12 October, 2012

Passage to Morocco

At this point I asked myself why we had decided to sail to Madeira because the round trip from Portugal, Madeira then Morocco (Rabat) is almost 1000nm.  The main reason was it was a shakedown cruise to see how crew and Malua would work on an ocean passage.  As always the crew broke down first before the vessel.
We set off with the clear knowledge that there would be little wind and if it came it would be on the nose.  We set off on a course that would put us in a good angle to Rabat if it came up.  After four nights, flat calm seas and no wind we approached Rabat river mouth as the sun rose on the fifth day we where off the bar but the pilot would only lead us in at the high water mark around noon so we stood off in the small swell.
The passage was easy in relative terms because we had no wind or swell – just a flat sea – so flat you could see the stars in the water.
Again sleep deprivation played its part as Pete tried to figure out the different lights from the starts.  At one point I was called to see a red and green light not more than a mile away as a large freighter bore down on us.  Some quick evasive action ensured we passed ahead but at that point I realised even with the three on board we would only be able to have a two watch system – 3 on 3 off and Pete and Peirs standing together.
We were led up the river past the old fort at the entrance and into a new marina and development.  The usual bureaucratic wait and formalities had to be endured before we tied up to the dock at Marina Bouregreg.  It is on the north side of the river from Rabat in the town of Sale.  A great place to purchase fruit and veg especially olives and dried fruit.  A supermarket under the train station supplied us with the essentials plus very good turkey breasts which we made into pre- prepared meals for the passage.

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