2016 – Gibraltar Part One – before the actual sailing bit….

Warning to anyone reading this – it is a long one! It is also pretty silly at times… But then that is me! It is what makes my life interesting!

Well the summer flew… Before I knew it, it was Friday, 12 August 2016, and I was sat on a plane going to Gibraltar. Exciting! Or scary! Well both really!!!
Ok- before I go any further, I need to precursor this first bit with a – if anything can go slightly wrong, I guarantee you it will for me, never life threatening – but generally totally embarrassing and stupidly!!!

So, while on the plane, I am just about to open and start munching my healthy(ish) pack of chillied almonds, when there is an announcement from the crew. “Please can everyone avoid eating nuts during this flight as there is a passenger with a severe nut allergy on board” – really!!? With a young lad across the aisle laughing at me, the nuts go away for another day… Apart from sitting next to a chatty chap who just wanted to talk about how wonderful his life in Cadiz was, the flight was uneventful.

I leave the airport and having been told, you just cross the runway and then go right into the marina (B&B directions) I can’t for the life of me get my bearings. Yep I know a runway is hard to miss, but clever me missed it! So halfway across the border to Spain (I am really panicking now!) I am allowed to turn around and go back. My phone map refuses to work! Flippin tech! And so out comes my trusty printed off map for the sailing school and I realise where I have gone wrong and walk towards my boat B&B.

It is summer in Gibraltar, and although not as hot as their usual summers maybe, I am dressed in light jersey cotton trousers with a drawstring waist, and carrying a 10kg rucksack that was fitted for a very fat person (I hadn’t used it in years). So I am having to keep hitching up the rucksack AND my trousers as the rucksack is pushing them down. Well, somehow I forgot to keep hitching up my trousers because at one point (just as I’d eventually found the marina) I realised that my trousers were no long covering my backside and the mesh material of my undergarments were not doing much to help either! Oh help! What am I like!

So feeling like a bit of a numpty, I find my boat. I get shown around the boat by a young girl who ‘forgets’ to show me where the light switch for the loo is and how to flush it! So for the next couple of days I just walk to the marina shower block…

Being me and too embarrassed to go and eat out on my own, I go for a walk about, chat with a Dutch girl for a bit and just go to bed…

The next day – I’m a tourist. So I decide, desperate to be out on the water, to go out on a dolphin boat… which was fun, and yes I saw lots of dolphins and met a couple of ladies from a cruise ship who took me under their wing! (I’m not a good solo traveller! Maybe one day!) so we went for lunch, then shopping (if you can call it that) and then went for a drink and parted ways as their ship was due to leave. After more wanderings I plucked up courage to ‘dine’ by myself and then, again, bed early.

Next day, Sunday, I have to vacate my room (pokey little cabin but it was cheap and clean!) early so I took my bag to the place where I was going to ‘learn to sail’. I dump my bag, fill in some forms, meet a couple of the folks who would be on my boat, one of whom gives me (no doubt excellent if I had followed it) advice on how to go up the Rock. And off I go to see the monkeys! So, being impatient and wanting to start on the ascent, (this being someone who would not so long ago not want to walk very far on the flat!) I turn left somewhere in the main town and start walking up the Rock, I eventually make it by climbing up what felt like a million and two steps.

Greeted at the top by some rather wet and misbehaving apes who I talk to just like my mum would (it’s scary how these things happen as you get older!). Anyway, ape video and photo opportunities galore with daft tourists winding them up. Off I go to find the loo, it is Sunday, it is shut. Oh! So back down the rock I go, this time having befriended an American family who were scared of the apes and would I go first? Hmmm. Do I look brave? Apparently so!

So back in the town, I grab a bite to eat and make my way – as slowly as possible to the Allabroad Sailing Academy for my course. https://www.facebook.com/Allabroad/ for my RYA Competent Crew course…