Estepona to Puerto Almerimar

Fri 9 Aug 2013 18:28
Leaving the delights of our Esteponian, fish scented berth we head for
Fuengirola and all it has to offer. What sailing we had, the Mediterranean
winds, fickle as they often are had us close hauled, broad reaching, then a
running. "Reef down!" Lynn demands as the wind peaks above thirty five knots
and our seascape saloon port lights become windows on a subaquatic world and
the angle of our deck better suiting an extreme, mountain goat. Accepting
the command we haul and sweat over sheets and blocks. No, not really we
actually push four buttons and the boat steadies herself at a more
comfortable angle. The wind drops, the sails are unreefed. The wind angle
changes sheets are trimmed and then eased, cars are pulled forward and then
brought aft, the changes continue as we slice through sun sparkled, gentle
seas in unremitting sunshine. Oh what fun! Into Fuengirola at 17.30 where we
Mediterranean moor, Lynn grimacing as she hauls the usual, filthy, mollusc
encrusted, laid line over the bow roller and our pristine, teak laid deck to
the windlass, powers it bone tight and cleats off to hold our bow. Once
settled, sheets hanked, shore power attached, boat washed down, I sallie
forth to the Harbour Master's office to once more go through the formalities
and pay our dues, passing on the way (and I kid you not for I counted them)
twenty three, largely empty dock side restaurants representing , or claiming
to, the cuisines of many nationalities. The touting waiters wearing masks of
smiles and cloaks of enthusiasm for their weary below average fare,
gesticulating at garish, full colour photograph full menus, fail to tempt
me. We eat aboard that night.

We left Fuengirola next morn with Lynn not having stepped foot in the place,
heading for Caleta de Valez, excited by the fact that we would soon be
seeing Charles, Gemma and the children. Unlike the previous day the petulant
wind decided not to blow at all, as if failing to intimidate us the day
before it had gone to sulk. All hot and sultry day long we motored under a
sky of low, pale grey cloud whilst the sea took up the intimidatory
challenge and lumberingly, rolled and tossed us for all of the passage on a
discourteous, three metre swell, purposefully aimed at our beam to cause
maximum discomfort. Arriving at our destination mid-afternoon we tied up
port side on to the concrete hammerhead of pontoon D. Salt strewn decks
washed down, sheets tidied, formalities and exchange of currency completed,
cockpit drinks supped we sauntered forth to El Camerote, the only restaurant
in this part of town, where we dined on calamaritos (tiny, baby squid,
battered and deep fried)and delicate pink cusk eel. The flesh of which was
beaten flat and served with garlickly, delicious aioli. The soft warm night
air, light breeze, glass of chilled white Rioja, smell of wood smoke all
conspired to tempt us to the delights of an oh so succulently, tender fillet
steak cooked over Spanish oak logs on El Camerote's outdoor grill. We
tottered happily back down pontoon D to our hammerhead berth and a quiet
nights slumber.

Morning comes and so does Charles with Tilly and fresh baked pastries,
crying out for café con leche. Caffeine charged, sticky fingers wiped I take
Tilly for an ice cream whilst Charles heads back to their mountain hung
villa to collect Gemma and Felix. So lovely to see them all, nine month
Felix, chubby, chuckling and smiling, eyes shining with delight. Thursday we
visit their precipitous villa clinging to the mountainside above white
painted Frigliana, whose houses seem to have been randomly, tumbled upon one
another and are to be explored through cool, shadowed alley ways and
vertiginous steps. Back at the villa we splash the day away in the pool with
the children. As evening sets charcoal is lit its familiar smell scenting
the air as we talk and eat looking out over lower hills to the sea, shadows
lengthening, sun slipping behind mountain slope, twinkling, lights appear on
the steep hill sides like newly woken fire flies, the wind carries a dogs
bark from the valley below, a distant car starts, the glow around our
outdoor table as evenings soft cape descends.

