Sat 1 Nov 2008 11:47
It’s been awhile but I am back. We have been in the Med for the last month and a half, and as some of you know I even managed to get home for a couple of weeks. During that time we basically been on holiday, we took part in the Oyster Palma Regatta and had a weeks cruising around Palma with the Morgan's and Clarke's. Good friends, the Harris’s, joined us for one night on their way from LA to Berlin! Yes it didn’t seem like a very direct route to me either. But we had fun.
The Morgies and Clarkes sailing back from Porto Petro in Palma on the back of a storm that had us on anchor watch all night. We averaged 10 knots all the way back to Palma a great sail.
We are now in Gibraltar, Josh and Claire bought UHURU down from Palma with some friends while I was at home. Beans and I flew in last Sunday, 26th Oct, with the Botterills, Willie and Botti, who are doing the next leg to Las Palmas with us. The plan was to leave Gib on the Tuesday after doing a little sight seeing around Gib then head down to Casablanca, Essouria and then on to Las Palmas. However, Mother Nature intervened and we have been stuck here ever since. Those of you following on the tracker must have got bored waiting for us to do something. By the way we have been having trouble with the tracker, hopefully it’s working again now. We have had massive winds and a lot of rain, plus 5-6m seas out in the Atlantic. Not something you whant volunteer to go out in. So we have been finding things to do.
Our first little adventure was a high speed ferry over to Tangier where we stayed in the most fantastic little ‘Dar’ in the Kasbah (Old Fort) called Dar Sultan. A ‘Dar’ is a very small palace that is now a family home with a covered central courtyard. A ‘Riad” which many of you will have heard of is a larger palace with an open garden/courtyard in the middle. Well we did the whole tour thing and eat in the Dar for two nights, the most fantastic food prepared by the lady of the house. Tangier was Ok, but the find of the trip was a village in the mountains that we had a guide take us too called, Chefsourquin, often referred to as ‘The Blue Village’ because all the walls are painted different shades of blue. Apparently this scares the mosquito's off. It was the most beautiful village with lots of great stuff in the souk, but no pressure and no hassling to buy. We ended up buying some stunning ‘Vegetable silk’ bed covers. ‘Vegetable silk’ is in fact cactus fibre which was news to me. The ‘Lonely Boat Guide’ to Moroco strongly recommends this place as your first stop in Moroco, it also has some great places to stay.
Tangier with the Botti’s and the roof terrace of the Dar Sultan.
Shopping in the ‘Blue Village’.
We came back after a couple of days and found that nothing had changed, weather wise, so we rented a car and set of to Cadiz, a spot we had hoped to visit on our way down but engine trouble meant we had to miss it and go straight to Gibraltar for repairs. So a great chance of go back and check it out. It lived up to all expectations, lots of pretty narrow streets and expensive shops which fortunatly allways seemed to be closed when Beans and Willie wanted to shop.
So we are now back in Gibraltar waiting to leave late tonight, we have had to modify our plans. We are going to skip Casablanca and head straight to Essouria which is about 370 nm from here. This will involve three nights and two days at sea a big test for Beans. It’s still raining but the winds and seas have dropped, so hopefully all will be well.
Well this is just a short one as I hope to get it off before we leave tonight.
Regulars will be disappointed that we don’t have a single bloody sunset to show you. That’s been a weather thing!! But I thought I’d entertain you with a little art from the ‘Blue Village’.
It’s raining again so we are all going to get a little wet tonight.
Steve & Beans
1st November 2008