Dan and Lori Lynn arrived in Rota on September 16 and the weather was forecast to be beautiful the next few days. Our original plan was to sail across to Cadiz while Katie was still here and give them an introduction to Tenaya practicing sailing and docking. They need to be in Malaga by September 25 for the return flight to California, so we decided to leave the next morning. We left Katie at the dock on the morning of the 17th (my first time not sailing with Katie and it was very sad. I missed her immediately). She went to Madrid a couple of days early and had time to explore the town and a full day at the Prado.
Jim, Dan and Lori Lynn leave Rota and Katie on the quay.
The sky was clear, the temperature was perfect, the seas were smooth...but there was no wind! It was a motoring day and no chance to practice sailing.
Acres of Anchors
The Straits of Gibraltar are a major step on our cruise. After sailing from the Netherlands, along France and Spain, down the coast of Portugal we will now enter the Mediterranean Sea. We passed between the Pillars of Hercules, the Rock of Gibraltar to the north and Jebel Mussa in Morocco to the south.
The tide streams in the Straights are very interesting. Unlike the English Channel where the stream flows one direction for 6 hours and the other direction for 6 hours, the tidal streams in the straights flow in different directions at the same time and it different speeds and times within a narrow area. The Straits Sailing Handbook divides the Strait into 6 major tidal and current streams. Our calculations were correct and we moved from one stream to another and kept the stream with us, often with a speed of 10 knots speed over ground.
These streams were very interesting. We were sailing in very calm seas, but when we moved from one stream to the next the water was confused with waves and white caps.
Dan taking down the Spanish courtesy flag and raising the Gibraltar flag and the yellow quarantine flag.
Marina Bay marina is right next to the airport runway
There are not many flights during the day and none at night so it wasn't a noise problem. Since Spain is still not happy that Gibraltar is part of the UK there are no flights to Spain and the planes must take off over the ocean and not cross Spanish air space.
It's the first airport I have seen with a highway crossing the runway.
The main street is filled with tourists and tourist shops.
One of the beautiful areas of town.
The view of the harbor from the top of the Rock
The marina in Barbate was described in the Pilot book as "soulless". I'm not sure if that is true, but it was deserted. The building above had been built to house shops, bars and restaurants but was completely empty.
We walked a good distance into town and there found a nice beach and outside tables
We are happy with our AIS system and it seems to be working fine. But as we approached the bay of Gibraltar it sure looked intimidating - I counted more than 50 ships on the screen (the gray triangles) and these are just the ships over 300 tons. Tenaya is the black shape near the middle of the screen.
As we crossed the bay heading for Marina Bay there were ships all around us, some anchored, some moving slow and some, like the ferries, moving very fast and they came from all directions. It felt like a video game with attacking fighters coming from everywhere.
After running the gauntlet of ships we arrived at Marina Bay marina and my first "Med Moor", coming in bow first to the cement quay and picking up a line that is anchored in the middle of the channel to attach to our stern. It was great to have 2 people to help. Lori Lynn followed the fenders to make sure we fit into in the small place between 2 boats without hurting them and Dan getting the line pulled tight to the stern cleat.
The marina is in the center of the picture, but behind the new buildings being constructed. When completed Marina Bay will be a very upscale area with condo apartments over looking the bay and the marina.
When the Moors recaptured Gibraltar from the Spaniards in 1333 they rebuilt an earlier tower, ruined in the fighting, with this solid tower which has withstood ten sieges and is still in good condition today.
The Queen Mary arrived while we were in town, adding a couple thousand extra tourists.
The Top of the Rock
In 1940 when Britain was at war with Germany and italy, Gibraltar was surrounded by the enemy and if it was taken the countries of North Africa nd the Middle East, with their oil, would fall into the hands of the enemy.
The British decided to built a fortress inside a fortress. More than 30 miles of caves were carved through the rick, housing nearly 10,00 troops.
For more information about this underground fortress see discovergibraltar.com