Monthly Archives: October 2017

Gunning for Gibraltar

We left Cadiz at 7.30am on 11th October heading for Barbate which was 37 miles along the coast.  The best winds for going to Gibraltar coming from the west are obviously westerly winds.  The forecast was easterly with up to 20 knots.  It was OK for the first four hours or so but we then got 35 knots for the next couple of hours.  The seas were short and sharp and so made it rough with 2m waves.  We had enough salt on the boat for putting on the chips for the feeding of the 5000.  To add to this the reefing line (the rope on the front sail which makes the sail smaller for you non sailors) on the genoa broke and so where we had the sail smaller it was now out full size and the only way to wind it in was to go up to the front of the boat to rethread a new rope.  The conditions weren’t such that you wanted to go anywhere near the bow of the boat, so this had to stay as it was until we got within spitting distance of Barbate.  It was not pleasant, quite scary.  We turned the corner into the bay and the winds dropped to 8knots and nice and flat, the difference was unbelievable but very welcomed after seven hours.

C1. Cuffysark at Queenway Marina, Gibraltar 13.10.17.

Cuffysark in Queensway Quay Marina, Gibraltar

Another pretty empty marina in Barbate.  We only stayed overnight and then set off the following morning for our trip though the Gibraltar Straits, at an unearthly hour for us, 5.45am, again with an easterly wind forecast of 20 knots.  The journey this time was better, the winds were again stronger than had been forecast reaching up to 30knots but we sat tight against the coastline which meant we didn’t have much in the way of waves, didn’t use the geneo and used a much smaller main sail.  Ian put both engines on so we could power through, something he never does, he normally only has one engine on at a time.   It took us five hours and we moored up in Queensway Quay Marina.

We were all tired from the early start so we did as the Spanish do (I know it’s not Spain) and had a little siesta.  The following day we took a ride up in the cable car just before the sun was setting and the views were quite spectacular and this is where you find the Barbary Apes.

B4. Barbary Apes - Gibrlater 13.10.17.

A Barbary ape drinking from the water fountain

We also visited Trafalgar Cemetery which has the remains of those who were injured at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Gibraltar has a thriving tourist industry and is actually smaller than Canvey Island.  Main Street is full of the usual shops and a bit like walking through the departure lounges of an airport selling VAT free drink, cigarettes and electrical goods.  Have to admit we did make a visit to M&S and also had some pub grub.

We had come to the end of our time with John and Prim so off they went on Saturday 14th October back home.  We’d had a great time and done lots and we could now visualise when Johnny talked about Moron what it was like.  The other place dear to his heart is Ronda, a place we will visit sometime in the next few months.

We waved them off and then made a trip to Morrisons.  We were like kids in a sweet shop, it is exactly the same as it is at home with the same products.  I know it’s sad but we were able to stock up on some things that we hadn’t been able to get for the last five months.  The following day more friends were arriving Graham and Lesley.  So the rest of the day we were changing beds and cleaning ready for their arrival.

Lesley, Graham, Ian and I decided to take a taxi tour of the island which lasted two hours and well worth it.  The driver gave a good commentary whilst taking us round the island.  We went first to St Michael’s caves.  The caves are used for concerts, quite an unusual venue.

We next visited the tunnels, there are 34 miles of them (no we didn’t walk them) which were built over the course of nearly 200 years mainly by the British Army.

We went up to the top of the rock where the Barbary apes are, they did make me a little nervous but they are fascinating to watch.

Finally we took a look around the Moorish castle.  Part of the castle was used a prison until it was relocated in 2010.

We left the following day for our next stop Estepona but not before filling up with diesel which is inexpensive in Gibraltar.  We had a pleasant sail, overcast when we left but by the time we arrived in Estepona it was lovely and sunny.  They have a bull ring here and a lovely town about 15 minutes away from the marina.  We had a big thunderstorm during the night here and lots of rain which I’m sure the Spanish welcomed as they had been suffering a drought.

We stayed overnight in Estepona and headed to Fuengirola the next morning.  About an hour before arriving we hit a lobster pot.  We couldn’t free it from the rudder so Ian had to don his dry suit, snorkel on and in he went to cut it away.  We decided to eat on the boat, so add music and wine and it’s a bit of party!  In the park there are lots of Monk Parakeets (they are green and blend in with the grass) who build rather large nests in the palm trees.

