Ceuta, Gibraltar Straits and the Costa Del Sol

Sun 5 Sep 2010 17:34

Ceuta, the other Spanish enclave, was a totally different experience to Melilla.  Although, it is architecturally impressive and is superbly located on the Moroccan coastline (only 13nm from Gibraltar), it lacked a certain ‘something’.

This may have been because we were in Marina Hercules, which was in the process of being modernised and had become a building site with no facilities.  We even had to go to McDonalds to get a wi-fi signal (which is not good news, especially when we got fabulous wi-fi in Melilla).

However, Ceuta does have it's good points and the most impressive sight in Ceuta is the medieval Royal Walls.  These extensive fortifications, of great strategic complexity, have been beautifully restored and well worth looking around.


 Spanish brotherhood looking after children.  The mist from the fountain was so refreshing!!!


The 4 storey market in Ceuta.                                                    Military headquarters in Plaza de Africa


Hercules Marina Ceuta

The impressive Medieval Royal Walls              The channel behind Anne went from one coast to the other making Ceuta an island.

As fuel was also cheap, so we filled up every spare ‘jerry’ can on board, before setting off across the famous Gibraltar straits.  As we headed out of the marina, a guy arriving on his motor boat commented that ‘the straits’ were a bit lumpy and we could see this statement to be true as we saw ‘white’ water at the entrance.  So with 2 reefs in the main and ½ the headsail out, we set off into a westerly F6, with about 1 mile visibility.  Nimue was soon sailing well at 8 knots and within no time at all, we saw our first ship, followed by another and another and another and another..........We made use of our AIS, which made it easier to track each ship’s  course and keep out their way.  Within a couple of hours we had completed the crossing and made our way west along the Spanish (Costa del Sol) coast.  We did hope to anchor, but with the wind continuing to blow, we prudently headed into Estapona marina.

Again a very pleasant and friendly marina, with it’s typical ‘spanish look’, but a bit too fabricated and touristy for us.

We had heard the forecast was going to blow up, so we made an 0400 start for the relatively short 20nm trip to Gibraltar, a place we had arrived at some 2 years earlier.


Europa Point and the Rock of Gibraltar (the cloud on the tip, denotes a 'Levanter wind' is approaching and it did!