Between 1999 and 2006, Tom Naylor and Christopher Gibson have spent most of their summer holidays circumnavigating Europe on their windsurfers. Departing from Christopher's home on Hayling Island, England, UK they windsurfed over five summer holidays, they windsuirfed to Africa, picking up each morning where they left off the day before, till the holiday ran out, and then the next year continuing again

Day: 2006 - 7
Date: Thursday 7th August
Depart: Camping Tarifa
Latitude: 36.05271
Longitude: -5.65120
Stop: Morocco
Latitude: 35.90600
Longitude: -5.47505
Arrive: La Linea / Gibraltar
Latitude: 36.15660
Longitude: -5.33821
Posted On:  12/09/2006 03:03:46

I sailed away from the rock as fast as the board would take me. Out into the distance, over towards Africa. As long as I could still see the rock through the haze I wasn't gybing. Except..........minutes earlier Tom had uncharacteristically wiped out - that double crossing of the straits had taken it's toll on us and we were both exhausted and beginning to make mistakes. Last time I'd seen Tom he was in the water.....if he was still in trouble now it was my duty to wait - even with what might be an attendant shark?......( more )

Posted On:  12/09/2006 02:57:47

The haze that had dogged us all day still cloaked the straits, the tip of the rock of Gibraltar glimpsed in and out view in the distance, round beyond the refineries at Algeciras. With the wind still up, travelling fast downwind, Tom and I kept loosing sight of each other in the murk; gybe onto the other tack and you'd head rapidly away from each other with a worrying combined velocity, lost into the mist......( more )

Posted On:  10/09/2006 12:55:57

The wind strengthened slightly, and there was a little less shipping than in the outbound lane. It wasn't so bad, this time we didn't feel so helpless, no longer just drifting in the straits waiting to be mown down. In one sense, windsurfing the straits of Gibraltar is no big deal, it's been done many times before.......sixteen windsurfers even raced across the Straits once, but that was all highly sanitised, perfect planing conditions so they could dodge the tankers, crossing in just twenty minutes with guide boats, rescue boats, navigation etc.(though they did complain about the sharks) , we - on the other hand - were tanker fodder!......( more )

Posted On:  07/09/2006 00:50:09

At last we were here: Tarifa - just the Straits of Gibraltar now lay between us and our goal of windsurfing from England to Africa. 'Today is gonna be the day', I thought ( somewhat warily - it was no minor undetaking crossing the Straits; mental winds, strongish currents, choppy seas, ridiculous amounts of shipping plus the odd shark or two......( more )

Posted On:  05/09/2006 23:36:24

The sea was beginning to feel cool as it splashed against us, we were sailing out of the warm waters of the Gulf of Cadiz and into the cold stream of Atlantic sucked through the Straits as the Mediterranean evaporates. After Cape Gracia, one last small delightful village tucked between the headlands with it's own faultless beach and then the huge dunes that mark the start of Tarifa beach, and what a spectacle: a kaleidoscope sky covered with every colour of kite......( more )

Posted On:  05/09/2006 01:30:40

Barbate was on our list of places to avoid, a dirty, smelly, working fishing port, where we'd be interlopers, fair game for the thieves, in sharp contrast to those sandy beach resorts where us dilettante watersporters are greeted with interest and intrigue. So, after landing at the port last night, we'd immediately re-launched, heading for the resort of Zahara de los Atunes, but we had nothing left to give, we couldn't fight the Levante anymore......( more )

Posted On:  04/09/2006 19:06:32

My re-trimmed rig felt fantastic, the wind was howling, yet I was in full control. As I'd been the one struggling before, Tom had said he'd follow me out to the white water and then I could decide whether to carry on or turn back, but I was up for this..........the sea built and built......( more )

Posted On:  04/09/2006 19:01:31

The Levante had always threatened to scupper this trip. In the Straits of Gibraltar, it can blow 40 to 50 knots day and night non stop for a week and we can't sail in that. The friendly Skegway policeman had said that they had a rule of thumb: if a Levante begins on the Monday of one week, they would expect it to blow till the Monday of the following week If that happened now we'd struggle to reach Tarifa before we had to go home, never mind cross the Straits to Morocco and back......( more )

Posted On:  31/08/2006 13:08:45

Another morning, another light offshore air. We began readying ourselves and our kit for launch. This is not an instant process. It usually takes ten minutes just to slime ourselves up with enough waterproof factor 25 to survive eight hours of searing andulucian sun. By the time we'd unchained the boards and dragged them down to the water we could see the sea white capping in the distance, we were going to have a battle on our hands......( more )

Posted On:  31/08/2006 12:16:40

As with yesterday there was a light off shore morning breeze, but unlike yesterday, the skies were clear - no cumulous clouds over the land. The low, lonely, remote sandy coast of Donana National Park pointed into the distance......( more )

Posted On:  28/08/2006 11:06:58

The thermal wind continued till the small hours of the morning then died. The morning brought a light offshore breeze, but soon the huge curving coastline of the Bay of Cadiz, hidden beneath the horizon, was reflected above - rows and rows of clotty little puff ball cumulous clouds painted a vast arc high in that brilliant blue Andalucian sky......( more )

Posted On:  28/08/2006 11:06:07

The drive back to where we left off is took three litres of oil along with six litres of water (and only one litre of beer!), but we got there just after five pm, and, though, having used all that oil and water, we no doubt should have spent the afternoon learning the Portugese for 'head gasket', we had a continent to cross......( more )

2006 Day 0: Logistics, Logistics!
Posted On:  17/08/2006 23:03:06
The cancellation of my flights during last weeks security scare has meant that I am sat in Geneva when I should be in Portsmouth boarding the ferry to Bilbao with our ground support crew (Fab, our two daughters and Iveco camper). So.....hopefully, on the way down through Spain, they'll collect me from Madrid airport....oh, and before that they have to pick Tom up from Valladolid airport!). We'll see!
Posted On:  17/08/2006 22:58:22

Well, we aren't getting any younger, Tom and I are both fifty next year and it is beginning to show!

In the Alps at Easter, hurtling down an icy empty early morning piste the pile of snow surrounding a snow cannon caught my eye......( more )

Chris and Tom would like to thank all those that very kindly sponsored us in 2006 and donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee's sub-Saharan famine appeal. Many thanks.

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