Tarifa to Mohammedia Morocco

26 November We enjoyed a lovely meal to celebrate Marks Birthday and our last night in The Mediterranean. Robbie and I had roast lamb leg, Mark had Sole and Jennifer had Chicken. We all shared Calamari as a starter and it was some of the nicest food we have had in the Med. We were all rugged up as it was quite cool, we are all looking forward to some warmer weather!

 27 November We had to be off the dock in Tarifa Port by 7:00am, it was dark but the port was well lit up and I took Southern Star out, Robbie did the ropes. At first the conditions weren’t too bad, but they soon deteriorated. Coming across the Gibraltar Straights the ocean was confused like a washing machine, some areas of water were really churning up and we were getting pushed around with current and cross currents. To maintain course the bow has to point 5 or 6 degrees off centre to maintain course. A bit like driving a car and pointing it at the outer lane, to maintain course in the middle lane. But never as bad as when we actually did circles in Kalabahi channel in Indonesia with the current when we were using the wing engine. That was scary!

Stokey, our weather router had advised us to depart at 12 midday, but we told him we had to be off the dock and he said we would cop it on the nose until the wind turned around in the afternoon, and that’s exactly what happened. It didn’t turn around soon enough for us though, it was uncomfortable and we were rocking and rolling like a wooden horse. We could see Starlet bucking like a bronco too, it’s quite a sight to see a boat like this. Starlet stayed just over half a mile away from us for most of the passage. It’s a great feeling to have partners in crime not so far away!

It was a big relief when the wind dropped, and turned exactly as Stokey predicted. From late afternoon and all night we had very little wind and the swell was around 1.5metres but it was long and slow so not so bad. The moon was out and there was quite a bit of light, a perfect night passage really.

It was delightful to see an abundance of birds and dolphins, and there were lots of both. We did see fish feeding also. At one stage in the night the birds were flocking around the boat for a couple of hours. They were noisy and it appeared that they were feeding at the back of the boat. Maybe the fish were attracted to our Aqualuma underwater lights, Robbie was asleep and I wasn’t inclined to go out the back and check. We do have a rule that we don’t go outside if one of us is asleep unless we wake them up and let them know. Just in case.

There were also a lot of fishing boats we had to play dodge with but with the radar and the fact that they were very well lit up it was no problem. They also had fishing nets out with poles and flags, and the poles were lit also which is great. Our radar even picked up one of the flags and poles.

We are approaching Mohammedia on time but we have to put our clocks back 1 hour as Morocco is UTC time.

Well we docked, and they got Starlet to raft up to us. We were a bit worried about the mooring as it didn’t look strong enough for Southern Star let alone 2 heavy boats. However we were immediately greeted by the Harbour Master Mustafa, and the Marina Manager Mohammed. They could barely wait for us to get the boat tied up. They were so welcoming and friendly to have us in their country, it made my heart glad. Then the customs official Samir checked us in and he was also so welcoming. He kept our ships papers and passports which is unusual but we are in a very secure marina and they have strict control over entry. Mark and Jennifers friend from Tangier is coming to visit and unfortunately he will not be allowed entry into the marina, it is a strict customs area. This is sad, but I guess it’s very good security for us and the boat.

The port is very busy with a lot of small fishing boats but also some large container ships and LPG Gas container ships. Half an hour after we berthed they came and asked us to move, as a large Catamaran just left. We were very pleased to move to a side tie up on the pontoon.


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