Unwelcome in Gibraltar
18 January 2012 | Mediterranean
Picture: Enzo posing with the one he was allowed to keep.
STOP PRESS.....STOP PRESS....
Those following our tracking beacons will have realized that we entered passed through Gibraltar in the early hours of this morning and are now in the Mediterranean.For me it is great to be back here while for the others on board it heralds the last section of our adventure as we draw nearer to their homes. All in all it took us a month from Cape Town and allowing for the stops twenty six days of actual sailing.
At times during yesterday I was putting my thoughts together with a view to reflecting on our passage from Cabo Verde to Gibraltar but there was a lot of urgency in locating phone numbers and contact details for obtaining fuel in Gibraltar. The day was fraught with agonizing loss of contact on the satellite system and using cell phones with marginal signals to the Moroccan shore in sight to our left. Eventually we were able to contact the fuel dock just outside the marina in Gibraltar but alas they only have three and a half meters of depth at the dock and our boat draws four meters. On to the next plan which needed contacting a shipping agent to make arrangements for us to enter the commercial port and have the fuel delivered there by road tanker. More details needed and in the end the necessary information was sent via the trusty SSB system that gives you these blogs. Arriving at the port shortly after three in the morning we called up port control on the VHF radio to request permission to enter and tie up at the designated dock which we had been told about by the agent. At this point the red tape and beaurocracy caught up with us. The boats arrival and details had not been forwarded to the Port Authorities as promised, thus we were not able to enter into the port. Not even that they would not let us anchor outside to wait for the morning. In fact they did not even want us to be in their water space. Our cockpit conference decided to give Gibraltar a miss and head on into the Mediterranean and find fuel elsewhere.
Turning around we made our way out of the Algeciras Bay and passing Europa Point to our port side took our course eastwards into the Mediterranean. Perhaps the Spanish do have a rightful claim to this enclave.
Several of us had been in the cockpit for more than six hours with the cold wind on our faces. At on time I looked at the air temperature reading on the B&G, it was twelve degrees. Having sorted ourselves out with the course and a fresh watch I came below to my cabin. Taking off the outer foul weather jacket and farmer brown trousers and my fleece track suit I got into my bunk and pulled the duvet tightly around me. What a wonderful feeling of warmth crept over as I dropped of to sleep for a few hours.
Fifty or so miles along the coast brought us to Malaga where we were warmly received by the Spanish Port Control and Port Police who assisted us with some documentation and arranging for a fuel delivery.
The fuel has now been loaded and I have been able to check all the various engine oils and drain the fuel filters of water so we are ready for the next leg.
I have the chance to write this while the others wash the salt from the top of the boat and then I suppose it will be a fine meal together. Some thing that we can not always enjoy, eating while sailing is a relay affair with someone in the cockpit at all times.
Our position in the Malaga harbour is 36 deg 42.8 min North and 004 deg 24.9 min West.
Cheers from a contented Mrs. Marietta crew.