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Date: 31 Oct 2014 00:09:00
Title: Rabat

On our arrival at Rabat we radioed for a pilot boat to see us over the bar and up the river. This stretch of the river can be particularly treacherous with six metre swells recorded. We fortunately had no more than one and a half metres. A Dutch catamaran, 99Bottles, was already awaiting the pilot boat and we were both guided in passed the bar and along the river. After short while we saw a dredger in mid channel with buoys forcing us over to the port side near the quay wall. Suddenly the catamaran lurched to the port and stopped. They had hit the rocks. Once in port they discovered they had holed and cracked the hull. Sadly this was all very frightening for the children aboard; they are forced to return to Portugal to repair their brand new catamaran. I wonder if they will make the beginning of the ARC 2014?
On the way up the river we passed a huge 11th century Moorish/Berber castle. This was the strong-hold of Bourg Regreg, a ruthless pirate who kidnapped people and sold them into slavery. The river and marina are named after him. We were surrounded by small typical Moroccan fishing boats as we came closer to the marina and slowly wove our way to the Waiting Pontoon. We moored up behind 99Bottles and had a long wait for the search of WD, immigration interview and police clearance, over an hour.
That afternoon we caught a tram into Rabat. We ran to catch the tram as it pulled in, saw the friendly looking ticket man coming our way, so signalled to him we would like to pay. In our awful French we made ourselves understood, and he proceeded to fine us 50Dh (5Euros) each for not having a ticket – a ticket would have cost us 6Dh (50p). We should have bought one before getting on! Oh well, we’ll know next time. We visited the Medina in Rabat, where we bought Secret Santa presents for Christmas Day in Trinidad (Aussie Rules). I also bought a chess & Backgammon set for Wandering Dream. Perhaps someone will want to play on a quite mooring.
Over the next few days we wired in a new cable for the water turbine – to be trialled along with the water-maker on our trip to Madeira. Monday 27th October, we caught the train to Casa Blanca to explore. Very disappointing most of it modern, but not even tastefully done, just functional. The medina was in the old town wall, Kasbah, which was interesting, but not as big or as picturesque as Rabat’s. Many shanty towns were seen on the way in along the train track.
Tuesday 28th Bill Pitman (part of the Atlantic Crew) arrived, he landed just before 8pm and was on Wandering Dream within the hour - marina officials please note it can be done that fast. Bill delivered two fruit cakes to the two fruit cakes. We had spent the day exploring Rabat, we visited Hassan’s Tower, KIng Mohammed's grave and the old Kasbah. All beautiful and well worth a visit. We saw the Andalucía influence in the Kasbah and were latched onto by a very insistent chap who told us to be quick the gates were going to be closed. He became our unasked for guide. He was entertaining, explaining about Fatima's hand and other parts of her body as good luck door knockers. Also the history of the place, he even pointed out the Kings Palace which I didn’t know was here. However, at the end Denis and I felt we should give him something for his trouble, but what we offered was apparently too small, he wanted “At least 240Dh, most people pay me more!” Well, we stuck to our guns, thank goodness for small Kitty purses which I could show him was empty and no, he couldn’t come to the bank with us as we didn’t have a card. Finally, we gave him 160Dh which he begrudgingly and very ungraciously accepted. Perhaps we tried to point out, if he had expectations he should make them clear at the beginning.
Wednesday 29th We attached the waterproof plug Bill had bought in England to the water generator. Shopping needed to be done prior to departing for Madeira. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling great so Bill and Denis caught a Petite Taxi (actually signed that) to Carrefour Super Marché. Then went fro lunch on D W Crow with Martha and Bob, who had generously invited us the day before. I gave my apologies – still not well enough. They were surprised that they had already started eating as they were only ten minutes late. But they gave their apologies and had a great evening....I slept on board WD! Next day when Martha and Bob came to ask if I was ok, I asked them what time it was. It turns out they were an hour out and not GMT. That ex[plains it!
Thursday still not well. We stored the outboard in the port cockpit locker ready for the off-shore passage, after lunch Denis and Bill went sight seeing in Rabat.
m_PA250529 Negotiating the fishing boats on arrival m_PA250530
m_PA250534m_PA250540m_PA260552m_PA270570m_PA270573Rabat Medina
Net repairs                                                                                Hassan’s Tower                                                                        King Mohammed’s Grave
m_PA280624 Rabat Kasbah m_PA280616 Can you guess which part of Fatima this door knocker is?
m_PA300636Bill Pitman arrives on board – refusing to have a sensible photo.

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