Location: Gibraltar

Our goal was to explore the other side of the rock, where there is an extensive tunnel system that has been used to defend Gibraltar for hundreds of years. But before we could do this, we had to say goodbye to Cate, who was on the 50-day voyage because of her “job” and “responsibilities”. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye, but we know she’s going home to people that love her just as much as we do, and it would be selfish to keep someone as amazing as Cate all to ourselves. We had an incredible send-off breakfast of challah french toast (made by Leo, Gabe, and Maya), and after getting Cate in her taxi and drying our tears, we set off for the tunnels.
We had a nice walk through town to get up to the nature reserve, along which Will almost hit a baby in the head with a ball, and we saw a house with an intricate octopus mural wrapped around it. Some people did not enjoy all the steps after climbing so many yesterday, but we persevered. We started out at the top of the reserve with the Great Siege tunnels, which were dug out in the late 18th century and held by the British for almost four years as the Spanish and French attempted to capture Gibraltar. The tunnel system is expansive and goes deep into the rock, offering incredible views of Spain and the airport that sits along the border as you work your way through. The original goal of the tunnels was to reach a position called the Notch, where the British wanted to place artillery. Eventually, they needed to ventilate the area that they were digging in and blew a hole through the side of the rock, at which point they realized that it would be a good idea to actually put cannons in the tunnel itself. As we were exploring and learning about all of this, there was lots of talk of how much fun it would be to fire one of the canons (concerning?), and dilemma-ing over if you were given one chance to fire a cannon, but you knew it would do a lot of damage (but it’s your only chance to do it ever, and no one would know it was you), would you do it.
Next, we explored the tunnels that were excavated during WWII, which are at a lower elevation. These were even more extensive than the Siege tunnels – during the war, the total length of the system went from 7 to 25 miles. This area was more spacious but also more ominous. There were lots of mannequins staged around the displays, but some were in dark rooms, and several people were startled to see a figure lurking in the shadows. We may have also already been on edge from Santana and Alex hiding around corners and jumping out at us. Will and Charles attempted to go off-roading, and I can admit that there is nothing more enticing than a tunnel disappearing into an endless pit of darkness past a locked gate. But as a staff member, I felt like I had to intervene and prevent them from disappearing into the depths of the rock. Once all fourteen of us emerged safely from the tunnels, we continued on to the Moorish Castle, which was probably built sometime in the 8th century. After another set of stairs, we had a nice view from the top of the castle and felt like we’d seen every bit of the rock.
For dinner, our chefs prepared pork, mashed potatoes, rolls, and salad. Will and I collaborated on a squeeze question, so if you guys are playing along at home, you can discuss what landmark/structure you would choose to fortify if you were going to be under siege for almost four years. There were lots of creative answers onboard, from the Mariana Trench to Mars. Everyone is now looking forward to post-dinner gelato and getting prepped with snacks tomorrow. We’ll be getting underway for Spain!

Shout out to my Mom, Dad, Sachi, and Eleanor – I love you guys!!