A false start then success.

The GRIB files and weather forecasts all suggested Wednesday should have lighter winds. We got up at an unreasonably early hour, to be ready to cast off at 0630 and made it! A couple of hours later we had crossed Cadiz Bay in quite strong winds and were heading down the coast when we heard another boat calling Tarifa Traffic for a weather forecast. "currently 7 to 8 gusting 9, seas rough. Moderating later to 5 to 6 with gusts." we promptly turned around and headed for Rota where are friends on Nina had spent the past six days. We tied up on the fuel dock and had coffee with Lynda and Steve. As the weather was moderating we decided to sail in company with Nina as far as Barbate, halfway to Tarifa. In fact sail is not quite the right word, we motored in windless conditions, then motored in quite windy conditions for a couple of hours. Needless to say, the wind was coming from our destination. We were allocated a berth alongside Nina and had a very convivial evening. I cooked Paella, Lynda made a strawberry pudding. Thursday morning was calmer and the forecast from Tarifa was O.K. Nina left earlier than us as they had friends meeting them in La Linea, though it meant they had to buck the tide. This was yet another long motor as the wind was coming from our destination yet again. As we rounded Tarifa for the last 12 miles into Gibraltar Bay the wind dropped, the seas smoothed and we made good speed. We even had dolphins visit us, right in the bay, surrounded by cargo ships at anchor. They didn't stop to play, preferring to show off to Farfelu half a mile astern of us! We made our way into Alcadesia marina at La Linea, just across the runway from Gibraltar. This new marina was opened in 2010, has generous space between pontoons and lots of spare berths. It is also the cheapest marina we have found so far. We spent a couple of nights in La Linea, shopping, jobs, walking into Gib to Morison's, and a superb meal with ten others at Gauchos, highly recommended! Eleven of us went for the Argentinian Fillet, large, tender, tasty, fantastic. The twelfth one opted for sirloin. We have decided we will definitely eat there again as we leave the Med in September. On Sunday morning we left La Linea for north Africa, to be precise a Spanish enclave called Ceuta. We actually had a cracking sail on genoa alone. The fun and games started when we entered the marina. It is Med style mooring here. You approach the dock, bow or stern first, then take a lazy line, usually filthy and slimy, to pull up a line to hold you out from the pontoon. Ideally we would go in stern first, much easier to get off the boat, but it was blowing old boots so we went in bow first. Luckily we are alongside a Westerly Typhoon who invited us to go across their decks and use their stern platform to reach the pontoon. It is a really interesting town with a number of beaches on the south side of the promontory, many lovely buildings and some really old fortifications. We'll probably leave tomorrow if the forecast is good.

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