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Sailing Letter September, Gibraltar to Almerimar

October 3, 2014

September 2014 Gibraltar to Spain ( Almerimar)

We spent quite some time in Gibraltar, having no hurry to get into the Mediterranean and there is a lot to do on this small rock. We bought some new electric equipment to sort out our charger problems, since the chandlers and electrical shops were close by and very knowledgeable. It was between 25-35 centigrade and sunshine every day. We went snorkeling on the east side, long walks with Pub visits to cool off and also some work on the boat ( Peter).  One of those days we took the Mediterranean stairs to the top. Don’t do that without water. We barely managed it….  However the views are rewarding and you’ll find a nice waterhole on the way downJ

Over the high cliffs we saw numerous big birds. We think, after checking all our books, that it was Golden Eagles ( sv.Kungsörn). They are flying between Africa and Europe depending on winds. Marvelous sight!

For the first time we also saw it necessary to make sun-shades for the windows on our fixed spray hood, so I (Eva) made a prototype of some shower curtains that we had. Will have to be professionally done later next year. It works fine and also gives us some privacy.

Monday Sept 8 we finally took the tour into the Med. Passing between Gibraltar (400m high) and Morocco ( 800 m) is breath taking. It looks so close and from a distance it is difficult to see that it is water (the Straight) between them. On our way to the first harbor, Duquesa, we came across some schools of Tuna that were hunting. Big jumps with the whole fish showing above water made it possible to see the fins and by that decide that it was Tuna and not Dolphins. They were BIG. No hooks or lines ready of course….

Duquesa was a nice little harbor. Rather shallow (we had difficulties going out 2 days later) but we got a nice place in the middle of the harbor, very close to a playa with shining clear water. Still no big water temperatures, but at least closer to 20 degrees. We stayed for 2 days doing some walks along the paved beach promenade and eating a very good Chinese dinner. Duquesa is mostly built up around tourists but it is small and therefore rather cozy.

Next stop, by motor, was Fuengirola. Here we managed to cast anchor inside the piers but outside the marina. Rather sheltered. Only some waves when the fishing boats were leaving in the morning and a minor swell. The town did not look that inspiring, so we stayed on board and took some swims instead.

40 nM to next suitable harbor. We started with no wind and a lot of swell (from the side of course) which made it rather uncomfortable. However the wind picked up in the afternoon, which seems to be normal here. That also made it impossible to anchor outside the marina del Este, so we took a berth in the small harbor.  We found it OK pricewise and the harbor itself is a beautiful place. The water is crystal clear both inside the marina and at the playa. We did some really good snorkeling the 2days we were there. Marina del Este has a couple of restaurants, but unfortunately the owner of the supermecado had recently taken the money and disappeared so food was not to be found, unless you took a promenade to the village on the other side of the mountain. We did that once, but it had to be taxi for the way back.

September 13 we entered our winter harbor (Almerimar) for the first time. First impression OK. Harbour sheltered with plenty of space, but is supposed to be filled by October. Lots of marineros to help with mooring. Almerimar is a village built around a nice golf course and the harbor. The nearest “Town” is El Ejido, with approx. 50.000 inhabitants 45 minutes by bike from Almerimar (uphill of course).

After 4 months of sailing and moving were we happy for just staying in one place for a while. We have used the time so far to get to know the surroundings by foot or bicycle. Guess we have done 2 hours exploring per day. We have also done some job on the boat, ensuring that she will be “ship shape” when we leave in end March.  There is a Scandinavian community who meet once a week, so we have visited them twice.

El Ejido got a visit the other day. First time we tried we got stuck at the  motorway roundabout, which we did not dare to cross. Next time we had checked the maps, had helmets and took us all the way to the city center “Plaza Mayor”. Ej Ejido is a young town, but it has the shops needed and we also found, (for the first time since Göteborg) the CO2 gas we needed for the Soda Streamer. We have decided to drink the tap water as far as possible, instead of carrying bottles from the spuermercado, so bubbles are important.

Last week we found the bird sanctuary close to Almerimar. Lots of different birds: white and grey Herons, strange ducks and of course flamingos. Impressing to see them live.

So: we will stay here for 6 months, eventually doing some tours with the boat to the closest harbors if the weather permits, but more important hire a car and do some trips inland. Andalucía is more famous for the mountains and small villages inland than the coast and the food is supposed to be more interesting too.  We will go on exploring the surroundings (especially the bird natural reserve) and of course test our way through all the tapas. For this we also see the need to find new books for defining flora and fauna. The ones we have is not covering enough.

Nature

  • Strange small fishes (seen when snorkeling). Looks like different types of Weevers (sv. Fjärsing) ( black, yellow and some sandy brown)
  • A sort of coral, deep orange
  • Golden Eagles ( sv. Kungsörn)
  • Egret Heron ( sv. Silkeshäger) and grey Herons
  • Flamingos
  • Kites ( sv. Glada)

Gastronomy

  • Tapas: all sorts of tapas are included in the price of a bear or a glass of wine
  • The Mercadona (grocery store) has a fantastic assortment of fish and shellfish which we will explore. We will also be able to get fresh vegetables at a good price since Almerimar is the biggest producer in Spain. (The surroundings are filled with plastic greenhouses, which makes the landscape look a bit peculiar)

Until next time – hasta luego

BR Eva, Peter

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