Dates: 07/21/08 – 07/28/08
Distance: 44 NM
Sailed from: Estepona
During the passage from Estepona, we saw a swordfish jump out of the water seven times as we passed. Other sailors have told us that they do this when threatened by a passing boat, but that it is not a common sight. Our almanac of the Mediterranean says that they are rumored to attack inflatable dinghies, but as far as we could tell, it just looked like it wanted to be left alone.
We stayed a week in this huge marina/resort complex tied up to the seawall as you enter the inner part of the harbor. Unlike most marinas where we stay, there were no security gates here. The only thing between us and a parking lot was our fenders, but we liked the location. Luckily, we were not in the main flow of car and pedestrian traffic, but we had our share of dock walkers during our stay and an occasional tourist train. We had as much fun watching them as they did with us. At night, they closed off a gate to our section of the parking lot, and other than a stray group of teenagers out partying and carrying on late into the night, no one bothered us.
We spent several days visiting Phoenician archeological sites and the Picasso art museum in nearby Malaga and a huge Buddhist stupa perched on the hillside in Benalmádena Pueblo. The bus stop was only a 15 minute walk from our berth, and although it made for a longer trip, it was much more reasonable than renting a car. In the high season, they require a minimum 3-day rental, and all but one of the sites we wanted to see was easy to reach by bus.
During our visit to Malaga, a city first settled by Phoenicians, we were surprised to find that the woman at the tourist office had never heard of them. Our guidebook made reference to an archeological museum with a large collection of Phoenician artifacts, but it was closed for renovation. This was confirmed during our visit to the Alcazaba castle, but we did find some interesting information there and at the archeological dig of a Roman theatre next door. We also stumbled on a big Phoenician exhibit in the basement of the Picasso museum. When building the museum, they uncovered ancient walls, foundations and artifacts from both Phoenician and Roman settlement of the area. The archeological site was preserved in-place with excellent interpretative signage. It would have to do for us until the other museum re-opens, but that may not be for another few years.
We spent the remainder of the week catching up on paperwork and completing writing projects.