The sun forgets to shine but I´ve met a group of berthing fee rebels and enjoy a whistle-stop tour of the Cost del Sol´s best anchorages. In the rain.

Not a great day weather-wise, but another good day for meeting Med boaters. Mooched around Malaga this morning – actually a really nice city and well worth a visit if you like cathedrals and castles and all that. Then back on the coast road north.

For some reason I had completely convinced myself that I’d heard someone say they kept their boat in Nerja, about 40km east of Malaga, so stopped off there for lunch. Nice place, good views, excellent club sandwich, but apparently no marina. Have I gone completely mad or was I looking in the wrong place? Answers on a postcard please.

Next stop, Marina dell Este, a really cute marina which appears to be completely in the middle of nowhere. A real mix of boats here, which makes it seem friendlier than some of the marinas I’ve been to so far and lots of Spanish boaters. The marina office was shut, but I’ve since been told that a berth here costs the earth, which I can believe. It seems that barrier at entrance = steep berthing fees! Met up with the Cooper family from London, who were visiting for the afternoon. They kindly took me out for a quick blast in their Four Winns (in the rain) to have a look at the great anchorages between Marina Dell Este and Nerja – the hills seem to come right into the sea, making some lovely little bays to hide in.

Had a Coke (today’s Coke count: 3) at Atmosphera, a really up-beat café/restaurant next to the marina and headed east again. Was heading for Almeria, but drove down into Almerimar to have a look on the way. The place is enormous and not the most attractive when the sun’s gone in. But met up with a bunch of ‘berthing fee rebels’ who have moved their boats here after other Costa marinas bumped up their mooring costs by ridiculous amounts. It seems Almerimar is home to a growing community of exiles and it makes for a really friendly atmosphere.

Roy and Tracey, who moved their Grand Banks to Almerimar from Duquesa a month ago, are really happy there and don’t miss their old berth at all. And their berth is 9,000 euros cheaper a year, with lots of space to manoeuvre and cheerful and helpful marina staff. They don’t even mind the weird greenhouse tents that cover the hills behind the marina (I think that might freak me out looking towards them from the sea – like an enormous duvet covering everything). They were also singing the praises of Skype internet telephone, which apparently every Med boater should look into – you phone people through the net and, wherever they are in the world the call costs a fraction of the price of a proper phone. I’ll have a look at the website (www.skype.com) and give you the lowdown.

Now in Almeria. Will have a potter around the old town and the Alcazaba, which looks very cool, in the morning, and then on to Cartagena (which Tony in Soto recommends as a good place to anchor) and the Mar Menor.

No pictures yet – waiting for IT’s office hours?