From Gibraltar to Morocco

Headed for Morocco, Laurent, Bérangère and their two children sail aboard Zanzibar, their Jeanneau Sun Shine 36.


Headed for Africa, a Surprising Encounter at Sea

Once again, we are able to enjoy the pleasures of sailing:  no more motoring, particularly in the strait…. We are leaving Gibraltar, headed for Africa!

The sensations are similar to those that we are accustomed to on the Gulf of Morbihan, but multiplied:  a series of currents can make us accelerate as if on a conveyor belt, and others slow our momentum…

Fortunately, thanks to our captain’s infallible tide calculations, we were primarily pushed by the current right to the exit.  As we approached, closer and closer, to the middle and to the exit of the strait, the sea became increasingly choppier, cross and rough.

An orca spouted at just a few metres from the boat.  It was joined by an entire pod of six to seven individuals that were playing in the waves and diving under the hull.  Laurent was worried for our rudder, but the orcas perfectly controlled their movements. Blanche was so excited by this encounter!

It accompanied us this way for over half an hour.


Arrival in Morocco, Change of Scenery

26 hours after our departure, we arrive in sight of Rabat.  We must weave between numerous crab pots whose presence is indicated solely by a small plastic bottle, sometimes painted, floating on the surface of the water.

We call the port via VHF, and a pilot boat comes to escort us to the marina in Salé, located just across from Rabat.  We navigate up the Bouregreg River, passing swimmers, kayaks, fishermen and jet skis, who wave and welcome us.

Before entering the marina, we stop at a dock to complete the customs formalities and pass through security.  Three men come aboard and begin to thoroughly interrogate us.  Laurent must fill out no less than seven documents!

Everything takes place calmly and peacefully.  Our two little ones make the gentlemen smile, unmistakably.  More than a half hour later, we can finally tie up to the dock in the marina.

Initially, we had planned to spend four to five days in Morocco.  Finally, we have spent two marvellous weeks in the heart of this Arab city to visit the medinas, mausoleums, modern squares, and the souk.

So many contrasts for our Western European eyes…

Now the provisions have been made, the boat is in order, and the dinghy is deflated and strapped to the foredeck.

We are ready to sail on to new horizons:  the Canary Islands, and more precisely, La Graciosa.  That is 450 nautical miles away, and we hope to cover them in about three to four days…