Bright Saturday morning Charles en famille are installed aboard Pamarzi.
Once Tilly has chosen her cabin a day of provisioning and stowing and boat
jobs ensues. There are always boat jobs to do. Happily sorted and stowed we
take them off to savour the wood smoked delights of El Camarote. Sunday a
gentle sail on rippling, sun reflecting seas to the bay called La Herradura.
We select our place of anchor four hundred metres off the beach in ten
metres depth. The Rocna sets first time, sixty metres of chain is laid on
the sea bed and with light winds forecast the skipper feels comfortable. We
swim and play two days away. Tilly is coaxed and festooned with arm bands
'swims' (eventually) from the stern platform, finds it great fun, then does
not want to come out! The tender is lowered, for an exploration of local
seaward caves. When all have been zoomed around enough Charles takes the
opportunity and skims off across the bay and around the headland a mile or
so distant to explore pastures new. Back to Caleta de Valez the following
morning with a stop for lunch and a final briney swim. Our last supper at El
Camarote disappoints . Huge kebabs of skewered meats and vegetables look
delicious as they bake and sizzle in the wood smoke, but the skewer was
probably more tender than the meat. We complain but they appear not to
recognise what damage they have done to the singers of their praise.

Wednesday morning and the time has come for a parting of the ways. Children
and all their paraphernalia are bundled into the hired car, for the trip to
the airport. We kiss and hug and wave goodbye, returning to a quiet boat. We
silently go through our casting off routine, a fellow boaters offer of help
politely declined, he extends a complimentary "good team". We both feel good
as we manoeuvre the big boat out of the little harbour and into another big
chop of a sea. We work for a better angle on the waves our mainsail helping
to steady us but there is little wind. Little wind that is until we reach
our destination of Marina Del Este when it picks up to thirty five knots.
Two crew docking thirty odd tons of yacht in a small marina with thirty five
knots of cross wind is 'interesting' but we did get her safely berthed in
this very pretty , and expensive, marina development seemingly cut into the
solid rock of the cliff face. Its delightfully designed houses and
apartments cleverly tiered up from the marina's edge. Sadly though closer
inspection reveals that many are uninhabited and most of the shop and
restaurant properties have never been occupied or have been and are awaiting
the next loser of money for surely none can be making any in this
overdeveloped, under occupied enclave. An evening of emails, business
matters and much planning of future passages and ports of call, as Lynn
returns home for a week on the 12th to celebrate a niece's wedding. Even
more time is spent on Ryanair's website trying to buy tickets from Murcia to
Manchester and back without extra bags, car hire, chosen seat, in flight
meal, airport transfer, 'attractive' cabin baggage, airport parking, hotel
rooms and on and on. Went to my bed vowing never to fly with Ryanair again!

Today, Thursday we two sail to Puerto Almerima. The wind is strong and on
the nose, we motor sail along a hard and mountainous coastline four or five
miles off shore. Surprisingly passing snow-capped peaks in the hinterland of
the Sierra Nevada. As we head eastwards and northwards we watch the scene
harden further, brittle, ragged edge mountains almost to the shore, pock
marked and gouged by man's industrious activities. A motorway appears to
levitate above a valley as the shadow hides its supporting pillars of the
same coloured stone that it is surrounded by then dives into a subterranean
tunnel only to reappear and repeat again and again mile after mile. How much
of our taxes went into this creation of man's ingenuity I wonder. The coast
itself where once pretty white villages provided homes for fishermen and
farmers are in most place submerged in a jungle of low cost designed, high
rise concrete monstrosities built to be the fortnight temporary housing for
numbers never achieved and often now providing building sights for other
visitors from Africa as they swoop with beaks of mud and stone to create
their summer residences. Hours pass the scene starts to change as the
coastal strip widens and whitens as the sediment washed from those high
mountains for eons is covered by acre upon acre of plastic under which grows
the fruit and vegetables consumed by those living in northern European

We arrive windswept in windswept Almerima our maritime duties are done we
are moored and secured and I shall tell you more of this place when I write

Roger and Lynn

The crew of Pamarzi