Tag Archives: Gibraltar

Gibraltar to Ceuta

Although the plan was to leave Gib on Tuesday or Wednesday for Malaga, at Monday Morning Prayers on the 1st of February it was decided that we should head for Ceuta, Spanish North Africa; it is only 17 miles across the Straits and we had a couple of days to spare.   I wandered off to the Chandler for a new Reefing Line and a Bosun’s Chair ,as I managed to break the one I inherited from Michael in Faro, while Mauro did some food shopping and John took charge of the boat.   We slipped from Queensway Quay at midday and went around to the fuel berth in Marina Bay and took on 330 litres of diesel for £96!!! Which works out at ….. er ….. 30 p per litre!!!!  30 pence per litre !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Goodbye to Gibraltar ......
Goodbye to Gibraltar ……

Our trip across to Ceuta was uneventful, motor sailing almost all the way in 5 knot easterly winds until about an hour before we got to Ceuta.  In Rota John had bought a frozen octopus and today he cooked it so and mid Straits of Gibraltar we snacked on boiled Octopus.   Badly done it is like chewing rubber and the suckers get stuck to your teeth, not my favourite seafood; but John did an excellent job and I quite enjoyed it, tasted a bit like squid ……..

.... hello Ceuta.
…. hello Ceuta.

Finally, 5 miles from Ceuta, the wind picked up and for the first time since leaving Faro we were under Main Sail and Jib alone, 10 knots of wind on the beam, 4 knots through the water, no engines, no noise, gliding peacefully across the sea towards Africa; cool!   All too soon we had to drop the sails and motor into Ceuta harbour and to the Marina.    Luckily we have a linguist on board and after my ‘oh so English’ call on the radio to Puerto Desportivo de Ceuta, Mauro took over and got us the berth for the night.

I checked in with the Marina which John and Mauro tidied up the boat and then we went ashore for the evening.     Our general opinion was that Ceuta was far more entertaining than Gib.    By 8 pm in Gibraltar everywhere was closed for the night.   By 8 pm in Ceuta the Tapas bars were closing and the Restaurants were just opening, and although it took us a while to find it, the main street, Paseo de Revellin, is seconds from the marina just under the Statue of Hercules.  Walk passed Macdonalds (never a bad move) cross the road and turn right, walk under the road bridge and you’re there.

Hercules and his Pillars
Hercules and his Pillars
Av. Compania de Mar
Av. Compania de Mar
Av. Compania de Mar
Av. Compania de Mar
Paseo de Revellin
Paseo de Revellin

 Ceuta was vey busy and lively and a complete contrast to Gibraltar just 24 hours earlier.    We wandered around, soaking up the atmosphere, the beer, tapas and finally dinner.   We dined in the Casino Militar, apparently a military veterans club, chosen because John decided to ‘let’s see what happens in here’.   And it was a good call, plain decor, minimal atmosphere, simple menu but excellent food.

And so to bed…… looking forward to another dawn departure for Fuen-hhhirola ……….. (My Spanish pronunciation IS improving).

 

Gibraltar

We had a lazy Sunday morning, 31 Jan, and then set off for the top of the Rock via the cable car avoiding the cab tours at the cable car station.   The cable car ticket includes entry for St Michael’s cave and the Siege Tunnels, but they are at opposite ends of the Rock and the cable car is in the middle of both and it is about a 4 km walk, up and down hill to get around the sights and a further 2 back to the marina. But in all it was worth it.   We have walked down the Rock of Gibraltar.  

Next time we’ll just do St Michael’s Caves, which are quite spectacular.  They are limestone caverns with amazing stalactite / stalagmite formations and apparently they have amazing acoustics.  The main cavern is set with stepped seating and hosts orchestras on a regular basis.   They are also mostly unexplored. During WWII they found further lower caves with a fresh water lake but have yet to find the full extent of the caverns.   They are, so far ‘bottomless’.

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But I get ahead of myself.   As soon as we arrived at the top of the cable car I decided to change camera lenses, by kneeling down and opening my rucksack …… newbie tourist mistake.   The Maccacs were there within a second thinking ‘food’; worse that a couple of dogs I know.    They are quick but were unlucky; I was a bit slower but there was no food.    Ha Ha.

They did however manage to take another tourist’s bottle of fizzy drink, and drink it, and a coat.   We did an ID Parade of the usual suspects but they all look the same ……..

Monkey 3 Monkey 1Monkey 2

Morocco from the top of The Rock
Morocco from the top of The Rock
Windependent from the Rock
Windependent from the Rock

We also had some good views of Morocco and Windependent from the top of the Rock.

 

 

It was a tiring day but interesting.   John cooked us steak sandwiches and we then went ashore to find a internet connection.  This is a consistent problem in Marinas and it generally easier to find a pub / bar / restaurant with Wifi; so we sat in a pub caller the Trafalgar and I sat ’blogging’ over a pint of London Pride.

 

 

 

 

Rota to Gibraltar

5 am is bloody chilly in Rota in January.  Full waterproof, wooly hats and scarves were rig of the day.   And lo and behold, we had radar again!  Excellent.   We slipped the moorings at 5.45 and 10 minutes later were outside the harbour hoisting our sails.  

Although we started off with radar it died again before the sun got up, but at least this time Mauro caught sight of a fault message before it died.  

There was a 10 knot northerly breeze which would be on our port quarter the whole way down to Trafalgar; although not strong enough to make the speed we required it would certainly help us out.  For most of the way we were using 2200 rpm which is good for 5.5 to 6 knots but for most of the way would have wind and tide with us giving us over a knot of extra speed.  May not sound much but 1 knot over a 12 hour passage is 12 miles, or at a planned speed of 6 knots, 2 hours saved.

The Morning Watch off Rota
The Morning Watch off Rota

 

John on Watch
John on Watch
Mauro off watch
Mauro off watch

Within 2 hours of departing the radar stopped working again but with a good forecast I decided to continue as planned.   The sun rose at 8.30 and the temperature rose fractionally but it was a lovely sunny day and we had breakfast of bread, salami and cheese and cereal as we sailed south passed Cabo Roche on our way towards Trafalgar.   We divided the day into 3 hour watches starting at 9 with John taking the first one till midday, Mauro doing the second until 3 and me the third until our arrival.

As the day progressed it got warmer and sunnier and the layers of clothing came off.  We were motor sailing the whole way, passing Cape Trafalgar just after lunch and as we rounded Tarifa we were doing almost 8 knots, with a current behind us and soon came in sight of Gibraltar.

'The Rock' with Gibraltar in back ground
‘The Rock’ with Gibraltar in back ground

As we approached Gib the wind was blowing at about 8 knots from behind us and so the apparent wind speed was zero, so I decided to drop the main sail without turning into the wind, only to find it had jammed.   This time the halyard had twisted around itself; something which should be prevented by a swivel on the sail head block.   So unable to lower the main sail we had to find a relatively sheltered bit of water where I could get myself hoisted up the mast, to the very top to untwist the halyard.  I took the GoPro but only got footage of the mast and my arms!  Anyway, 20 minutes later the problem was solved and the sail lowered, followed more slowly by me.  

And so into Queensway Quay Marina for tea and medals …. and as we were tidying up the ropes and sails I found that one of the reefing lines is virtually chaffed through and will need to be replaced. Not happy as it has hardly seen any use but I need to find out what caused the damage as it is not immediately obvious.

We went ashore and found the Gibraltar was mostly closed; 8pm on Friday and the place was deserted!    We did find a Moroccan Restaurant called Marrakesh, it is in a small square behind the Cathedral, turning between the Cathedral and M&S and on up hill for a 100 metres or so.   Very nice.