Monday, October 3, 2016

Gibraltar aka "the Rock"

October 3 - 6

We left Marbella at 11:30 AM to make the 25 mile sail over to Gibraltar. It was a full main and code zero day and we were surrounded by pods of dolphins. Spectacular!

As we approached Gibraltar we looked at the AIS and noticed it was dotted heavily with at least 50 ships in and around the area.

We furled the code zero and started the motor to navigate through the anchored ships. True to British weather it was shrouded in grey clouds. A little depressing actually. We made it around the point and down the straight before contacting the Queensway Marina.

The marina entrance was very tight and luckily there wasn't much wind to interfere with our navigation. We side tied and left enough line to account for the tides. Strange after so long without them to start thinking about them again.

first view of the rock of Gibraltar
ships anchored
a closer look
a large gun strategically placed at the top
light house and mosque along the way
The day we arrived we were approached by a couple that we remembered seeing in Cartegena, Spain that were docked across the way. They remembered us and introduced themselves as Nadja and Manuel on s/v Manado ( We spent quite a lot of time with them during our stay and swayed them to head to Mohammedia, Morocco for their next port instead of Rabat.

During one of our many conversations, Manuel mentioned that they were able to find really cheap alcohol in town and that they bought a bunch for baksheesh in Morocco. We followed suit. It came in handy.

Throughout our brief stay we walked through town revelling in the fact that most everyone spoke english. We found an arcade, bowling alley and skating rink in the centre of town. Unfortunately we didn't have time to go skating. We did however find the last book store still open and were able to buy some books.

bowling alley
The day before we departed Manuel, Nadja and our family took the gondola up to the top of the rock to experience the famous macaque monkeys and see some of the history. As soon as we got to the top one of the monkeys got overly friendly with Nadja.

While at the top we thoroughly enjoyed watching the macaques and walking through St. Michael's caves as well as seeing the suspension bridge and Moorish castle. 

sign before catching the gondola
view down from the gondola
first macaque sighting

Nadja and the overly friendly macaque monkey
peek-a-boo view of Element
view from the top
the gondola

the van drivers feed the monkeys so they sit on top
another view from the top
view out to the point
keeping warm
view down to a beach
trying to stay warm

from left to right: Nadja, Manuel, Paige, Jordan and Shaun
everyone in this shot
Here are several pictures from inside the caves. The lights were a great addition!

the view as we entered into the caves

a large column

looking down to the next level

looking back up to the entrance
the ceiling

taking a break

the exit tunnel
We decided to walk down the rock instead of taking the gondola. It was a long walk but worth it. We came across the suspension bridge, the macaques lair and the Moorish castle.

view on our way down

we look like shadows

the suspension bridge

the view from the bridge

taking a rest as we walk down
When we were at the macaques lair there was a bit of drama amongst 4-5 of them. We stayed clear just in case.

letting everyone know it was upset
showing poise as he posed for a picture, very British
very photogenic
I was nervous about getting too close
walking down the road
taking another break on the way down
throughout the year there are snakes
apparently at some times of the year there are praying mantis
first view of the Moorish castle
getting closer

Shaun decided to take a look inside while we rested our feet

Shaun snapping a photo of us from the top of the castle
views from the castle
the air strip/boarder crossing into Spain
Once we made it back to the centre of town we headed for a bite to eat and of course snapped a picture of the girls in the traditional red phone booth.

Gibraltar was nice to visit once. We enjoyed our brief stay but were happy to be heading for Morocco when the time came.

Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element

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