We leave European waters and head into an exotic World
Thu 6 Nov 2008 11:47
Our trip down from Gibraltar was fairly uneventful. We left Gibraltar at about 11:30pm on Saturday night as planned, the winds had dropped, as planned, and it rained a lot, as planned. So we all got very wet over the next few days.
The highlights of the trip down was a close encounter with a French Navy Warship, who took an interest in us. We had a brief radio exchange where he identified himself as “This is French Navy Warship, French Navy Warship, off your Port Quarter”. In fact it was some else he wanted to talk too, but we got the message as to who was in charge very quickly. But all was well and off we went wishing everyone “Bon Voyage”. My French is getting better, honest! I suspect this was all a part of George Bush’s “War off Terror” :-) Yes we watched Borat again last night.
The other highlight was seeing for the first time Atlantic squalls coming at you on the radar. Great fun trying to steer around and through them, anything not to get wet again!
As you know we had to change our plans and not go to Casablanca because of weather delays in Gibraltar. So I decided that we would head directly to a old fishing port called Essaouira, (formally Mogador), what a find this place turned out to be. We arrived early Tuesday morning as the fishing boats were coming in from their predawn start. The port was heaving with fishing boats, people buying and selling and thousands and thousands of seagulls. We had been warned against Essaouria by another Oyster skipper who told us tales of woe and disaster that he had heard about, never having been there. What we found was the most exotic fortress city with the nicest people you could hope for, and some of the best food we have had so far, very French with a touch of Africa.
Essaouria, a fortress city and very busy fishing port.
The sights, sounds and smells were mesmerising. We spent hours just watching the fishermen coming in and out with their catches.
Yes it was challenging and tight getting into the port and we had to be on our watch all the time, but we had our local ‘boat boy’ to look after us and after two hours and five different offices to get through the entry formalities (plus eight packets of Marlboro and a bottle of wine in bakhsish, which may I remind you is not bribery, but an appreciative gift for services rendered) we settled in.
Sorry about the ugly fenders by they really were necessary!! We were quite a novelty, they don’t get many visitors quite as big as UHURU.
We had great fun, lots of eating fresh fish, shopping in the souk with no pressure and some really high quality stuff, watch out for those Chrissy pressies!!
And we made a few new friends.
Bottie having a little fun with the girls, it must have been very exhausting as he fell asleep almost immediately after, while pretending to be on guard duty!
My everlasting memory from Essaouria, will be leaving just before dawn this morning with an escort of waving, and cheerful fishermen. What a fantastic, spectacular, colourful, friendly, exotic, and delightful place! I am running out of superlatives so I’ll shut up!!!!
No, this is “NOT ANOTHER BLOODY SUNSET” it’s dawn over Africa.
Well we are now on our way to Las Palmas, via ‘Lanzargrotti’, Beans and I have got the 4am to 8am watch tonight, a chance for a little romance as we watch the dawn come up.
I’ll let you know how I get on. :-)
6th November 2008
P.S. Just heard about Obama, well he will be different, for sure.
Steve Powell (Owner/Skipper)
UHURU of Lymington
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