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Europe Cruise Day 7
Sunday, September 12th
At Sea

Another one of those exciting "At Sea" days. Here is the map. The blue line is showing approximately where I think the ship may be located around noon on this day. (After the fact note: the ship was actually a bit to the left of that position at noon. The position shown occurred at approximately 5:00PM local time.)

Day 7 Map

The Strait of Gibraltar looks like it might be close to half way. This map is not to scale so it is impossible to be sure (by this map anyway). Maybe the ship might go through it in daylight. I would not hold my breath though. You just never know. The do not advertise that you will see it (the Rock of Gibraltar that is).

Into the Mediterranean Sea and Cartagena, Spain tomorrow.

How it actually happened!!!
(written September, 2011)

The highlight of this day was entering the Mediterranean Sea via the Strait of Gibraltar. The Blog entry for today is written in two parts, one before passing through and the other after. Here is the one before.

As I write this part of this, the ship is about two and a half hours from passing the Rock of Gibraltar, which we may see about 6 nautical miles off the port or left side of the ship if the weather cooperates. It is at the moment. The ship should pass it just as the Sunday service at Fairview United Church is ending, and just before I have dinner (supper) here. As the captain said just after lunch (slightly paraphrased), “Enjoy the rest of your afternoon in the Atlantic, and your evening in the Mediterranean”.

To be continued from the Mediterranean Sea after dinner…..

Here are a couple of pictures as the ship approached the Strait.

Strait 1 Strait 2
I think that is Morocco in the distance. Almost the same with a small ship for reference.

The next couple of images show the ships GPS based TV navigation system as it looked while the ship passed through the Strait.

Nav Image 1 Nav Image 2
A wide view of the route so far. As the ship headed through the Strait.

From the blog (after dinner apparently).....

There were many other ships around as the ship passed through the Strait. The first indication I had of being in the Strait was seeing Tangiers on the south or Africa side. After going up to the Promenade deck I saw Spain off in the distance on the north or Europe side as well. Both can be seen without too much trouble. If you look at a map (I have pictures taken from the ships GPS display on the TV) one might wonder why it is called the Strait of Gibraltar, Gibraltar is not even in the strait. It is just east of it. I am sure there is some complex reason for this. It was probably named by the British who owned (probably conquered) Gibraltar much to Spain’s distress (still).

There must not have been much to see on the Moroccan side as almost all of the pictures I took during this time were of the Spanish side. Here are a couple, one from each side.

Strait 3 Strait 4
This one is on the Spanish side in the area near what I think was Tarifa on the the TV map above. This one shows the Moroccan side a couple of minutes later.

The Strait is wide enough that there is not much to see on either side because of the haze. This is the reason for there not being too many pictures. It appears that there is a lot of traffic through here as there were three rows of ships heading into the Mediterranean Sea and only a few ships heading out.

From the blog....

As said above, as the ship passed through the Strait there were many other ships. One was a naval ship but I am not sure of whose Navy.

Here is a picture.

Navy Ship 1

As you can see it is not well marked other than a large number (L 9894) on the side. Near the back there is a name which is "San Guisto". There is a flag flapping high up on the mast which is not clear but it may be Italian. And after a bit of digging on the internet I have confirmed that it is Italian and it is a command and control ship with some amphibious capabilities as well..

The Westerdam was faster than the Italian Navy ship so we gradually passed it as we sailed sailed through the Strait. All the ships were accompanied by a school of dolphins as we sailed through here at this time which was around 5:00PM local time or about 11:00AM at home. The four pictures below were taken in under two minutes (along with a couple of others not used here).

Dolphin 1 Dolphin 2
Dolphin 3 Dolphin 4

All the pictures above are small sections taken out of much larger pictures. Here is the first picture above full frame just to give you an example.

Dolphin 1 Full Frame

From the blog....

There were dolphins jumping through the bow wave and I have some still pictures and probably video. There were some on this ship too of which I may have some video as well.

Here is a short video (26 seconds) showing the dolphins near the Westerdam. The Dolphins are somewhat difficult to see here so I made the video as big as I reasonably could to give you the best chance of seeing them. If you cannot see the dolphins then I have taken some still images from the video and included them below the video.

Quick time Version

Still pictures from video.
(May not be in the same order as the video.)

Video Dolphins 1 Video Dolphins 1a
Looking forward on the port of left side of the ship. A few frames later after the left picture.
Video Dolphins 2 Video Dolphins 4
Looking back along the port side of the ship I think these are two dolphins and a bird. Same for this one...
Video Dolphins 9 Video Dolphins 3
and this one. Just one here I think.
Video Dolphins 6 Video Dolphins 5
One dolphin going backwards. Two dolphins.
Video Dolphins 7 Video Dolphins 8a
Upside down! Dancing on it tail.

From the blog again....

Once through the Strait, Gibraltar appeared in the hazy distance.

Gibraltar 1 Gibraltar 2
The Rock of Gibraltar from the south. This one from the southeast.
Gibraltar 3 Gibraltar 4
Almost due east. A bit farther north on the east side.

Here is a larger version of the second image.

gibraltar 2 Large

The blog concluded this day, this way....

This is all for now. Cartagena, Spain is just under 12 hours away now.

It got dark just after this so there was not much more to see, so on to tomorrow.

Page Created: August 2, 2010
After Trip Update Started: September 20, 2011
After Trip Update Completed: September 20, 2011
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 8:54 PM

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