On to Estepona

Life vest found at sea

On a smooth gray sea I motored to Estepona. Visibility was poor, but I did manage to see enough to catch a discarded life vest as it drifted by. No markings anywhere and thankfully no shipwrecked individual still clinging to it.

Eileen motored on through the mist, at one point emerging amongst a ‘flotilla’ of resting sea gulls. Taking flight, they squawked angrily, and circled with what appeared to be the express intention of bombarding me with excreta. I managed to dodge most of it, but Eileen was less fortunate!

Arriving at Estepona’s visitors quay, I was courteously met and assisted with securing Eileen. The staff then accompanied me to the marina office where I completed the usual formalities (passport, insurance, boat registration papers), and paid what amounted to twice the daily rate of Fuengirola. Their saving grace however, was the welcoming gift of a bottle of local table wine. Aha!, an obvious ploy to win me over and trivialize the price hike. 🙂

Estepona is well serviced with chandlers, sail makers, night clubs and restaurants. Supermarkets are also just a short walk away, but I did not need or care to venture into town. Having made the most of my complementary gift, I opted instead for an early night.

Something to write home about

Smartly dressed dog

While many of my emails to marinas on my route (requesting the availability of a berth), are either ignored or given short thrift (i.e. “go away.. you are too small a boat to bother with”…take note Italy and Gibraltar!), it was an unexpected pleasure to deal with the small boat  friendly and professional staff at Fuengirola.

For what it’s worth, the marina gets my enthusiastic recommendation. It’s inexpensive (7.45 a night with electricity and WiFi), secure, well managed, and situated in a real town!

And while I’m unashamedly giving plugs for the city:

If you see this smartly dressed dog, be sure to say hello to her very simpatico owners for me!

If you fancy dining on authentic Italian pizza (not the popular Spanish equivalent that’s made of cement and seemingly flattened by a steam roller), then seek out this establishment.

Best Pizza in Fuengirola

I admit to having cravings for pizza while cruising. If I could fit a pizza oven on Eileen, I’d be in gastronomic heaven, but alas I have to make do with a plastic box for germinating alfalfa sprouts… Not quite the same, but I’m trying to convince myself that it’s a far healthier substitute.

Oh, and if you’d rather frequent a locals establishment (for drinks and tapas), go no further than ‘La Fonda’ (opposite the bus station). You will undoubtedly be well looked after.

All of which made my stay in Fuengirola grand. I liked it so much, I went to fetch my mother and inflicted a weeks holiday (with me) on her. I even bullied her aboard Eileen to endure a day-sail / fishing trip and have the photographic evidence to prove it!

Where are the fish?

Our amateurish attempts to harvest the seas bounty here were however, frustrated by one small issue. The complete lack of fish to be caught anywhere near La Costa del Sol.

I’m told by a reliable source that the local ‘sports fishermen’ now often resort to accidentally having their lines stray into fish farm enclosures to guarantee that catch. Is this so that they can return home with enough bounty to justify the cost of taking out the diesel dollar guzzler… I mean… the leisure cruiser?

No surprise given that trawlers by the dozen sieve the sea of everything edible, leaving nothing but plastic bags, bottles and assorted junk in their wake.

I might have to wait until I reach the Atlantic before I can catch another meal, but the lure goes into the water despite the dismal prospects.

Viva Fuengirola!

Fuengirola Marina

It was a cold and wet 22 hour sail from Almerimar to Fuengirola and despite wearing nearly every article of woolen clothing that I own, I felt I was sailing in the Arctic rather than the South of Spain.

With so many layers of clothing I looked like an inflated puffer fish, but despite the handicap, I still managed to keep Eileen of Avoca pointed in the right direction. Bravado aside, there really isn’t that much to do ‘on passage’ once the sails are set and the autopilot’s engaged.

Just the way I like it… There aren’t too many sporting activities that allow you to make a cup of tea or take a nap while you are at it… though upon further reflection I’ve added cricket to the list :).

Not that I was sleeping, a ready supply of RedBull and the angry buzz of my newly installed radar detector kept me wide awake as I ambled past the light off Cabo Sacratif (FL (2) 10S 25M).

I passed the time rummaging through my provisions for that ideal midnight snack, listening to insults exchanged over the radio (prompted by some bored fisherman amusing himself with incessant on-off transmitter clicks and the occasional groan), and obsessively fussing over the GPS in order to make that negligible and completely unnecessary adjustment to my course.

Surprise surprise, I didn’t run into anything, I was not attacked by pirates or sea monsters, and no rogue waves materialized. I just motored into the marina, tied Eileen to the visitors pontoon, and stepped ashore in Fuengirola. All too easy! I’ll have nothing to blog about if this keeps up.