Yikes, looking at this Blog, I’m still in Rota, Spain.
That seems like eons ago!
So, while Micah and my friend Larry explore Morocco, I will take this opportunity get caught up.
Maybe my lack of writing has been a function of the cruising conditions.
Getting back to Dauntless after a month the sigh of relief was probably audible across the Atlantic. Her month on the hard went perfectly. She had shore power with no interruptions the entire time (I have thermometers for fridge and freezer, which records max and min temps).
The gouge I had put into the side had been repaired
and painted. The anti-foul undercoat was re-applied over those sections that the straps of the travel lift had lifted off when being splashed in Ireland.
So, for less than $200 she was back in the water looking like new again.
All in all, a great relief.
But now, it was time to get underway and make some miles.
And they turned out to be tough miles. The 87 miles from Rota to Gibraltar had to be broken into three different segments. Each time the winds picked up on our bow and once they reach 15+ knots, it makes the situation pretty crappy.
|Nautical miles||Time Hr:Min||Average Speed (KTS)||Reason for Stop|
|37||7:35||5.5||Winds on the nose, continued to increase|
|29||5:05||5.6||Same as above|
|18||3:30||5.0||Finally, in Gib|
Our first stop, was a bit of desperation. Just NW of the lighthouse off Cape Trafalgar, it was not that well protected from the easterly winds, but it was better than burning fuel to go mostly up and down. We only stayed about 4 hours, but this was enough time for the winds to die down and we got underway again.
This stop also provided another example of how the “police” are about helping, not enforcing. After we were anchored about an hour, a Spanish Civil Guarda (national police) boat sidestepped themselves to within about 100 feet of Dauntless. I came out to the pilot house door, two guys came out of their boat and yelled over the wind whether I spoke Spanish. I replied only a little.
They asked, “problem”. I responded, “no, I wait for wind” They waved, said OK Adios and slowly motored off, until their wake would not rock us any more than we are already rocking.
In the more than two years of cruising in Europe. I have always found the maritime authorities were always about help if needed, but not enforcement.
Our next stop, west of the causeway at Tarifa was much better, as the Active Captain description explains. We were well out of the wave action, so the boat was pretty quiet. We stopped here at 02:00 and had a much-needed sleep. Then though I was up by 08:00, the winds were up to, so we just sat and waited. Finally, by early afternoon, the winds died down and we took off, now only 18 miles from The Rock.
The last of our challenges, the 6 miles crossing the Gibraltar Bay. There are two areas for large ships to anchor on the west and east sides of the bay. We went through these areas pretty close to the anchored behemoths because it reduced our exposure to the super-fast ferries from the Ceuta on the African coast to Algeciras, the Spanish port just north of Gibraltar.
Those ferries, once spotted would be 3 or 4 miles away, but right on you within minutes. When we left Gibraltar a few days later, they would give us quite a thrill as three of them raced across the Straits seemingly aimed right at us.