And so, instead of finally spending some time at anchor, we went into a marina again.
Coming around Europa Point we had been very attentive in lowering the Spanish courtesy flag and hoisting the British one, and the other way around again once past the airfield into La Linea bay, but after having been sent away from the anchorage our thoughts were turned to getting everything ready for marina mooring, and then, after having checked into Marina Bay and standing on the office stairs we noticed our Spanish flag still fluttering! We have seen it before on boats, how they still fly the courtesy flag of the country they just came from, and this happens remarkably much to Dutch boats, and now we can add ourselves to that number. (Let's not start on how often we've sailed with our anchor ball still up on our forestay until wanting to hoist the staysail and finding it blocked by that ball. Or how often we've sailed with still a fender hanging over the side.)
We had thought to be spending some weeks in the La Linea anchorage with the occasional marina visit, but now with our marina bill being high enough so far this summer, we planned to be off again quite soon, after having done the Rock and shopping and such. But both of us were down with a cold for more than a week (that's what comes of mingling with ordinary tourists!), the captain suffering the most, so we had to let the period of easterly winds go by and then of course there were plenty of westerlies. Oh well, plenty of opportunity for shopping then! Enough Marmite for the next two years, several hundreds of teabags of different kinds, jams, winegums, rhubarb, fennel, turnips, paksoy, packaged soups, steak and ale pie, scones, hobnobs, digestives (much better than the Spanish ones), custard powder, whiskey, to name a few.
This was our first ever marina with metered water and electricity, which gave us the opportunity to find out how much electricity we were actually using. We started with having the fridge turned off at night, then having it switched on permanently, then we started to use the electric kettle and next also the electric cooker. And so on. Averaging 2 kW per day we didn't feel the need to economise on that. And now we know how much we've been overcharged in marinas where they have a set day price for electricity use.
We found out that the local buses are free nowadays, so instead of cycling, which is not much fun in these crowded narrow streets and on lumpy asphalt, we let us be driven around the place and did sightseeing trips to Europa Point, the 100-tonne gun and of course to the cable car up to the top of the Rock to visit our relatives. We had “done” the Rock of course when we were here two years ago, but it's worth going up again just for the views.
The botanic gardens were quite a delight in the middle of this crowded, noisy and often smelly bit of rock with an enormous variety in plants, trees and flowers. There is also a so called wildlife park, with an odd assortment of animals. We don't really like to see animals in cages and these cages were not very large and there was obviously not a lot of money available for them, but then we read a notice that all these animals had been confiscated from ships who'd tried to smuggle them. Some must be really valuable because on the parrot cages there was a sign that one of them even had been stolen from the park. To our surprise we came across another Eos: we'd never before heard of Eos Bornea.