Gibraltar to Almerimar

Well, we finally did it! We extracted ourselves from the magnetic pull of Gibraltar and moved on. We left Gibraltar at 0930 in the morning on our way to Almerimar on the east end of the Costa del Sol, our target being to reach Menorca by 6th July when Jacquie’s daughter Sarah and her friend Claire fly out to meet us. Not a problem you might think; only 550 miles which one could drive in a day, but the winds are forecast to be against us for at least part of the time.

We were so glad to be sailing again and what added the icing to the cake was that our friends, Michael Briant and Lou Brochard in their Westerly 43, Paw Paw of London, had agreed at the last moment to come with us. They had big problems with their wind instruments and were going to Almerimar to get them repaired. The facilities in Almerimar were reputed to be very good and the labour costs a fraction of those in Gib.

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Paw Paw passing the Gibraltar big ship anchorage

 So having paid our dues to Queensway Quay and said our goodbyes to the many friends that we had made in Gibraltar, our flotilla of 2 boats headed south of the Rock, around Europa point and eastwards into the Mediterranean. The weather was fine, the wind a maximum of Beaufort force 3, or 12 knots, with superb visibility and we expected a gentle run to Almerimar 130 miles or so away.

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Synergy leaving the Rock

 With an expected passage time of around 24 hours, this would be the first overnight run that Jac and I had made on our own so we were breaking new ground. We had agreed to try a watch system of 3 hours on and 3 hours off and we started this system from midday with one of us below resting while the other looked after Synergy. This meant that Jac would be on watch as the sun set and then she would take over again at midnight. It worked reasonably well but we found that it took some time to wind down and get to sleep in the night hours and we thought that a 4 hour watch period might be better if we did this again.

The passage was an easy one. We were able to get some drive from the sails, but the wind was light so we had to motor sail most of the way and around sunset we furled the head sail as it was just flapping around uselessly. We encountered several pods of dolphins, most of which stayed with us for a while playing in the bow wave and also some larger sea life which we thought were pilot whales, but we were not close enough to be sure.

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Sunset on Jac’s Watch

 Jac took the watch as  darkness fell, which turned out to be a lovely night, almost still but with a nearly full moon. Churning along under engine the night was uneventful and we even had dolphins with us in the darkness.

Dawn started to break at around 0630 and we arrived at Almerimar at 0730 having completed the 131 miles in 22 hours. Jac and I refuelled Synergy and we were then directed to our berth where we waited until 0900 for the marina office to open.

We were all short on sleep but resolved to try to stay awake as long as possible so that we might catch up the following evening. Michael and Louise knew of an Irish bar that did tapas with a difference. Most people are familiar with the Spanish concept of tapas, small portions of food, normally shared by several diners. The Mac Gowan’s takes this concept to a different level; still tapas but UK or Irish style with fish and chips, curry, chilli, hamburgers and egg and chips on the menu.

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Mac Gowan’s Bar

And best of all, each tapa is free with a drink. Well………….several drinks and tapas later we stumbled back to Synergy and flaked out at six pm to sleep right through to 0800 the following day, fully recovered from the sleep deprivation of the overnight run.

General Ramblings

It is one of those curious quirks of human nature that a proportion of the population when behind the wheel of a car picture themselves as Lewis Hamilton, when strapping on a pair of skis become Franz Klammer, or when stepping onto the deck of a boat, however small, suddenly transform into Horatio, Lord Nelson. I suspect that the main demographic for this particular behaviour would be males between the ages of 18 and 35 (Just a gut feeling. Absolutely no Government research funding has been spent on this study). However in the case of sailing boats I suspect that the maximum age for this curious behaviour extends to a greater age.

Why should this be I wonder? A smoke screen to mask a general under confidence or a desire to appear to be really good at something?

Michael Green in his wonderful book, “The Art of Coarse Cruising,” (if you haven’t come across it I can recommend it as a very humorous read) describes a Coarse Sailor as someone who uses complicated nautical sounding terms in normal speech, often making up his own new, but fictitious terms. However, when life gets tense, you can spot a Coarse Sailor as all the technical jargon disappears to be replaced by a cry of, “For God’s sake turn left!” I apologise if I have misquoted Michael’s words but the sentiment is the same.

Yesterday I was sitting having a quiet beer in Gibraltar when I saw a friend walk past with a roll of artificial grass. Nothing too strange there you might think except that this individual happens to live on a boat! Whilst John and his wife have sailed extensively, their advancing years have led them to set roots down in Gibraltar and their ketch is now a stationary home. Nevertheless, one might still, as I did, wonder why artificial grass had any place on a boat. When I asked, “Why?” John responded that he and his wife already had some garden furniture that they use on deck so they had decided to make it look more like a garden. “You can’t take life too seriously you see,” he said.

