Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Sun 13 Jul 2008 17:53

Arrived here - Gibraltar - early this morning after a fabulous dawn run through the Straits, steady wind -warm Tourag campfire type of wind from Africa - urging us on, Tangiers glowing on one side and the moon glowing on the other, then the lighthouse off Tarifa guiding Vasco into the narrows past the Moorish forts and castles, then the Moroccan side’s Pillar of Hercules (looking rather bored I thought at our magnificent efforts) and then the dawn sky waking up behind the Rock. Vasco and the captain are very relieved to be here after all our adventures; it’s taken three weeks rather than ten days but, hey!, three weeks/four weeks, who cares -  for the first time for a long time Time is at our disposal rather than the other way round.

We’ll be here for a few days. I’m waiting for a new Duogen –that’s our towed generator - to arrive from the UK now that the insurance company agree that a whale must have eaten the old one. Sounds ridiculous at first – did to them too – but it’s the only explanation. I woke up one morning to find the Duogen was swimmin’ with de fishes and the brackets sheared clean off. I sent the digital photographs to Duogen who explained that for a clean snap to happen we must have hit something underwater, something like a container - of which there are apparently thousands floating around just below the surface. This sounded sensible enough expect that had we hit something solid the whole boat would have felt it, which made that theory sound less sensible enough.

Then I remembered that that same morning we woke up to see a sodding great whale prancing about alongside. I though he looked a bit pleased with himself but didn’t like to say anything as they can become a little boisterous – even worse they can breathe at you if you encourage any kind of intercourse. I reckon he saw the generator whirring around underwater, thought it was some new type of convenience plankton or whatever fish they munch on, and took a bite on it on the off-chance. I hope it gave him indigestion, but I suspect he’s developed a taste for trailing generators. Not so much a case of ‘Freddie Starr ate my hamster’ as ‘Prance of Whales ate my genny.’

Apart from that I’m off to Sevilla and Cadiz to do more Byron research and waiting for Gillian to pop back on Friday, plus of course more boat tweaking; they say cruising is fixing your boat in exotic locations, although I'm not that there’s anything remotely exotic about Gibraltar, but for now it’s good to be here still alive and still afloat.