E1. Graham and Lesley 17.10.17


Time for the last of our visitors, Graham and Lesley, to leave after a fun few days.





30th October 2017


Hola Spain, Again – October 2017

1st – 10th October 2017

We had our final few days in Praia de Faro and had some amazing sunsets.  We took another trip into Faro and actually saw a stork in one of the nests, we’d only seen empty nests previously.

John and Primrose were joining us and we were planning on going from Faro along to Gibraltar.  We spent a night anchored at the entrance so that we could get off fairly easily in the morning.  We sat on the front of boat on that evening 3rd October, appreciating what we had and made a special toast to Ian’s brother Steve on which would have been his 54th birthday, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

We spent the following night at a marina on the Portuguese side of the Portuguese/Spanish border and left swiftly the following morning for Mazagon.  On arrival in the marina at Mazagon we were surprised at home many empty berths there were, one side of the marina was completely empty.  The only ones pleased about this were the birds and there were plenty of them and the mess they make too!

We walked into town which was very quiet and found a very Spanish restaurant.  John was feeling rather smug as he asked the owner if he could put some Flamenco music on and he did!

Christopher Columbus and the New World

We took a trip to Monasterio de Santa María de La Rábida (Monastery of Santa María de la Rábida) which is where Christopher Columbus spent a year putting his case with the help and influence of two of the friars,  Fray Antonio de Marchena and Fray Juan Pérez  for funding for a voyage to discover a western route to Asia which he didn’t get to as America was in the way.  Columbus set sail on 3rd August 1492.

Also here are replicas of the three boats that sailed the voyage the PintaNiña, and Santa María.  They are very small!

Cadiz, Moron de la Frontere and Jerez (7-10 October 2017)

We crammed a lot into our four nights here.  Cadiz is a lovely city, lots of small streets with tall buildings, a little similar to the Old Town of San Sebastian.  There are also a number of squares with bars and restaurants on each side. We visited the Cathedral here.

Cadiz isn’t far from Moron de la Frontere, which is where John regularly goes to play flamenco with his gypsy friends.  So we hired a car and took the two hour journey staying at the Gran Hotel Moron which we had heard so much about.  It was better than expected albeit a little outside of town.  We took a drive in and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.  It had a lovely square which we sat in and had a beer and some tapas.  The town was home to Deigo Del Gastor who is a renowned flamenco guitarist.  He played a very personal style of flamenco guitar. He referred to it as “toca gitano” (to play gypsy).  There is a memorial to him in Moron de la Frontere.

C3. Penya - Moron 9.10.17.John was hoping to be able to take us to the Peña, which is where people meet to eat, drink and play flamenco.  Unfortunately it wasn’t open, hence the look of Ian and John.  Obviously Primrose and I were devastated.

We went back to the hotel for a freshen up and then went back into town to the Bar Alemán.  John made a couple of phone calls to his gypsy friends inviting them for a drink.  Obviously they were somewhat surprised to discover that he was in town.  We had a great evening with Alberto and Paco and his wife Poppy.  Even though Ian, Prim and I speak no Spanish, Poppy no English, Alberto and Paco can speak some English and John who says his Spanish isn’t that good, (but it absolutely is) we managed to chat all evening and more or less understand each other.

Andalusion Horse Show, Jerez

Prim loves horses and we had been told by a couple we met in Cadiz, Marie and Dave, that there was a horse show in Jerez.  The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art is devoted to conserving the ancestral abilities of the Andalusian horse, maintaining the classical traditions of Spanish baroque horsemanship, preparing horses and riders for international dressage competitions, and providing education in all aspects of horsemanship, coachdriving, blacksmithing, the care and breeding of horses, saddlery, and the manufacture and care of horse harness.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to take photos of the show.

Jerez is also home to a number of sherry houses.  A well known one, (I’ve only heard of it because John drinks it from time to time) Tio Pepe is based here which is produced by González Byass.  So we next made a visit here where we took a tour.  Not as good as other tours we’ve been on, we felt we were on a bit of a sales pitch.

We had an early start the following morning as we were leaving for our first hop to get down to Gibraltar, more about that in the next blog!

23rd October 2017