What do we do with the drunken sailor?
As the weather in Almerimar is very hot, our days here are quite slow. We tend to get up late (because we all go to bed late) and read, nap, work on the computer, draw and paint (the kids) and watch movies (also the kids). In the evening when the sun has lost most of its power, we get a little more active. We clean, do some projects, and go out.
In fact, at this moment, Rene and the girls just took off in our dinghy to go look at a pirate ship in the other part of the marina. Later tonight there will be a pirate show on shore behind our boat. (Yes, it is pirate week here – we’ve also visited a “pirate” market the other day – which, to be honest, ended up being a little disappointing. Just regular overpriced touristy stuff in a handful of booths sold by people wearing pirate hats).
This afternoon however, took an unexpected turn.
Earlier today I saw a man swimming in the marina and getting on the back of the boat next to us. At first I thought they’d hired a diver as they were busy working on the boat, but quickly noticed the guy had no equipment and also he seemed to be talking to himself.
The owner of the boat stepped in land to help the guy out of the water and hosed him off with fresh water (the water in the marina is very dirty). And off he went.
About an hour after I had a quick conversation with our neighbours and had confirmation that it was ‘just a guy’ apparently taking a swim here, I was looking at my computer screen outside when I saw something from the corner of my eye.
At first I thought it was Rene but he was inside. It turned out to be that same guy now aboard our boat after having swam over and now in the process of putting on my shoes, not one meter behind me!
I walked up to him, trying in my best Spanish to make him take off my shoes and giving back Robins fishing net he was also holding. (“No, Señor, es nostra! No, es mes zapatos!”)
Without a problem he sheepishly took my shoes off, gave back the fishing net and left our boat, leaving me VERY puzzled at this whole situation.
I went down below to tell Rene what had just happened as I heard a splash in the water.
He was back in the water again, leaving his flip flops on the dock, now seemingly taking a shower at the small water flow that marks the edge of the marina here. This was obviously a very confused individual.
Minutes later, I saw the same guy had worked his way back to our boat and tried to get on again.
I hopped on shore and helped the man get out of the water onto the docks, again telling him that this was our boat and asking if he was ok. Other than some mumbling I didn’t understand, he gave no reaction, so I pat him on his back and said Hasta luego, Señor!
Still mumbling to himself, he walked off.
Rene meanwhile hailed the harbour office on the VHF to inform them of what was happening and was told a marinero would be there shortly.
I took a handheld VHF and followed the guy to the little park here, to make sure I knew where to point the marinero.
About 10 minutes later, there was still no sign of a marinero.
In constant communication with Rene on the boat, we decided it was best to get the attention of a police car patrolling.
I stopped the police car and tried to explain in Spanish what was going on and that the guy was sitting outside at a café.
The police talked to him but had apparently misunderstood me when I said he had come on board our boat and tried to take my shoes.
They were trying to get the guy to give me my shoes back, which he couldn’t do because A) he had nothing on him other than some swimming trunks and B) he didn’t actually take them because I talked to him.
The language barrier made everything very difficult and Rene asked the marinero once more to come over.
In the end, another police car from the Guardia Civil showed up (because the other police men thought I wanted to report a robbery) and the marinero. The Guardia Civil officer did speak English so we finally managed to get across what had happened. I also gave him back his flip flops as he was now also barefoot.
They told the guy to go away and left.
Not 15 minutes later the guy was back, trying to get in the water to board our neighbours boat again. I went up to him to explain to him that it was not his boat (No es su barca!). He told me it was. All boats were his boats and apparently he was also very rich.
Next, he proceeded in fixing a garbage bag filled with who knows what onto a bike that is chained to a lamppost next to our boat. I happened to know who it belonged to so, again, I said to the guy that it was not his bicycle either.
He finally left the bicycle alone after hearing the sirens of the police car approaching again.
I talked to the officer, explaining what happened and got told the guy was probably a drunk from another town.
I don’t think he was drunk but he obviously has issues. I do feel for him, and although he’s still around and I am vigilant, I sincerely hope he will be ok in the end.
I just don’t want him on our boat anymore, thanks!
I’m also grateful the police is patrolling here often, but just to be sure, I’m taking everything from the cockpit down below before I go to bed tonight.
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