After a few days in Del Este, the wind becomes favorable for further sailing towards Almerimar. Unfortunately, the wind is light and we have to use the engine again along the Spanish south coast with alternating beaches and rocky coast.
We leave Del Este early in the morning to reach Almerimar while it is light. After an hour or so, we sail past Motril, which we had planned to go to instead of Del Este. We had read about industrial ports, dusty air, noise, odors, and far to shops and restaurants. It was lucky we did not go there, now when we passed it, it smelled of burnt rubber far out to sea and we saw how smoke from some industry spread over the harbor.
As we approach Almerimar, it looks like there is snow on the ground, but it is the giant greenhouses are built in white plastic that is visible. The area is called the Garden of Europe because just over 40% of Europe’s fruit and vegetables are produced here. It is apparently an incredibly good climate to grow here. Apart from the fact that the place has many hours of sunshine, it is very windy. This means that the air is clean and dry, where mold does not thrive.
The marina in Almerimar probably has the lowest port fee on the entire south coast of Spain and the long-term contracts are even cheaper. The marina also has many places for motorhomes. The sunny location and relatively low fees have made it a popular winter port for long-distance sailors. Here is a group of Swedes who spend the winter in their boats and they meet regularly and do different activities together. Eva and Ingemar lived in the neighboring boat Illusion, and they invited us to meet the other Swedes for morning coffee at a nearby bar. When we participated, there were almost 20 Swedes there, mostly boaters, but also some who live in apartments nearby.
There are many restaurants, bars, and cafés around the marina. There is also a very well-stocked and affordable grocery store (Mercadona) within walking distance. There is a doctor, dentist, hairdresser, office supplies, and several boat accessory shops as well as a shipyard. When we were there, the yard was closed due to covid among the staff. On both sides of the marina are several kilometers of sandy beaches and kite surfing seems to be popular here. Above the marina are some golf courses with villas. A few miles inland is El-Ejido, the largest city in the area and it has grown as a result of the establishment of all greenhouses since the 60s.
Beyond the plain around Almerimar rises the Sierra Nevada with its peaks of over 3,000 meters that have glaciers on some peaks. When it rains on the coast, it snows in the mountains. This means that the road conditions one day can be dry, nice summer road and the next day there is snow on the road. So it is important to check the weather if you are going to take the car up into the mountains. There are basically no winter tires here, least of all on rental cars. Several mornings we saw snow up in the mountains and apparently it was long-awaited so that the water reservoirs could be refilled before the summer.
We rent a car and make an excursion up in the Sierra Nevada and then drive on to Granada to visit the Alhambra, a nearly 1,000-year-old Moorish palace.