Salmonella, Sunshine, Superman, a Squall and a
We left Rabat at 07:30, passports
stamped out. Motor sailed until 12:30 the next day. Then averaging 6.2 knots
Last night in
Rabat, three week stay at just under £100, watching the marina develop on
a daily basis. The staff were all so friendly, welcoming and very proud of
the marina's development, during our stay we saw huge planters, cedar wood steps
and bin covers, the beginnings of a gym and some swanky looking shops, hairdryers and shower furniture
fitted. Our guide in and out of the marina, a cheerful chap
who did not expect a tip and was so delighted and thankful when we did. First day sun out, the first real heat
we felt for a couple of weeks, the weather has been warm but it was really great
to feel full sunshine on our backs.
The first afternoon afternoon we saw about 50
dolphins, I was videoing on the starboard side, and
guess what, 10 jumped high out of the water on the port side, waved at Bear and
soaked him when they landed. ( sorry Colin, must try harder ), their
squealing woke skipper the second night. Me on duty,
like most women cannot just do one thing at a time, so a good time to knit.
The Moroccan Navy waving like crazy, we yachties are
still a bit of a novelty to them.
I am often asked what is it like in the pitch black. You can track a vessel from 7 miles out, the
first thing you see is a tiny light like a candle, as it closes the big cruise
liners look like a well lit Christmas Tree. The Hydrovane wind steering system
'doing it's thing' as our third member of crew. Not a single fish on my
troll lines but we caught a medium sized sea bird. As
we reeled him in, we really thought he was 'a goner'. As he was swung over the
stern platform he pecked out at the clip holding the stern ladder and released
it, ladder now dragging behind. The mess of the 6 hook troll and all the line,
my first thought was to break his neck and call it a day, but we agreed to give
it a go. Bear held a tea towel over his eyes to calm him and his feet while I
did the untangling. Half an hour later he was paddling off with nothing but hurt
Sunset on our first
night. Fishermen are very enthusiastic when they see
us, one sped up just to wave and shout Bon Voyage. This third picture at first
glance is non too impressive until you look in the centre, just visible under
the clouds is the Hassan II Mosque, when you consider
this is at ten miles off the coast, quite something and lit like a stunning
landmark at night. Little camera cannot deal with that however.
Skipper at his best in the sunshine, glasses on for
a bit of reading, then the repairs and back to normal whatever that means.
This is the same man, not realising
he was a lens short of a brace. Could I honestly take orders, watch hand over and advice from
my captain when he is doing his best impression of "One Eyed Jack" ???.
While on the subject of THE SKIPPER.
Bear stuck his head up on the second evening ( my watch ) Oh look, there is a masthead, we haven't seen anyone else for
ages, Oh and another and a third. Call me
unkind, I had to break the news it was actually
It was all my fault I admit to it,
classical kitchen blooper. After we got back to Beez from our Sahara trek,
having had so much tagine of chicken, I got a fancy for messy potato. Chopped
potato, mushrooms and cubes of cheese fried, when brown and sizzling, throw on
omlette mix = messy potato. I had put the eggs in a mug to see if they were OK,
these were the last from Portugal. Seeing there was only one left, and from the
same box, and I know I should have turned it into the mug, but, I didn't. I
chucked it straight into the frying pan. BIG MISTAKE. Bear had jippy stomach for
a couple of days. I always have the browner side of the pan, I guess I got the
bigger amount of dodgy egg. I got full blown Salmonella, result - any tiny
feeling, straight to the toilet, five solid ( definitely not ) days. Skipper did
say we could stay on in Rabat until I was cured, but, with the help of Imodium
and knowing I would feel bad wherever I was, I said I would be happier to go
south to catch some rays and recover. On the first afternoon I happened to tell
Skipper about having to make 'a nappy' to go on watch, meaning, roll up a wedge
of toilet paper.
Oh you can
have a real one if you want. I've got a packet of Pampers in the engine
compartment, I keep them in case of an oil leak.
"So you are offering me
nappies that reek of diesel?" Have you ever seen a well aimed snap shackle.
Bear has. Rub
Paint bruise on
the side of Bear's head.
Oh it could be a lot worse, if
you had Campylobacter you would feel worse for longer, have
some blood loss and the griping pain would be
worse. How's that for underwhelming sympathy?
Paint Pepe's face puce.
Have you ever seen a fishing rod
swung like a scimitar, Bear has, Duck Bear, Duck.
Tra-la- la, Tra-la-la.
Second night my watch he did become
my Superman though. I was caught at
5:15 by an almighty squall that spun the boat through 100 degrees, this threw
our steering, GPS buzzers going off saying Direction Lost. I was at the wheel
trying to fight us back to safety. I shouted for Bear who came up in just his
underpants and together under his orders, all was well again in about a quarter
of an hour. My lesson, I was in 88 meters of water, I MAY have avoided such a
bad effect if I had been in 125 meters, who knows. I had been in rising winds,
ten seconds of 42 knots but I should have twigged the five seconds of 15 knots.
My average had been 28 knots for over three hours, was I complacent that I only
had a little of my watch left? Was the drop in wind speed my warning to bring in
some sail? I'll know for next time. SO I have had my first squall and seen Bear
at his best in only his pants, I did tell him that Superman wore his pants over
the top of his clothes, not just on naked flesh.
As soon as we got in to port an Australian boat that had arrived a
couple of hours before us came rushing over, complaining bitterly about all the
sudden squalls he had had to deal with, under head sail only. That made me feel
much better, I had full sails out and only caught the one. It turns out to
be due to the mountains and unavoidable no matter the depth or distance
We were trotting along, minding our
own business when this Navy vessel with a big gun at
the front, came up and hand signaled radio. It's never off, which put my back up
to begin with. They told Skipper to take a 270 degree course until we were
6 miles off. 270 was virtually back on ourselves. I
was on duty and for the first time since leaving Plymouth, Bear saw my
lips turn inside out and I fixed them a "stop a speeding train" stare. In court
I would have simply said "I heard my skipper call a course of 207 degrees" !!! As
soon as they got bored and it looked as if I had made a course adjustment I got
back to my merry way. It would have been different if they had looked good in
uniform. First look at the outskirts of Agadir,
written on the hillside is God Bless the King or words to that effect. The
foothills of the Lower Atlas Mountains. For sixty odd miles there had been no
land visible at all. You wouldn't know it was there as from the light at Jorf
Lasfar to the light at Cabo Beddouza, nothing. It felt like being in the middle
of the ocean, only sign was we were in only 41 meters of water at the
We saw a place on the map called
Tefelneh O Tefelney - does that sound like somewhere in Wales?
The first harbour you see is the
commercial docks, the huge
beach that Agadir is famed for, it has been a tourist destination for
many years. The marina entrance.
All in all who would have thought a
three day, two night passage would be so eventful. Glad to be in, not my
favourite kind of dieting, but the weight loss means comfortable trousers, I
don't recommend it though.