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Spirit of Discovery blog


10th September, 2021

Hi I’m Jack, born and raised in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar was captured by the British in 1704 during the war of the Spanish succession. On August 4th 1704 an Anglo-Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral George Rooke took Gibraltar from the Spanish. In 1713, under the Treaty of Utrecht, Gibraltar was ceded to Britain.

Formally the language in Gibraltar is English, however Llanito (a mix of English/Spanish/Latin words) is most commonly spoken by the locals.

There are only around 29km of outside roads on the 6.8km2 rock. Although more than 50km of tunnels have been dug inside, one of these being Admiralty Tunnel which used to house around 250 military personnel at any one time in a Joint Operations Centre. One of its declassified successes was in 1942 when General Dwight D. Eisenhower conducted Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa, from the Operations Room within the Rock. The tunnel’s length is around 1050m laying directly East / West through the centre of the Rock, with 3 Nuclear bomb proof rooms and its own generating station with enough fuel to last one week in case the external power supply was ever struck by a bomb.

Admiralty Tunnel was taken over by my father in 2008. He has converted it into one of the world’s most secure Data Centres. I spent a lot of my childhood visiting this historical tunnel to see my father while he was working, playing around the complex, finding different connecting tunnels and old military guard posts with my younger brother.

Gibraltar has hugely important strategic location for the UK, and I’m very happy to call it my home; being able to walk down the street and see familiar faces from past teachers, to family members, even the cashier from Morrison’s. As you can imagine this sometimes warrants an escape…. and with Spain being a 10 min walk or a 2 min drive, and Morocco being 3 hours by sail boat or 45 min by ferry, the options to escape for an afternoon are unlimited.

Gibraltar has an abundance of different wildlife it attracts throughout the year. From all types of birds of prey, orcas, tiger sharks, pilot whales, turtles, even down to parrots and flamingos. The sea life is incredible as I’m sure some of our guests saw on their Dolphin Watching tour.

I spent a few years working as a yacht sailing instructor in Gibraltar and sailed to Morocco with students on a weekly basis crossing the Straits. I always looked up at the large vessels passing by and wondered what a life on a big ship would be like. Several years later I found myself onboard Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl 2 as a Cadet. Today, I am qualified as a 3rd Officer and very grateful to have had the opportunity from Captain Ikiadis to navigate his ship the Spirit of Discovery out of the Gibraltar Bay.

Jack Yeo
3rd Officer
Spirit of Discovery

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

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.