The same day, my lovely wife Jacquie received a photograph from a friend who has a boat on the other side of the marina. The picture was of a rocking zebra who goes by the name of Zak. Why on earth would any boat need a rocking zebra? Especially one called Zak. Lou and Michael have added Zak to their growing collection of animal facsimiles which started with a duck shaped lamp. Their boat, a Westerly Ocean, has problems with its teak decks and Jacquie suggested that they might want to solve the problem by tearing up the teak and laying artificial grass instead which might also provide grazing for their rocking zebra. Lou responded, “Just been to check out turf at Morrison’s. It’s £30 a roll. Blow that for a game of soldiers! He’ll just have to rock on teak like the rest of us. Did buy a pork pie to console him.”

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Zak the Rocking Zebra

Although I cannot confirm or deny the fact, I wouldn’t mind betting that Lord Nelson did not include a rocking zebra called Zak in the ships company of Victory at Trafalgar, but he was in a much more serious environment than us cruising sailors.

Now where is all this going you might ask? (And so do I!) Sailing is a serious business of course. The sea has a habit of going up down and sideways in large lumps and if the weather turns foul one has to deal with it. You cannot run away as tends to be my habit in an aircraft. Once out on the water there is also no place for complacency as things can go badly wrong so quickly, so a serious approach to sailing is essential. However, there is also a place for a bit of fun and un-seamanlike behaviour. Incidentally Jacquie and I bought a garden gnome in Morrison’s to add to the ambience of John’s garden furniture and false grass. I am not sure if the Royal Yacht Squadron would approve.

As to Jac’s and my progress on our Mediterranean saga, well you might have guessed it …. we are still in Gibraltar. Earlier on in May my uncle Dennis, who was 92, was taken ill and died a few days later. Jac and I returned home for his funeral and came back to Gibraltar on 1 June. This weekend my sister, Fred, is coming to visit us in Gib so we finally have a proposed departure date of 14 June. This will be a tad over 9 months since we arrived in Gib and almost exactly 12 months to the day that we left Suffolk Yacht Harbour. We are now 3 months behind where we expected to be but, “Hey Ho!” we are retired and don’t really have a plan anyway.

Now please excuse me as I have to go and mow my AstroTurf.

Still In Gibraltar!

Anyone who is bored enough to read my ramblings may perhaps be wondering what has happened with the Jac and Chris odyssey, as we haven’t added anything to our blog for a while. There is a simple reason for this in that we actually haven’t been anywhere since the last post, recounting our short trip to Algeciras and back. Well, not strictly true,but the boat hasn’t moved.

There are lots of reasons for this……..all of them mind crushingly feeble.

The first delay occurred as I was offered some flight tests at Flight Training Europe in Jerez de la Frontera which I gratefully accepted. These took a little longer to complete than anticipated and really didn’t slow down our progress at all as we had a series of boat jobs to complete before we would be ready to leave.

It also gave Jacquie the opportunity to experience Semana Santa in Jerez, which is a spectacular event by any standards. In the week running up to Easter, a parade of floats make their way from church to church in the town accompanied by brass bands and people dressed in uniforms that look reminiscent of members of the Ku Klux Klan. All this is a sort of penance with the extremely heavy floats being carried by large numbers of people, some even in bare feet. The load is such that they have to stop every couple of hundred yards or so for a breather in spite of having been in training for some weeks ahead. All the spectators are out in their Sunday best and the streets are packed with everyone having a jolly good time.

Having completed the flying, we still had a list of jobs to do before we could set off. The outboard motor for the tender needed servicing and the third reef needed rigging on the mainsail. We had bought new sails before we left the UK, but the new mainsail was fitted for 3 reefs but the old one had only 2. This required a couple of pieces of hardware and a lot of rope and just a morning’s work, but it was essential to get the job done before we reached the fickle winds in the Mediterranean.

Jacquie wanted to do some writing and had received a positive response from one of the yachting magazines so that required a little time to complete. At the same time we thought we might complete a longer item on Gib, particularly the places that the average day tripper never visits and that required a couple of days research. Being dedicated, budding freelance writers this required lots of exploration of the back streets, particularly the off-piste watering holes which sometimes left us researched as newts!

