2 Chickens and a Parrot Safey Delivered by Falcon

Trip Start May 22, 2006
Trip End Aug 05, 2014

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Caleta De Velez
We left Fuengirola at 9.00 to travel the 30 miles to Caleta de Velez under rather ominous skies. However, they eventually cleared and gave good sunshine but very little wind. The scenery would be magnificent if it weren't for the concrete rash along the coast.
The marina at Caleta was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". There were seagulls lurking with intent and looking malevolent all over the pontoons. Half expecting to meet Tippi Hendren screaming bloodily along the road we legged it to the harbour office where we were charged very little (12 euros) for the night. The rain then bucketed down for an hour. We took a stroll into town, found an internet café, checked the weather - nothing above force 4 predicted for the next day.
Motril - Posh Yacht Club
Left Caleta at 8.00 headed for Motril about 25 miles away. Wind built up to force 5 and stayed like that most of the way. Had an enjoyable sail with great scenery. The snow covered Sierra Nevada mountains started to appear, the sun shone and there was barely a cloud in the sky - ain't life grand! About an hour out of Motril the wind died so we took down the sails and motored towards the harbour when, suddenly, in the space of ten minutes the wind veered through 90 degrees and went from nothing to a full force eight gale. We arrived at the yacht club pontoons soaked and shell-shocked, observed by loads of elegant yacht club members enjoying their Sunday cocktails on the terrace.
It seemed that the wind which hit us is a local phenomenon caused by the air shooting down from the 6000ft mountains behind Motril. Must give the locals a great cabaret watching shattered Brit yotties arriving looking very uncool into their elegant surroundings. Ha bloody Ha!
The Club Nautico was a delight. Very smart with great facilities and, whilst a tad pricy (25€),it is good value for money. The town around the docks was a mixture of elegant apartments with broad promenades and working cottages. Very pleasant.
A Falcon Delivers Two Chickens and A Parrot to Almerimar.
Another 8.00 start saw us travelling the 35 miles to Almerimar suspiciously looking out for any hint of the gales of yesterday. Nae problem - the sun shone and the wind refused to go above a force 2. We motored along the coast enjoying the great scenery and wondering why there was no real development along this stretch. The Costa Concrete had become the Costa Plastic. All we could see were miles of terraces covered with plastic sheeting in which are grown a large percentage of Europe's winter vegetables. A touch ugly, but offset by the magnificent snow covered mountains.
At about 10.00 there was a loud squawking and screeching!! Looking up we saw an aerial combat between a couple of birds, a seagull and bizzarely a parrot (bear in mind we were 5 miles from land). Eventually the parrot took up station at the top of our mast and then, by stages, descended to the boom and eventually, after a good preening, fell asleep on our solar panels. He was grey with blue edges to his wings & a red & yellow tummy. He sat there until we arrived in Almerimar when, with a further squawk, rocketed, screeching like a banshee on speed, for the town. For the non yotties among you our boat is a Westerly Falcon.
The marina at Almerimar has a good reputation among itinerant yotties as a sound place to overwinter. It is a new development, very well equipped with all the facilities one could ask for. It is also cheap (6€). We were met by a marinero who took our ropes while we signed in. He then showed us where our berth was and leapt on his scooter (motorised) to meet us there. Another marinero cast us off and we headed for our berth. Amazing service, its reputation is clearly justified.
Aguadulce (Almeria)
We woke to a dull & gloomy day but only had 20 miles to travel so were not too bothered. Needing to fill up with fuel, we headed to the fuel pontoon to be met by our friendly marinero, racing to grab a line. He wanted us to confirm to his colleague that a parrot really had flown off our boat & headed into town!! No doubt, on cold and windy winter nights, parents whisper to their children the tale of the seafaring fighting parrot who jumped ship in Almerimar.
We headed out of the harbour into a force 5 & a horrible swell right on the nose. The water was shallow for quite a distance so the swell was unavoidable. It also started to rain, so after yesterday's lovely journey it was quite a contrast.
The wind freed up a bit so we got the genoa up, & engine off to sail along at 6 knots. It was still pretty miserable with the rain & low cloud blocking out any views, so we decided to make for the marina at Aguadulce instead of the planned Almeria yacht club - ye gods we are getting soft!
We arrived at the reception pontoon & tied up next to a 60ft sailing boat with a massive slice removed from its bow. Apparently the French crew had been sailing at night (local rumour implies that a certain amount of alcohol was involved) when they ran into a merchant ship which promptly circumcised their bows!
The reception staff were very friendly & helpful giving us a map of the town & saying they could phone the Alhambra for us & book our ticket , when we visit Granada. The costs were about average (17€ per night reduced by 20% after 3 nights).
They sent a marinero to help us moor the boat and we are now moored in a quiet part of the marina underneath really impressive craggy cliffs, which are lit up at night.
Waking to a sunny morning and, of course, no wind, we headed for the bus stop to catch the bus into Almeria. We had the last 2 seats on the bus.
Once in the centre we wanted to find the railway station, so that we could book our tickets for Granada. After some perseverance we found it, & now have booked seats.
Our next port of call was to visit the Cathedral. Almeria's streets are narrow with tall buildings, so you can't look for buildings on the skyline. It is an unusual cathedral as it is fortified. It was built in the 16th Century when the Turks were invading & originally had canons on its ramparts.
However Almaria's main claim to fame is its Alcazaba. It is an impressive hill fortress built by the Moors in the 10th Century. Being E.U citizens we got in free!
It covers a huge area as it housed the ruler & government of its day. Apparently at its heyday it rivalled the Alhambra in Granada, but much of it is in ruins & being excavated today.
The views across the town, sea & barren hinterland are pretty impressive. This is the area in which the Spaghetti Westerns were filmed We are looking forward to seeing the Goo, the Bad and the Ugly (ha ha) western scenery on our train journey to Granada.
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