Med Bound Blog 14: The last few nautical miles to the close of the season for us.
29 September 2016 | Amliramar
Mart the Fart, with my usual editor, the weather is sublime and the water is warm
As predicted, Veronica was taken with Marina del Este, I hired a car and picked her up at Almeria airport. It was a slog, 140km there and the same back. The new Mediterranean freeway, newly opened, was an impressive piece of engineering, tunnels and viaducts cutting through a rugged coastline where the Sierra Nevada meets the sea. The abundant plastic greenhouses along the way, that apparently supply something like 70% of all Europe’s tomatoes, are an eyesore. We stayed 2 more days there, chilling on the beach. It was that feeling, we were close to the journey’s end and we could slow right down. On the Friday evening we looked at the weather and made a snap decision to head for the only anchorage that was possible and only in settled conditions. It was Calahonda, a pebbly beach, deeply local and not a tourist trap. There was a steep cliff overlooking us, we anchored in 20m of water, which was still surprisingly close to the shore. We went to the beachfront restaurant on the waterfront and also found a supermechardo for the last few necessary supplies, mindful of needing to whittle down our food stores.
The next day we chilled, snorkelling under the cliff, pleasantly surprised by the abundance of sea life. I had been surprised during the evening sail to see flying fish, which I thought were only a tropical big ocean phenomenon and not resident in the Med. After a chilled day on anchor, the wind remained calm but the swell built and the slight wind pushed us onshore. It had us taking bearings and were concerned that the anchor was dragging, it probably was not but we made another snap decision and headed for the next viable harbour, 18NM distant. We had roast vegetables and chicken on the way. The pilot guide described Adra as a place to be missed, without actually saying that. The pilot guide is good like that. We arrived in the dark with no navigation computer, just the iPad, which had a chart that was ludicrously small scale for the task. It was actually rather good to have to pay proper attention to the myriad of port and starboard lights that led you through the snakes and ladders double entrance, we were actually counting the seconds of the long short flashing sequence to determine which light was which. A reminder of how spoilt we are with chart plotters (when they are working).
Inside there was a half finished marina, with just pontoons, mostly deserted and unwelcoming. We went alongside behind the only other yacht there. The pontoon was an inch thick in seagull shit, no water nor electricity. The Guardia arrived wading down the pontoon in wellington boots and asked us to fill in the standard police form. We set all our lines from the boat and decided we did not need to go ashore at all. On the positive side it was another balmy evening and we sat in the cockpit drinking a tad too much whiskey while reminiscing on the long road from Holland to here. Somehow the rich guano aroma had, with time, become strangely less obtrusive. The next morning, being told by the boat next door that the harbour office was closed on Sundays, made things easy. We left without paying a cent, there was nothing that was worth a cent, and headed for Almerimar. We are there now, it is a pleasant marina with a large boat yard. We plan to leave the boat here for winter until 1 May next year.
We lifted out on 28 September, goal achieved, the current odyssey interesting and now complete. We both feel privileged to have been able to do this and blessed that it went without any major incident, just a few spicy moments.