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29th October, 2012


With a later departure from Cartagena we had to keep our speed on all the way to Gib. Fortunately weather conditions were fine and we had great views of the Rock from over ten miles away.

There is always plenty of traffic around, either at anchor waiting for orders or taking bunkers, sometimes drifting three or four miles off while waiting for their ‘slot’ time to come in for fuel. So to the layman it must look like some kind of marine jigsaw waiting to be put together. Then of course there is the ferry traffic coming from North African ports into Algeciras, at speeds ranging from 18 knots to 35 knots. One definitely needs to be ‘on the ball’.

It wasn’t a great problem though, and we slipped past various pieces of floating hardware to come alongside in time for folks to have an afternoon to carry out their various activities. Many, however, just seemed to want to visit that less than tourist hot spot, Morrison’s. Certainly many of the crew did, mainly to top on various items of everyday use, but there’s always a few who come back with a new piece of ‘must have’ electronic or computer gadgetry.

I never had the chance to walk ashore, but there was no real need and by mid afternoon we were already making preparations to sail. Everyone returned in good time and we were away quite smartly, ensuring a quite ‘doable’ steaming time up to Lisbon.

Regrettably the Doctor reported that she needed to land a poorly chap, so we did the maritime equivalent of a handbrake turn off Europe’s most southern point, Tarifa, and headed back into the Bay, this time towards the Spanish port of Algeciras. The Spanish lady on the radio was most professional and a rescue boat was with us almost as soon as we arrived. It took a little time to rig our pontoon and gangway to ensure a safe transfer took place, but eventually the boat, patient, spouse, safety officer, nurse and one of the cruise staff were on their way. We waited while the process was repeated ashore and by the time the boat returned gangway and pontoon were stowed. Safety Office Alasdair and Nurse Penny had a short, but challenging climb up the pilot ladder to get back on board. Penny later told me that the pilot ladder was the most exciting part of the whole episode.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.