Esther Williams, was a woman who made her Hollywood Career in a bathing suit. She made films that were a cross between those Busby Berkeley dance movies and a synchronized swimming event. Esther said that the Mar Menor was "The largest swimming pool in the World." Not exactly Voltaire or Churchill or even Marx (Groucho that is) but a useful, working hypothesis nonetheless.
The Mar Menor is a coastal lake seperated from the Med by a sandbar called La Manga.
We went to have a look at La Manga yesterday. The sandbar is 22kms long and varies in width between 100 metres and 1200 metres but it isn't quite complete so that, having driven up it from the Cartagena side at Cabo de Palos, we turned around by the hump backed bridge near La Veneziola and drove all the way back again. The strip is a bit messy to be honest, lots and lots of very piecemeal development and some very tacky shops and bars. But, on the other hand, you can often being see crystal blue and green water on either side of the road and the channels that pass underneath the opening road bridge are really impressive as the little boats pass - white bow waves and turquoise water.
The lagoon on the landward side has much more brackish water than the open sea so it's a place where people float around enjoying the extra buoyancy. And the water is dead shallow, normally only about 1.5 metres deep, which makes it perfect to learn surfboarding or sailing or just to mess about. There is also mud that is supposed to have medicinal properties so you see people slarted with the stuff from head to foot looking like something out of that dreadful Tarzan film with Bo Derek.
On balance I think I was a bit disappointed with the La Manga but I know that some people think it is a brilliant spot and I can see that if you knew your way around there are probably plenty of secret coves and beaches where the original beauty of the place hasn't been buried beneath kebab houses and suntan lotion.