Lesley & Derek Mercer
Thu 15 Sep 2011 18:37
36:08.9N 05:21.2W
Well, we are in Gibraltar, and have been for about 5 days.  After our sojourn in the UK, we decided NOT to do the ARC this year, and to go into the Mediterranean instead.  We might well choose to cross the Atlantic next year, but it was just too much for us this year.  With 2 weddings, retirement and everything else, it made sense to stay closer to home for the next year, and go to the Med, at least until next September. 
Short term, our plan is to get to Cartagena.  This is in southern Spain, and close to both Murcia and Alicante airports i.e. a good place to leave IOLA for the winter.  As there are two marinas there, I have been able to negotiate a sensible price for leaving her there, and I am told that it is an interesting place to visit in its own right.  I hope to get back and forth about every 6 weeks to check on IOLA.
We arrived in Gibraltar on National Day.  You probably know that they are intensely patriotic, and the place was covered in red and white flags (national colours) and Union Jacks.
The local radio was all about the story about how local fisherman had been “threatened” by knife wielding Spanish fishermen when their anchor fouled the Spaniard’s  “illegal” drift net, and the police had been called and had arrested the Spaniards.  They also give hourly updates about the delays at the frontier (up to 90 mns at peak times), even for lowly cyclists like ourselves.
Anyway, it is good that everyone speaks English, Morrison’s is doing a roaring trade, and we have thoroughly enjoyed visiting St Michaels Cave on the Rock etc... etc... (but still don’t like those aggressive apes).  Had a really upmarket meal in a restaurant at the next marina, a Jamaican chef who has worked at the Savoy and has his own yummy “jerk”, all served on a table beside the water.  I even managed to get a 10% discount by claiming the “early bird discount” as we had arrived before 7.30 pm.  These pensioners are insufferable!
The winds have held us here for these 5 days, but ‘maniana’ we set off for Spain.  In the short term, it is just a question of getting there.  The Costa del Sol and Blanca are simply places we need to get through – little of interest, expensive marinas in noisy places.  My hope is to anchor off as much as possible, but we shall see.