Gibralter has been a pretty amazing stop and we're really glad for a week of NOT moving after a few pretty long sails. The most recent sail left us all a little frazzled, we wound up in a Force 8, which means we had 30-35 knots of steady winds and very large seas. Some waves were at least 20' +, a few even crashed over the whole decks sending small waves of seawater through latched hatches. Not fun. We lost about 15 dishes after one wave sent all the plates and cups out of the cupboard and all over the floor at 7:00 am. It doesn't start getting light at this latitiude until around 8:00 so it was a bit of crawling around in the dark, picking glass out of the rugs while we were rolling around.
We ended up had steering the last 16 hours, because with large swells, especially from behind (thanks goodness to on the nose!!) it shoves Mehari's back end around and the autopilot just cannot compensate for that adjustment.
The good news: it was easily the worst conditions we've sailed in, and the boat performed really well. Also, it wasn't that rough for days and days, but really bad for maybe 6-8 hours before it finally "calmed down" to only 20 knots! It was kind of a relief seeing how Mehari (and the family) did and while no one was having much fun, we managed to make light of it and had quite a few laughs just being drenched, cold, tired, and hungry.
Needles to say, we were very glad to pull into the Gibralter bay and the sea flattened right out and we motored the last hour up to La Linea (the line) Marina at the border of Spain and Gibralter. so, for a week or so we'll be exploring and shopping as this might be the last place to do some big provisioning before the Atlantic crossing. The trick will be NOT eating the food we stock up on. It might be a real challenge when we can't get to a stoe right away in Morocco or the Canary Islands.
We'll post some pics soon of the last few weeks.