Gibraltar Marina Bay 36:08:95N 005:21:30W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Fri 19 Oct 2007 14:50

Back in Marina Bay, after a short break back to the UK to catch up with the family. This included a Christmas Party, which was fun, but a little strange given it was October!! Christmas just gets earlier each year!!!


It was great to “party” and see the Grand children.





From the Sublime………………………………………




But before that we had a long (ish) passage from Cartagena to Gibraltar, the first part of which I referred to in my last missive. The second half was just as eventful, but entirely different. After sailing for some 25 hours, our luck with the wind finally gave out, and we were confronted with a completely flat calm, and zero wind. This sudden, but predictable event occurred  just as we approached the Alboran Islands. It was still dark when this happened, so trusty “Perkins” was once again pressed into service. As we motored along on this clear moon lit night,  the moon light was reflecting off the sea, and all was well with the world.


I was on watch and not a lot was happening (so far), so I decided to don the iPOD and selected Pink Floyd, “Echo’s”. Then, as I was looking out of the cockpit at the sea, the moonlight was shimmering like a complex series of multiple flashing strobe oscopes. This was then augmented by  a pair of Dolphins who appeared beside the boat. Gently diving and re-surfacing, in unison. Their steel grey bodies also glistening in the moon light. What with this visual feast, and the music which was just the prefect accompaniment……………..who needs drugs????


My revere was rudely interrupted the next time I looked at the radar. At a range of 12 miles, all I could see was thunder clouds. Almost immediately I spotted the huge clouds and just then the first flash of lightening occurred in the nearest cloud head. So I raced below, turned off the computer, gathered up the portable VHF Radio, the hand held GPS and the mobile phones and placed them inside the Microwave oven. This acts as a Faraday cage, and so protects these devices from the static emitted by lightening.


This lightening storm turned out to be the most spectacular I have ever seen. Believe me I have seen some storms in my time so this was a serious “mother”. Overhead we had dramatic and complex fork lightening, whilst on the nearby north African shore, huge bolts of lightening were raining down onto the land. Around this time I spotted a very large cruise liner. As usual it was lit up like a floating Gotham City. As I admired this spectacle, it was suddenly hit by one of these large bolts of lightening. This immediately knocked out all of the lights on the boat and eerily all that was left were the emergency lights. The ship appeared to be disable as it had the twin vertical red lights on as well as its navigation lights.


The storm went on for several hours, and as we approached the straits of Gibraltar the shipping lanes were packed with lots of converging craft and even more at anchor or in the case of the super tankers, just drifting. All quite challenging from a pilotage perspective. As dawn broke we rounded Europa Point and then headed into our berth in Marina Bay.


Now for the Bluewater Rally. The official “muster” for the rally was on Monday 15th October. BUT, some of those who arrived before that decided that an introductory party, as a “get to know each other” event would be a good idea.



So with the “Rock” as the back drop we had our first pontoon party of the Rally. It was great fun. This was followed by a trip to the SHIP, bar in the Marina, where we all cheered England on to beat, yes that is correct. I say again, to beat the Australians!!!! The next morning was to put it mildly a late start and a very quiet day………………


Since then we have had two official parties, and tomorrow we are all departing for a weekend sail to Smir in Morocco. More partying, and the Sofitel hotel in Smir are making their wide screen TV available to us to watch the Rugby world cup final. Mercifully there will be no South Africans in our group, so it should be a great evening even if we loose. Perish the thought. Then its back here for more rally preparations before the BIG day on Sunday the 28th October.




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