Made it to Gibraltar!

It was a milestone to reach the strait of Gibraltar. Not just because this narrow strait marks the entrance to the Mediterranean, which has been our destination all along. But also because we are back in the same place where Rasmus went ocean sailing for the first time a few years ago, and where the decision to buy a boat began to take shape.

At that time, he crewed with an experienced skipper for a month, during which they sailed from Malaga, with a stop in Gibraltar, across Morocco to the Canary Islands. The skipper had many years of experience with sailing but it turned out that he also had experience with boat building and rigging – and particularly had in-depth knowledge of Beneteau’s boats. With our requirements for standing height for Rasmus (1,98 m!), good sailing performance but also the necessary comfort when living on board in mind, the skipper pointed to two boats which were also within a reasonable budget. The two boats were the Beneteau Oceanis 411 and the Beneteau Oceanis 423. 

La Louve is a 423 from 2004.

Above is a 30 second recap of our route here. (made with the app TravelBoast).

While at anchor in the very anchorage where we are now (at the time of writing this post), I came to visit for a few days back then.

I had been to a conference in Lisbon, so after a short flight to Malaga and a three hour bus ride along the stunning coast to La Linea (the Spanish side of the border, right next to Gibraltar) I was soon standing on the dock waiting to be picked up in the dinghy.

These are good memories; a full circle in a way.

After dropping the hook in the anchorage just outside La Linea, waiting a day to go into Gibraltar, we toasted each other in a glass of Champagne.

We had been looking forward to going through the strait, and had taken the trouble to understand the current conditions, so we sped into the strait with a 2-3 knot following current.

But at the exact moment where we should have been able to see the many large container ships in what is one of the world’s busiest waters, a dense fog crept in over us. We had less than 50 meters of visibility at times, and this continued through the strait, because we sailed in the same direction and at the same speed as the fog moved. At one point, a fishing vessel appeared out of the fog close to us, with no AIS or lights on; it just gave us a quick scare. Otherwise our entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar was completely without drama.

It could have been dramatic though.

The day before our departure towards Gibraltar, yet another orca attack was reported right in the Strait, i.e. a few nautical miles from where we were going to pass. We decided that we had to go no matter what, so we were back on orca-watch, ready to react quickly if we spotted any black fins.

We didn’t meet any though, and this passage then marks the end of the orca waters as well. Hopefully.

One of the huge tankers anchored in the Gibraltar Bay

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