and Neo-Classical domes of golden yellow tiles. Torre Tavira, 18th century watchtower
Fascinating narrow streets with characteristic overhanging balconies. Well tended parks, fountains, green spaces and open squares.

Memorable Flamenco

Together with Aliesha and the gang from Grace, we had the most outstanding experience enjoying a Flamenco performance at a local bar. The restaurant was just a little informal Tapa Bar (meaning 'snacks') but it was a full house, not a seat to be had so it was lucky that we had made reservations earlier. We had not expected entertainment of such high caliber. The food was traditional local, brought to our table as a series of different dishes, all very good.

The Gracies, Alieshettes and Ascensionites

 And we ordered a bottle of  San Ascensio wine, fitting of course.

The amazing guitarist literally brought tears to some of the eyes at our table; he played with such emotion! Gord was completely mesmerized with the way the young guy played his guitar to the beat of the clicking feet of the dancer. His talent was way beyond his performing in a little Tapa Bar! We felt so fortunate to experience such exquisite playing.

Flamenco is a forceful artistic impression of the sorrows and joys of life. A uniquely Andalusian art, Flamenco is traditionally performed by gypsies. Dancers improvise from basic movements following and feeding from the rhythm of the clapping, tapping and playing of the guitar and their feelings.

As the crescendo increased, the dancer moved so quickly and emphatically that she became a frenzied haunting ghostly blur.
A beat is created by the dancers feet in the high heeled shoes and the hand movements express feelings of the moment.  Each of the dancers moved with such energy, passion and spirit it was one of the most cherished evenings we have had anywhere. We even bought the CD!

September 24

We hopped aboard the train to visit Seville ........(see more)


 

The Low that swallowed the Atlantic and ate the Azores High!

September 25

Our plan was to visit the Madeira Islands, Portugal (6 day sail) on our way to the Canary Islands, but everyday we checked the weather, and everyday the forecast showed a huge low preventing was moving so slowly, it was almost stopped.

September 26

We moved out to the anchorage near Puerto Sherry, a sheltered area surrounded by interesting looking and colourful buildings on one side and a long sandy beach on the other. That night we experienced intense thunder and lightening and lots of wind. The rain continued to pound down for most of the next day so we resigned ourselves to staying onboard. At least the boat got a very good rinse.

We went ashore and pulled the dinghy up on a fabulously groomed huge sandy beach with a promenade that accommodated joggers and strollers for miles. We walked through a huge clothing market to Santa Maria town. After stumbling our way through dubious directions in Spanish we found a great Macedonia supermarket with everything available at a reasonable price. Wine was as cheap as we had seen it anywhere so we stocked up.

The weather remained unchanged. We waited....and waited....and waited. Grace was waiting also hoping to make the trip to the Madeira's. It was quite a coincident when we learned that the weather system had finally been declared a Tropical Storm named  "Grace."

We finally made the decision to alter our plans and sail to Rebat, Morocco, 36 hours north, back in the direction we had come.

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