Ceuta – pronounced Thayootah. Known as Sebta in Arabic.
On Saturday, we braved the waters of the Bay of Gibraltar again and headed out of La Linea de la Concepcion towards Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the North African coast, adjoining Morocco.
The weather was perfect for me, a few knots of wind only, which meant we had to motor most of the way. When crossing the traffic separation zone that cuts through the Straits of Gibraltar, it is best to cut across at right angles and do it as fast as possible. With our newly fixed propeller anode in place we could bomb along at 8 knots.
We did sail for the last couple of hours once we were clear of the TSZ and it was perfectly lovely in the sun. Keira even extracted and wore her bikini!!!and it is only April!
But best of all, when we were motoring along we spotted a couple of dolphins up ahead. Soon we were really near to them and they swam right past. It was a mother and her calf.
Later on, we spotted some more fins carving up the water. Keira lept to the front of the boat, (practically giving me a heart attack!) phone in hand ready to take pictures. We were so lucky that a small group of four dolphins decided to join us and they played under the bow for a good three minutes before shooting off into the briny blue to our port side. They were so fast and agile. Diving over each other in a competition for pole position. Rolling over coyly to one side so that they could glance up at us and see the tremendous effect that their presence was having on us: One person shrieking about how beautiful they were, one exclaiming about how they could be common or bottle nosed dolphins and one trying to speak dolphin by squeaking, clicking and clacking at them as they rode up out of the water to take a breath.
Excitement over, we arrived in Ceuta and parked up calmly at the part time fueling pontoon and then made our way to a berth near the temporary marina office. We settled a rather alarmingly expensive, inexplicably calculated bill and swallowing hard headed into the city and made a walking tour of the impressive, old walls of the city fortifications.
Then to the centre of town to the tree shaded plaza near a couple of churches. A group of chattering people were gather outside the church when the bells of the other one across the square began to chime. Clanging and clattering with a tremendous peel, bang on the dot of seven o’clock, blocking all chance of conversation.
We headed back to the boat around dusk and tucked into a tasty supper, which was one that we had prepared earlier!
A turn in the weather meant that we had to stay a further two days and nights in Ceuta. With 40 knots of wind in the Straits we were so glad we stayed. So we spent a day happily catching up on maintenance, cleaning, paperwork and blogs.