Having looked at the Navtex forecast for the 1st
August we decided that we would aim to leave at 2pm on that
day. The French boat was going to leave at about 9am, Symphony
aimed to leave at midday and Jade and another motor boat
agreed with us on timing. The timing is very important as there are
various currents and tides which in combination with the wind can make the
passage through the Straits either possible or downright unpleasant and
dangerous. For this reason we were rather mystified at the timings chosen
by Symphony and the French boat. There is a difference of about one metre
between the level of the Atlantic and that of the
Med, the Med being the lower. The effect of this and the wind funnelling
through the narrow channel plus the steep sided hills on either side can make
this a challenging passage. Additionally half way through the straits is Tarifa
which is the best place in the world for windsurfing (allegedly) say no
Well the French boat got away on time but not long after he
left the fog came down. It was so thick that the boat yard at the end of
the marina just about vanished. We all sat around had lunch and then just
as quickly as the fog arrived, it departed! Within minutes there was a
mass evacuation of the marina well 5 boats anyway and off we set.
The promised gentle wind was not westerly as forecast and
was so light that we motored on our way. However as we got closer to Tarifa
the wind changed completely and was on the nose. It was interesting that
although the wind was against us and the current and tide were with us the sea
remained relatively flat. It did start to pick up a bit and so we reefed
and kitted ourselves out with lifejackets and harnesses – just in case.
It was stunning to see the coastline in Morocco emerging
from the mist, sadly the visibility wasn’t conducive to photos.
As we came round into Gibraltar bay the
rock also emerged from the mist…
The original photo was even
mistier than this!
Gibraltar bay is like the M25 there are
ferries whizzing in and out as well as countless ships. Even with radar
it would be diabolical!
We plodded on to the constant roar of various ships engines
and made our way into the anchorage at La Linea just across
the Spanish border.
We made it! Gibraltar at last!
Later in the evening after we had eaten supper we noticed
that the fog had started to return and within minutes it was so thick that we
were unable to see a single boat in the anchorage!
Distance run 34.71 Cumulative total 1522.03nM