The most sad and striking aspect of Mediterranean sailing is plastic pollution. On previous coasts I’ve had little comment to make about plastic. It hadn’t been a major feature. For sure there is some fishing gear – “ghost netting” – on the shorelines, but at sea it had been rare to observe ANY plastic. But here in the Med the problem is depressingly abundant. Single-use packaging – on, or lurking just below the surface – is more common than life. The worst affected parts of ocean resemble plastic ‘slicks’, where the items being sailed through are too numerous to count. My guess is that this junk is swept out from the gorges and rivers. South Spain is particularly bad. Even so, frequently I sail into clearer waters and wonder if that is the last of it. Maybe my gloominess had been overstated, because here it’s not so bad. I see flying fish that take flight for maybe a hundred metres, lethargic sunfish that appear unwell until nudged into movement, and on one occasion narrowly avoid collision with a swordfish. The fierce sun penetrates deep into the pristine azure. The doubt remains until the next major conurbation, where more plastic is encountered, and my optimism checked. I don’t even care much about plastic. It’s a minor thing. What gets me most is how the businesses of the tourism industry: the beach bars, cafés and restaurants, seem to care not a jot about it. It’s all about maximum throughput with minimal effort and cost – which means single-use plastic for everything. And the businesses themselves, or their taxes, pay for the cleaning of the strips of sand, so the tourists keep on coming and remain oblivious to their true collective impact.