Today, we crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. There was no wind, and a large part of our cruise was under motor. Upon arriving into the strait, a strong courant propelled us at 10 knots. To our right, we could make out the Moroccan coastline, and to our left, Spain. A multitude of points of light appeared on the GPS, representing the AIS signal of numerous cargo ships and other boats taking this course.
Upon entering the bay, we were greeted by numerous dolphins, which, like us, zigzagged between the cargo ships. We dropped anchor at La Linea de la Conception (a Spanish town just above Gibraltar). The anchorage was far from a dream location, between the jet skis racing around us, the groaning of cargo ships in the background, the whiffs of fuel oil, planes taking off and landing right next to us, to say nothing of the invading mosquitos.
If we stopped here, it was neither for the beauty of the spot nor for this Spanish town. We would like to visit Gibraltar, this English enclave at the southernmost tip of Spain and of Europe. What’s more, we have promised the children to go see the monkeys that live at the top of the rock.
To enter the territory, we pass through border control. We hear around us a sort of dialect, blending English and Spanish.
After crossing through the middle of the airport runway, which for want of space could not be built anywhere else, we headed toward the cable car that would take us up to the top of the rock. Barely out of the cable car, we found ourselves nose-to-nose with a big baboon, which seemed amused by the incessant parade of tourists!
The panorama is impressive: the city, with the Mediterranean on one side and the Strait of Gibraltar on the other, the Andalusian coastline and Morocco straight ahead!
The children, however, were much more impressed by the rather tame baboons, which have found out that tourists provide a permanent supply of all sorts of food that they can savagely steal. Blanche hid behind our legs and Gabin asked to climb into the baby carrier.
We waited several days for a westerly wind to leave for the Mediterranean and for the arrival of two families, also traveling by sailboat, who Laurent had met via Facebook. They were sailing from Sète, crossing the Strait in the direction of the Atlantic.
We waited at the marina to meet them at the dock. There was a warm welcome, like old friends meeting again after a long absence, despite not really knowing each other. This is how we made the acquaintance of the crew of “Karemo:” Olivier, Marine, Guilhem and Philippine, and of the crew of “Gaia,” Adrien, Marine and Lazelo.
The children were delighted to meet playmates and hurried to show their toys. Meanwhile, we, the adults, took turns hosting gatherings over drinks, lunch or dinner. The ambiance was festive, and all the more so because this meeting coincided with Laurent’s birthday, another reason to celebrate!
This meeting has been a wonderful moment for sharing and trading stories. The children were proud to show one another what they knew how to do aboard the boat...
Laurent could not stop himself from doing some handiwork aboard the neighbouring boat and sharing his electronic navigation charts. In exchange, we would receive a coastal guide of the Balearic Islands, as well as some advice on the most beautiful anchorages. Thank you, friends!
Unfortunately, it is already time for us to leave, yet with the promise of seeing one another again soon in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde or the Antilles…”