Saturday, November 6, 2010

Morocco to the Canary Islands

South Bound To The Canary Islands

The 3rd of November gave us the weather window that we’d been waiting for.   
We left Rabat on what one  would describe as a "sporty bar crossing". High tide was about midday which would have been a great time to exit, however the odds were stacked against us big time.

 Our credit card provider decided that it was a good day to place a block on our card so when it was time to pay the marina bill it wouldn't work. I guess they didn't like the shopping bill earlier in the day at Carrefour. So take 2.. try another card… ditto, take 3,try  a new and rarely used card, oops we'd forgotten the pin number, take 4, Annie finds another rarely used card and bingo this one worked.

 So the bill is paid and off we go to the customs dock to clear out. But hey not that easy. A boat checking in has us twiddling our thumbs for about another hour. The tide is now falling like a shooting star.Finally we tie to the dock, with the  paperwork  completed  we THINK that all is go for lift off, but wait, the drug dog has gone back to the airport and he needs to be present for a final sniff. By now we are getting edgy. Liam explains to the nice policeman that if we wait for the pooch to return, the tide and bar will be too dangerous for us to leave. It's already high tide minus 3 hrs!

Eventually the gentleman agrees to let us go sans dog if the marinaros( marina staff) say it's ok.Well they told us no, the bar is closed. but hey we come from down under where the bars are big, and the sailors have nerves of steel.They agree for us to have a look but advise us not to try.
 Well the maverick in Liam will not be beaten by a Moroccan bar , so we sit and watch and wait, and sit and watch and wait. There are sets but with gaps between, so after a careful count, and a nod to the heavens  we charge out into 2 meter breakers, both 75 horses in full flight thrusting us forward at 8-10 kts. Three sets and we are out. Out into the big blue Atlantic. What a rush that was. A little bit of salt on the decks was all that we got. Now that was a Gin and Tonic moment! Africa nearly won that time.

The first 80 miles was a lovely sail, but then the  wind died and we had to fire up the iron sail. The following morning heavy fog rolled in  but cleared an hour later to a bright sunny ,blue sky day. Fishing lines were deployed, but no takers. We live in hope.
 A few hours later the “pea soup” fog rolled in again.At one stage we were only fifty yards behind our friends David and Sheryl from "Samsara” before we could see them ..  sure  glad she wasn't a tanker coming our way!!

      Thick fog blankets us and "Samsara".                       Only 60ft ahead she is just visible . 

                                 "Samsara" was there and then she disappeared again, errie stuff !

                                   GWTW emerges from the fog. (photo courtesy of "Samsara")
The remaining days were sunny and cool but the nights were down right cold with very dewy decks. Winds were light and fluky and we motored most of the way with only short bouts of sailing squeezed in.

The last couple of days before our arrival saw us giving a ride to a couple of hitchhikers. We only hope that they were happy with their destination as it would have been a long fly back to where they had come from.

                                   These two little birds made themselves right at home.

Yet another hitchiker

Our newly installed  back up autopilot stopped working mid passage so that will be a warranty repair from Raymarine once we reach  the Canary Islands.

                                                         Our first glimse of the Canary Islands 

At 1530 on  the 6th of November, three days after leaving Rabat, we dropped the anchor in Playa Francesca on the island of Graciosa. 
That evening we were invited to have sundowners on the beach with all the other boats, and really how could we say no. It was a fun couple of hours and then it was off to bed for a night of uninterrupted sleep.

At last we had arrived in The Canary Islands.

                                                                 Happy to be here!

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