Sailing Long Distances

Torrevieja – the cacophony of four bars

Torrevieja is about halfway to Alicante, a convenient location to divide the seventy-mile trip. The first part of the trip heading to Cabo de Agua and further east to Cabo de Palos was pretty rough. The waves were not high, maybe a meter, but they hit right from the head-on and showered much water onto the boat. It was finally better going north because the wind picked up, and we could sail a stretch.
The marina of Torrevieja is part of the commercial harbor and well protected as a port in a port. It probably explains why the marina was packed with boats, and we got a berth deep inside, close to the quay. It’s about the most awkward spot for the long keelboat Athene, as the boat is difficult to maneuver in a tight space.
The next surprise followed in the marina office, which quoted a price 30% higher than indicated through Navily’s booking system. The best part, however, were the two ladies on duty. One was busy with my paperwork, so I chatted with the other, named Corona. She assured me it’s a typical female Spanish name and that she can’t hear more jokes.
At first glance, Amusement Mile pictures the waterfront and marina zone benevolently. Torrevieja is known for the vast salt marshes outside, the adjacent nature reserve, and the flamingos – if they were present. In the first phase of the pandemic in 2020, a record number of flamingos were breeding. A year later, too many people came to see the birds topped by heavy traffic on the adjacent roads with easing restrictions. The Flamingos insisted on privacy and migrated to Africa.
Lastly, in May 2021, was a blow in the neck of the nature reserve when a probably intentionally set fire devasted the area and caused a temporary closure. According to an article, firefighters looked for hydrants according to site plans and did not find a single one. Before long, it became evident the city had spent money, but not on the construction of the firefighting facilities. If true, the whereabouts of the money is under investigation.
We supported the local restaurant scene and asked ourselves, why do people love the place? The marina hosts a huge Liveaboard community. We saw many foreign cars on the streets with number plates from France, Holland, and Germany. No question, I had to dig deeper. 
A German website promised an answer besides the Salinas and Flamingos and listed smoking hot recommendations as Cartagena, Alicante, and Valencia. That’s what I call a good job! Get out of here as long as you are sane. There is nothing you should do in this city. I counterchecked English wow-we-are-happy-in-Torrevieja sites, but they didn’t have an idea either, so we decided to sail on. 
Too bad, the following day, a strong wind blew exactly from abeam, the direction in which we have to turn Athene for departing the marina. It is one of the disadvantages of our boat, turning her into the wind in tight spaces. The maneuver is no big deal when there is sufficient space. If not, we might damage another boat. I went to the marina office and asked for help. A marinero comes by in a small boat, so my idea, and pushes the bow of our ship towards the exit. We seldom asked for that service but always received a positive answer because it is a matter of course for the marina. 
Yes, it’s possible in Torrevieja also if you have enough powder in your wallet. They would charge an incredible 65 euros for fifteen minutes of work, an hourly rate of 260 euros. I should become Marinero. We waived the generous offer and asked if we could stay until the evening and thus decreasing wind. This question was also answered cheerfully by paying half the daily rate.
Since the wind was favorable the following day, both in direction and strength, we stayed an extra day and continued our quest on what to do in Torrevieja. The entire seaside is an entertainment center. Early afternoon, one bar starts playing music. Soon the other three join in, all different in tunes but equally loud. We sat in the cockpit, stopped chatting, looked at each other, and had to laugh out loud. The four noisy entertainments created a cacophony that is almost a musical composition.
Probably the liveaboards like it, as they are even closer by. But that’s the way it is. Some like it and stay long, while others are happy to turn their backs on the place and never come back.