The western Mediterranean has strong prevailing westerly winds which means headwinds and pounding seas when heading west into them. Last year, a captain told me they were “stuck” in a Spanish harbor for 11 days waiting for favorable winds and weather. We were pleased to arrive in Gibraltar quickly (5 days). We motor-sailed quite a bit to achieve our objective.
Sailing in the Med was fascinating. The rich history of discovery, war, sea battles; I could feel it. Knowing Africa was so close, looking at the chartplotter and seeing the Spanish coastline, Algeria and Morocco to the South, Gibraltar to the West, was dreamlike. I’m accustomed to seeing the charts of the Long Island Sound, Block Island, Shelter Island, Martha’s Vineyard. Surprisingly, the Spanish coast reminded me of the arid foot-hills of Nevada.
We arrived in Gibraltar in the rain and 27 knots of wind in the early morning. I was in awe of this historic gateway to the East (Med) and the West (the Atlantic Ocean and the New World). The rock, the lighthouse, the religious structures, the commercial tankers and the beautiful blue-water sailboats were mesmerizing. The powerful strategic value of controlling this eight mile wide gateway is plain to see, especially to the British.
Our plan is to prepare Davali for a Friday departure to the Canary Islands. Until then, we’ll explore Gibraltar and neighboring Spain.