As with yesterday there was a light off shore morning breeze, but unlike yesterday, the skies were clear - no cumulous clouds over the land. The low, lonely, remote sandy coast of Donana National Park pointed into the distance, we stood a couple of miles out to sea, slowly cutting the corner as the coast bent round - it was very tranquil out here. Too tranquil - as the baking southern sun stirred the thermals our gradient wind was stopped in its tracks. We lay on our boards sunbathing about three miles out to sea in the calm waters of the Gulf of Cadiz. It had been a long time since the ocean had last been flat enough for us to do that - probably back in the english channel - a few thousand miles of rolling Atlantic swell earlier.
Half a sun-soaked hour later the sea breeze had overpowered the gradient wind and was blowing gently on shore, we eased our way down the solitary shore, a distant thin low level line of unmarked sand dune separating the sea from the salt marshes behind. A huge abandoned wreck of a sunken tanker was beached in front of the dunes and strangely, this disfiguring unnatural scar only added to the beautiful remoteness
We headed for the lighthouse at Chipiona, the rest of the land still lay below the horizon, but the dusty spike of the tower was visible through the haze. Straight lining the bay took us further out to sea, and in the light winds it was a long, lonely crossing.
And what a contrast when we did reach Chipiona; the waters were abuzz with sunny sunday afternoon tourists: jet skies, dinghies, divers, catamarans and, closer in, pedalos, swimmers, snorklers, surfers (with no surf), windsurfers (with no wind) all playing in the warm waters. The beaches were teaming with walkers, sunbathers, families, couples, youths, children, babies, volleyballers, footballers, kite fliers (with no wind), barbequers and loads more.
The wind was dieing. We were hardly moving. A pedalo of bronzed bikinis overtook me, confirming there was little point trying to sail any further today. . Wiith all manner of mankind on the beach we wanted a safe place to land and stash our equipment. A mile or so ahead the colourful catamaran sails of a sailing school. Perfect. Ashore banks of airy new low rise apartments, curled around golfcourses and man made lakes, the changing face of Costa de La Luz. Where we'd landed, at Costa Ballena, had been just dunes less than ten years ago, now there was a whole new town, a purpose built resort of terraced holiday homes, development after development, each complex washed in its own particular hue from white through to ochre.