For a while there we thought the day would never come that we would let the lines go and leave Ocean Village Marina in Gibraltar. We had enjoyed our time there and our extended stay due to freezer and other repairs was no hardship at all. Finally we slipped out of the marina, turned right at the end of the airport runway, (checking the flashing warnings lights for incoming aircraft weren’t on!) and headed into the anchorage behind the breakwater back in Spanish waters at La Linea. When we had last been here the Spanish Coast Guard had evicted us after 4 nights, we were hoping to sneak another one or two in before they did their eviction rounds again.
Our next big adventure was to be transiting the Straits of the Gibraltar, in a nutshell – going through our third gate - leaving the Mediterranean Sea and entering the Atlantic Ocean. There are literally pages and pages of explanations in various cruising guides on how this should be done. In order to get the best ride with the least level of unnecessary excitement and discomfort possible you should combine perfect wind conditions with the correct current and tides. High tide in Gibraltar was 7.30am and you should leave 3 hours after it to make the most of the westward flow. 3 hours after high tide seemed a little late but all the books concurred so we followed their instructions. The wind forecast wasn’t perfect but it was for a very light westerly, so we crossed fingers and toes and lifted anchor.
After we rounded Tarifa Point we pointed the bow north, not surprisingly the wind followed us around. We raised sails and set off on a tight reach into a building north westerly sea breeze. It turned into a rather lively sail in parts, our recently fresh water cleaned boat now covered in plenty of salt water, oh well, it’s a boat. As we came up the coast we passed hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines, always a bad sign when out sailing and this coastline is no exception. Added to the increasing winds we encountered several more areas of very interesting sea state, obviously caused by currents but they just seemed to be in random places. We sure encountered some churned up sea states, wouldn’t want to be out there when the wind was really howling.