The purpose of our visit to Gibraltar was twofold;
  1. To rendezvous with my son Rory and his fiancé Sarah who were joining us for a one week sail up the Portuguese Coast.
  2. To pick up and install four AGM 120 Amp house batteries that were arriving in a shipment from England.  They were to clear customs on Monday 5 May and we would take delivery dockside.
Well life is not always perfect and there will be days in one’s life where only expletives cover the mood!  At 4pm and after much prior dialogue over several weeks with the battery man (Leo was on the case and no stone was left unturned) he phones to tell me that unfortunately my battery order was not included in the shipment!!
Back to square one.  We had so little juice in the old batteries that if we shut the motor down for just 10 minutes the instruments were squealing for power.  The net result was that we had to idle the motor while sailing just to run instruments – a real pain in the arse.
So back to the battery man who is very apologetic and says he will arrange to forward them to our next port of call but that it will take 5 days to get them from Britain.  That had to be Oporto as we were not in Lisbon long enough.
This is our third visit to the Rock of Gibraltar and it is a spectacular backdrop to the Straits of Gibraltar, and so strategic when you consider no ship can enter the Mediterranean without passing through the strait which is just 7 nautical miles across at the narrowest point.  It is not hard to fathom why the Brits never want to give it up.  Ever since the battle of Trafalgar and Lord Horatio Nelson it has had a special place in history.  There is an old cemetery just off the Main Street that is well worth a visit where a number of sailors were put to rest after meeting a sticky end in the battle of Trafalgar.
Rory and Sarah joined us at La Linea de la Concepcion, Marina Alcaidesa. They were still rather seedy after a long night of Sangria and Limoncella at The Pirate in Salou!  We piped them aboard and went out for a slap up meal, and retired for a good night’s sleep.
While settling with the Marina the following morning a voice piped up in the Capitanerie saying, “you are along way from home for a Kiwi”.  It was Kelly Glass from Greymouth, New Zealand.  Kelly and crew had just sailed his yacht, ‘Sticky Toffee’ from the Caribbean to Gibraltar and was about to fly back across the Atlantic.  A chance meeting of two Kiwis a long way from home.  Common denominator, blue water sailing.
Next day we were off to Sheppards Chandlery for various supplies including new flares and fire extinguishers.  On the subject of date stamps we believe that they were only invented for townies
and occasionally we dig up dry stores that were purchased in America in 2006 and are still good to eat!!  However on safety equipment we are vigilant.
Sarah knew that she was prone to a little ‘Mal de Mer’ and had purchased Stugeron for the voyage.  She also had ginger in her bag of tricks but nothing could have prepared her for the first leg from Gibraltar to Lagos when we encountered 40 knots of breeze (wind against current) during a night sail through the straits between Tarifa and Cape Trafalgar.  Poor girl fed the fishes and there was nothing we could do about it.  It wasn’t exactly champagne sailing!  She was very pleased to reach Lagos.

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