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Into the Wind

We set off the next day, heading south, with the wind on our nose. This time there was lots of it as well and it gradually picked up until we were crashing headfirst into the waves. It was following the coast as well, which meant that even when we rounded a headland and changed direction, it was still in front of us. The whole coastline seemed to be a wind acceleration zone, which I hadn't come across since sailing in the Canaries; wind from certain directions gets funnelled around and over the mountains and can easily double in force as it comes down to sea.

The wind picked up further until it was about force 6, and rounding headlands was becoming very difficult as the bigger waves would slam into our bows and bring our speed down to almost zero. We sat there, staring at the rocks and cliffs about half a mile off our starboard side as if we weren't moving, wondering if we were ever going to get past them and trying to keep track of any cross-current that might be pulling us onshore.

We were motoring hard, trying to punch through four metre waves and every so often we'd get hit by a bigger one which would break over the deck and soak us in the cockpit. It was turning into another tough day, and, as the wind and waves were slowing us so much, what should have been a six hour trip was now dragging on. I took a look at the charts and decided to make for Ensenada de Rodalquilar, a closer anchorage than the one we'd been heading towards. The pilot book didn't make it sound very attractive and warned there was poor holding; our anchor might drag, which didn't sound too promising in this wind, but we decided to take a look anyway.

As we approached the bay the wind picked up to about force 7, howling around us. We had everything ready for a prompt anchoring operation in case we were quickly blown back out of the bay, but as we got close we suddenly motored through the wind line and, unbelievably, it dropped off completely. It didn't seem real - we looked behind us at a line of waves where it was about 35 knots, and here the wind was calm. It felt like coming out of hell. The bottom of the bay was all soft, white sand. As the anchor hit, it dug in instantly - so much for the pilot book.

Carita and I swam ashore and walked along the beach. The rock was almost white, carved into amazing patterns and curves by the waves, and full of fossils. We sat and looked down into the clear water and out at Zamindar, anchored in the bay; it was really a lovely place.

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