Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gibraltar to Rota

 After a well deserved long sleep we were thinking of staying on anchor in Spanish part behind Gibraltar and going on shore with dinghy. We even decided to row ashore (i promised to boys i'll do the rowing), so we tried to tie the dinghy in marina, but they didn't let us, then at sailing club, and again we were told to go away, and after an hour of rowing (now i know how the slaves rowing on galleons felt) we landed on a sandy beach. But before we draged the dinghy ashore a man came up and told us there are many thefts in the area and that he would not advise us to leave our dinghy there. We were absolutely frustrated, so we called up one of the British marinas again with little hope that they have a berth for us. But after so much bad luck we got a break - Queensway marina did have space for us, so we rowed back to out boat and in one hour we were tied to a quay right in the middle of the Gibraltar. We immediately decide to make a trip to the Rock and suddenly the day didn't seem so hopeless any more.

We took a cable car to the Rock, it is almost 500m high and we didn't feel like walking that much. The moment we stepped out there were monkeys. We were warned not to feed or provoke them as they are wild animals, but most of them seemed quite friendly. They for sure like to be photographed. 

Unfortunately the weather was not to good, there was huge cloud hanging on top of the Rock and over Gibraltar. As i said - British territory, British weather.

This is a view to the north, behind the airstrip there is already Spain.

This is view to the NW, to the British part.

This is the view to the SE, where we came from.

And this is Queensway marina - behind two sets of breakers.  Some of the swell still got in.

And this is a view to the east.

We decided to walk downwards, and again there were monkeys everywhere ...

Tomaz tried to make the cable car stop at the middle station to get the ride to the town - and he succeeded...

Matjaz and me walked all the way down. The town was a disappointment, even the old part was not very pretty.

One of the nicest part of town was the cemetery for soldiers, that were wounded in the battle for Trafalgar and died in Gibraltar...

.... and of course the botanical garden. Needless to say - i went there alone, while guys were having a beer in Italian restaurant.

There are one or two pretty historical buildings around ....

... like the town hall.

The whole tour was very nice and after two days sailing we needed the exercise. In the evening we were all tired but happy. 

Next day we left Gibraltar at noon after having a true English breakfast at the nearest restaurant - with black pudding and all. It was great, it reminded me of two months i spent in London many many years ago. We were lucky to catch the right tide and the right wind, so sailing was fast and nice. Except for some heavy traffic in bay of Gibraltar itself we didn't even have to much work throughout the whole Gibraltar straights. 

We came by the Cabo Trafalgar, not much can be seen from the sea except for this pretty lighthouse (and some hotels).

We spent the night in Barbate in Puerto Deportivo, which is some kind of town quay or town marina, with all that is available in marinas - only for half the price. Price for our boat for one night is 19 EUR (low season), which makes it easy to forget there aren't many good anchorages around. The town of Barbate didn't look like much, so we stayed on the boat and in the morning set sails towards Rota. Unfortunately the wind was weak, so we had to motor for quite a long time. But the sea was calm and warm, the sun was shining again, so it didn't bother us much. In the afternoon we had a break, we stopped the engine and went swimming. We were all surprised how calm and warm the Atlantic ocean was. We all thought that if Mediterranean is so rough and cold, the Atlantic will be even worse, being such a huge ocean. I just hope it stays this way .....

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