Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gibraltar to Rabat, Morocco

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Gibraltar! After two nights in the anchorage, we went into town and stopped by Ocean Village Marina Bay to find out about their marina rates. They were reasonable enough, and they have free wireless Internet, so we decided to go in. Of course, with free Internet you usually get what you pay for, and that was the case there too, but it gave us an excuse to visit a pub in the evenings that had good free Internet.

We met some nice people at the marina: Chris and Roy on Avocette of Portsmouth were especially friendly. They were just a couple of boats away, so we saw them a lot, and we might see them again in Madeira or somewhere else along the way. They’re headed in the same basic direction. We also talked briefly with Shirish, Edie, Orion, and Rigel on Juno, an American boat. We’re likely to get to know them better in the next week because they’re here in the marina with us. We could see Juno most of the way from Gibraltar because they left about when we did and go approximately the same speed. That was nice to sail in company for a change.

We also bought some stuff in Gib: new dock lines, a new main halyard, some single malt, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first Stieg Larsson book. Linda on Islay Mist gave me the second book, but everyone said not to read it until I’d read the first one. I hadn’t had any luck finding it used, so broke down and bought it new. Now I’m saving them for the big passage.

To me the best thing about Gib was being able to understand what was going on around me. I hadn’t realized that I’d felt isolated by not speaking the ambient language, but I guess now that I had. At the grocery store, for example, it was nice to be able to tell the one with only two items that she should go ahead of us. I’d been miming it for over a year.

We left Gibraltar the same way we entered it a year ago: in the dark. The timing of the tide meant that we needed to leave at 3 a.m. on Monday to minimize the adverse current. Fortunately, there was a moon, and we have lots of instruments to help us in the dark. It worked out beautifully. We crossed the shipping lanes just west of Tarifa, and once we got past Cabo Espartel we were able to sail for the next 18 hours. Most of the time the wind was aft of the beam and about 10-15 knots. Just right! John also caught three mahi-mahi and kept two.

To put a perfect end to the passage, we arrived at the mouth of the river at Rabat on a rising tide and were met by the marina’s dinghy to guide us in. (Juno got there ahead of us and told them we were coming.) The authorities weren’t bothered about the dog, and our slip in the marina is a side-tie with water, electricity and wireless Internet all included in the rate of less than 10€ a day. Woohoo! Solstice is truly out of the Mediterranean now.

(Sorry, no pictures. We took some video, but John will want to edit it. It’s a gray day here now, or we’d pop out and take some snaps for you.)


peregrins2 said...

Fantastic marina, isn't it?

Michael said...

Check off another continent...and fish too.