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An early start to catch the land
breeze, benefit from a flat sea, and move 7nm in the right direction. Nice place for the wind to dry up :)Wonderful varied days. From the metropolis of Marseille, to offshore islands and a chaos of yachts, the highest cliffs in france, such nice encounters wherever I touch land, and - becalmed - finding this gem of a beach to overnight on.Got fed up with wet shorts!
Thanks to Club Nautique Narbonne-Plage for welcome, place at the table, and berth on a boat.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Vive la France!Even a grumpy policeman, unhappy at my choice of camp location, couldn't spoil what turned out to be a one of the more delightful sails of the Iberian Peninsula. The last bit of Spain - Cap de Creus - one of the highlights. Sailed past where the Pyrenees meet the sea and - at some point not sure where - into France (confirmed by croissant and chocolatine for breakfast this morning).Short run yesterday. Early stop after meeting Amadeo kayak guy who told me about nature reserve I eventually camped in. Ongoing finger issues. Trying captain hook hand today.Do love an island. This is Tabarca, a couple of miles off Santa Pola. Prop up the end of the boom and there we have a perfect bedroom sorted :)It might not look it, but it was a tricky sail past Cabo Tiñoso, where the continental shelf dives down almost vertically from the cliffs. 30 years ago apparently this was region far richer in marine life than today: sharks, whales, mantas all common sightings. I scattered a few flying fish on my way past.
The fresh 1-2m swell that bounced off the cliffs made for some of the bumpiest sailing of the expedition so far. The last miles to Cartagena were harder work still - not even room to squeeze a gybe in between the confused waves. I was glad indeed to sail through the red and green of the port entrance. Behind, a ketch rolled violently side-to-side 45 degrees.
It can be a bit unnerving entering the bigger ports, so was particularly nice to receive a warm welcome upon arrival at Real Club de Regatas de Cartagena.
The last days have included long sections of wild coastline, but that ends tomorrow at Cabo de Palos, after which there are few if any undeveloped beaches for the remainder of the Iberian peninsula. I keep thinking back to the single turtle I saw - the only one Iive one I've seen ever. How their viable world has shrunk... A dozen of so plastic bags spotted, lurking a few metres below the surface, 'food' for those that are left.Back sailing after #Karmasurfshop reconditioning of board. Immediately noticeable less resistance sliding through the water. Very relaxing and made about 14nm which isn't bad for no wind. First barefoot sail of the expedition - lovely to feel cool water on a hot day. Different world the Med!Perfect conditions today. A long way sailed (86nm measured as straight line) to Caños de Mecca, just past Cabo Trafalgar and its friendly lighthouse. Africa clearly visible across the Strait. Thought I wanted to celebrate. But better to be under sail. Chose a camp dinner: peanuts and Estrella Damn, pasta chicken, Snickers bar. If good conditions tomorrow: I guess, Tarifa; I guess I'll stop.Ilha do Farol- morning after a big 50+? Nm from Sagres, during which becalmed twice and last 4nm paddled, but also some fantastic sailing. Wonderful peaceful spot with many bird- little terns, swallows. Camped next to the ISN - the 'Rescue for the Shipwrecked' - station, which seems appropriate.Early start today and 17nm later reached Cabo de São Vicente. Conditions worsening now, but away from the exposed Atlantic, and onto the relatively protected Algarve coast. So huge relief. Special to have sailed this stretch, but - right now ;) - not sure I would want to repeat it. From Sines - 55nm and four days away - to here almost all sailed without harness, or paddled, with yesterday's paddling in a thunderstorm. Feel above all mentally, but also physically, a bit done in. Will savour recovery with a celebratory caipirinha tonight :)Nibbling my way towards Sagres and finding some amazing tiny little harbours along the way. This is Azenha do Mar. Real privilege to experience this coastline, and luck on my side with such benign conditions. Wind light, but swell so small that there's no trauma if needing to paddling a few miles. Pics. Azenha do Mar harbour, first clothes 'wash' in a while, stork.

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