We stayed in Oeiras for quite some more time, enjoying the heavily floured buns from the marina for 13 days. The reason was that we decided to sail to Morocco instead of Madeira and therefore needed a steady North. When it was finally there, we still had to wait for a packet with some spare parts from SVB in Germany. The good thing was that we could celebrate Lukas birthday with all our boat friends with a nice bonfire at the beach. Also we bought a foldable bike in Lisbon, which made us so much more mobile. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Landkrabbene and Rosanna. And also to Oda, whom we only met one evening. She is sailing to Australia on her own, quite impressive!
Finally our packet arrived and we left the harbour with Tuuli, which also was going to Morroco. We were very happy to be out at sea again. We had the best sail ever, with 10-18 knots from behind, perfect for our booster.
In the evening of the the third day we arrived in Mohammedia. The harbour was quite full, we had to go alongside to a Moroccan boat that lay at the end of the pier. The harbour master sent us to the immigration office. We were surprised that the officer there kept our passports and the boat papers. When we came back to the marina the harbour master told us to wait for the harbour master of the outer harbour, where the big container ships are docked. So we waited in his office, watching some Moroccan television. When he came he told us that we have to pay 26€ per day for being in the big harbour plus 4€ for the facilities of the marina, a hot shower and wifi in front of the building. We were quite shocked about that price as we expected something close to 13€, like we read it in the internet. But apparently they changed the fees a bit since 2004. We were told that the customs officer would visit us in the morning. So we tidied up the boat and were not sure if we should hide some of our booze or just be honest about it. We have not really found clear information about how much alcohol you are allowed to import. In the end we settled for being honest if they asked about it.
We got up at 10 in the morning and thought the customs guy would arrive every minute. But instead another guy from the marina arrived and told us to go alongside another boat and not be so much in the way for the fishers anymore. Another German boat shortly came alongside us. After some hours we saw a very official looking guy with an uniform heading for us. That was the customs officer. He requested to see our boat papers and passports. When we told him we had to leave them at the police station he said he will come back with the police officer. We waited some more and saw that all the boats that arrived after us got their clearance before us. So we asked him. Then apparently he had lost interest and told us we were free to go. Oh, in the meantime also a guy from the coastguard came over and wanted to see our papers. Well, we wanted to take the train to Rabat, so Kristy and Thomas from Tuuli and Lukas and I went to the police office and got our passports and a 3 day Visa which we had to show to the guards at the barrier and after just 3 hours we were able to leave the harbour. The street was scattered with feathers and smelled of blood. We manged to find the train station, which was very modern. In Rabat we strolled over a market and stood a little bit too long on a crossing checking our phones to decide which way to take. Suddenly we had a guide who took us to a beautiful cemetary at the sea and showed us the medina. Well the thing about „don’t worry about it, you just pay what you want“ was more like „pay at least 30€ or you are a very bad person, most people pay 50€“ Before catching the train back to Mohammedia we ate some tagine and drank some awesome coffe in a restaurant. The tagine is a kind of stew served very hot in a clay pot. That restaurant even had a vegetarian option.
In the evening of the next day Tuuli and Mila left the very noisy harbour of Mohammedia to El Jadida. Unfortunately we had no wind so we had to use the engine for the whole trip. When I tried to talk to the harbour master of El Jadida on the radio I got no reply, I guess women are just ignored on the Moroccan radio. At least we could hear his conversation with Thomas so we understood that we were supposed to anchor just under a fort in the harbour. The Royal Yacht Club of El Jadida consists of 3 little boats rotting away on a pier. There were no showers or toilets, no wifi and we had to pay 26€ just for anchoring. Quite a difference to what you pay for food there, 90 cents for a sandwich and fries. The harbour was crowded with traditional fishing boats and we felt a little displaced with our yacht there. Even tough the water smelled like fish some children swam around in the harbour circling Tuuli and Mila. The city of El Jadida was less touristic than Rabat.
The next day Kristy and I took a train to Casablanca in order to visit the Hassan ll Mosque, one of very few mosques you are allowed to enter as a non-Muslim. It was an impressive builing and we learned a bit about the Islamic culture on the tour. As we did not feel like going trough another struggle with all the authorities in the next harbour we decided to leave Morocco and head for Lanzarote next. We were definately glad that we visited the country and had a lot of impressions to process on our next passage. And also I had some amazing sugarcane and pomegranates to nibble on.
When we approached Lanzarote after 3 days at sea we decided to first visit the Isla La Graciosa north of Lanzarote so we could arrive in daylight. The island is just about 29 squarekilometers big and looks like a mini desert with three volcanoes on it. It has no ashalted roads and just one village, the other village just consists of holiday houses. We climbed up one of the craters and went for some swimming and snorkeling in the superclear water. Also we had a very good pizza and some rum with honey for desert.
The next day we left for Arrecife on the eastcoast of Lanzarote. The water was so clear that we could see our shadow on the ground of the ocean in about 20 meters depth. The marina Lanzarote is huge and very convenient, it has lots of shops and restaurants. There is a Burger King directly at the gate of our pier. So it is kind of hard to keep Lukas from going there at least once every day. We rented a car and explored the island. Visited some caves and looked down from the cliffs that we saw from La Graciosa. The next day Lukas drove me to the Timanfaya National Park, I took a bus tour through the volcanoes there and ran 29 km back to Arrecife. Especially the first part of the track was very beautiful with the black lava fields. It was interesting to see how the farmers here are cultivating plants on the black lava sand.
Yesterday we found the courage to restart our project watertank. Since we found out in Hohensaaten that we couldn’t stop them from leaking, we have been using water canisters. We ordered new tanks to a shipyard in Oeiras and have been driving them around since then. We managed to install one of them and for once it worked, not leaking… yet. Big day for Mila and us. Let’s see when we will find the courage for the next tank.
Today we want to leave the marina and go to anchor somewhere close before we proceed to Fuerteventura.