What a difference a Cape makes. The Atlantic Coast of Algave

Cape St Vincent (Cabo de São Vicente) is the most Southwesterly point of the European Continent. It’s juts out into the Atlantic at the bottom tip of Portugal. It’s funny to think that only few weeks back I was at the North West tip of Africa.

East of the Cape the coast gently curves toward the Gulf of Cadiz with its generally warm calm waters. (As seen in the previous blog)

To the west and north the Atlantic up to its reputation of icy cold waves and wild beaches.

The beach at Carrapateira a wild wahing machine of a place.

Arrafina is a lot less wild. sheltered by a headland with a little fishing port giving some shelter from the wind and a better set of waves.

Is the water icy? Well at under 18c it’s chilly but not as cold as the Southern Ocean off the Victorian, Australia coast where I have swum for many years.

But not intolerable!

The cliff top provides amazing views up and down the coastline.

And of course facing west the clifftop provides a great sunset viewing platform.

Riding through the Algave Region of Portugal

The Rio Guadiana forms the southern border between Spain and Portugal. These days there is a major bridge at the southern end of the river linking the two countries but for centuries travel by boat crossing the river between villages such as Alcoutim in Portugal and Sanlúcar de Guadiana in Spain.

My friend Stephane has a house near the Rio Guadiana and has been a wonderful guide of the area. An area favoured by motocyclists and walkers alike.

For many years both Portugal and Spain were Authoritarian Countries with Dictators. Salazar in Portugal and Franco in Spain. In such an environment border smuggling flourished.

The movement of contraband across the border is celebrated along the Guadiana.

The beaches near Cacela Velha are wide, and sandy with clean cool water.

In land the rolling hills provide spectacular views. The cork trees covering them harvester every 8 years. Cork is truly a renewable resource. No tree is felled or damaged in its production. The oldest known cork tree is over 230 years old and still produces.

The small towns and villages along the coast and in the hills offer great sightseeing and wonderful little restaurants serving a variety of local Portuguese cuisine. Be adventurous cause there is more to Portuguese food than cataplana.

The Atlantic Coast of Morocco

Mirleft is a lovely village on the Atlantic Coast between the cities of Agadir and Sidi Infi. While it is a small village now there is a lot of building development happening and in a short time hotels and resorts will dominate the beaches.

To get to Mirleft I chose a route through the Anti Atlas to Tiznit from Imlil in the High Atlas. This route was over small back roads and villages and avoided the business and hub bub of Marrakech. The type of thing I like. It’s an easy day ride this way from the High Atlas to the coast.

Between Mirleft and Legzira and its famous arches if you keep your eye out you might just find a rough dirt track leading down to the a deserted beach where you can find a deserted piece of the African Atlantic Coast.

The coast like between Mirleft and Sidi Infi is dramatic and beautiful, especially the rock arches around Legzira. Some of which you can only see from.the clifftop edge.

As I said Mirleft is changing quickly. The centre of the old town it’s own charm with the main street a line of blue painted arches.

One of those blue arched building houses a licenced premise. A different type of oasis in Morocco!

Well friends and followers there are more tales of Morocco to come over the last couple of weeks I’ve been in Spain and now Portugal. So time to change focus and enjoy the moment.

Morocco, back to the beginning and arriving from Spain.

It’s a quick ferry ride from Tarifa to Tanger and a long trek through customs into Morocco.

Many stories proceed a trip to Morocco- tourist touts, poor roads, mad drivers mint tea and the physical beauty of the country.

Tanger being the sea gateway to Morocco one both arrives and departs from Tager. So maybe coming in and out of Tanger is a good time to compare my cautious and naive thoughts on entering Morocco and the utter thankfulness that I had had a month travelling in Morocco ( I could have spent 3).

So after some sickingly sweet mint tea, some haggling with money changers and a very greasy omelette it was into the seemingly crazy traffic and on the road to Tetuan.

Coming up the the Atlantic Coast back to Tanger and the Ferry back to Spain. Asilah is one of the first towns in Tanger province with a small Medinain the old Portuguese fort right on the ocean.

Rubbish on the Moroccan Beaches and in the country side is a sad scare on the landscape and if you read the guides Asilah is about the worst. But Tanger province has made a big effort to clean up its beaches and as you can see in the photos

Cape Spatel is the most north western point of the African continent. The lighthouse is called the Hercules Lighthouse. The Greek legend is that here and across the Strait in Gibralter is where Hercules tore the African and European continents apart and let the Atlantic ocean flood in to form the Mediterranean Sea.

A little south of Cape Spatel is the Grote de Hercules where legend has it the strong man slept while undertaking the slightly daunting task of ripping two continents apart.

While I had been warned about Moroccan drivers I found it the safest place to ride but you need to understand the codes.

Let me share an anecdote.

I use a GPS it’s my guide but it’s not infallible. Coming into Tanger the GPS went to send me down a road the was blocked by roadworks.

As I was readjusting a scooter zipped past slowed down and gave me the slow down and follow me sign. A little way along the rider pointed to the road on the left. Gave a wave and zipped off. The road led straight to the port.

I’m sorry I didn’t see more of Tanger. Maybe next trip!!!!

Jewels in the South of Western Australia-Denmark and Esperence/Cape Le Grand

After months in the hot tropics of northern Australia and the arid dry coast of central Western Australia arriving in the cool damp southern parts of the state was a sharp change of environment.

The area was cool and moist with rain never far off and a swim in the Southern Ocean is nothing short of bracing.

The landscape around the river and lake is quite beautiful.

But for my the highlight was walking through the coastal forest of Black Butt, Paper Bark and Melaleuca trees.

With the colour of wildflowers and moss sprinkled through

Around 350km east of Denmark is the city of Esperance with the Cape Le Grand National Park near by.

The coast at Cape Le Grand is wild in natural beauty etched by the wind and water.

It’s the quartz in the granite rock formations that makes the sand the whitest in Australia.

In an environment like this I could not help but scale a peak

Or take a dip in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean.

Cape le Grand was such a peaceful beautiful place.

A mother kangaroo happy to show off her baby joey.

Maybe we should all pause a time and think about the beauty of the natural world because it is nature that sustains us.

Maybe can all stand up like the people of little Denmark did in the lead up the World Climate Change Conference and say We Can Do It by cherishing our natural world.