In englishEesti keeles

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Waiting for the high tide, welcome Africa!

The Strait of Gibraltar is where the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea meet. Therefore, due to cross waves and the tide, the weather conditions can be difficult. That is why the choice of weather for crossing the channel was crucial. And we must say, we chose well. There was undoubtedly a slight swell, and speedboats didn’t make it any easier, but just before reaching Ceuta Harbor the flag was calm due to lack of wind.

We also managed to see our first dolphins of the trip, unfortunately not near our slow vehicle but playing in front of a fishing trawler.

Due to great weather, the weekend brought us a live audience. On Saturday there wasn’t a moment when we didn’t have visitors. And it took the whole day to get into the water. We didn’t manage to find a good freshwater spot to get to get into, so we hauled Amphibear to the shore so the tide could take us in with minimal water damage. Unfortunately, some salty seawater found its way into the car. In the evening the car was in, and we spent the night a few meters deep in the water. We took off  bright and early.

Night lights in every direction.
Of course it’s a bit spooky to maneuver between big ships with such a small vehicle, but either due to the weekend or some other reason, the traffic was minimal.That aside, police control was continual. It started on the shore with checking our documents and making sure (or not being so sure) that we were actually allowed in the water, then being followed by the sea-patrol boat, which couldn’t reach the amphibian at first. After that, we dealt with the next ground patrol AND morning patrol. Everyone was helpful and friendly but still guarded.

Although the morning seemed a lot calmer, the ride began with the sea-control boat following us. We thought they would escort us the whole way across the bay, but at some point they decided to send an inflatable boat to tell us to stay on channel 16 and present documentation on the other side.
We couldn’t even reach the other side yet:  a police boat appeared behind us and checked our paperwork for 20 minutes. Last but not least, after reaching the shore in Ceuta, we had to present our documentation for the 100th time. There’s no doubt that the more south we go, the more helpful the police are, so we had help from a police escort on our way to a hotel and in getting directions for finding a beach. It was Spanish „ordnung“ combined with constant attention and assistance, with presentable paperwork as well.

The police boats here are impressive.

Getting on the other side of Gibraltar was as time consuming as entering the strait. While the front end of the car was on the beach, the back end was in saltwater. Finally we had to hoist ourselves onto the shore. No harm, no foul. Meanwhile we joined in the celebration of Xavier’s 35th birthday. Happy birthday once more!

The audience around the Amphibear

At the hotel we met a French car enthusiast who built a fascinating construction from his Hummer and offered  to inflate our tyres after driving in the sand. He also shared his experiences of Africa. 

A small step on our trip, but nevertheless the first time crossing the sea. Welcome to Africa!

Translated by Luisa Translation Agency

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