The straight of Gibraltar certainly has a sense of drama. The impressively high mountains on both the European and African sides make for spectacular scenery but also make for a well known wind acceleration effect. The wind almost always blows due east (Levanter) or due west (Poniente) and is often pretty stiff. Tarifa, at the western entrance to the straight, is not the wind surf capital of Europe for nothing.
It is the meeting of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean of course, as well as the almost meeting of the continents. The flow of shipping in and out is constant and the water swirls and eddies Eastwards, replacing all the evaporation from the oversized bathtub that is the Mediterranean Sea.
Unusually, a Levanter had been blowing uninterrupted for several weeks, so it was at the first break in this that we headed out from Cadiz, where we'd sat out our fourth 40knot gale of the summer, and motored into the mouth of the Mediterranean with no wind whatsoever.
I feel bound to say that the town of Gibraltar is somewhat less impressive than its suroundings. No offence to Gibraltarians but it really is an odd place. We had anchored just over the border in the shabby and run down Spanish town of La Linea, so crossed the land border into the province which bizarrely involves crossing the airport runway. Immediately on crossing, there is an immediate sense of slightly frenzied bustle and rush. For me, the place also seems to be full of the worst kind of graceless Britishness. We bought lunch from a bakery which was overpriced and stodgy and eventually retreated gratefully to Sula.
On the positive side, this was a chance to meet up with friends Nick and Karen and their boys on Yacht Pilgrim. Not seen since Baiona, it was great to catch up on their adventures.