Isla Canela to Chipiona

Sunrise leaving Isla Canela

We woke early again to catch high water in the Rio Carreras and also to catch high water at Chipiona, another shallow entrance. I had phoned ahead to Chipiona as the pilot book indicated a difficult entrance which wasn’t dredged very well however, I was assured that there would be plenty of water for our 2 metre draught. Initially we were able to sail, but the wind dropped and with it our speed and we would not make Chipiona on time for high water so we were back to the engine again. In almost calm conditions and bright sunshine, letting “George” the autopilot do all the work we occupied our time by whipping warps that were becoming a little frayed and Jac replaced all the fender socks from material that Jan had brought with her from the UK. By the time she had finished the fenders looked so good that she was worried about them getting dirty!


We had decided to stop at Chipiona as an old friend and work colleague Alan Dunne, his wife Eduardi and their son Lorcan live in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the next town along the coast. Alan and I had worked together for a few years at a flying school in nearby Jerez de la Frontera and we were looking forward to seeing the “Dunny’s” again.

The entrance to Chipiona proved no problem. There was one, well marked shallow area which was easy to avoid and we arrived at the reception pontoon without making a hash of it – always a bonus. The marina staff were friendly and helpful and it transpired that the lady at the reception office desk was the sister-in-law of the chap who had shipped our belongings back from Spain when we left Jerez in 2010. How about that for a tenuous connection? It’s a small world!

We explored the marina and had some proper Spanish tapas at a marina side restaurant which was very good and inexpensive.

3rd September 2015              Chipiona

In the morning Jac and I caught up with the laundry and cleaned the boat down. We met the Dunne clan who took us a short way along the coast to a restaurant near Chipiona light house, the tallest in Spain. The restaurant, Las Canteras Bar Chiringuito, is a lovely place with a beach patio where we had a fabulous meal while we watched the tide come in over the Roman fish traps on the beach,still in use today.  It was great to catch up with the Dunne clan again as it had been several years since we had been able to have a “yarn” over a meal and some refreshments. Eduardi’s family come from Sanlucar and she had grown up there. Alan is a native of Dublin and they had recently returned to Spain from Wales. You don’t get much more cosmopolitan than that.

We couldn’t spend too much time at the restaurant as Eduardi had a job interview which must have gone well after a gin and tonic and half a bottle of wine! While Eduardi was impressing her prospective employer, Alan kindly ran us to a LIDL in Sanlucar where were able to restock the boat. It is amazing how much effort is involved in shopping from a boat and Alan’s generous offer of a lift was invaluable. We met Eduardi in Sanlucar after her interview and met up with some of Eduardi’s relatives at a convenient coffee shop. It was lovely being back in Sanlucar again; the last time I had been there was on Christmas Eve 2009 when we saw the bizarre spectacle of around 200 young people all dressed  in Santa outfits. They were accompanied by a band and all were in various states of inebriation in procession through the streets  before meeting in the town square for more refreshment. The Spanish really know how to throw a party!

We finally fell into bed the worse for wear at 0100 with the promise to meet later in the day.

4th September 2015              Chipiona

Feeling rather jaded we spent the day pottering. We were to meet the Dunne’s again but no one had the energy so we agreed to meet for a barbecue at Chateau Dunne  on 5th September.

5th September 2015              Chipiona

After a morning of jobs on the boat Alan collected us from Chipiona for the barbecue at his house. Then followed an hilarious day with Alan and family together with other friends and family. A wonderful meal of fish cooked in salt (sounds over salty, but virtually no salty flavour at all and delicious) with chorizo and hamburgers preceded a game of cards called “Contento”. This simple game had us all in fits of laughter and Jac and I were determined to teach it to our friends and family. Back to the boat at one in the morning by taxi as no one was in any condition to drive.

6th September 2015              Chipiona

The ship’s log just says: “Jobs day – recovering!”

Author: chrisgowers

Retired pilot now sailing around the Mediterranean accompanied by my wife Jacquie.

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