We took advantage of the uncrowded boatyard and
cheap prices in Smir to get CAPE lifted out to hang in the slings while we inspected
her bottom. We checked our anodes, changed the prop (for a bigger, go-faster
one), and did a full oil change in the leg (we have a sail-drive rather than a
The ‘before’ shot – CAPE’s slimy nether regions emerging from the
“Do you think we can get her to balance on her
keel on this bit of wood?”
Bethany and Bryn leaving their mark in the
primordial slime on the bits of CAPE where the
sun doesn’t shine.
To be fair, considering we hadn’t antifouled CAPE since we put her in the water in
April 2006, the stuff had done its job and – apart from a few barnacles here and
there – her bottom was only a bit slimy. We chipped off the barnacles and then
had her pressure washed. Mr Pressure Washer took his job very seriously and any
trace of antifoul has now gone – it will be interesting to see what has grown
there next time we lift her out.
Pressure washing the wildlife off CAPE’s bottom – the boat equivalent of having your bikini
line waxed I guess!
The ‘after’ shot – the motley crew and CAPE’s squeaky clean bottom.
Once back in the water, we started the
engine to the sound of a squealing alternator belt and the smell of hot rubber.
A quick inspection revealed that the bracket holding the alternator had snapped.
Luckily, John ‘Two Boats’ (LORD JIM and MARY HILLIER) happened to be passing and
he showed David the way to the workshops where we were able to get the part
welded. We had been told by Pat and Mike (EL LOBO) to look out for John who was
a mine of information about lots of things boatie as well as finding our way
around in Morocco. We spent lots of time with
him over the next few days (of course cold beer was involved).
Sardines in M’Diq
Getting around in Morocco is great
fun – when you need a taxi, you just stand by the side of the road and as a taxi
approaches, you stick your fingers in the air to show the driver how many places
you need. If they have room (they take 6 passengers – 2 in the front plus the
driver, and 4 in the back), they stop, if not, they carry on! Buses are regular,
cheap and squished, with not even standing room. The bus conductor (hey –
remember those!) gets on at the front and off at the back as he works his way
down the aisle to sell you your ticket. We didn’t come across any chickens being
transported by bus, but I'm sure you could take a chicken along if you wanted
We went to the next town (M'Diq) on the bus and
had sardines and prawns for lunch in the fishing harbour.
The Big Daddies of the M’Diq sardine fishing
And the little tiddlers…
Sardines or prawns with salad and
Lunch, including drinks, came to 90 dirhams (less
than €9) for the four of us.
Boy, do we know how to make a mess of the
tablecloth (well, sheet of paper).
Only in Morocco
We went to Cabo Negro to Jackie and Stu’s (MYMAX)
apartment for a night of luxury. Getting there was a bit traumatic as the
complex has been refurbished and renamed so that the taxi driver didn’t know
where we wanted to go. He abandoned us outside a likely looking set of
apartments in the middle of nowhere, so we ended up walking (in the heat of the
day, with a rucksack apiece plus assorted other bags) the 3 km to the nearest
habitation. After a few frantic ‘phone calls to Jackie to confirm the name of
the place, and to the agent in Morocco to confirm what it used to be called, we
found a taxi driver who knew where we wanted to go. When we got there, we only
had a large denomination note (200 dirhams, which is less than €20) and he
didn’t have change, so a passing local paid him and we arranged to leave the
money for him at the gate (only in Morocco!).
We luxuriated in air conditioning, REAL beds, and
a private bathroom. The children expanded to fill the wardrobes and drawers with
all their worldly possessions – it turned out that Chocolate Moose, and all of
the Lil’ Bratz had come along for the visit too!
Chocolate Moose snuggling in for a night in a REAL
Sorry, these aren’t our kids.
Bethany even informed
me that there was an ironing board if I fancied doing a spot of
The Lil’ Bratz (plus their surf board, beach toys,
dinghy and sleeping bags) weren’t going to miss out on this
We had a superb meal on the roof terrace of a
nearby restaurant, retiring back to the apartment to veg in front of Wales Today and a re-run of Globe Trekker on the Travel Channel with a bottle of wine (Ian
Wright and Justine Shapiro – we still love you), while the kids had their turn
in front of CBeebies the next
morning. It was bliss! (Yes I did resist the urge to do any ironing). We headed
back the next day to CAPE’s list of things to
do. Thank you Jackie and Stu’ for that night of indulgence!
The to-do list
We have been hiding an embarrassing secret under a
chopping board in the galley – a gaping hole where the top-loading bin used to
be. The nifty bin-lid-and-bag-holder thingy disintegrated before we left
Portimão, and despite constant whingeing from me, David has resisted all of my
efforts to get him to sort it out. (I hadn’t resorted to crying yet, but that
was the next phase of my plan.) While I made two more mozzie nets for the
hatches, David finally replaced the work surface with the stainless steel sheet
that we had been carrying around with us since Portugal.
The top-loading saucepan cupboard – perfect for
the discerning yottie’s crumb collection.
Our shiny new stainless steel worktop going into
I think it would be nice to have all the galley
work surfaces and splashbacks done like this…
Gib’ to Morocco Rally and the ‘Peanut
Marina Smir sprang to life with the arrival of the
Gib’ to Morocco Rally 2008. The kids issued a ‘kid alert’ and went off to play.
Somehow we managed to get ourselves included in the rally antics, which kicked
off with logic games and juggling, followed by water games and lifeboat drills,
merging into a fancy dress competition before a pontoon party with dancing and
superb live bluesy jazz singing.
“Perhaps we need some glue…”
Just keep practicing Bryn!
How many people can you get into two
The Sumo Wrestlers had the benefit of a discreetly
placed fan to keep them inflated…
We were shocked and delighted to win (with Siobhan
making up our team – Weird Fish) the
Rally Challenge Cup. It now has pride of place in the saloon table, and is being
put to good use holding nibbles (peanuts and Bombay mix), re-christened as the Peanut Cup.
Team Weird Fish being presented with the
We ventured into Tetouan with John for a brilliant
kebab lunch, followed by a mooch around the market and a rapid loss of bearings
in the Medina. I
wish we had capacity for scratch and sniff so that you could experience the
tapestry of smell made up of spices, fruit, vegetables – and rotting fish. The
chickens were free-range and still running around!
Tetouan is set against the stunning backdrop of
The Palace Gates in Tetouan – see the sentry boxes
Plain old veg.
Next episode – scratch and sniff from El