|Harry & Jane aboard CORMORANT||
Plastic coated shores of Andalucia
On Thursday morning, Sept 22, the first day of shorter daylight hours after the autumnal equinox, we motored out of Almerimar marina and along the plastic covered coast. It's not pretty to say the least, but these greenhouses provide lots of food and flowers for markets. Since entering the Med in June, 2009, we have enjoyed being a part of Europe (especially our winter in Gaeta), walking in the paths of history, and seeing old friends and meeting new. On the other hand, the sailing was not great and wonderful anchorages few and far between. We've loved our time here and made the most of it, we think, but we are happy to be sailing west. We can return by air, so it's not "goodbye Europe" completely.
ship adrift, on our path
Now it is HELLO, GIBRALTAR! It was an easy overnight motor, although the Med stayed true to its nature and our forecast easterly winds (favorable) became westerlies within 6 hours, and we motored into the wind, with adverse currents too every 6 hours. The biggest challenge was the large numbers of ships just drifting on both sides of our route. It is too deep to anchor, so while they wait for a berth in port they save fuel by drifting. Thank goodness for AIS, because in the "old" days we would have both been up puzzling over lights and directions and collision paths. Now we can check the AIS data and see that they are pointed one way, yet moving at less than 1 knot in another direction--definitely drifting. We still remain vigilent, since there is always the odd ship without AIS or with a malfunction, and of course the yachts and fishing boats rarely have AIS transponders.
Now here we are in Gibraltar at last, and we really feel that we have started on this next phase of our cruising. Many of the other boats here are also crossing the Atlantic this season, so there is lots of talk about paths--Morocco? or Madeira? or Atlantic Spain & Portugal? or ??? As usual, we aren't sure so we will wait to see how the winds go when we are ready to leave. Meanwhile, you can see from the photos that there is lots to see and do here. We have to climb the rock, see the apes, see all the war memorials, and share sea stories with other cruisers. Dale (Jane's sister) will come to meet us next Wednesday, and we'll save some of the Gibraltar touring until she gets here. She will be with us to the Canaries, and luckily she is relaxed about what path we take. It will all be good we know.