Abandoned boats!

Abandoned boats

Abandoned Boats

Here I am busying myself with boat maintenance and moored across from me is the most sorry looking  collection of dilapidated sailing vessels I’ve ever seen.

Why isn’t someone looking after them?
A mystery which was only recently resolved while chatting to locals.

They are the confiscated property of drug runners plying their trade between la Costa del Sol and Morocco!

Which explains why the authorities were so keen to question me and search my boat at Benalmadena and again upon my return to Almerimar.

Except that I hadn’t been anywhere near Morocco… 🙂

I’m told that in the past these assets were sold, but the authorities found they often ended up back in the hands of organised crime so now they just sit there at the mercy of the elements.

Life in Almerimar – an oxymoron?

Running wiring on a Yarmouth23

Running the wiring

I’ve been sheltering in the port of Almerimar on La Costa Del Sol for the past month.

Regular, and poorly forecast storms with with Force 8 winds are making cruising somewhat impractical so I’ve assigned myself to boat maintenance duty.

I’ve made a temporary mount for my Rutland 504 wind turbine out of a fishing rod holder, run new wiring, and installed a Rutland HRDX Charge Controller to manage the system.

Running the wires took a couple of days (I’m on cruisers time so all jobs take 3 times as long to complete), and while all the cabin lining was removed I though I’d might as well get my Mer Veille (Radar Detector) up and running. It wasn’t doing me much good stowed away in the hold.

So here is what it looks like now.

Rutland 504 wind turbine

I’ve put the instruction manual for the HRDX here and the Mer Veille here so I don’t loose them (again…)

Eileen of Avoca is really starting to look like a long distance cruiser now!

On a sunny day (a rarity), I also made a highly optimistic attempt at varnishing, but a sudden change in the weather ruined my masterpiece so I’ve given up and will wait another month or two before tackling the brightwork.

Another couple of days were passed head down in the bilge figuring out why my hot water system leaked… (Calcium deposits in the pressure release valve)… Fixed with some “anti-calc” bought at the supermarket.

HRDX Controller and Mer Veille

While playing the yachtsman version of “twister” in the bilge, I gave the few rusty bits on the propeller shaft coupling a good scrub and repaint so everything is now looking remarkably tidy down there. A case of transferred entropy, because I was looking remarkably messy.

So… is there anything else to do while wintering in Almerimar (apart from visiting the chandlers for that missing piece required to complete a boat project?

Well, if you like walks on the beach you can amble along what’s left of the grey sand to the west of the marina admiring the unfinished apartment monoliths. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants competing for what seems to be an increasingly endangered species… the client. I regularly frequented an English bar called the “Stumble Inn” or a Spanish one called “Emporio” for a social chat, coffee and free Internet Wi-Fi.

Beach at Almerimar

Beach at Almerimar

I’m struggling to add to the list… but perhaps I’m just too unimaginative.

Disenchanted with Southern Spain

Sailing near Denia

Sailing near Denia

I spent the next two weeks sailing down the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca stopping at Denia, Altea, Alicante, Torrevieja, Cartagena, Almeria, Almerimar, and Benalmadena.

With a steady land breeze, the sailing was exceptional. Eileen of Avoca sped effortlessly along the coast, often passing within a cable of bizarrely shaped headlands with dramatic cliffs and abundant bird life.

Dolphins visited frequently, swimming beside us with ethereal splendor for hours on end. At night, their intricate performance (illuminated by the agitated bioluminescent plankton), prompted rapturous applause.

Almeria

Almeria

The cities I’ve visited are the antithesis of this natural splendor. They appear excessively contrived and soulless. The further I travel south, the more feigned it all becomes.

With the exception of a handful of historic buildings, period architecture is abandoned to make way for the construction of theme park styled apartments and brand name shopping centers. What has happened to the real Spain? Tourist traps and real estate agents can’t be all that’s left!

Everything is for rent or for sale. Did the recent boom come at such a cultural cost?
I put these questions to the older sailors berthed for winter in Cartagena. They assure me that the real Spain still lives but it is not to be found further south among the plastic covered landscapes and marina developments of Andalucia.

Benalmadena

Benalmadena

I am certainly not impressed. The scarcity of berths for visiting yachts at intended destinations (Almerimar excepted) made landfall a chore, and the frequent questioning or searches by port officials did little to make me feel welcome.
Perhaps misinformation from my outdated Mediterranean almanac was to blame, or I’ve just been in the wrong frame of mind.

I decide to break my journey and leave Eileen while I return to Belgium for a white Christmas. I’ll take up where I left off in the new year.

Seasons Greetings everyone!