Gibraltar: A Big Small Rock

Hello everyone! This is your trainee mate writing from over the Atlantic ocean in Gibraltar. After seven days at sea, we finally made it to the end point of our ocean crossing and can now officially say, we did it!

Me, on a cloudy day during passage

Coming in to the straight of Gibraltar is weird. After days at sea with little to no boat traffic, all converge towards a two-nautical-mile wide straight between Europe and Africa. With upwards to 30 boats around us, we slowly made our way to continental Europe. As we reached the narrowest point, we could see Morocco off of our starboard side and Spain off of our port side. It was undramatically amazing to see two continents in one view, and to see Africa for the first time.

We were docking in the main marina in Gibraltar with wonderfully European buildings and British speaking marina workers! It was quite the contrast from the American accent spoken on board, but a sure sign we had REALLY crossed an ocean. We marvelled at the impressive yachts, and went crazy for the marina showering installations that had a) pressure b) hot water, and c) an above shower head holder.

The possession of the very big rock that is Gibraltar by the British while the rest is surrounded by Spanish territory lies in a semi-long history of military prowess and determination. As a group, we spent the next two days climbing this big small rock and admiring the views. Some of us got close calls with the macaques that live on its tip top, but all survived their ordeals. A crowd pleasure was St-Michaels cave with such towering heights that authorities felt the need to install a decently pretty light show inside.

Barely below 500m, its abrupt hike still requires some effort so we visited its tunnels on the second day. With about 50 km of tunnels throughout the 6 km wide mountain, there’s a lot to explore if not for modernity’s tendency to limit access to the public. We still had fun walking in the open ones, I personally marvelled at the sight below us from the tunnels openings overlooking Spain and loved seeing the World War II recreations of life inside. With a final visit to a 1000 year old Moorish castle, we called our visits of the Rock over.

Some members of our crew were leaving the next day, so the final day was spent shopping and hanging out in town. We spent our final night with dinner by the marina, the sweet summer air filled with our laughter.

Thank you to Chansky, Dima and Hailey who spent an amazing 50 days with us, may the winds forever fill your sails. Grateful for our collective experiences together, we said a tearful goodbye, and Vela was off for a four day passage to Barcelona.

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