35:46.981N 5:48.017W Sun 30th Jun 2019. 560nm 3 days 11 hrs.
To be honest, this journey back to the mainland has been hanging over us like a black cloud for months. Sailing upwind, overnight, in mid-ocean wind & waves is not what we set-out to do with our leisure! We were pretty thrilled then, to see a wind forecast that looked as if it would allow us to head back without being too hard on the wind and without any strong winds to whip up the waves. So we headed off from Porto Santo earlier than we’d hoped (we really do like it there) on Thursday (27th) with less dread than expected. However the first day or two were pretty bad; although the wind forecast was spot-on (a rarity in recent experience) the seas were rougher and more confused than we expected. We did make good progress, but slammed into the waves especially noisily on the 2nd night. By the 3rd night things were calming down and we were working to keep the boat moving fast enough, as by then we were really hoping to avoid a 4th night at sea. Eventually we had to give up & motor the last 100nm into Tangier, arriving easily in the daylight on Sunday. As we made landfall we were politely warned to keep further off the coast by a patrolling warship. We’d been listening to radio messages about migrants in inflatables for a while, so I guess the warning was related to that.
So the cloud has lifted, we are back in the Med (almost, just 30nm to Gibraltar) and feeling quite relieved. We spent almost exactly a year out in the Atlantic doing the Azores, Madeira group and the Canaries and it was fantastic, worth every moment of upwind sailing discomfort. We’ve seen the most amazing variety of islands, geographies, geologies and habitats (but could have hoped for more marine wildlife). We’ve also been lucky to catch several festivals ranging from the quaint to the bizarre (can’t ever forget the clouds of talc covering everyone). This was probably our last big adventure, but we’ve been enjoying planning some new objectives for the next couple of years (Istanbul and some of the world’s most ancient ruins in eastern Turkey being top of the list).
We didn’t originally plan on including a stop in Morocco but avoiding a 4th night at sea has given us a great opportunity to visit a very different city from those we saw in 2012. Tangier is a large modern city (pop 1m) so you escape the worst pestering from locals, yet it is still exotic and very interesting. We had a meal with mostly locals last night where there were no menus, barely any cutlery (some hand carved wooden things and plenty of bread!) but tons of fish and amazing flavours. Tomorrow we’re off for a couple of days touring inland for Lindsay’s birthday treat.
Punic/Roman tombs in the rocks overlooking the fishing harbour:
Our fishy supper, 2 of the 4 courses:
The street outside the restaurant: