The Burnetts went through the Strait of Gibraltar on Saturday. We are now officially in the Med! The Amazing Marvin rode the 3 knot current in on a beautiful day at high tide, motorsailing in the light winds, as planned. We stayed in the “slow lane” outside of the crowded shipping lane, which was packed with rowdy tanker and cargo ships. Channel 16 was busy, with a lot of whistling and snippets of songs from all over the world, intermingled with a heavily accented, “Let’s pass port to port.”
Of course, Mel was more transfixed by the scenery than the ships. “That mountain I am looking at is in AFRICA. We have sailed to AFRICA. I got so burned out I sailed to AFRICA.” We played “Africa” by Toto on the way through the 8 mile-wide strait. Because 80’s music is worldwide.
So when you pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, you supposedly pass between the mythical “Pillars of Hercules,” which mark the most western point he had to go to in order to complete his twelve labors. The Rock of Gibraltar on the north side of the strait is one pillar, and a mountain in Morocco, likely Jebel Musa (okay, how cool is THAT name?), on the south side of the strait, is the other. Mel was a bit puzzled by the Rock of Gibraltar at first. If it is supposed to be a pillar, why is it a rounded lump? In fact, the mountain in Africa that is supposed to be the other pillar is also a large, rounded lump. They are giant. And Hercules has two of them…OMG Mel just figured out what Hercules’s pillars are! Of course, her fantasy about the impact of her presentation of her thesis to some elite archaeological society: “The most profound insight of our age,” “Astoundingly perceptive!” “The impact of her observations will resonate throughout history for ages to come,” was interrupted by her own thoughts as she gazed into the vast Mediterranean Sea: “If these geological features are Hercules’s…uh, sugalumps, then where is the other bit?” So the mystery is still afoot! Don’t worry Hercules, Mel will be exploring the Med for the next several months! She will find your missing pillar!
So we are now at the Queensway Quay Marina in Gibraltar. Negotiating space for our 48 ft catamaran in these Mediterranean marinas is going to be a challenge, but we squeaked into this one at the last minute. We have already had tea and scones in this British territory. Prepare to hear about the honors and awards of military figures! A lot!