Night sailing to Gibraltar

After three weeks in Almerimar, it’s time to say goodbye and return to Lagos. We plan to stay in Alcadeisa (near Gibraltar) and Cadiz on the way back. The first stage goes directly to Gibraltar where it is about 135 nautical miles and we expect that it will take about 1 day in the weak winds that are in the forecast.

On the morning of the 28th of November it’s time, after check out we say goodbye to the nearest boat neighbors and release the moorings. A light wind is blowing so it is no problem to back out without using the bow thruster and swing the bow in the right direction. Fortunately, the rudder is good and it’s easy to go backward with Sally.

At first, we sail in a northerly weak breeze and we make around 5 knots. While we have the morning coffee, we can view the Sierra Nevada in winter clothes against a clear blue sky. It’s probably a lovely winter day up in the mountains, maybe it’s possible to ski there now. It is almost 20 degrees warm under the spray hood, wonderful.

The south coast of Spain is mountainous below the Sierra Nevada. These are ridges with symmetrically sloping sides, looking almost like pyramids, but with a steep slope that plunges into the sea. Further up, the new road A7 goes over long bridges and through equally long tunnels. Sometimes we see the old road winding along the mountainside closer to the coast.

Further up, we see several mountains where terraces have been built on the whole mountain, probably to grow something.

We also see several fishermen in small open boats, do not know if they are hobby fishermen or professionals. In which case it looks dangerous. They are often several minutes away from land in a small open boat, often they only have one engine. What do they do if the engine does not start?

We have dinner before it gets dark and Carina has prepared a vegetable stew that is easy to just heat up when we eat.

Now the wind has calmed down and we are using the engine. We could sail for about 6-7 hours before the wind died out. When the sun is going down, the sea is like a mirror and we get a nice sunset.

Today Carina takes the first night shift and I try to rest, it’s difficult to fall asleep. I think I manage to sleep for a couple of hours.

After a few hours, the sound and vibrations of the propeller change, Carina who is on watch does not notice anything, but I, who have managed to fall asleep, wake up.

Have we got anything in the propeller?

We reverse and drive forward a few times and it seems like it comes loose, but for safety’s sake, I want to check what it looks like down there. Said and done, I tape together a GoPro and a strong waterproof flashlight that I attach to the boat hook.

After a few retries, I manage to film the propeller. No rubbish there, nice, then we can continue.

The next morning I see an airplane make a 180-degree turn, wondering what happened?

We arrive at Alcadeisa in the morning and the port office is not open yet. Via Vhf channel 9, we get in touch with the night watchman who asks us to wait at the check-in bridge. The office will open in less than an hour. As usual here in Spain, it is a smooth check-in procedure and we will soon have a place with the bow in the right direction and the pontoon on the left side so that the boat drifts away from the pontoon.

Now we can enjoy our morning coffee in the shelter under the sprayhood and watch the sun climb past the 400 m high Gibraltar cliff, wonderful.

Up next

The marina is located a bit from the community La Línea, so we unpack the bikes to get to the city and to Gibraltar faster.

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