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  • andrewmorrisey

S2 Leg 2 - Gibraltar (Apr 28-May 6)

Updated: May 19, 2023

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and city located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of only 6.7 km2 and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar, at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to some 32,688 people (2022 estimate), primarily Gibraltarians and ex-pat Brits who can no longer travel freely through Europe post-brexit.

It was howling on our crossing over from Tangier. We hit 30+ Apparent wind speeds under double reefed main and 1/4 genoa.

As we made the crossing from Tangier to Gibraltar we kept a close watch for Killer Whales as the attacks they were doing on boats was all just off the coast. It was a relief to arrive without any encounters and that ends our days sailing in Orca Alley.

Yeah. Country #5 on our around the world tour.

In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession. The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It became an important base for the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars and World War II, as it controlled the narrow entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, which is only 14.3 km wide. This choke point remains strategically important, with half the world's seaborne trade passing through it Gibraltar's economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services, and bunkering.

There are two large marina’s and we stayed at the Queensway Quay Marina. Once again the boat bikes came in very handy as we traveled back and forth between the two marina areas and town.

Crossing from Spain to Gib there is an airport runway you need to wait for the airplanes to stop before you can cross.

We took the gondola up to the top of the rock.

Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve which is home to around 230 Barbary macaques, the famous "apes" of Gibraltar, which are actually monkeys. These are the only wild apes or monkeys found in Europe. This species, known scientifically as Macaca sylvanus, is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List and is declining. Three-quarters of the world population live in the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco. Recent genetic studies and historical documents point to their presence on the Rock before British control, having possibly been introduced during the Islamic period. A superstition analogous to that of the ravens at the Tower of London states that if the apes ever leave, so will the British.

Over 500 different species of flowering plants grow on the Rock. Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where the Gibraltar candytuft (Iberis gibraltarica) is found growing in the wild; the plant is otherwise native to North Africa. It is the symbol of the Upper Rock nature reserve. Olive and pine trees are among the most common of those growing around the Rock.

In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession. The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It became an important base for the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars and World War II, as it controlled the narrow entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, which is only 14.3 km wide. This choke point remains strategically important, with half the world's seaborne trade passing through it Gibraltar's economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services, and bunkering.

There were several war tunnels in the Rock. We toured the Spanish Great Siege tunnels.

View from one of several vantage points in the tunnel. Hey is that a Canadian CF-130 Herc?

By 1943 almost 34 miles of tunnels were pounded out in the mountain. The bulk of the work was done by four companies of the Royal Engineers plus a company of Canadian tunnellers that had perfected a technique of diamond drilling and blasting with high explosives.



Saint Michael's cave was the most amazing crystal cave tour we have ever seen.

Amazing views from the top of the rock.

The fortifications on and around the site of the Moorish Castle were first built in 1160, or earlier. These were, however, destroyed when the Spanish re-conquered Gibraltar from 1309-1333. The Tower of Homage, its main feature, dominates the hillside and the landward approach to Gibraltar. A rebuilt tower dates primarily from about 1333 AD when Abu'l Hassan recaptured Gibraltar from the Spanish.

Whew. So many hills. So many steps ( like 15,000). Finally back to the base.

English fish and chips. Yummy.

And then we got a new King.

YUP. You guessed it. The spice rack crashed again! Poor J9 has to re-order them all alphabetically. I think she put numbers on each spice holder to make this exercise of futility easier next time.

This is the "digital nomad Project Manager's office". Working on two projects and hour or so each day this season.

And introducing our neighbors in the marina. A family from South Africa that sold everything, including their bike business, and bought a catamaran sailboat to sail the world. Meet Kirsty and Kai who is 4 years old. His brother is Jay who is two years old and his ocean racing father is Jonathon. More to follow on future legs as we end up having the same travel plans and sailing together for several of the next legs. So much that Kai starts calling me Uncle Andrew. Cute family.

Exactly!!

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