At Sea enroute from Rabat to Lazarote (Canary Islands) 32:31.50N 9:29.90W

Wed 12 Nov 2008 19:32
Hi All,
Since our last report we made the planned excursion  to Casablanca on
the modern train, electing to ride first class (~$A15 return) and it was
very fast and comfortable. We hired a taxi driver who approached us at
the station, and he took us for a tour around the city for 2 hours or
so, which was a really good way to see it. The new Mosque, set on the
ocean front is the third largest in the world and is stunning in its
size and commanding position. The detailed stone and mosaic work is amazing.
Most of the city looks pretty tired and third world, but they are
obviously making a concerted effort to build first rate new facilities
in strategic areas. The suburbs where the rich live are tree lined wide
winding streets with new houses like the posh parts of Newfarm or
Hamilton. The beachfront has a lot of new restaurants, hotels etc with
pools and decks to take in the views.
We took the obligatory photo of Rick's Cafe, looked in on the Golf
Club/Race-track/Country Club.
After the tour we had lunch of cous sous and targines of lamb at a
restaurant back near the station before wandering around the Medina (old
walled city) with its market stalls and humming activity. It was very
extensive, with sections for all manner of goods and services, incl
scorpions and chamelions for warding off evil, and chickens that you
could choose for yourself before they were killed and dressed while you
wait. We also enjoyed the patisseries etc that are relics of the French
occupation. (It was pleasing to see a little of my basic French
vocabulary coming back too.)
We spent yesterday morning (Tuesday) revisiting the medina in Rabat then
getting the boat ready for sea and topping up fuel etc. After the usual
delays with officialdom, we were a couple of hours after the tide by the
time we were ready to leave, and the pilot from the marina, who had led
us in with the RIB, was concerned that the bar was too rough to cross.
(We had spoken to an Australian couple who came in on a 46ft cat (Bella
Vita), and they didn't seem too concerned, but the pilot insisted on
taking us out in the RIB to look at the bar before we set off.) We had a
couple of short steep seas as we went out, but nothing we haven't seen
before in Southport or Wide Bay.
Unfortunately there is no wind, so we have been motoring all night,
threading our way between fishing boats of all sizes, as we run parallel
with the coast of Morocco about 10-12 miles offshore. The sea is so
benign that even small open boats are out here at night. We had an
'interesting' experience'last night when a boat apprached us with a blue
strobe which we took to be police,  but when they were close we put the
spotlight on them and confirmed it was a fishing boat, so we high tailed
it out of there with thoughts of Somalia in our minds. They may have
been just going to try to sell us some fish, but then again they might not!
We are hoping the predicted breeze comes in this morning, otherwise we
may have to stop at Agadir after all to get more fuel.
The web diary is now active and you can check in for our progress and
latest report, if someone has summoned up the energy to write one.      then click on Mikado.
18:30 The breeze did fill in from the NNW and we are now rollicking
along at 8-10kts under poled out headsail and main!!
Cheers to all.