Turning East into the Mediterranean 

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Its official we are now in the Mediterranean. 

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From Cadiz we rounded the corner through the Strait of Gibraltar and officially entered the western extreme of the Mediterranean - no flashing signs but we had arrived. Our last visit to Gibraltar was in 2012 where we waited for almost three weeks prior to crossing to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Gibraltar is a land locked English Provence where the currency is in Gibraltar Pounds (not English), you have to walk across the airstrip to enter, the Barbary Apes rule the Top of the Rock and the place simply feels full. We opted this time to stay in La Linea the Spanish harbour and to walk into Gibraltar for a few services that we required as we had successfully toured all that we wanted on our last trip here, even with Andrews broken foot at that time. 

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Leaving Gibraltar or officially La Linea early we had a great view of the Rock from the sea as we headed to Malaga. The coastline that we are now sailing is referred to as the Costa Del Sol or the Sun Coast. The name is derived from the fact that the coastline receives an average of over 300 days of sunshine a year. Definitely different to where we have been sailing in the past at this time of year.

Since rounding the corner staying in harbours has a new challenge, one that we have not encountered since 2013 - Mediterranean Mooring. Mediterranean mooring involves backing your boat up to the dock or literally parking perpendicular to the dock and securing the stern to the bollards then picking up from the dock a "lead line”. Attached to the lead line are mooring lines that are secured to a buoy in line with the dock further out in the harbour - you literally drag the line up to act as an anchor line in front of the boat. All well and good until the winds blowing. Having had several goes at this now the process is getting more refined but no matter how hard you try the lead lines seem determined to deposit on the boat all sorts of muck. Just another experience.

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The View of Malaga Port from Castillo De Gibraltar 

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In Malaga despite the reviews we opted to try the Port and were delighted we did. We found ourselves alongside the Cruise Ship dock where water pipes were open, the electricity man came to check our power and we were at the centre of everything. We really enjoyed Malaga, the harbour is surrounded by beautiful gardens that lead to the old town area, restaurants are abundant, Roman ruins are just a block away and the walk to Castillo de Gibraltar provides a great view of the harbour. 

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Whilst in Malaga we took the opportunity to do a day trip to Ronda. I travelled here on a tour in 2012 but the day to say the least was miserable raining and so heavy in fog it was impossible to get a perspective of how high Ronda sat above the valley. Taking the train from Malaga was a fantastic way to travel, catching glimpses of the countryside from farming land where Cebollo (onions) were being harvested to seeing walkers on the perilous pathways of the Camino Del Rey. In Ronda we spent the day wondering the old town which sits high on a limestone cliff and is reported to have been one of the last Moorish Bastions to fall to the Christians in 1485. The old town with its white washed buildings and narrow alley ways is joined to the newer area of town by a Bridge that spans a 100m or 330 feet deep gorge. This bridge which was built in the 1700s was alive with rock climbers on the day we visited with a huge competition seeing climbers of all ages scaling the bridge and traversing the gorges. We found an eclectic cafe tucked up one of the laneways with a beautiful view of the valley below from which to enjoy lunch, before continuing our wander of the streets and returning to Malaga. 

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Bull Ring Malaga

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The weather at the moment is running in patterns of blowing hard from the east for three or four days followed by a calm of two days then in comes the blow again. Given we are trying to get east we are having to make miles when we can and that unfortunately means we have been motoring more than sailing since leaving Malaga. The Iron Spinnaker is ruling. 

We enjoyed an anchorage overnight in the harbour of Herradurra before arriving into Almerimar on Tuesday 20th September. The harbour had the most attentive and helpful staff who really wanted to make the best deal so that we would consider keeping Katherine here over the winter. Though not the prettiest of harbours as it is surrounded by literally miles of plastic sheeted sheds growing crops it is well situated for visiting some of Southern Spain’s special towns. So with winds blowing now and set to stay for a while from the east heavily we discussed the idea of travelling to Granada. 

Well then right on time the call came out from Askari, they too were stuck in harbour in Lagos some 700km away. 

A road trip was now in the making....

(Click for more photos)

Sunset at Almerimar Harbour

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain