We have been skipping along the Costa Del Sol and are now in Almerimar, which is one possible port for us to keep the boat in over the winter months.  We have found that there are barely any protected anchorages along this stretch of the Spanish coast and certainly the marinas in Marbella and Benalmádena are way too full of tourists for our liking.  However, we probably have not done justice to what the area has to offer behind the shoreline.  Certainly the mountain ranges behind the coast are very impressive … and we hope to visit places like Grenada and Cordoba by land over the winter months.  Not surprisingly, the Costa Del Sol is also rather hot, which saps our energy.  The further east along the coast we traveled (into the wind, unfortunately), the more terraced land we saw, covered in miles of white plastic sheeting.  This part of Andalucia, near Almería and consequently also Almerimar, provides much of the fruit and vegetables for Europe, all grown under polythene sheeting, mostly sewn and harvested by Morrocan immigrant workers, and irrigated using desalinated water.  But it is hard to imagine how much of the land is covered until you see it….

Benalmádena marina – surrounded by fanciful buildings
Shoreline approaching Almerimar. Note some of the many square miles of white plastic greenhouses on the right.

Fortunately the weather permitted us to take a break from marinas for a couple of nights, and we anchored in Ensenada de la Herradura.  Although the usual onshore breeze picked up in the afternoon, there was practically no wind overnight so being in an exposed bay was actually a very pleasant change, especially as the moon was almost full (as you can see photo at the top of this blog).  We launched the dinghy and the paddleboard and made our way, Howard in the dinghy, I on the paddleboard, over to the western end of the bay where the snorkeling was pretty good.  Plenty of kyacks, paddleboarders and peddleboats passed by us during the day.  We also took a look at the state of our antifouling and started to clean some of the slime and weed off particularly the prop and waterline.  More to do in that department as cleaning activities were curtailed when I (Hope) was stung by a small jellyfish!

If you look closely, these guys are ‘cycling’ to propel their catamarans!

Almerimar is another large marina (around 1,000 boats) with beaches either side and a nature reserve a little further east, but nowhere near the number of tourists compared with Marbella or Benalmádena.  We have been slowly exploring what it has to offer and whether or not we feel we would be happy here for around 6 winter months.  There seem to be quite a few things in its favor, a large winter liveaboard community that runs a morning net, etc., the rates are quite low, it has a great chandlery, canvas and many other boat services, an excellent supermarket nearby and, dare I say it, there are quite a few English-speaking folks around.  The other major contender for hosting us over winter is Cartagena, where we plan to be in a week or so.  It will be interesting to compare.