La Linea is a town in Spain, in the province of Cadiz. Located on the eastern side of the Bay of Gibraltar and borders the British Maritime Territory of Gibraltar. Entering into marina Alcadeisa for us is represented not just another successfully completed section of the our adventure but is already one step closer to Gran Canar, where we join the ARC Rally and embarking on a journey around the world in a group with other ships. That afternoon we walked the marina and met with some of the rally participants from different parts of the world. Returning to the ship we stopped next to the boat on which was bearing the flag of Malta. In La Linea has arrived shortly after us and tied the other side of the marina pier near the Meermowea. Golden retriever, running around in the front of the sailing boat, with his behavior has showed belonging to the ship. “Bitanga”, the name that we were amazed by the attention and awaken curiosity to approach people on the board and ask where they come from. Vanja and his dog Bond are longtime sailors from Slovenia. With short interruptions they travel the world and above all are very well coordinated team. On this occasion, in the company of friend Marjus called Mani, also Slovenian, traveling to Brazil with the intention to sail into the Amazon. Mani enjoys sailing and discovering new spaces therefore it is very difficult to resist the magical appeal of the marine space. How way led the same course to Gran Canaria, we have decided that part of the sail together. We quickly became friends and enjoyed a very pleasant moments of our association. That evening we invited Vanja and Mani for dinner. We enjoyed the grilled fish that my husband caught and thus celebrate our first catch. The fish was really finger licking.
Traveling more than 600 miles, which stood in front of us, is a more complex preparation required to ship and ourselves, therefore we were the first three days maximum dedicated to that. While Peter purchased the equipment from Chandlery shop in Gibraltar, which we missed for the rally and took care of the technical condition of the ship, I was a “small” of kitchen and deck. The days were beautiful, perfect for work on board. We enjoyed the liveliness that ruled not only on our boat but also around us. All were hurrying to reach the time and were in their own film. Everything had been in place, ropes sorted, fences and handrails shiny, suits washed and ready for use. Each of us, participants in the Atlantic rally, wanted to sail in Las Palmas in all its glory. We worked that all smoked and we did not think that we will again set sail, and not to fly to Las Palmas, that we’ll get many times again the waves splash and ropes that will create a mess in the cockpit and hang around legs as we wind-filled sails. “It does not matter”, we’ve thought of that moment and the only thing we were feeling were happiness and pride to our beautiful ship and to ourselves.
The last two days prior to departure, we took the tour of Gibraltar. Located in the Mediterranean on the southernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula and overlooking the passage of Gibraltar. He is known by mass of stone that rises impressively from the sea, which makes it, also known as “The Rock.” A ten minute walk is shared by the marina from the border crossing. It will sound unbelievable but in Gibraltar, Avenue Winston Churchill and runway share one section of the road. Actually, the Airport North Fort is the strangest we’ve seen so far. Length is just three miles and wide less than one kilometer, and the lack of flat space caused the intersection with the busiest street leading to the city center. Over the airstrip exceeds as over the railway line with the use of ramps. When the plane lands or takes off, traffic stops for ten minutes, and the busy street becomes part of the runway, and then everything goes back to normal. It looked like fun. Happiness is that the flights, mainly from or to the UK, they are not common, only about 30 per week.
Gibraltar is a small city with a large number of attractions and it is obvious that every inch of space well used. While we sailed in La Linea we observed it from the boat, but even in our dreams we did not assumed what we will see and experience in it. It is a known tourist destination with a very busy streets flooded people. The city is full of hotels, shops with beautiful shop windows, restaurants and cafes. In the pedestrian zone of the old town, we enjoyed watching the buildings with a mix of Regency styles, most of which have shops on the ground floor while the upper floors provide housing or office. On such a small area next to the airport, there is also a big football stadium.
The aim of our visit to Gibraltar was the Rock of Gibraltar, which we were looking at it daily from the marina, increasingly attracted. In a nearby agency, we decided to include in the “Rock Tour”, which offered a rich program of visits to all attractive places of the Park. We got a van and a super driver who, despite waiting and insufficient numbers of people finally decided to go with the four of us up the hill. Standing on top of the Rock of Gibraltar we felt as if we’re standing on top of the world. While we took a deep breath of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic are spread on both sides of Strait of Gibraltar. The winding road that we drove it offered a breathtaking view of the African coast, the Spanish Costa del Sol and the city itself.