Nevertheless, we should still have left Gibraltar for the Costa de Sol 2 weeks ago and now we come to the pinnacle of procrastination.

Mooring in the Mediterranean usually involves tying up either bow or stern to. (Stern to is preferable as climbing over the bow can result in a nasty encounter with the anchor and possible damage to one’s sensitive regions) Stern to mooring often leaves an unhealthy gap between the boat and terra firma, a problem usually solved by a purpose built passerelle (the expensive version) or a plank of wood (the economy solution). As the purpose-built versions cost anything between £300 and £500, we decided that a length of scaffold board would suffice. As luck would have it some friends we had made in the marina, Michael and Wendy, found a piece of 1¼ inch plank floating in the marina so problem solved! Not quite so. Laying a piece of wood on the back of the boat tends to cause the deck to be rapidly ground away so we needed a way of attaching it to the boat, but elevated above the deck. I designed a stainless steel bracket to fit to the swim ladder bracket with jubilee clips so that the plank could be dropped onto it. Unfortunately, the stainless steel bloke was hopelessly unreliable, but after 2 weeks, (should have been 5 days) the piece arrived and the job was completed. I leave you to judge its success from the pictures. A friend nicknamed it a “Plankerelle” so that is what it forever shall be called. After 2 days use neither of us has fallen off it………..yet!

The next masterful piece of procrastination came from a chance question in Sheppard’s, the chandlers in Gibraltar, when I asked if they could source a Jeanneau chopping board which is cleverly attached to the underside of the sink cover. The old part was badly scored and ingrained with dirt when I bought the boat and none of our efforts…..dishwashing it, bleaching, soaking it in concentrated sulphuric acid  it or even hitting it with heavy objects would get it clean. (OK we didn’t try the last two methods, but you get the picture) It looked horribly unhygienic, so we never used it. The nice man in Sheppard’s said that they could get one, price 33 Euros, but he couldn’t tell us what the shipping cost would be. Thinks I, “Can’t be more than a tenner,” so lets go ahead. Around 40 quid might seem expensive for a chopping board, but we had searched all over for something suitable, or that could be adapted to fit and nothing seemed to be available. The nice Sheppard’s man said it would be here in 5 days so all looked good………until it arrived. I received an apologetic call from Sheppard’s saying that the board had arrived and the shipping came to over £30. “THIRTY POUNDS TO SHIP A PIECE OF PLASTIC FROM FRANCE!”

Note to self: “Never buy another bloody thing from Jeanneau”

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Chopping boards new and old

However our “gold plated” chopping board is now in place but we are afraid to use it!

This week has been “Rip Off Week.” £38 to fill a gas bottle, £100 to fit a 2 foot piece of gas pipe. Nuff said.

Note to self: “Never buy any gas-related product in Gibraltar.”

Despite all this apparent procrastination, the truth is that we have fallen in love with Gibraltar. It is small, quirky and very convenient; we can walk everywhere as nothing is more than a mile or two away and, as everyone speaks English, one can be sure of making oneself understood. It isn’t necessarily cheap (see above) but the people are friendly, the weather is generally warm and sunny (dull and overcast today) and we have made numerous friends, many of whom have sailed extensively, but have made their boats in Queensway Quay Marina their homes. They too have come to appreciate the lure of Gib and not just because it is a tax haven! Many will never move again and others are planning to travel onwards, if only just for the summer before returning to Gibraltar. Our challenge is to move on before we both need liver transplants!

As an aside we have also bought a new mint plant, Robert 2. (Robert Plant…….geddit?) Robert 1 died, quite an achievement as mint seems impossible to kill, but now Jacquie has a supply of mint leaves for the Pimms.

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Robert 2

Now please excuse me as I am just going for a beer while we wait for my new bank card to arrive……..sometime next week.

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Gibraltar

On 28th February Jacquie and I arrived back in Gibraltar to get “Synergy” ready for our onward trip into the Mediterranean. Our plan was pretty loose; make a quick run down the Costa del Sol, which has been comprehensively destroyed by development then hop across to Ibiza. After running up the Balearics chain to Minorca we intended to make the trip across to Corsica before making our way down the Italian coast to Sicily and then across to Corfu in Greece where we might spend next winter. However, the plans were pretty loose and liable to change at short notice. We had no definite departure date, just sometime in April when the weather looked suitable, but before then we had stacks of jobs to do to get ready.

