Only in the Bosporus Straits in Istanbul can an individual stand in Europe and see Asia, and only at the Straits of Gibraltar can one stand in Europe and see Africa. I recently returned from a cruise on the Crystal Symphony that started in Barcelona, sailed east to Palomós and Monte Carlo; then sailed westward to Saint-Tropez, Mallorca, Cartagena, Gibraltar, Cadiz and finally, Lisbon. This was a working vacation for me, as a guest lecturer giving a pair of lectures on board. A high point of the cruise occurred when the Symphony anchored off the coast of Saint-Tropez on 15 August, and I had the pleasure to meet new, but already good friends, Ghislaine Scarici Pounardjian (Gigidusud) and her husband Patrick. We made this a micro Trek-earth meeting, walking around the narrow streets, and traipsing around the "Brigitte Bardot Beach." I dedicate this photo to Ghislaine and Patrick.
In view is the Middle Atlas Mountains, the portion of the Atlas Mountains entirely in Morocco. These majestic mountains span more than 2,000 km (1,200 miles), from the Moroccan port of Agadir in the southwest, to the Tunisian capital of Tunis in the northeast. The straits are just 14 km (8 miles) wide at the straits. On a clear day, one can gaze across the Straits of Gibraltar, UK and see Tangiers, Morocco in North West Africa.
Lord Horatio Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar 38 km to the west of the Rock. Herman Melville wrote about it, so did Mark Twain. During WWII, the British dug 30 miles of secret tunnels to store battle logistics. In the earth’s tectonic past, the site saw even greater turbulence. Six million years ago the Straits of Gibraltar closed up, choking off the water inflow from the Atlantic, and the hydrologically deficit Tethys Sea, ancestral waterway of the Mediterranean, remained dry for the next million years. Then when the straits opened up again, the entire basin filled up within a century by the rushing Atlantic Ocean, creating the present Mediterranean Sea.
Tens of thousands of years ago the Neanderthals had lived in the area. Three thousand years ago the Phoenicians, creators of the Phonetic alphabet, obsessive navigators, and ubiquitous colonizers of the Mediterranean rim, also settled here… as did later the Romans, the Vandals, the Visigoths… In AD 711, a Moorish incursion across the straits took place, with their commander Tariq-ibn-Ziyad, staking claims on the rock in the name of the burgeoning Islam, and naming it after himself, Jabal-i-Tariq, “the Rock of Tariq,” a moniker that would become permanent, after morphing one more time into “Gibraltar.” Since 1704 it has been British.
Postscript: In his comment, Ike Harel makes a good point, "There is yet another place where you can see two continents: Eilat, in the south tip of Israel, Asia and Africa." This is indeed true. And for completeness, there are two other waterways I can think of where this happens: at the Bering Straits one can stand in North America and see Asia. Many of us remember the the American 2008 Vice-Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin's words, "You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska." At the Panama Canal, North and South America are separated by a narrow waterway. Where waterways are not involved, then continental borders appear in other locations. Our good friend Serghei Pakhomoff, who frequently signs off, "From the Sunny Urals," knows Asia and Europe intimately.
Critiques | Translate
lousat (72231) 2013-09-05 14:49
Hi Bulent,a very nice pic from one of the most important and strategic places of the world,i like the soft atmosphere and the light reflections on the waves,the big boat is like the cherry on a blue cake...ehehe....have a good night and thanks,Luciano
photoray (10139) 2013-09-05 15:03
Interesting vision in multiple blues of the famous Straights of Gibraltor, including the freighter chugging along, with wispy skyline.
Didi (55029) 2013-09-05 15:18
Salam my friend
Las critic before my holydays
Great view on the big rock with an interesting mist
The ship is a good center of interest for the composition
I'll return in the 6th of october
limielski (0) 2013-09-05 15:53
Very nice to see you here again. You are here on TE very rarely last time.
Amazing shot. I'm impressed! Full of romantic atmosphere.
I like the whole composition but especially I like this blue colouring and the fog wrapping the rock.
All the best for you!
daddo (22634) 2013-09-05 16:00
Merhaba Bulent Bey. What I find fascinating in this photo are the looming Atlas mountains. Strangely enough when the bus took us between the middle and high Atlas mnts, once one is up there, it all looks deceptively flat. Love the shimmering light and all that blue.Fascinating note. Best regards. Klaudio. (By the way, I met Mr Izzet Keribar while in Istanbul- a great pleasure.)
PaulVDV (20389) 2013-09-05 22:48
When I was in the very south of Spain and Gibraltar, I was amazed how close the mountains of Morocco actually were.
