Dates: 07/30/08 – 08/1/08
Distance: 37 nm
Sailed from: Almuñecar
We stayed at the Real Club Nautico (Royal Yacht Club) in Adra for two nights, a place described in our cruising guide as not being suitable for keeled yachts, however, we think that what they really meant is that it was not suitable for proper yachtsman. As we often find, most places have their charm, even if they don’t have much in the way of glitz. Here it was the friendly people and a glimpse of life other than what takes place in the mega-resorts of the Costa del Sol.
The marinero at the Club Nautico found us a space at the end of one their pontoons — a front row seat to watch all of the activity of this bustling fishing harbor. We enjoyed talking with some of the local club members who stopped by to welcome us to Adra and to ask about our voyage aboard Gyatso. We invited them aboard to share a bottle of wine and learned that they do not see many American boats here.
After more than 100 miles of seeing intense coastal development and staying in large, resort marinas, we liked being in a real town where the economy is based on agriculture and fishing. Tourism is a distant afterthought, but we did find the local tourist office to be extremely helpful in guiding us to information about an archeological site. We were there because Adra was first settled by Phoenicians, known then as Abdera. The port has been in use ever since.
On Thursday, we visited the archeological site known as Monte Cristo on a hillside about a half mile inland from the beach and harbor area. Except for a small sign indicating that we were in the right spot, the ancient site was not protected with any fencing nor did it have any interpretive signage. We were amazed to find a site that had every sign of being significant from archeological standpoint which had a large greenhouse built on top of it. We walked right up to the remains of Roman fish salting tanks which we were able to recognize from our visits to similar sites. From the tourist office and our ever-growing onboard library, we understand that Phoenician artifacts have also been found here. The small museum was only open for a few hours the following evening, but with an east wind in the forecast, we planned to set sail rather than wait for it to open.
We returned to the boat to find our new Spanish friends, Juan and José, there with bottles of local wine. Earlier that day, we, too, had discovered one of the charms of Adra: Ruiz Martin, a local shop that specializes in Iberian hams and wines (jamones y vinos). They have big casks of different wines which you can sample before buying. Once selected, they pour the wine into empty 1.5 liter water bottle if you don’t have your own container. David thought that this was an innovative way to recycle plastic water bottles, and so he selected a vino tinto, mosto and moscatel to take back to the boat along with a sample of freshly sliced Iberian ham. The following day, David returned to stock up the holds of Gyatso with a full flight of wines in plastic bottles, including blanco and clarete ranging in price from 1.00 to 2.25 euros per 1.5 liter bottle.