Coast of Africa - while sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar
Hello from Gibraltar. During the night we caught up with the storm that had driven us up to Lisbon. After midnight the seas started getting bumpy and you could hear the wind whistling past our balcony door. In the morning the captain announced that we had gusts of up to 60 knots and that all the outdoor decks were closed to the passengers. This is more or less what would have been the weather in Cadiz if we had gone there yesterday, except probably also with rain.
As a preventative measure, Janet wears “the patch” to avoid seasickness. Today was a pretty good test but it seems to have worked. She felt a little queasy right after breakfast, but never really sick. That soon passed and she felt fine the rest of the day. So this is an endorsement for any travelers who aren’t comfortable in rougher seas. But speaking of breakfast, we were able to go to the dining room today because our revised itinerary got us to Gibraltar at noon instead of the previously scheduled 7:00 AM. With the loss of an hour’s sleep last night, it was nice to be able to have a leisurely
morning. Janet even got together with some of her knitting friends for a couple of hours while David returned to our cabin and started reading another book.
Since we will be having a second Gibraltar port call her in about a week, we chose two excursions (one for each visit). We had signed up for a trip today called “Cruise the Rock & Dolphin Watch
”. The description said “board your vessel and sit out on deck to take in the splendid views. Have your binoculars and camera ready for this 90-minute adventure along the Bay of Gibraltar in search of the three species of dolphins found in the waters - the Common, Striped and Bottlenose dolphins.” We were concerned that the strong winds might cancel this excursion.
The ship was delayed performing our passage through the Straits of Gibraltar (passing between the Pillars of Hercules). This is a very busy passage between Africa and Europe, where all the shipping into or out of the Mediterranean must transit. We were fortunate to have a clear sky with comfortable temperatures, but it was very windy. The port of Tangiers (in Morocco) was even closed to
Royal Princess docked in Gibraltar Bay
shipping this morning. However along the way we were able to see the coast of Africa on one side and Europe on the other side. We were delayed in arriving, but we got to Gibraltar safe and sound. Our tour had a correspondingly delayed meeting time of 1:40, so we went up to the Horizon Bistro for a light lunch. David has found their chili is delicious – he may not be happy with Hormel when we get back home.
We decided to sit in one of the lounges after lunch while we waited for our excursion to be called from the Princess Theater. Jerry & Joyce came by and we started talking. They were also on our same excursion, so we had some friends for the afternoon’s activity. We left the ship about 2:00 and we were bused to a nearby dock here in Gibraltar. We (and about 30 other people) boarded a small open-air catamaran and we headed out into Gibraltar Bay. We found it a little chilly skimming across the bay in search of dolphins. Unfortunately we never saw any the whole time we were out there, but the scenery was good (a nice view of “the rock” and of the ships – including ours). Despite the crew’s best efforts, they could never find any dolphins, but they did find plenty of sea spray on the way back to the dock. When we were finally docked again, Janet and Joyce were pretty much soaked (somehow David and Jerry stayed fairly dry). That made the girls feel chilled, but we all had a nice time and enjoyed the scenery and experience.
After a while we got a shuttle back to the ship and went to our cabin to dry off before dinner. We had enough time for Janet to get a coffee and David to get a beer. Then we went to the dining room. Jim and Bonnie had a more tiring excursion and decided to rest instead of hurrying to dinner, so there were only 4 of us again. Janet had Caesar Salad, while David had Shrimp Cocktail and a small Fettucine Alfredo. For our entrees we both had the Chateaubriand dinner, and it was delicious. We each had a glass of wine with dinner. For dessert Janet had a bowl of latte ice cream and Irish Cream in her decaf coffee. David had the Grand Marnier Soufflé and a snifter of Grand Marnier.
We went back to the cabin for a little while to do some internet work and then down to the Princess Theater to see a magician/illusionist named Sean Alexander. We think we may have seen him before, but he was entertaining none-the-less. He did a series of card tricks. One or two we could figure out how they worked, but others were pretty mystifying. Anyway, it was very entertaining.
We each have a key card which is used to charge things on the ship as well as open the cabin door. One other feature is that a key card has to be inserted in a slot by the door for any of the lights to work in the cabin (an energy saving feature for when people leave without turning off the lights). Anyway, after the show, Janet’s card magically would no longer unlock the door, so she had to go down to Passenger Services to get her card revalidated. But once again it is fully functional.
The ship doesn’t sail tonight until Midnight. This is the latest we can remember ever sailing out of port on any of our previous cruises (except the overnight stay in St Petersburg). Tomorrow morning we will be in Malaga Spain, so that about wraps up this episode of our adventure. Good night.
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