View from the back of Sabbatical III

Just the day after we returned to Almerimar from the mountains, we saw that there was a very good forecast for strong south-easterlies for the next two days (following about 10 days of either westerlies or no wind). Since we only needed one day of wind for our 140 nm trip to Gibraltar, we thought this sounded great. The forecast sounded like it might be a little too strong, actually, with winds of 25 knots, and gusts up to the mid-30’s and a meter and a half of seas. We decided that it was better to have a slightly raucous sail than to motor, so we quickly got things ready for departure.

We pulled out of the marina at 13:00 on Wednesday, August 1st and for the first 45 minutes we had gorgeous wind and smooth seas. Then, in an instant, the seas got very confused and the wind stopped. After about an hour it started building again, and we thought we were going to be able to sail, but it never really came back with any force, and it certainly wasn’t from the S.E as predicted. It was mostly on the nose, but very light. So we ended up motoring the entire way. Mark had the sails up for a few hours in the middle of the night, and for a few hours in the morning, but without the motor we would not have moved much at all.

Only when we turned the corner at Gibraltar did the winds come up fiercely. The winds came careening off the top of the mountain with a great deal of force and we finally found our easterlies…. But just 135 miles too late.
We are at Marina Alcaidesa, which is in Spain, directly adjacent to the Gibraltar border. The marina is in a town called La Linea de la Conception. It is not very pretty, but the marina is clean and quiet and very nice and we have an absolutely terrific view of the Rock of Gibraltar which is very impressive.

We both had bad colds this week and really didn’t venture out too much for several days, except to go look for food. For the first few days it was very foggy here, at least in the morning. This is apparently quite typical here when there are winds from the east, and it was a life-saver as it kept the temperatures very cool. Our thermometer was reading about 72 degrees Fahrenheit while the rest of Spain was experiencing temperatures in the 100’s. Once the sun came out in the afternoon, it heated up quite a bit, and by Wednesday afternoon we were sweltering along with the rest of the country. Miraculously a nice westerly wind picked up just when we thought we were going to melt and it cooled everything down a lot. We wonder how long this heat wave will last in Europe.

The “Rock of Gibraltar” shrouded in fog as we approach from the east
View of Gibraltar from La Linea, Spain

We visited the old town of Gibraltar, which involves going through customs at the border (they don’t stamp your passport, just look at it) , walking across the runway of the Gibraltar international airport and then walking another half mile or so to the quainter parts of the town. We thought the coolest part of the whole thing was walking across the airport runway (along with dozens of other people). They apparently are going to build a tunnel in a few years for pedestrians, but in the meantime, everyone who goes between the two countries has to walk or drive across the runway (and there are probably thousands of cars and buses doing it every day).

We keep in touch with many sailing friends through Facebook, and had learned a few weeks ago, that some very good friends on the sailboat “Nathape” were here in La Linea. They sailed away from here before we could arrive, but their boat is only 30 km away, and Nathalie and Hans Peter drove down to meet us for lunch yesterday. We had a wonderful time (eating Indian food) and hearing about their adventures since we last met in Thailand.

Now we are waiting for weather for the big move: crossing the straits of Gibraltar with all its currents and traffic, and then heading south to the Canaries.


A little bit of England
Hans Peter and Natalie of “Nathape” pose with us
Places Sabbatical III has visited so far this year

A: San Carles
B: Peniscola
C: Valencia
D: Cala D’Hort, Ibiza
E: Cala Benirras, Ibiza
F: Cartagena
G: Almerimar
H: Gibraltar