Puerto Sherry, Bay of Cadiz, Spain
Once again I find myself stripping the photos from the blog because the only available internet will not support the bandwidth necessary to upload. This is endemic on the south coast of Europe and is getting to be a real pain. We are in a marina which advertises internet. Live every other marina we have been in since and including the Azores the marina at Puerto Sherry simply fails to deliver. We spent time at the University of Sevilla while in that city and were disturbed to find no wifi on campus and worse no not one student carrying a laptop or using a smartphone or ipad or whatever. Not one. This is a society unplugged and thus underinformed.
Yesterday Meredith moved from Bonanza just inside the Rio Guadalquivir to the Bay of Cadiz. Moved is the term, not sailed, for there was no wind to speak of and even the whispers were on the nose. Still it was uneventful and pleasant except for the incessant circling of our boat by Coast Guard and Aduana boats operating under the aegis of Spain. A lot of Europe's trade with Morroco in illicit substances is conducted along this shore and authorities were flying the flag and creating huge wake as they did so.
Arriving in the Bay of Cadiz we were faced with multiple anchorages and marina choices: Rota, Puerto Sherry, Puerto de Santa Maria or Cadiz. Having read bad reviews of anchoring possibilities in Cadiz and Rota we stroked them off the list deciding to visit Cadiz by ferry if at all. Our fuel was low and no fuel had been available at Gelves or at the marinas we passed on the Guadiana. Dipping the tank gave me a reading of ten gallons or so with five gallons more on deck.
Not every Spanish marina has fuel and many that do have only gasoline. Puerto Sherry was reported to have diesel.
The reports were sound but had failed to mention the fuel was priced at €1.35 a litre which is a pretty decent price around here. On the way into the fuel dock we scoped out the anchorage , a pocket of water lying between the beach and a breakwater. It seemed decent enough an anchorage but it was open to the south west (the breakwater is intended to protect the river from waves from the southwest and we would be anchoring on the Southwest side of the barrier). If the wind or sea changed direction there would be an unpleasant swell.
The marina at Puerto Sherry is bounded on its south limit with a seaside condo development which has been abandoned in midconstruction. Completed units are quite striking and the dozens of skeletons of partially constructed multistory homes are not unattractive except for what they say about the economy. This is the Spanish housing bust we have heard of.
Done with fueling we walked over to the marina office to check on rates for an overnight stay and found offseason rates kicked in on October 1. It would costs €14 a night with water and electric. We are here for three nights. Cheap fuel, cheap marina. Big win for the Meredith.
From Puerto Sherry it is about a 3.5 kilometre walk to the ferry dock where we would catch the ferry to Cadiz.
If you wish to avoid the long walk then you can choose to run up to Puerto Santa Maria where there is a Club Nautico. Like all things written in French when you see a Club Nautico you know it will be expensive, twice the cost of Puerto Sherry. It is also closer to the city, has its own pool and snooty guard staff (they asked me to leave the buggers) and seems a good choice for marina if you have the dough. Anchoring off Puerto de Santa Maria does not look inviting even if it is allowed. A large building with tall fences and razor wire runs along the river and that sort of says military or police. If so anchoring will not be permitted.
Today we took the ferry to Cadiz.
After eight days in Seville Cadiz was a disappointment. This really is the ugly sister. Cadiz has crashed. It was intent on becoming a seaport of significance but the attempt has failed. The citizenry are without work. Planners are desperately trying to create a tourist industry. And that is the problem. Planners.
Cadiz downtown is all nice and pretty (if you ignore the soaring container cranes and offshore oil rigs being constructed right there) and ridiculously expensive. There are a few old buildings and every one has an admission fee. If you have not seen the Cathedral of Seville you might think the Cathedral in Cadiz to be grand. The "old city", that collection of narrow windy streets that European cities all strut about having, is so small in Cadiz as to be perambulated in less than a day.
Sevillanos would laugh derisively about Cadiz' claim to its old city without ever wondering if having a bigger collection of tiny disfunctional streets might not necessarily be a good thing.
So desperate is the city for tourist dollars that they have removed almost all the benches from the old city so the only place you can sit is at a cafe. And there of course you pay. Twice what we paid even in the most pretentious neighbourhoods of Seville.
Cadiz does have a lot of churches and some of the less ostentious are quite charming. Since arriving in Spain I have spent more time in church than in my entire life before coming to Spain. Pictures are not taken because I am a guest in church not a belonger and it would be impolite. Except at the Cathedral of Spain where I did take photos but only because the church itself was so proud of its "wall of gold" and its "silver goblet thingy" that it would have been impolite not to point and click a few times.
Church in Spain is ever so much simpler and more enjoyable than in Canada. For one thing they have eliminated the problem of how much to leave in the collection plate. You remember sitting in the pew towards the end of the service as little boys or socially awkward men were enlisted to pass around plates on which you were to place your "offering". I never knew what to offer or what my offer was intended to purchase. mOstly I was just looking for time off for good behaviour if nothing else from the boring service. Here it is easy: you pay at the gate. There is a price list and if you want to get churched you stump up the price asked. Today for example the Cathedral of Cadiz wanted €15. I did not need that much church so I just passed.
In Spanish churches you don't have to sit down. You just walk around looking at things and when you get bored you leave unless the Budget Committee wants to look some more in which case you walk around trying to look interested. There are no boring sermons and no standing up and sitting down (and you never know when some churches are going to insist that you stand up or sit down).
If church was run like this back home I probably still wouldn't go but it would make weddings and christenings and other mandatory church appearances more bearable. Especially the bit about leaving when I got bored.
Walking about Cadiz I occupied myself by taking photos of doors. The BC likes doors and is forever stopping and pointing to some entranceway or other to comment "Nice door". Here would have been a few of my shots but as I say there is no bandwidth.