Having turned down the unique, deposit laden, 5 pin electrical plug offered at the visitor ‘welcome’ quay in Puerto Banus, we had to face up to a lack of AC in the stifling conditions. This coupled with a fixation on not eating ashore, we decided to cook a corned beef hash and this pushed the heat well above sweaty levels. So, in the face of such a strangely false and bizarre atmosphere, it was a healthy breath of fresh air to welcome David and Verity on board for the day and our gentle sail (motor) to Benalmadena 25 miles along the coast.
The passage was interesting as we hugged the coast to appreciate the views but it was disturbing to see brown slicks off Marbella of what could only be sewage, not that far offshore and this dissuaded us from stopping for a swim. Pressing on, it became apparent that if we hurried, we might make the England World Cup football match against Panama so it was disappointing to find ourselves third in a queue to ‘check in’. The procedure is long winded and overly bureaucratic and, given that we had to have our passports photocopied, everywhere, it occurred to us that we had Verity and David on board without their passports. Rather than add additional complication, and with two Guardia Civil launches moored adjacent, we decided the best course was for them to hide in the forward cabin until we had finally docked then make a dash to a bar showing the football which we did and watched the second half.
Benalmadena is a bizarre place, apparently voted ‘The Best Marina in the World’, we saw nothing to justify such a claim and found it rather run down and perversely ‘Disneyesque’. There was unwelcome movement on our berth and we had a hot fitful night with noisily creaking warps – very short of best!
A windless forecast has precipitated a dawn start and a chug to Almerimar 83 nm to the East, arriving after 8pm. After the indulgent day with Verity and David, Dave and I are agreed on an abstinent fast day today – at least, that’s the intention……….
Clearly the title of ‘The Best Marina in the World’ could only have been bestowed on Benalmadena by, you guessed it —- Benalmadena. It was indeed a rather anachronistic modern development in the “Disney” style. I don’t think any of us could work out what the three or four story buildings around the Marina were trying to reflect in the real world.
However, up reasonably early today we punched east with a view to arriving in Almerimar around 20.00. The day was interspersed with radio alerts from the coastguard to watch for and notify any siting of an inflatable vessel with 50 people on it which had left Morocco and was bound for Spain.
Around 17.00 we saw and passed two orange buoys close to each other which on closer inspection turned out to be the two rear fins of an inflatable rib sticking out of the water skywards. The remainder of the rib was deflated and hanging vertically down in the water. It was sizeable (maybe twenty feet plus), empty of any crew or passengers and had no outboard or discernible form of propulsion. We called it in to the coastguard and gave all the information we could – including the precise location and later emailing photographs. Where it came from and what the story attached to it and its ultimate demise, we will probably never know.
Today has been a day of abstinence (food, alcoholic drink and limericks) and whether Almerimar can change that remains to be seen………