We are now in Spain and finally are back on line after a long delay, so have quite a bit of catching up to do. We stayed in Vilamoura longer than planned due to the weather. The forecast was for high winds and rough seas and proved right on both counts. We watched from the shore as another yacht went out and it did not look pretty, dobby horsing up and down and making scant progress. We bided our time, ate out a lot, there was an excellent Indian and a very smart fish restaurant, found Emma’s Irish pub and had a long walk on the beach watching the kite flying. By the time the forecast was favourable we were keen to move on. We were bound for Mazagon, some ten or so hours away and so started at six thirty. The sea state was much rougher than predicted, so I felt ill almost right away and eventually had to resort to going below, as I was of no use and could not have been fun to watch. John soldiered through and I had recovered enough to crew by the time we arrived. This was just as well as we had to moor four times in all. First at the reception pontoon, John glided in perfectly, so I could just step off and tie us up. Then at the berth allocated to us I also stepped off smartly, but it had no cleats, to tie up to, so that was a flying visit with me no sooner getting off the boat, than having to climb back on board. John radioed reception, but there was no reply, so we went into the next available berth along. This took a couple of goes as we were tiring, but finally we were all secure and John went off to reception as I adjusted the fenders. He came with the news we had to move. In a fairly empty marina we had managed to choose a berth already allocated to someone else that night. We moved again, tired and tetchy, but well practiced by now. Each flit brought us closer to the bar, which seemed to be packed and rowdy. As we finally tied up cheering broke out. It turned out that the bar was full of fans watching the final match of La Liga, a crucial decider of the Spanish title, so our efforts had not inspired the fervour. We were both so rimed in salt we showered before heading off to join the Athletico celebration. For the rest of our time there the bar was pretty quiet. Next morning John sluiced Lyra down while I washed our salty clothes. Mazagon marina was nicer than we had expected. The bar area was planted with palms and trees with both amazing purple blossoms and weird brown seed pods, hanging like baubles amongst the vivid froth. We walked along to the adjacent beach on Sunday. A steady line of people lugged gear from the car park to join the confetti of umbrellas on the shore. We sat in the small beach bar for lunch, surrounded by Spanish families having extended feasts. No one here speaks any English. My efforts at leaning Spanish over the winter has so far been to no avail. John seems fluent in bar Spanish and is teasing me. At some point I am sure a girl will eat an apple or a cat will drink milk and I will be vindicated. After our day off we woke early to set out for Cadiz, but had to wait till the office opened at nine to return our keycards. The wind was whistling through the rigging and the Lyra was rocking slightly in her sheltered berth. John struggled to check the weather on his phone. The wind would be on our nose, but the sea state was not due to be bad, we could motor. John laid in a back up course for Chipiona in case things became rough. We set off and it was murder. I had taken sea sickness tablets in anticipation, so was not ill this time. Instead I sat under the spray hood and held on. The prow plunged repeatedly into the oncoming waves. The foredeck was awash with foaming water rushing towards me, swamping the dorades and smacking against the windscreen, sometimes flying over the sprayhood and splattering John at the wheel. On occasion I traded places with him and rode the rodeo, dodging lobster pots. Obviously the fishermen had not considered the weather so bad and as the day progressed the sea became less fraught, so we proceeded to Cadiz.

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