Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Waiting, waiting, waiting in Gibraltar

6 March 2013

 Yep! We’re still in Gibraltar. Circumstances continue to conspire to keep us here in Queensway Quay Marina. We’re still waiting for two parcels that are on their way from our Daughter back home in Australia. They’re now two weeks over due so we are a bit worried that they may have fallen into a big postal system black hole but without tracking numbers all we can do is wait and hope.
We’ve also needed to stay near reliable internet service as we are selling a house at home to top up our very sadly depleted cruising fund. It’s such a pain dealing with bureaucracy from half a world away. One transfer form needed our signatures witnessed. At home we could go to any Justice of the Peace and get this done free. Here we needed the signatures to be witnessed by a public notary. The charge for three minutes work to witness to signatures on a piece of paper – ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY POUNDS ($220 Australian). Not a bad hourly rate we reckon.

And to further keep us firmly tied to the dock, after four months of sunshine on the Rock, the weather continues to be rubbish now that we’d like to leave. It has been almost continually wet with strong and very cold winds blowing. It’s not too strong to sail – BUT – why sail in crappy weather if you don’t have to? We’re cruisers not racers so we’ll wait until it’s a little less unpleasant anyway.
One of the favourite quotes we've combined with images from our travels and have been posting on our facebook page.
It sums up our attitude while we wait to leave Gibraltar.
Our time hasn’t been wasted though. Karen’s still painting, Rob’s still working on his book and Marc’s still working on The Times crossword every day. We’ve also discovered new fun entertainment when trapped below decks on cold, wet days., Youtube. There are literally thousands of sailing videos on the Youtube site. Some are incredibly well produced, instructional videos covering everything from boat handling techniques to maintenance methods. Others are cruisers’ videos chronicling passages across oceans and visits to amazing places all over the world. However the most entertaining are the numerous ‘Oops’ videos. We’ve all made mistakes but some of the stuff ups on Youtube border on unbelievable.

For example, have a look at this very short video of how not to approach a dock. Any mooring procedure that involves a collision with a VW cannot be good.

We’ve also been getting out enjoying the place and have discovered some fantastic live music. The ‘Lord Nelson’ is a bar built in one of the chambers within the original defensive stone walls of Gibraltar in Casemates Square. It’s incredibly atmospheric. Each Thursday night the venue hosts a jam session with a procession of local old rockers putting on a great show. They play purely for the pleasure of playing. There may be plenty of grey hair involved but there’s no lack of talent or energy in the performances.

Joining us last week were new friends, a Scott’s couple, Graeme and Jenny. Graeme is a clearance diver with the Royal Navy based here on the Rock that we met through yachty friends. It was a great night with plenty of laughs and a drink or two. It may have actually been more than two drinks because we quite rashly accepted an invitation from Graeme to go wakeboarding the following afternoon.
Graeme, Marc and Jenny whooping it up at the Lord Nelson's jam session

It wasn’t until we dragged ourselves out of bed for a late breakfast, only just a little before it was the afternoon, that we started to think about how foolhardy we’d been. We must have been mad. It may have been March 1 and officially the first day of Spring, but the wind was quite cool and the water temperature showed up on our instruments as a chilly 12C. Obviously, being a Navy diver, Graeme has an excellent wetsuit and is used to immersion in the cold Gibraltarian waters. We certainly didn’t want to offend our friends, but the very thought of getting into the water caused physiological changes in our bodies that we won’t discuss here.

Thankfully the cold wind blew strong enough through the day that Graeme reluctantly cancelled the invitation as conditions were too choppy. He had delayed calling it off until the last moment because he didn’t want to disappoint us. Relieved yes, disappointed? No chance.

We did however get the opportunity to visit Graeme at the dive unit located out on the south mole (breakwater) and enjoy an extremely interesting tour of the section and learn a bit about the equipment they use to dive far deeper than our underwater experiences. From there we were also treated to fantastic views back to Gibraltar.
Graeme was good enough to show us around after work, a much better  idea than wakeboarding off Gibraltar in 12C temperature water
On one of the only sunny afternoons in the last week or so we enjoyed great views back over Gibraltar from the South Mole.
To make up for the ‘disappointment’ of not wakeboarding, Graeme and Jenny have invited us to their home for a traditional Scottish dinner of Haggis. It will definitely be another new experience for us. One we expect to be much more fun than wakeboarding in 12C.

So, while we’re mad keen to get back underway, hanging out at the Rock really isn’t too bad. We’ll get there. What’s the rush?

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