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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.Guincho, first visit. Good day!35nm to Nazaré, of big wave fame, where got this pic of a perfect barrel.Isles Cies resting stop (wild camping not allowed). Yesterday was great, but by evening was still feeling a bit beat up by too many mentally challenging days. This morning very restorative. When feeling a bit low, get to a good place, rest and eat sensibly. Ready now for a breeze that will hopefully arrive.Target: Ria de Muros
Wind: south, lots
Sea state: rough
Swell: plenty
White bits of sea: all over the place
With conditions getting wild, and still 7.5nm to the Ria entrance, I decided to abandon my plan of keeping seaward of the shallows, and instead bolt through them towards a harbour tucked in behind. On both sides no shortage of rocks, white water, and waves with spray peeling off their backs. But in my favour a good fast point of sailing, and adaptable line to pick a safe route through.
Nice to get out of an unpleasant situation (quickly, intensely!), but - for a while - a bit deflated by yet another wearying battle, and all for an unimpressive 8nm.
Nice people at bar Pedra Pas, who told me where I'd landed: apparently a place called Lira; and things looked up from that moment.
Huge depression in the Atlantic so not really surprising today (and tomorrow) unsuitable.
Got a lift to Muros with a chap called Carlos. If you're reading this Carlos, I maybe left my sleeping bag in your car - please get in touch! Anyway, can sort that out tomorrow. Got a proper bed tonight thanks to Ana (sister of Sandra) and Xosé.
Forecast finally starting to look promising for some decent conditions... Pic of Finisterre fisherman who told me not to bother today. Maybe should have listened to them.