The Rock of Gibraltar, it is also home to the famous barbaric monkeys, who throughout Europe only here live freely in the wild and are living symbol of Gibraltar. The monkeys were divided into six families and each of them, like the mafia, the masters of their territory. They identify each other and know exactly what is their affiliation. Apparently love to take pictures, moreover, seems to pose. We should not approach them too close because they can be quite mischievous and can bite. Near the place where they feed, much to my surprise, one of them jumped on my head. From the driver we also found out that all of Gibraltar’s Barbary apes date from North Africa, and no doubt they are Algerian and Moroccan origin. Nature Park is also an ideal place to observe migratory birds between Africa and Europe.
While descending from the Rock of Gibraltar road brought us to St Michael’s Cave, with stalactites and stalagmites, the biggest caves in the area. It’s illuminated by a special lights color that gives it a special look. In the cave was long thought to be bottomless why there was a story that Gibraltar rock underground passage linked with Africa and that Barbaric monkeys came to Gibraltar through the underwater passage. Centuries-old stalactites and stalagmites are the unique beauty of crystalline nature. In the summer months the cave is used as a concert hall.
Labyrinth of the Tunnel Great Siege, in which Peter particular delight, probably is the most impressive defensive system that man could devise. It dates from the 18th century and did it in defense of British Gibraltar in English-Spanish war. Mine is a few kilometers long and very well preserved. Numerous exhibits give a clear image of the time. The interesting of the tunnel are graffiti on the walls drawn by soldiers on guard in order not to fall asleep during long hours at duty, which was punishable by death at the time.
Before returning to the center, where we started our tour, we stopped next to the Moorish castle. It was built in the eighth century and stretched all the way to Casemates Square at the end of Main Street. It consists of various buildings, doors and walls. It impresses with its appearance, dominance and strategic position.
Walk Mediterranean stairs, the next day was a big hit before our long journey. The path leads mostly along the eastern side of the Nature Park and consists of rocks and low Mediterranean plants. It is quite steep that made my husband very “pleased”, interesting and rich with various flowers. The day was sunny and we enjoyed in the shade of which it provided to us walking trail. The time we have left to return to the ship, we used for quick visit the Lighthouse of Europe, which is the southernmost point of Gibraltar, between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It was first lit in 1841 and worked on the basis of fixed lights and at the end of the 20th century is automated. Gibraltar boasts another interesting point that we were delighted. We learned that registrars have their hands full of job and are working day and night, twenty-four hours. There were married Sean Connery, twice, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Happy and satisfied with all we have seen we returned to the marina Alcadeisa then took taxi and drove to the supermarket. It was evening when we got an arm full of bags returned to the ship. Gibraltar is really interesting and wonderful city, which is why we have just such and loving. That evening, over coffee, we talked with Vanja and Mani on the details of our journey. Standing in the cockpit at the top of the stairs Bond was carefully watching us. It is very intelligent and smart dog and its view doubtful he watched us, “but we’re going right.” He was feeling and knew that we prepare to sail because the already began to show signs of anxiety.
At seven thirty in the morning, we threw a last look at the weather forecast for the coming week and at eight, five hours before peak tide, spreading the sails Bitanga and Meermowe left the marina. Catching crosswind both ships sailed toward the door of the Mediterranean. Sailing along the Spanish coast, we have tried to avoid huge currents, which the influence of the tides rule the channel. Using motor and sail we were moving speed of all three knots. It seemed that we do not move from the place. Over six hours we needed to be got hold of the lighthouse at the exit of the Strait of Gibraltar. Extremely strong current did not allow us to sail a course towards Africa, but we were returning to the Mediterranean. Communicating by radio with Vanja, we decided to continue on with Spain toward Portugal and get away with it 35 miles out to get away from the existing current. Only in the evening we got hold of the African coast. On the way dolphins were following us. We were very excited watching them how they jumped in and out of the sea as soon as possible in order to reach us. We did not know which way to turn, a whole flock had surrounded us by playing with Meermowe and cheerfully greeting us. We were amazed by the speed with which they moved through the water emerging with a bow, as to compete with the ship, who will be sooner. They are so unpredictable that it was very difficult to capture them with camera. Driving down the coast of Morocco, we changed course towards the open sea, in order to overcome the adverse weather conditions. Around us there was full night. The weather was increasingly deteriorating. The waves were hitting us from all sides and spilled ship up to the mast. We had to separate ourselves from Bitanga, sailing each of us in favorable course. During the morning, the wind and the sea