We have been out on the sea several times now, from Argelès mainly, once from Banyuls, and one slightly more adventurous trip which is, strictly, not relevant to these blogs, as it was out of Cadaqués. These outings have confirmed what I had always thought must be the case from reading the map, and that is that we have an impressive and interesting coastline. The rock features may not include many arches, there are really no stacks and only a few caves, but the cliffs and headlands are wild and craggy, formed of metamorphic schist with "injected" and very contorted volcanic rock, and there are a number of tiny bays where you can haul a boat out, swim and have a picnic. Most of these features are hard to glimpse from the land, let alone the road, and you have to take to the water to see the best of it.
A considerable number of people explore the underwater richness of this coast from the many dive-boats, but there is also the "sentier sous-marin", a sort of underwater nature trail in a bay near Cerbère. Martine (my watery partner) reports that it seems popular and provides some quite interesting snorkelling, while not being as good as one of the stations out on the Marine Reserve. (me? I was just swimming in circles round the boat!). We reckon that on these trips (seven this month), we may have seen ten different species of fish close-to, but have not yet managed to identify them all, (including the two most attractive species, one horizontally striped, one with lovely blue fins, that swam around my feet in one of the nice swimming bays near Collioure!) We are now looking for a book which will help us identify these different fish. Other, bigger, fish are certainly about, but all we have really seen so far are substantial splashings ahead of the boat.
Now, reluctantly, we are both returning, (fairly briefly) to Scotland, where everything will, as ever, be totally different. Vive la différence!