What are we doing?

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Gibralta or bust

After the false start the day before we finally headed for Gibraltar, the winds were still against us but this time only about 10 knots. Nothing was going to stop us today, best of all were had left with the tide and were instantly getting a kick up the pants to the tune of 2.6 knots and soon to be three.

We went close in past Cape Trafalgar as the conditions were so settled, we only had 2m under the keel and in bad conditions you would have had to give it a wide berth, but we got some great photos.

After Cape Trafalgar the next point was the dreaded Tarifa, this was the bottle neck that has caused so much delay and we were finally rounding it expecting to be hit by even more winds… No it didn't happen, in fact the sea state improved massively so it seems that the worst bit is Cape Trafalgar to Tarifa, we certainly saw a lot of confused sea in that area. The strait itself was fine, smooth with tide and looming out or the fog was the rock!

First stop in Gib was the fuel dock where we took on 700l of fuel our first fill up since Guernsey and best of all it is tax free! Our next planned fill up will be Montenegro. As soon as we filled up we headed of for Queensway Quay Marina, where we were charged the socking amount of £25 a night! Arriving in Gibraltar was like arriving in a first world country after having spent the last month in Spain and Portugal. It sounds nuts but there is a massive difference in the prosperity of Gibraltar and everywhere else we have been since leaving the UK.

Upon arrival you are not prepared for the Gibraltar experience. The first thing we founds out was to get from the marina to the town we first had to find a way through the wall. Gibraltar was a fortress and the sea used to meet the wall. But over the years Gibraltar has been getting bigger and they are still doing it today, they are reclaiming land from the sea to build housing etc. We managed to find a monument to Nelson and not much else so we returned to the marina for something to eat.

The next day we went to the cable car first thing. They sell a combined cable car and national park pass which seems expensive but it was worth every penny. We started with the cable car and you arrive at the top with some amazing views of the rock and its surroundings. From there we walked along the path where we were greeted by the apes which occupy the rock. Many had young babies and it was amazing to see them in couples. We continued along the road and this took at to St Michael's Cave. This has to be one of the wonders of the world. It is a huge cavern containing stalagmites and stalactites, the cave is absolutely huge, so big in fact that they have installed 600 seats and they use if for concerts! I cannot tell you how amazing it is in real life.

We then continued following the path down the hill until we reached the suspension bridge. This spectacular bridge servers no purpose at all except as a tourist attraction, it leads nowhere.

After this and with the oppressive heat Graham and Linda had had enough so they proceeded to walk the rest of the way down to the bottom. Ginny and I walked back up the rock on a gently inclining track to the northern side. Here we were able to explore the man made tunnels in the rock. The Rock of Gibraltar is like Gruyere cheese, it is literally full of tunnels. these tunnels lead to gun emplacements which render Gibraltar almost impregnable to attack. These tunnels were originally started in the eighteenth century but were further extended in the second world war.

We walked down from there to a museum and it was quite small but as we walked in there was some quite calming music. As we moved into the next room there were two flags the wall a white ensign and the flag of the RAF in front of that was a sculpture of two soldiers in the form of a monument to the fallen of Gibraltar, it was quite a moving moment.

After that we too had had enough and we walked back to the boat. Ginny announced that according to her Fitbit we had walked 20,000 steps and I can believe it.

NB I was hobbling for five days after this adventure with the most painful calf muscles, I clearly do not do enough walking up hill!

Gibraltar is a place occupied by 30,000 people and so this begs the question where does the water come from. Well they have a two pipe system. All toilets are actually flushed with sea water, however fresh water is made in a desalination plant under the rock and further more they have carved out a reservoir in the rock to store the water. There are so many holes in the rock you wonder what is keeping it up!

  • Cape Trafalgar
  • A well deserved meal on arrival
  • A walk in the town and we found this monument to Nelson
  • We found a victorian garden
  • A view from the top
  • From the cable car station
  • A family of apes
  • St Michael's Cave
  • Stunning
  • This formation looks like the wings of an angel
  • The bridge
  • My favorite shot. You need to see this ion a big screen to really apreciate it.
  • On the way down the hill. You can see the decent behind Linda
  • An early tunnel
  • A room cut into the rock
  • The momument


© 2021 Paul Reading