Sotogrande: A Gem Nestled in the Alboran Sea, Not Just the Mediterranean
Nestled along the sun-drenched southern coast of Spain, on the shores of the Alboran Sea, Sotogrande is often celebrated as a Mediterranean haven. In the collective opinion and information available, it’s the Mediterranean Sea that laps against our shores. However, a deep dive into nautical cartography reveals a lesser-known truth: Sotogrande is technically not on the Mediterranean but is a gem of the Alboran Sea.
While the Strait of Gibraltar is universally recognized as the natural border separating the mighty Atlantic from the tranquil Mediterranean, Sotogrande’s aquatic backdrop is the westernmost basin of the Mediterranean Sea, known historically as the Iberian Sea or Mare Ibericum. The Alboran Sea is distinctly demarcated by peninsular Spain to the north, the diverse African coastlines spanning Morocco and Algeria to the south, and the enigmatic Strait of Gibraltar to the west, which serves as a nautical gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. To the east, the waters extend to an imaginary boundary drawn from Cape Gata in Almería, Spain, to Cape Fegalo in Algeria, just west of Oran. Therefore, Sotogrande is technically in the Alboran Sea!
The Alboran Sea
The origin of the Alboran Sea’s name is an ode to geographical heritage, derived from the island of Alboran, a slice of the Pescadería-La Chanca neighborhood in Almería. This connection imbues Sotogrande’s maritime landscape with a blend of cultural and historical resonance.
But what truly sets the Alboran Sea apart are its dynamic currents, a marvel of oceanography. The surface currents of the Alboran Sea are an easterly affair, guiding the cooler, fresher Atlantic waters into the warm embrace of the Mediterranean basin. Conversely, the submarine currents defy the surface flow, carrying the warmer, saltier waters of the Mediterranean out towards the vast Atlantic. This intricate dance of currents is further pushed by the prevailing winds, which sweep from east to west, known colloquially as “Levante.” This is also very noticeable in Sotogrande, where the winds are a whole story for another day.
This hydrodynamic interplay bestows upon Sotogrande an environmental peculiarity—it is a confluence of two mighty bodies of water, yet it belongs to neither wholly. Sotogrande is Alboran, a unique maritime identity that shapes its climate, its biodiversity, and its very essence. The gentle sway of the Levante winds and the complex currents craft a seascape that is unparalleled, rendering Sotogrande’s waters enchantingly distinct from the typical Mediterranean or Atlantic realms.
In embracing the Alboran Sea, Sotogrande not only acknowledges the precision of technical geography but also celebrates the distinctiveness of its marine environment. It’s a testament to the rich tapestry of natural forces that have carved a niche for Sotogrande, not just on maps, but in the hearts of those who cherish the subtle intricacies of our world’s waters.