We arrived in Gibraltar on Wednesday evening 3rd July after an enjoyable couple of days albeit motoring as no wind, then wind on the nose. The sea picked up in the straits but we ploughed through the spray. At least the sun was still shining! When we arrived at Gib we anchored off La Linea on the Spanish side of the runway and caught up on some sleep.
The following day, after securing a berth at Marina Bay in Gibraltar, we motored around the corner and down the side of the runway after obtaining clearance from traffic control. There is a lot of expansion work going on in the marina, but the staff were very helpful and friendly and our berth so cheap.
Unfortunately that evening we received the very sad news that my lovely Uncle Tony had passed away that day unexpectedly. He was a great supporter of our travels and was following us on marine traffic, calling my mum when he couldn’t find us on AIS to make sure we were still afloat! He was a great and unforgettable character, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him and my heart goes out to all my family back home.
Our spare genoa arrived in Gib from home finally on Tuesday 9th July and after a lot of paperwork at Customs and racing across the rock, Jez collected it from the transport depot with 15 mins to spare before closing.
We met a lovely Dutch couple in the marina also doing the ARC, Peter and Marianne with their gorgeous yacht Windsurf, a Contest 50. We were very envious of the hydraulic passerelle (boarding ramp) which you need in the Med as moorings are stern to against a quay or pontoon and you secure your bow to a line leading from the quay which you take forward. The line is secured to the sea bed so you are then secure at both ends! But then you have to get off, unlike mooring against a pontoon and climbing down your boarding ladder midships, you have to ‘Walk the plank’ from the back. We had a lovely solid passerelle, but storing was a pain as we had to secure to the aft deck which was a bit clumsy, so with another agricultural adjustment (sawn in half) and a lovely great hinge made expertly by the local steel fabricators, hey presto – a foldable passerelle that fits into the aft locker (just).
Peter and Marianne were great fun and I think the competition is on for the first tuna caught mid Atlantic. They are heading for Madeira then on to the Canaries, they have just come from the Balearics.
We left Gibraltar on Thursday after drinks with the competition the night before, and started our three day sail/motor to Ibiza. An uneventful journey with 90% motored as only 2 knots of wind a lot of the time, the dolphins however were spectacular. With sea a royal blue and so clear, the dolphins came and played in large groups and were so visible under the water you can see them watching you.
I also had a visit about 3am one morning, like torpedoes darting at the boat in the darkness. The water rushing passed their bodies lights up fluorescent and it is so freaky! Still no luck on the fishing front, Jez had a chunk bitten out of his lure on one occasion with some flesh left on the hook, and then the lure was completely ripped off the 100lb steel wire that attached it! His second lure went on, and I discovered that missing too the following night! The good old trusty (non performing) squid lure that we have been trawling since the UK then caught a fish, but as Jez hauled in the line and almost got it to the boat, it escaped! Nada!
On our last night before landfall, we had a range of weather and wind conditions to keep us on our toes. One minute with 1 knot from the west, then 20 knots from the east. The wind veered full circle, several times. The motor went off and the genoa unfurled, the motor went on and the genoa put away, and so on. Usually during my sleep time so guess what, I didn’t get any sleep. We also had a touch of rain, and by daylight the clouds thickened, wind increased again to 20+ and the sea picked up. By 3pm the conditions had improved and the sun shone with a flat calm. Ibiza came into view on the horizon, and with 12 knots of true wind from SSW and a flat sea, we sailed at 7.5 knots continuing into our anchorage on the west coast at Cala Tarida.
We have cruised a small section of this coastline in the days following, having to visit San Antonio for provisions and chandlery for a few never-ending bits needed for Joy. Needless to say we got out of there pretty quick, returning to our more favoured quiet anchorages. Our days start with a swim and a snorkel early morning in our own private heated pool (the clear warm sea that is!) and then a sail as the day progresses and the light winds pick up. There are lots of jelly fish around today, hundreds in fact, luckily the water is clear (our anchorage in the photos below is 8 metres and I can clearly see the bottom from the boat) and you can see them around you so you have to be careful.
As for our next plans, my Mum is coming out to meet us in Majorca in a couple of weeks, we are so looking forward to seeing her as it’s been nearly 3 months since we left and she has been through so much in the last two weeks. We will cruise Majorca and Menorca and then cross to Sardinia with her, where she will fly back from Olbia just before Chris, Saff, Lily and Tom join us. So we have a few good weeks ahead of us before we start to head back to the Canaries at the end of August in preparation for our Atlantic crossing….