Strait of Gibraltar

The consequence of installing a new engine was that it put us a few weeks behind our schedule. The flights of our guests were from Faro at this point, so we docked Scehawk near Malaga and road tripped to Faro for a day. We said goodbye to Basti and Caro, but not for long because they are coming along for the Atlantic crossing!

But to get onto the Atlantic Ocean, we first had to pass through Gibraltar. We decided to make a pitstop here to search for monkeys and eat fish & chips while we’re at it. We sailed into Gibraltar early in the morning. Thomas was taking it all very lightly, but I was completely stressed about the big tankers on an empty stomach. Border patrol circling everywhere and total confusion about where the marina was added to the stress. We soon realised that we had to sail along the landing strip of the Gibraltar airport (IS THERE A PLANE LANDING!? I DON’T THINK ITS DEEP ENOUGH HERE!). Good, that took three years off my life. But we made it, it was deep enough, we got a spot at the marina and we got some dirt cheap diesel as well. Welcome to the UK!

Gibraltar has a very charming old town centre, British to an almost unreal extent in the Spanish climate. Walking through the centre, it’s a bit like walking through an outdoor airport departure hall. You can buy tax-free perfume, sunglasses and liquor everywhere. So we stocked up on baksheesh for in Morocco and then hiked onto the rock to find some macaques. We finished off with the best fish & chips of Gibraltar and felt ready to tackle the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Strait is only 14 miles wide and is full of boats. Big boats. There are also vicious currents and the sea can get very angry here. We were expecting 10-20 knot easterly winds – in the right direction to sail straight to Tarifa. We planned to anchor there and head to Cadiz the day after.

Luckily we were well-prepared because the wind was a lot stronger than forecasted and the waves were huge. It built up from Gibraltar to a consistent 30 knots (we also saw 40+ knot gusts) and it stayed like that almost the whole day. We decided these were not the conditions to anchor, so we kept on sailing. It was amazing. The boat handled the strong wind very well on just a reefed headsail. Despite the rough conditions, sailing felt very comfortable and we were super fast. Surfing down the waves we reached 10 to 11 knots constantly and we even got a high speed of 16 knots! A taste of things to come in the Atlantic!

 

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