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Date: 21 Oct 2009 18:44:36
Title: News + Pics from Gibraltar & N Africa

 

We arrived in Gibraltar on the morning of Saturday 10th October, after a 14 hour overnight sail from Cadiz.  The Straits of Gibraltar were bewildering and exhilarating:  one moment we were cruising at 10.5 knots with the help of the currents, and within a space of 200 yards it felt as if someone slammed on the brakes, as the speed suddenly dropped to 4.5 knots, as counter currents took their hold.  As the sun rose, the fog and mist cloaked the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to the south, and the Rock of Gibraltar to the north, and left an amazing clear passage for us that reverberated with the sounds of the fog horns from the ships shrouded in the mist from either side.  We were surrounded by dolphins, but spoilt by greater bow waves in the vicinity, they chose not to ride the smaller Talulah bow waves for long.

 

We have been in Gibraltar about 11 days now, and were joined by Shane’s cousin Gill and her husband Richard for 4 days, on their way to Rhonda, Spain.  We had a fantastic time with them, and it was lovely to be distracted from boat duties, wash the oil off, and set sail for Ceuta, North Africa, on 17th, a 4 hour motor-sail.  It was nice to be in the sunshine again (we are berthed in Gib under the Rock Cloud, from where we can see blue sky and sun all around except above us!) and land on another Continent.  Ceuta (known as Sebta in Morocco) is one of several anomalies in Morocco: a Spanish enclave, since 16th Century.  It had a reputation of being a smuggling base in the past, but now has a small, friendly marina from which to explore the town.  Having been recommended a fantastic Moroccan restaurant out of town, we jumped in a cab and were driven at high speed around small back roads, to a dead end, and a dead restaurant.  We ended up in another empty Moroccan restaurant where we feasted on tagine and sweets, so back to the boat to soak it up with whisky and port.  The following day we had an awesome sail on a beam reach, back to Gibraltar, the dolphins dancing with us part of the way.  Last night we decided to eat Argentian cow again, Richard and Gill’s last night with us. After a huge thunder and lightning storm all night, and hard rain, they left this-morning for the rest of their holiday in Spain

 

Our reason for stopping in Gibraltar is to sort out the boat repairs and get the parts we need, and stock up for the Atlantic crossing.  We have been so frustrated with lack of chandleries and availability of what we need, and are waiting for parts to arrive from UK.  It is not somewhere we would choose to spend 2 weeks, however we will make the most of our time here, and explore more of the historical Rock over the next few days, before setting sail for the Canaries……

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise over North Africa

 

 

One of many Container Ships emerging from the Moroccan mist

 

 

Approaching the Rock of Gibraltar

 

 

 

 

Ali untangling wayward main halyard from radar

 

 

Richard steering a straight course from Africa, whilst Gill gives him a hand …


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