had calmed down considerably. Due to the lack of fuel supplies, we were forced to sail into the first available port in Morocco. It was Mohammedia, about 25 miles north of Casablanca. Mohammedia is a small and very interesting port where life starts early in the morning. It was six o’clock in the morning when we passed the breakwater. On the left side there is a high dark pier that flooded many people who were holding a large black buckets tied with a rope, waiting for small fishing boats to return from fishing. While are one by one arrived in the port agreeing foot pier, people are, pushing each other, lowered the bucket with money and raise them full of fish. While some of them are resold fish, others wore fish home. Pump the fuel was located high up in the mountain and we did not have a theoretical chance to pour fuel into the tank, so we had to sail out of the port, drop anchor and by dinghy ride buckets to the pier, and then on foot to go to the petrol station and with full buckets return back to dinghy. Our reserve fuel cans are 80 liters and Peter went to refuel twice to fill the tank, and then the reserves. Half of day we lost waiting for the resolution of paperwork at customs and the police. It was four o’clock in the afternoon when we get authorization to get underway. Meanwhile over Muhammadia were pretty heavy, dark clouds bringing with it strong wind and rain. Regardless of the weather conditions decisively we set sail in the hope that it will take time to change soon. The storm followed us during the night and the whole next day. Dino and Pipo are in fear disappeared without a trace. “Here is another madness,” commented Dino. “Another horror, it’s better to spend the night in the bed,” exclaimed Pipo, by pushing a wool cap on his head. For Dino and Pipo it was scary, and for us one unforgettable moment that make us even more persistent. Time finally started to calm down. Next night we enjoyed calm sea and beautiful picture of sunset. The joy and happiness knew no bounds when we saw the first outlines of the Canary archipelago. Canary Islands consist of seven major and several smaller islands. It is interesting that each island is different from the other and a story in itself. Volcanic origin and the Greeks and Romans called them Fortunate Islands, Garden of Hesperides, or Atlantis.
In Caleta del Sabo, on the island Gracioza, we sailed in the morning. Marina was full and busy so we drop anchor in the neighboring bay. Vanja, Mani and Bond had arrived shortly before us and were expected our arrival. Weather Forecast prefigured of the new wave of bad weather so we decided to sail the next day afternoon at the Marina Rubicon on the island of Lanzarote. Time to departure, we took a tour of the place. Caleta del Sabo is a small coastal town. Low white houses with no roofs characterize it. Its shape and color of window blinds and doors are reminiscent of a mix of Mexican and Greek style. It is surrounded by dark volcanic hills, while the streets are made of sand. On entering the city there is a beautiful cactus developed in bushy tree, some small palm trees adorning the sandy beach while a large palm tree rises in front of cafes, where we sat down to refresh cold drinks, and send some e-mails. Looking around, we felt that we lost in a western movie “A Fistful of Dollars”. It is well known that America is the cradle of Cowboys, that many spaghetti westerns filmed in Italy, but for this movie I would guarantee that it was filmed right here in Caletta del Sabo. We missed only Clint Eastwood. This small town has left a deep impression on us just because we’ve never encountered something similar. Exuded once relaxing atmosphere and very pleasant and friendly locals. Caleta del Sabo is very difficult to describe, need to experience it and be a participant in this fantastic atmosphere.
The journey to Marina Rubicon on the island of Lanzarote lasted five hours. It is the largest island of the archipelago and already from the boat we noticed that differs greatly from the island Gracioza. The city is quite large and extends along the bay. Along the coast rise magnificent hotels dominated Arab style. Marina in which we sailed impressed us with its look presenting a small town full of beautiful shops. Saturday morning is held large market whose stands are full of garments, souvenirs, household and decorative items. We enjoyed not only in this scene, moving together with the river people down the street, but also in a wide range of content that marina provided to us. We enjoyed not only in this scene, moving together with the river people down the street, but also in a wide range of content that marina provided to us. In many restaurants we enjoyed the taste of very simple meals. Papas arrugadas, consists of unpeeled potatoes boiled in salted water and served with Mojo Picon sauce of oil, onion, chili and pepper. It was interesting to know that the traditional and oldest recipes are prepared on the basis of gofio flour. Invented by the Guncia, the original inhabitants of the island and is a standard part of the diet. Gofio flour is made from roasted grains and is used as an addition to soups, sauces and even ice cream.
The Canary Islands are the exact opposite of what we imagined and regardless of their unusual appearance, as in the story of a thousand and one nights, gave us one calm and relaxation that we are not at all surprised as it’s a popular tourist destination.
The night before leaving we had prepared for the journey and early in the morning together with Bitanga spread sails and we sailed course the eagerly awaited Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria.