The anchorage outside Puerto Sherry Marina near the town of Santa Maria across the bay from Cadiz was pleasant but with some chop and swell occasionally coming in from the SW. We put out a stern anchor to keep us lined up at night when the wind died. There were a few local yachts anchored over the weekend but just us one other cruiser during the week. The Marina complex has three nice chandleries, a boat yard with a big Travelift but many unfinished structures including a massive dry stack facility. The dinghy harbor is on a scale to host the Olympic games with racing fleets of opti, tornado cat, sailboard and a local cat class on Saturday.
We took our dinghy into the dinghy harbor and walked to the ferry terminal in town (about an hour). The ferries to Cadiz are modern fast catamarans and run about every 50 minutes. We did take the dinghy up the river to town a couple times and locked it to the seawall for the day but felt it was safer to leave it in the marina complex and walk.
Cadiz is an historic old Spanish town with interesting architecture, museums and churches. Columbus sailed from here on his second and fourth voyages to the new world and Cadiz grew to become Spain's richest city in the 18th century. We also enjoyed Puerto de Santa Maria but did not support the impressive bull fighting arena on Sunday.
One of our reasons for going to Cadiz was to obtain outward clearance from Spain. This is reportedly hard to get in the Canary islands and the ports in the Caribbean all require some sort of paperwork showing you are not a dirtbag and have been cleared to leave the last country you were in. We started the process at the imposing Aduana edifice near the ferry terminal. Here we were stopped from entering by three guards who spoke no English but a shipping agent passing by intervened and told us we needed to use an agent to do the paperwork. Undeterred we thanked him for his help and made our way upstairs to a huge lobby and helpful receptionist who after checking with her boss explained (in Spanish) that we needed to go to the Estation Maritimo. We noticed this building from the ferry on our way into the harbor and proceeded to walk there to find the Capitania (Port Captain). With some trepidation we entered the upstairs office where we and our bags were scanned. There is technically a tax on vessels cruising Spain which could for us amount to over 500 Euros (for 30-365 days) and the Port Captain would be the one to enforce it. Our plan was to get clearance from customs and an exit stamp in our passports without involving the harbor people. But there was no customs to be found. We did find a very helpful Port Captain who worked hard to convince the Police to stamp our passports. They were not inclined to stamp anyone out who they had not stamped in. All stamping for yachts and their crew is to take place in marinas where you must pay for at least a day. The Port Captain was a ship captain and sailor who new this is not how the rest of the world functions so he gave us a stamp on our ships crew list which should be good enough to show some bureaucrats in Antiqua, St. Martin, Tortola, or wherever we make landfall in the Caribbean. With paperwork and stamped passports we can now leave the Canaries without having to look for outward clearance.
We are now underway bound for Lanzarote in the Canary islands. Our 9-30 0600 UTC position was 34d46'N, 9d13'W with about 400 nm to go. The sailing has been great with 12-18 kn on the beam now coming aft. We are heading offshore to catch stronger winds and will be poling out a headsail soon for a downwind ride to the Canaries.