In the Al-Gharb

When the moors took Hispania in 711, they called its west Al-Gharb, or The West.  In Portugal, they still call their South the Algarve.  The kings of Spain, from the time of Alfonso X, the wise, also styled themselves Rey del Algarve; at first, because they claimed possession of the whole thing, and later, after treaties with Portugal, because they remained, and remain, lords of the eastern parts of the old Al-Gharb, and in particular because of their conquest of the saracen kingdom of Niebla (1262).

From the time we passed Cape Saint Vincent, and therefore entered coastal Algarve, we've been astonished at the easy sailing and incredibly good weather enjoyed here, and, particularly so, east of Faro.  The explanation is that the upper section of the Bay of Cadiz, from Faro to the Guadalquivir, forms the ultimate shelter from Atlantic and from Mediterranean storms, while maintaining the warmest weather in Europe.

And so today we entered the Piedras estuary, at El Rompido, near Huelva, and this does not look like Europe at all: it feels as if we are somewhere in the Caribbean.  

No wonder the moors liked it.

  El Rompido, Piedras river, Cartaya, in Huelva.  iPhone 6 Plus, 5:54pm 12 November.

El Rompido, Piedras river, Cartaya, in Huelva.  iPhone 6 Plus, 5:54pm 12 November.