Cadiz to Mohammedia

Journeys of Aardvarc
Sun 28 Oct 2012 22:35
33.42.7N 07.23.9W

Upon leaving Cadiz marina we narrowly missed a nudge from a German cruise liner heading into the port, then before long we had cut off the corner (& about 8 miles) & we were at sea on our way to Africa! We put the fishing line out & settled in for the day. Ed & Bob used the time to tackle a few tasks on the boat (checking the water maker & rerouting the wifi bat wire through the lazarette), while Diana kept a look out for fishing pots & tankers in the shipping lanes, coming from the Gibraltar Straits, & I tried not to feel too sick!! As dusk fell we reeled the line in only to find that something had bitten through the trace & the lure had disappeared........Big Reg???

We decided to begin our 3hr watches at 7pm, Bob & Diana starting & handing over to Ed & I at 10pm, to make sure that we all got plenty of rest overnight.

 During our 1st watch Ed & I noticed the phosphorescence in the water & I was sent into the heads to flush the toilet in the dark to see the glow……very exciting! We also spent some time lying in the cockpit pointing out constellations & spotting shooting stars in the beautiful clear skies – I made a number wishes. During Bob & Diana’s 2nd shift they were happily sailing along when a dark shadow rose out of the mist……Bob had to grab the helm to avoid what seemed to be an 80ft yacht at full sail, with no lights or emitting any radar signal…….not the way to travel!

On our 2nd watch (4am-7am) Ed & I watched the sunrise over the African coast & spent a good couple of hours trying to remember the name of a famous actor (turns out it was Jim Broadbent) – oh! The fun we have! J

We arrived at the entrance to Rabat around 8am, perfectly timed for high water & to enter the river leading to the marina. However, the swell from the sea was about 5-6m & the waves were crashing against the breakwater that was protecting the estuary making it totally impossible for us to continue & upon calling the marina we found out that they had closed the port due to the swell. So, we had no choice other than to continue on to Mohammedia.....

For 28nm we passed an interesting coastline, lined with Minarets, but we were quite concerned with the large swell that crashed huge waves on the shore. But finally arrived at our destination & an easy entrance to the “marina” protected by a large breakwater, phew! We pulled up alongside a boat from South Africa & they were very helpful in getting us tied up. We then declared our intentions on leaving the boat for a few days in order to explore & the team from the marina obligingly moved a motor boat to another mooring so that we could tie up against the pontoon & not get in anyone’s way. Everyone seems so friendly & we had a huge gang helping us move around the moorings, both marina staff & people from other boats, such a great welcome to Morocco!

In order to get the boat secured we left a couple of customs officials waiting on the pontoon, we hoped that this wouldn’t go against us having heard that they can be jobsworths & make entry extremely difficult…..this was my first experience of being boarded & asked our intentions & cargo – it was quite daunting – despite them looking like extras from the Sacha Baron Cohen movie, The Dictator! Our 1st visit was from the coastguard, followed by the police & customs……Ed took it all in his stride, we laughed & joked with them, they suggested some places to stay along the coast & I was even offered a job with the admin team, due to my computer skills! Overall, not at all the scary encounter I had imagined…….let’s hope it continues that way!

With customs cleared we cracked on with planning the itinerary for the next few days, liaising with people at & then heading off to find the train station to book tickets to Marrakech. Unaware of our surroundings we started to wander in what we thought might be the right direction for the centre of town……a couple of locals noticed we were looking quite lost & suddenly we had a new tour guide; Mohammed! He took us into town, through the medina, past the local hospital & finally to La Gare, where we were able to book our return tickets from Marrakech on Saturday, but strangely we have to go back tomorrow morning an hour before our train to buy our outward bound tickets. Mohammed then took us to Carrefour for provisions, were everyone seemed to be stocking up on booze, for Eid?? A couple of petit taxis back to the marina (Bob & Diana did a slight detour to all other local hotels/restaurants with ‘marina’ in the name) & we were back at the port……