Gibraltar: The Gateway to the Med

The road from Spain to British Gibraltar going across the runway!
The road from Spain to British Gibraltar going across the runway!

We knew all along that we will have to be quite vigilant on this stretch between Lagos and Gibraltar because of the amount of fish traps and tunny nets that is on that stretch of coast line. We stayed a long way off the coast to avoid them. So – although we were very aware of the beautiful towns we are missing out on (looking at the electronic Raymarine map), we could not see the coast line in detail to enjoy it from a distance. That is just one of those things – you have to pick a few places to pop into and do them well. Time is always the master of this game!
As we reached the Cabo (Cape) Trafalgar ( which happens to be the most southern point of Europe . !) I have started asking/ begging the captain for a deviation in the schedule – I would very much like to see Morocco, seeing that we are right at it! Maybe we could take a day or two off to go to Morocco – Africa is just a 2 hour ferry trip from Gib. It does not sound like a great idea to sail there for safety reasons that we have read about, but I wouldn’t mind taking a ferry (Our son, Dax was there a few years ago and I remember his fond memories that were almost painted in my mind in the colours and shapes and flavours of Aladdin!) … No the Captain has made up his mind!: We have to come back for Morocco … maybe even at the end of this season! We are a bit time stricken by the mere fact that we need to be in Majorca in time for Phil to fly back home in 10 days’ time.
The lighthouse and rock of Gibraltar
The lighthouse and rock of Gibraltar

Reaching Gibraltar was just another one of our personal milestones! Gibraltar is known as the gateway to the Mediterranean (and that was our aim for this year – to reach the Med and visit at least a few countries) It was an amazing sight to see this massive dramatic triangular shaped rock pitching up in front of us as soon as we’ve turned the corner of Point Carnero. From Point Carnero the coast line forms one massive big bay with Europa Point on the other end of the bay – and that is where the famous Gibraltar Rock is – 406m high and almost a vertical steepness to it!
Gibraltar: We were (apparently) very lucky with the weather! It was nice and warm with a lot of sunshine and very little clouds (great for photography!) and only a light breeze that became quite cool at night. From previous blogs of sailors that has been here, it sounded that one could easily get trapped for up to ten days due to strong winds!
This place is just so rich in history that I cannot even start giving you a shortened version! But is and has always been a very sought after strategic point of Europe. After many a wars that was fought between the Spanish and the British, it has been under British flag since 1713. The strange thing is that the territory where we were – the bay of Algeciras – belongs to Spain. A mere 15 min walk from there to the town of Gibraltar takes you through customs as you cross over to British territory! (I have to say – it is like walking into another country when you go from the almost depressing dull Spanish side to the beautiful neat and vibrant British Gibraltar!)The border is on the one side of the airport runway and we had to wait for a plain to take off before we can continue walking all the way across the runway! A very strange feeling!
Morocco in the distance - taken from Gibraltar Rock
Morocco in the distance - taken from Gibraltar Rock

The Marina of Algeciras (a government marina and a bargain to stay at – and look out – there are a few of them along the Spanish coast!) has cost us only 32 Euro per day (18% tax included!) where the other private Marina’s like Ocean Village will be at least 3 to 4 times the cost! It is a bit of a schlep to get to Gibraltar because no Taxi of bus is crossing the border. It was still a good choice and we happened to be berthed right opposite an Aussie yacht and have met 3 South Africans too on the docks! That night (we were informed) a Yacht burned out about 500m from us and sank – she was at anchor – no idea how it happened and whether the people were rescued!
Marina of Algeciras

We opted to do the great tour of the Rock: Gibraltar is known for its Barbary Apes (tail-less monkeys and the only free roaming once in Europe) We could get very close-up with them and the odd one have jumped onto my backpack and one onto Johann’s shoulder! They are so cute and needless to say – I have taken about 50 pictures in 5 min time!
Barbary Apes everywhere!!
Barbary Apes everywhere!!
Barbary Apes everywhere!! So cute!
Barbary Apes everywhere!! So cute!
Taking a break!
Taking a break!
We then visited the St Michael’s Caves – with an amazing underground theatre surrounded by stalactites, all lit up is beautiful colours. The museum, the glass blowers and then hundreds upon hundreds of restaurants and retailers trying to sell anything from Prada bags to cameras! (Exactly where I got my lost underwater camera replaced for a bargain!)

We were so tired from walking at night, that although the restaurants were very tempting – we had our meals on board and rested our feet! We get caught out time and time again by the late setting of the sun (around 8.15pm!) and end up having dinner at 9pm and would not be in bed before 11 pm or even later! The next day starts at the same early time of 6.00 – 6.30 am… the nights are very short … and I can now see why it is sensible to have the siesta time (except for the heat that force people to take a mid-afternoon break!)

Crossing the border at Gibraltar
Crossing the border at Gibraltar

We will be leaving tomorrow around 10am to make our way to Puerto José Banús Marina! Only a 4 hour motor – we do not expect much wind.
You will need Adobe Flash downloaded to see the picture slide show underneath every post I made!

2 thoughts on “Gibraltar: The Gateway to the Med”

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