While travelling by yacht, I feel like a turtle: my house is always with me. Omnia mea mecum porto : ) That’s why some rare cases of inhospitality do not hurt. But they can change plans much.
After Malaga we were going to stop on the corner of European continent, in Gibraltar. In this strategically important point the huge port is situated, supplying way between Eastern and Western hemispheres.
It’s 65 miles from Malaga to Gibraltar. We decided to break the distance and stopped in a town of Estepona for a night. Later, when we arrived to Gibraltar, we were grateful to ourselves for this decision.
…It was crowded there: dozens of huge cargo ships, we were able to see their silhouettes from far away. American, European and Arabic flags. Giants were staying side by side with small boats that loaded diesel to their depth. Passing between them, we read their names. Weird to see a clumsy and heavy ship poetically named “Aeolus”…
–Well, – decided we, – it’s a huge port, where all ships stop before crossing Gibraltar. English is international language, nothing special about it.
We set ropes, put fenders and headed to the entrance of marina. “Queensway” was written on a wall. Queensway? Wat a fuk a queen is doing here? Hell, is it British territory? – was the logical suggestion.
The next suggestion was about my visa: if Gibraltar is British,, as a citizen of Russia, I need visa to Great Britain that is not in a Shengen zone. As you’ve already guessed, all suggestions were right.
That was pretty a surprise. We still had time to cross the straight – we left in the morning and there were just 20 miles from Estepona (thanks God, we stopped there. Otherwise, we could have two options: go back, or – cross the straight at night).
The wind was 25 knots, but bureaucracy didn’t give us chance to wait for calming down. We turned the boat and left inhospitable land.
The staight was tough: strong current + strong wind. We needed to steer all way, ‘coz the autopilot said “Solve this situation by yourseves, guys. Adio”.
Finally, we needed to drop the main sail. Happily, the entrance to marina of Tarife was already in front of us.
We entered the harbour. There were no sailing boats in it. Noone. It was a fishermen harbour, not a marina. We were ready to leave it and go further, searching for anchorage. But another boat – a catamaran – had arrived, and their captain, noticing our doubts, showed us a place to stop.
Parking was tough too. Wind gave no chance for a gentle arrival, pushing us to the shore. The nose of Vagabond hit the pier.
Even behind marina walls waves pulled and puhed the boat. Poor Vagabond trembled, held by mooring lines. The wind was moaning and shouting. We almost got used to listen to it all days long…