14 March 2016         Algeciras

The first task was to get Synergy out of the water and do some below the waterline jobs. There is no boat hoist in Gibraltar so we planned to move Synergy across the bay to Algeciras where they have a travel lift and, better still, Miguel who is extremely helpful and speaks good English. On a beautiful sunny Monday Jac and I left our berth in Queeensway Quay Marina for the first time in 6 months and made the 4 mile transit across Algeciras Bay to the boatyard where we planned to spend 2 days working on Synergy. We had to spend an hour drifting around the marina while a large work boat was launched down the slip. Once that was done we were able to motor “Synergy” into the pit in preparation for lift out. By now it was 1pm and lunch time. Having helped us tie up the boatyard  guys disappeared off for lunch for 2 hours leaving us stranded on the boat as the pit was to deep to climb out of! Finally arriving back after 3pm we were hauled out, “Synergy” was propped up and were able to get on with the work.

The first job was to get the hull cleaned and a pressure wash took off all the residual sludge. There was no marine growth thanks to the copper coat anti fouling paint which should keep the barnacles at bay for at least 10 years. With the hull clean, we were able to get to work on the metal bits. We scraped the prop shaft clean and replaced the anode. Frighteningly. the old one had all but disappeared which meant electrolysis would soon have started attacking the propeller. It would appear that Queensway Quay is a bad place for losing submerged metal!

The other outstanding job was to replace the bow thruster rotor which was damaged when a line went into it at Dartmouth. It transpired that one rotor had lost 2 blades and the other had lost the tip of one blade so I replaced them both, together with the anodes. With this work completed by sundown on the Monday all that was left was to clean and polish the hull above the waterline. We had intended to do the work ourselves, but the boatyard crew had capacity to spare so we decided to let them do the work. It would have taken us 2 days, but 2 professionals did it in one day and produced a far better result than we would have been able to achieve.

While “Synergy” was out of the water at Algeciras, we met Michael Briant and Louise Brochard whose boat, “Paw Paw” was on stilts next to ours. They were also based at Queensway Quay, although we hadn’t met them there. Michael and Louise are both hugely experienced sailors and Michael was generous enough to give us an electronic copy of one of the several books that he had written on sailing topics. We planned to meet up when we were all back in Gibraltar.

16 March 2016      Algeciras

With “Synergy” cleaned, polished and with all the important metal bits replaced we were ready to drop her back into the water and make our way back to Gibraltar. We successfully dodged the anchored and moving commercial vessels, ferries and cruise ships to arrive in good style back at Queensway quay full of self congratulation at having completed the jobs so quickly and not having hit anything either on the way out or back in again!

Our Wedding, The Rock Hotel

As part of the requirements for getting married in Gibraltar, Jacquie and I were required to spend a night in a Gibraltar hotel so we had booked a room in the Rock Hotel. We were therefore perfectly placed to meet our guests when they arrived. Jac went off to get her hair done, while I met the photographer to discuss the arrangements.

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The Venue. Sunset Terrace, The Rock Hotel

 

The wedding ceremony was to take place on the sunset terrace, a perfect location overlooking Algeciras Bay and the hotel staff had set the place beautifully. It was warm, the sun was shining and all was right with the world except a slight hangover from over indulgence the previous evening.

The last of our guests to arrive were Allan, Eduardi and Lorcan Dunne who had driven over from Sanlucar in Spain. When going to get changed Allan discovered that they had left his and Lorcan’s suits behind, so we were greeted with Allan and Lorcan dressed in shirts, ties and shorts. It all added to relaxed atmosphere of the occasion.

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The Wedding party

One thing that Jac and I were unaware of, but all the wedding guests knew was that Jacquie’s son, Richard, on a trip up the Rock the previous day, had been bitten badly by an ape. Pouring blood he had been taken by ambulance to Gibraltar hospital to have it disinfected and stitched up. Richard had spent the rest of the day making sure that Jacquie did not see the damage to his leg. We only heard about the incident during the speeches.

 The wedding was a superb affair. All the people closest to us, a very happy and relaxed occasion in a beautiful setting. It couldn’t have been better. After a wonderful meal of the most delicious canapés a followed by the  speeches, including the revelation of Richard’s monkey bite we turned up the music for dancing until we were all worn out. We then adjourned to The Lounge, the nearest restaurant/bar to the boat, where we had arranged an evening meal for the party.

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Our Wedding, Gibraltar

2nd October 2016           Gibraltar

By 2nd October all our guests had arrived and were firmly ensconced in various hotels around the Rock or using “Synergy” as a temporary base. Sarah, Jacquie’s daughter, had arranged a night out which was supposed to be a secret from Jac and I, but as so much had to be organised from a distance and we were on the spot, most of the arrangements were known to us. Indeed, Jac and I, at great expense to our livers, had done some “research” to determine suitable venues.

