It was a windless day, so after motoring less than two hours from Las Roquetas, we anchored by late morning in the port of Almería exactly where Rob and Karen of Dreamtime anchored a couple of years ago. We showered, took a leisurely lunch, inflated the small tender, and rowed to the beach at around 3:30pm –but decided the homeless population was too numerous in the park for an evening return in the dark, so we rowed to the Club de Mar where they were absolutely welcoming for us to leave the dinghy “anywhere it won’t bother”.
To our surprise, as we walked towards the historic center, we saw a 50ft Guardia Civil boat going around Peregrinus and blowing its horn. We approached the waterfront park to hail them from shore but then saw the Guardias leaving. Since we did not get towed immediately and, so far, the Spanish cops have been incredibly relaxed, we decided to take it easy and leisurely visited the Alcazaba, which is the large fortress-palace complex begun in 955 by the first Caliph. The Christians finally took fortress and city in 1489. We then walked back to the Cathedral, whose beautiful main portal evoques the one of the Málaga Cathedral, but in 3/4ths scale, did some window shopping, quickly raided a large supermarket, and walked back to the Club.
We rowed to Peregrinus in the twilight, but just as we were disembarking the dinghy, we got a huge spotlight aimed at us… the Guardias had sneaked from behind! Two were at the front of their vessel, turned off the spotlight, and so we held a conversation from the back steps of Peregrinus: where is our flag from, surprise that we speak Spanish, what’s our citizenship, and where did we come from and are going to. Next we were informed we couldn’t anchor there, to which we reacted most surprised. They went on to explain that in ports “of State interest” one must contact the port authorities for permission to anchor, which will be summarily denied, they said. How’s that for a tip? And so we chatted for a while: these were two very nice fellows. They finally confessed, almost apologetically, that the Guardia itself has no problem with the likes of us but that some port directors just have “mala leche” (i.e., they’re just mean). Evidently, bureaucrats will be bureaucrats of their petty kingdoms, everywhere.
So we took it in stride and re-anchored a couple of miles down the beach. Tomorrow we plan on crossing the cape of La Gata.