When I hiked to the top of the rock in Gibraltar, I found the views towards Africa simply awesome.
On this complete blue picture you included nicely one of the many ships sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar.
Best regards, Paul
jjcordier (73228) 2013-09-06 0:04
Très jolis tons bleus pour cette image prise au large de Tanger et bien composée.
Gigidusud (13281) 2013-09-06 0:10
Hello dear Bulent,
Thank you for this dedication that makes me very happy, it was a pleasure to meet you, Carol Jean, Delilah e Amelia. I was waiting for your return to post a picture of St Tropez remember :) Very nice photo in shades of blue, mist softened the atmosphere. Thank you again
All my wishes,I leave at work!:)
mirosu (12518) 2013-09-06 0:37
Excellent introductory note, superb photo. I like your photo with view over Mediterranean Sea to hills of Morocco. According to my experience the best place to Africa view are the hill slopes near Tarifa in south Spain, the closest place across Straits of Gibraltar to Africa coast. I like the arrangement with the ship. Well done. Greetings, Miro.
saxo042 (36906) 2013-09-06 4:07
Quite a poetic picture of this lonely ship, along the mist-covered island in the background. Soft and pleasant colours.
macondo (18551) 2013-09-06 5:22
I have been so captivated by your superbly erudite and informative note that I quite forgot about the photo for a while. I have no doubt you are the right person to be giving lectures on a cruise ship. Or anywhere for that matter.
Anyway, we have here a deceptively simple, very atmospheric study in summer-hazy blues with not-quite-silhouetted forms showing all we need to see, with the small ship steaming into the scene. I appreciate the high resolution version, although I can only just fit it vertically on to my screen.
A very rewarding stop-over this upload has turned out to be.
Noel_Byrne (20720) 2013-09-06 7:11
A powerful scene, and a very magical, mysterious scene as the distant mountains stand shrouded in mist. The mist of time perhaps, alluding to the long history of man at this place, but the boat, perfectly composed in the scene and there to remind us of the modern importance of this place. Thanks for sharing.
Romano46 (16578) 2013-09-06 11:28
una bellissima foto che emana un fascino particolare per la colorazione quasi monocromatica. per l'eccellente composizione e per la particolare suggestione che proviene dal soggetto fotografato.
La nebbia che si alza dalla acque aggiunge una ulteriore nota di fascino a questa immensa distesa di acqua dietro la quale sorgono le montagne.
Ciao e buon fine settimana
mesutilgim (79988) 2013-09-06 12:57
Selam sevgili Bülent,
Mükemmel bir kare !Bakış açısı, kompozisyon, sade renkler.
Ve de her zaman olduğu gibi mükemmel bilgi notları.
Teşekkürler ve de iyi bir hafta sonu
Selam ve sevgiler
marabu61 (7353) 2013-09-06 14:17
A peaceful and pleasant shot on the straight of Gibraltar, defying the current arguments between Spain and Great Britain about fishing issues.
Lovely layers of different blues.
have a great weekend
sabermonajati (8895) 2013-09-07 9:47
pleasant pay sage you captured.
emka (73183) 2013-09-07 11:32
hello dear Bulent, Nice to see you here again. Beautiful view of the Gibraltar coming out of fog.
Tangier was the first town on other continent than Europe that I saw when I went to Morocco 20 years ago. It was a real culture shock!
nice overall blue colour. Very interesting note as always.
have a beautiful Sunday you and CJ
macjake (52076) 2013-09-07 21:24
nice to see new photos from you!
and a fine dedication to our photo friend Ghilsaine and her husband! Oh how I wish I were there too.
For some reason its always special to see Africa from Europe or vise versa, its something we all get a kick out of.
Glad you got the ship in this photo as it works effectively as a focal point. lots of atmosphere adds to the attractiveness.
Have a great weekend!
ikeharel (52251) 2013-09-08 1:26
Yes, Bulent, the view from Gibraltar over to Africa can give an excitement to any on-looker, there is yet another place where you can see two continents: Eilat, in the south tip of Israel, Asia and africa and also 4 countries: Saudi-Arabia, Jordan and Egypt from Israel.
Nice view over the strait, the mountains seem to rise from within the mist, and the vessel in pic. gave a dynamic scale.
Nicou (116266) 2013-09-08 2:54
Tout ce fond dans la brume marine quelle compo et image avec ce bâteau qui passe la forme de la montagne ronde sueprbe image et captage merveilleux.
