Safi to Lanzarote
Arrived off Casablanca 17.00 to be met by Navy patrol vessel wanting to know our business, then port control flatly refused entry due to lack of yacht facilities. The yacht club offered in Jimmy Cornells cruising guide had packed up 10years ago. The harbor master suggested a port 10 miles to the NE but decided to continue on course SW. After reviewing options decided to aim for Safi which would give arrival in daylight next day. No idea if Safi would accept us but gambled on pleading low fuel. Caught small mackerel while sailing. Usual watches through night- mix of sail/motor.
Arrived Safi 4pm and thankfully the slight suspicious harbor master allowed entry and directed us to tie up outside an old blue fishing boat. Several people immediately appeared- fishing boat minder, one from Port security, another offering to fetch fuel in jerry cans-then police to check papers. All friendly, paperwork completed, fueled (approx 70 lt-no idea if correct payment as no receipt forthcoming-but cheaper than Portugal). Slightly worried that old diesel in our jerry can which has been there since we bought the boat would be contaminated but poured it in anyway. Tank ¾ full + 22 lt in can. Walked into town with fuel fetcher who directed us to a restaurant for very good Tagine. Early to bed for lovely quiet night.
Next morning our self appointed guide/fuel fetcher (Abdul) arrived and sometimes lead sometimes followed as we toured Safi. No doubt expecting a generous tip. Fascinating fishing port with well worn wooden sardine boats stacked up in the inner harbor- sardine and mackerel being sold off barrows on the quay and a busy boat building yard just inshore. ½ doz larger (sardine) boats and 4 of the smaller that are towed behind all being hand built using Eucalyptus wood. Scenes reminiscent (I imagine) of an English herring port 150 years ago.
MJP spoke to a well dressed business man who said he is buying one of the boats for 5million Diran -10Diran-1euro, but the 1million may actually be 100,000 so not sure actual cost. It seems however there is money to be made in sardines. Hard to believe that there is room in the harbor for any more boats.
Abdul said that there is much restoration work underway in Safi (not obvious to the casual eye apart from a couple of men re-pointing the town wall) and a new marina supposedly being built. Fascinating walk round the medina and up to the Sultans palace. Diana’s morale much improved after buying a plate and a bowl. Adam purchased some baggy Arabian trousers (not easy to find as most cloths stalls were selling T shirts and jeans).
Worked out that fuel wouldn’t take us all the way to Lanzarotte so relying on enough wind to make up the shortfall.
Motor 0.00-09.00. Noticed volts low- checked engine- belt loose-bolt holding alternator fallen off. Lucky escape as hot smell suggested just caught it in time. No wind so had a swim while engine cooled –lovely warm clear water. MJP reminded me of Grandfather Johns story when he was crossing the Atlantic. He was becalmed and took a swim with crew below but breeze then sprung up and boat set off out of reach. Just managed to raise alarm before drifting out of earshot. Strangely both DG & MP disappeared below while I was swimming. Fortunately no breeze appeared.
Sail till 13.00. Motor till 15.30. Sail on course till 05.30 Motor till midnight.
Large pod of Dolphins around during the day. Luminescence in the night sparkling in the bow wave and propeller wake. The dolphins returned and the ghostly elegant shapes shimmering with luminescence weaved alongside the boat.
Marine Bio luminescence is apparently caused by luminous bacteria who want to be eaten by plankton so that the plankton become luminous and are In turn eaten by fish. The bacteria enjoy a free meal and ride in the fishes gut before passing out the other end undigested. Begs the question what’s in it for the plankton?
Met with nice young woman from the Marina who gave us the info on Jimmy Cornell’s Atlantic Odessey. Quick bike ride to cash machine for taxi. 10min taxi ride to airport and home.