The original plan had been to stage Hen and Stag parties at different locations on the Rock, but we seemed to have lots of hens and few stags; some of our guests were not arriving until late on the pre-wedding evening. Therefore a combined party was arranged. What we hadn’t expected was the “sailor” theme. Sarah had brought with her some fancy dress hats and Naval collars, sufficient for all the guests to wear for the night out.

Suitably dressed as sailors, with slogans drawn on our hats and feeling very silly, we met at The Lounge, a bar conveniently placed 2o yards away from the boat, and made our way to The Clipper, a restaurant in Irish Town. After a very good meal, we walked around the corner to the Jazz Café in Chatham counterguard to continue the party. This was a bit flat and we were considering moving on, when the owner asked us what all the sailor hats meant. I explained what was going on and he asked if he could borrow some hats to photograph his bar staff in for publicity purposes. I struck a deal whereby he could borrow the hats if he would turn off the dirge-like music that was playing, put on some Dixieland Jazz and turn up the volume.

After that the party went with a bang and we had an outstanding evening with much merriment all round.

Gibraltar 11th Sep to 1st Oct 2015

The reason for our need to reach Gibraltar by mid September was because Jac and I had decided to get married. Both having reached our sixties we didn’t want a grand affair and we had determined that Gib would be an appropriate location: good weather (hopefully), a place we were planning to stop at and far enough from home that we could keep it small. Jacquie had lived in Gibraltar in the early seventies and I had first visited the Rock in 1979 with numerous visits since, so we were both familiar with the location. We also reasoned that if we could spend 3 months cooped up together on a boat without killing each other then marriage was likely to work. Before leaving home we had booked the Rock Hotel for a civil wedding and sent copies of all the necessary paperwork to Gibraltar registry office, but there was still an enormous amount of preparatory work to complete. On our trip down, when stuck in various locations, unable to move because of weather, we had envisaged not arriving on time, but that was now all behind us.

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The Rock Hotel, Gibraltar

We sorted out the necessary paperwork, arranged the details with the Rock Hotel, arranged flowers, a cake and all the other necessaries for a wedding. We were expecting 25 guests so we were set for a good party!

We still found time to explore the Rock and do a bit of sightseeing. Gibraltar is a Marmite place; you either love it or hate it. I had seen it change from a major garrison town, hosting all branches of the British armed forces, through a rather seedy phase after the withdrawal of the British forces from the Rock. It has now reinvented itself, becoming much smarter with improvements and redevelopment occurring all the time, quite an achievement for somewhere with so little available building land.

Jacquie and I love it. It is familiarly British; the police wear British uniform, the post boxes are red, beer is sold in pints and there are both Marks & Spencer and Morrison’s selling all the goods one would expect to find in similar stores in the UK. It also fiercely British.On the other side of the coin more Spanish than English is spoken together with mixed “Spanglish,” often with words in phrases from both languages in the same sentence.

Having sorted out all the wedding arrangements, all that remained was for the arrival of our guests who were expected from 30th September onwards.

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Jac, pointing out her bedroom in her old house, now divided into flats.

Gibraltar Day

Following the pattern of some major event happening wherever we went, Gibraltar proved to be no exception. We had arrived on 9th September and it transpired that 10th September was Gibraltar’s National Day.

We awoke to see everyone around dressed in red and white, Gibraltar’s national colours, and the whole population of the Rock was in party mode. We wandered into town down Main Street ( unsurprisingly the main street through Gibraltar) to Casemates Square where the sea of people were listening to a series of local dignitaries making very patriotic speeches. Spain has long wanted Gibraltar to return to Spanish rule, but the Gibraltarians fervently resist that sentiment. This causes quite a lot of friction between Spain and Gibraltar, the Gibraltarians determined to stay British and the Spanish equally determined that the 300 plus year “occupation” of Gibraltar should come to an end.

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Casemates Square, Gibraltar National Day

With this background, the speeches in Casemates Square were of the “We’re-British-and-proud-of-it-and-will-never-become-Spanish” variety. All stirring stuff, but to Jac and I who had just stepped off a boat, this was all quite overpowering. Wandering away from the politicians we made our way to Ocean Village Marina, a more raucous location than where we were based, to find that not all Gibraltar residents were interested in political speeches. To an untrained eye, it appeared that those not listening to politicians were consuming alcohol in Gib’s bars at a most prodigious rate to the point that few seemed coherent by lunchtime.

It must be rare for an entire nation, albeit a small one, to get involved in a day-long party of such magnitude. It was a joy to behold!

Making our way back to Queensway Quay Marina in the evening it transpired that the resident boating population were also joining in. Our pontoon was also home to quite a few people who lived on their boats and they invited us to join them at the end of the pontoon for drinks and nibbles and to watch the celebratory firework display.

This was a lovely gesture and the start of a relationship with the “B” pontoon residents all of whom were lovely people who made Jacquie and I most welcome. The only slight problem was that so much alcohol had been consumed that communication became quite tricky!

Barbate to Gibraltar!

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Jac taking us out of Barbate

The day dawned bright and sunny again with a forecast which was set fair for the run through the straits to Gibraltar, so off we set on the last leg of our journey. After a calm start to the day the wind increased to a stiff easterly so we tried beating into wind for a while until we realised that it would take 20 hours or so to reach Gibraltar using that technique. So……..back to the engine again. (sigh).

The scenery on the way was spectacular with Europe on the port side and Africa on the starboard. We had timed our departure to catch the tidal stream that flows quite strongly into the Mediterranean so we had 2kts of help from the flow to help us along at times. Other boats were using the same plan and following the same inshore route enabling us to do a bit of “racing” albeit under sail and engine.

We passed the site of Baelo Claudia, a ruined Roman town, that I had visited some years before. It had been a centre of production of garum, a fermented fish sauce valued by the Romans, but the town had been destroyed by an earthquake in antiquity.

Further along we passed Tarifa marking the narrowest point of the straits and also one of the windiest places in Europe. Tarifa is a haven for kite surfers and we could see the forest of kites as we passed the town. The narrow stretch of water with wind against tide made the passage quite choppy for a while, but we soon caught our first glimpse of the Rock as we turned north-westwards towards Algeciras Bay. Entering the bay the whole of the Rock came into view and we dodged our way around anchored and moving commercial shipping to find the entrance to Queensway Quay Marina.

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First sight of the Rock

 

The first time that I had visited Gibraltar in 1979 Queensway Quay had been a part of the extensive Royal Navy dockyard, but with the withdrawal of the naval presence on the Rock the area has been redeveloped into smart flats surrounding the marina. Finding the in wasn’t that easy as it is very narrow with a ninety degree turn just after the entrance.

Calling on the radio we were directed to our berth, a fore and aft mooring using lazy lines. We moored bow first – a big error! Jac couldn’t get off the boat at all and the only way that I could escape was by climbing over the anchor and stepping onto the top of utility box before dropping down onto the pontoon. I went to the office and paid our dues and joined Jac back on Synergy. We quickly reversed the boat out, spun her around and reversed back into the berth and tied up.

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Jac’s old home near Camp Bay, Gib

We had arrived and Synergy would not move again for several months. We were very proud of ourselves; we considered ourselves to be pretty inexperienced sailors but we had travelled for 3 months over 2000 miles with 51 stops, all possibilities for hitting something without any major mishaps. Most importantly of all, Synergy had become home and we had total trust in her to bring us through whatever we were likely to encounter.

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Moored up at Queensway Quay Marina

Time for a drink!

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Sunset Queensway Quay Marina

Puerto Sherry to Barbate

We would have loved to spend a little more time in Barbate, but the forecast for the Straits of Gibraltar had been changed from “awful” to “quite reasonable.”  We decided to press on to Barbate which would then make the run Gibraltar relatively easy when the weather was suitable. The pattern of weather to which we had become accustomed exerted itself with warm, sunny calm conditions which changed slightly choppier as the sea breeze kicked in.

It was a very pleasant passage with some dolphins playing around the boat on the way and passing the magnificent old city of Cadiz, the oldest settlement in Europe. Further down the coast we passed Cape Trafalgar where in 1805 Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson had destroyed the combined French and Spanish Fleets at the cost of his own life.

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Cape Trafalgar

Arriving at Barbate we made our way through the fishing harbour to the yacht marina and, as usual, a stiff breeze had blown up. Ahead of us a couple on a catamaran were struggling to tie up on the reception pontoon, but as soon as they got close enough and slowed to a stop the wind took over and blew them off again. Eventually they gave up and tried another berth which they still managed to get blown into sideways. It was reassuring to see that it was not just Jacquie and I that had the odd problem.

Barbate is not a particularly pretty place so we decided to move on as soon as possible.

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Synergy at Barbate