Bravo et amitié
jhm (135120) 2013-09-08 3:20
Thank you very much for your interesting notes.
The rock of Gibraltar today again great news between England and Spain, with a lot great words between both countries.
Your picture is very well taken with the rock middle of the fog.
Splendid composition, nice presentation.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice Sunday,
papagolf21 (83214) 2013-09-08 8:50
Bonjour, cher ami Bülent,
Ce genre de composition fait rêver à de voyages lointains et à découvrir de nouveaux paysages.
Très heureux de vous revoir sur le site.
J'aime beaucoup l'ambiance générale qui se dégage de cette composition.
serp2000 (37893) 2013-09-08 9:46
Thanks for your reference. Look please this link. I think it is logic continuing of your note.
I remember there is a small piece of Spanish territory on the North of Africa too. Great moment, it reminds me my emotions on the Bosphorus in Istanbul when I did stay between Europa and Asia. Yes, like the Urals.
I will write to you some details and the dates tomorrow.
baclama (17303) 2013-09-08 9:54
une photo peu habituelle du Maroc...un tres bon cadrage et une atmosphere tres bien transmise
worldcitizen (6477) 2013-09-08 16:19
It's nice to see you back on TE again. It sounds like you had another interesting journey. I like the different tones of blue in this photo, and the horizontal layers. Even the ship is rather long, and stretches out horizontally as well. It must be wonderful to stand on one continent, and have a view to another.
kato (11630) 2013-09-10 16:36
You're capturing well this scape by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the straits of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa. It looks like the calm strait, and it's impressive in the Middle Atlas Mountains with beautiful shape in Morocco. And, the ship which cruises the strait which mist veils draws out a special good impact in this image.
Graal (95343) 2013-09-11 0:04
nice seascape here. Amazing misty Gibraltar. Good composition with the alone ship on right side. Interesting comment in note. Well presentation.
Have a nice day.
willperrett (5904) 2013-09-11 8:11
Near-monochrome scene, largely the result of subject matter and contre-jour lighting. And I like the simplification of tone and shape that this has given rise to. Of course the ship is an absolutely vital element in the success of the composition.
tober (8797) 2013-09-11 12:11
Burası benim fotoğraf çekerken belki de en çok heyecan duyduğum yerlerden biriydi Bülent Hocam. Aynı hisleri siz de taşımışsınızdır tahminimce. Ayrıntılı izahatli notunuzla neredeyse kitap değerinde bir çalışmaya imza atmışsınız. Elinize sağlık, saygılar.
mcmtanyel (10447) 2013-09-12 12:49
Selamlar Bülent Bey,
It has been a while since I visited your gallery. This photo is precious to me because I aimed for the opposite of this last March and failed. We went to Morocco and drove up to Tangier. I was hoping to look unto Europe and get a few shots. Alas, the visibility was so poor that we could not even see the mouth of the harbor. Thank you for providing the complement of the photo I wanted to take.
nikkitta (13220) 2013-09-12 16:28
How very interesting subject about to stay and see two continents, remember that place, an afternoon at the side of my father
Like this poetic capture plenty of different blues, the mysterious mist and the lights reflections on the water
The note is an historical interesting one
Warm regards, Maria
wolf38 (30276) 2013-09-13 2:40
Hello Bulent. Water, a ship - and mountains in the background. The photo contains only a few image details. The haze makes the landscape moody. The color blue plays an important role in the impression.
corjan3 (2025) 2013-09-20 12:40
Your note with the interesting information therein really makes this image and I want to commend you on it. This is not purely about photography but it is about the world through this wonderful medium. And what a pleasure it is to read.
gervaso (9359) 2013-09-25 4:24
The fog gives a very nice atmosphere to the picture and even seems to give depth to it! And the silhouette of the boat makes a beautiful contrast with the soft colors of the background! Wonderful composition!
adores (34368) 2013-10-06 12:51
Really hope you had another great trip:)! Maybe next time we can meet again. I returned from Africa yesterday.
This is a really famous place and you got a good shot. I like the atmosphere given by the haze and the ship passing adds a lot to the composition.
halikarnas (6481) 2013-12-08 8:12
Sanatta 'sadeleştirme'yi öğrenen sonra eser vermeye başlar.
Bu açıdan harika fotoğraf.
Sizlere sağlıklı yeni seneler diliyorum.
claudeD (30437) 2013-12-22 3:13
Very fine picture from Morocco showing te Straits of Gibraltar. I like your composition and the amazing atmosphere of this picture. very well done.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg