34:19N 11:22W Play it again Sam

Madeleine and Martin
Thu 4 Oct 2012 19:49

Looking at the chart brings back memories of Casablanca nine years ago, the last time that we were this far south. Travelling to New Zealand in the interim does not count, is not real, is transport by aliens to another world.

Yes, Casablanca, city of dreams and nightmares. Amongst other indignities we were spot fined by a traffic cop. I never understood a word he said throughout the entire confrontation but it seemed to revolve around a roundabout. As he was the only other person circulating at the time, admittedly in the other direction, I failed to see what the fuss was about. Perhaps we are safer at sea!

So, here we are off Casablanca; well off; about 200 miles off which as far as I am concerned is about the right amount of “Off”.

Just over eight days, a 1000 miles or so, into our passage to Tenerife and we have about another 600 miles to go. Progress is presently rather slow because the wind is slight and of course from the wrong direction – this time dead behind rather than dead ahead. When it comes to complaining farmers learnt everything they know from sailors! There’s even too little wind for the big chute (a kind of spinnaker by Saga) which for a couple of days provided alternately, geriatric excess exercise (both), childlike excitement (his), frustration (hers), progress and sometimes awesome speed – faster it seemed than the apparent wind. And always the lurking tension, “Can we get it down?”

But, never mind the wind; never mind the rolling.  All is well. It is warm, the sun shines fitfully, dolphins play in the ultramarine, and, hey, we will get there when we get there.

We have not seen another ship for ages. But perhaps  -there?  Yes!

Out of the West, slowly, slowly over the horizon, here she comes. A tramp steamer, rolling with the Atlantic swell, the muffled “tonk-tonk” growing, smoke stack haze hanging, carrying who knows what, bound for Casablanca. “All the seas in all the world and you had to pick this one….