Altwasser sailing diary

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Costa del Sol (or del Wind?)
October 23rd Ė November 2nd 2003. 100 nautical miles.

Alhambra October 23rd

Brian and Shirley of Airwave were so pleased when Richard set up email using their new PC and Iridium phone, they invited us to visit Alhambra together. Sitting on a hilltop near Granada in the snow peaked Sierra Nevada mountains, Alhambra is a fortified town dating back to Roman times. The surviving gardens, palaces and fortifications mainly reflect the last surviving Islamic state in the Iberian peninsula, the Nasrid sultanate of Granada (1232-1492).

Nerja and back October 24th Ė 30th

With gentle Easterlies forecast, we sailed west to Motril (34 miles) on Friday with the aim of moving on to Nerja (16 miles) the following day. Motril offers excellent protection from Westerly wind and swell, whereas waves from the East fill the harbour. So when the wind and swell picked up, peaking at 40 knots, we spent two nights with little sleep followed by the cold showers of Motrilís Club Nautico.

On Sunday we moved on to Almunecar and spent three nights at anchor, taking the dinghy ashore at Almunecar and Nerja.

Itís not true that Nerja is full of retired English, this was half-term week and many young English families were there too. We overheard one poor teenage lad being reluctantly coaxed into smiling for the camera while Daddy took a picture of him with the nice sailing boat anchored in the bay behind.

We are rapidly learning how to row ashore with a dinghy onto steeply shelving Mediterranean beaches. Swimming shorts or bikini briefs and bare feet are essential. This spectacle certainly captured the attention of the (English) beach bathers at Nerja, and when Liz went ashore at Almunecar, work stopped completely on the new hotel as the builders lined up to encourage her with wolf whistles.

We spent a night tied alongside Sarah and Robert on Yansa inside Adra harbour on our return and enjoyed an evening of curry and philosophy. The contrast with Almerimar is striking: Adra dates back more than 2 millennia, Almerimar just two decades. Perhaps we are not purists who enjoy tracing our sailing heritage back to the Phonecians, but we do like modern hot showers. We just managed to get back to Almerimar before the wind blew up again, reaching 42 knots (Force 9) in our sheltered corner. We are still learning the Mediterranean art of fore and aft mooring and whilst I was playing with ropes on the foredeck, Liz lost her footing and was fished out by the harbourmaster. Yes, we do like our hot showers.

We hope to be off to Malaga on Monday morning to pick up Chris, and enjoy the nice gentle Easterlies that are forecast. UmmÖ havenít we heard these forecasts before?