Friday, November 28, 2014

Mohamedia, Casablanca Marocco. November 2014.

 

Dear Friends,

Had I first thought that this stretch through the strait of Gibraltar of some 40 miles would be complicated (there is usually a current moving in running West to East), but a fresh breeze (of up to 28-30 knots) right at our stern.. made SV Lumina rip through the strait as if there was no tomorrow… In record time we made it past Tanger and the point we had to tack to port, following the coast line south. I was wrong with my assessment that having turned the corner and behind the Atlas mountains, we would be more sheltered from the winds…The wind speeds picked up…. And only then to find out that the second reef should actually be lowered to the third reef… wind gusts peaked to 40 knots.. and luckily for us hardly any waves.. so we were just flying (too fast for my liking), and ofcourse these kind of situations usually happen during the evening/night… So, together we managed to furl the genoa, and reef the main…..only to have the wind go down within 20 minutes after our brave manouvre… Does this happen only to us?... In the early hours of the next morning we approached Mohamedia (according to Noonsite, or is it Doomsite?) one of the few harbours/marinas on the Atlantic Coast of Marocco. At first glance it didn’t look very cruisers friendly… a seemingly small marina, I counted two floating piers and on the left a whole bunch of coloured small fishing boats, and a big crowed gathered at the fishing dock. We felt our way into this situation and were able to tie up alongside, on a pier. The formalities took longer as expected, but all very kind and business like. As soon as possible we left the marina, and went to the (modern) train station and headed for Casablanca…Big city, busy, the second largest mosque in Africa. And also here a new and modern train station (Starbucks, and McDonalds present, yes sir…). Walked around and wanted to check out the famous Ricks Café (by the way… this establishment was only built AFTER the movie ) .. Unfortunately, the thing was closed.. We then went and found the Medina, and walked around for hours (almost got ourselves a silk carpet…).. Dora couldn’t resist and got herself a typical dress. After dinner (tagine again) we went back by train to Mohamedia.

There was some bad weather moving in, so we decided to stay put in the marina. Did top up on Diesel (just below 1 Euro per liter). We met Ilse and Leon of SV Taaltje (from Holland). We also discovered in Mohamedia a Carrefour supermarket and in the evening we went to the city (walking) and found the medina/market. Busy and lots of people around.

The weather forecast was correct. Strong winds sweeping through the little harbor and pouring rain as well. Good choice to hunker down.

The next day, having checked out with the custom and immigration guys, on our way to Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Obviously we were met by a mad swell, heading out after the breakwater of the port. As we were heading south (the wind in our back), the swell was in the beginning rather uncomfortable, but later on things settled down. The next days, we had to use the engines a lot as the winds, from the north though and in our favour, was to weak.. nevertheless had the Beast out flying during the third day…… All in all a relaxing sail to Lanzarote. We arrived at daybreak on Sunday 8th of November on the island Lanzarote.. from a distance a dry, kind of lunar appearance… It didn’t look very inviting, but once on land, we changed that first opinion…

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  Near Ceuta… ripping through the strait       Yep, even Flipper came to say goodbye

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      Pfff power boat transport                                         Marina in Mohamedia

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The fisher fleet in Mohamedia                                         Hassan II Mosque Casablanca

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                        Sick                                                          

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         Play it again Sam….                                                                   Sam

Be cool

Pieter

Thursday, November 27, 2014

SV Lumina Med Tour. Part 3. Oct 2014

Dear Friends,

Anyway, we now were heading for Tetuan (Marocco).. During parts of the 4 days, hardly any wind (at least no wind against), but were able to cover this stretch of 450 miles in normal time. The last couple of hours, had to circle around before entering the marina, waiting for daybreak…

The Marina Mir is a bit run down but ok. The internet connection not very good. Then Khalid showed up… and not paying attention to my inner voice, he managed to convince us that making a city tour with him to Tetuan (still roughly half our drive) was the best thing. Well, it was all a bit too hasty for our liking. Our guide was clearly in a hurry… Anyway, went to the Medina (old centre) and it is easy to get quickly lost in the myriad of streets and alleys.. Tons of street vendors (from live chicken… we did not… to dried fruits.. we did purchase) a very exotic look, feel and smell…We ended up in a restaurant in the Spanish club, and ordered the famous tagine.. (meat stew kind of thing, with dried fruits).. tasty, but not as good as we had in the Maroccan restaurant in St Maarten..

Couldn’t find a bus back to the Marina, and so had to take a shared taxi.

The next day, after doing some boat chores (laundry) went by bus to nearby Mdiq. Especialy in the evenings lots of activities (street vendors), and we walked around in this wonderful world of strange language, smells, colors and foods. A taxi back to the Marina, and the next day, checking out officially (too bad the marina had no diesel….), and we headed for the strait of Gibraltar (again) now on the way out….. To say goodbye to us a bunch of dolphins and pilot whales swam in front of SV Lumina… I have the feeling we will be back for more…

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  Entrance to the Medina, Tetuan                            Dora dressed for the ocasion

 

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nocarpet,nocarpet,nocarpet,nocarpet                           Produce in the Medina

 

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Different beach customs and fashion                            Mdiq boulevard

 

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Too big crowd for so litlle fish                                         Need a pair of shoes?

 

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               Medina in Mdiq                                               Shark bait?

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       A goodbye from the Med                                  Take care Flipper

Warm Regards,

Pieter

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SV Lumina Med Tour. Part 2. Oct 2014

Dear Friends,

A fantastic sail, over night to this famous holiday island. We anchored at nice protected bay (pointed out to us by the friendly and helpful staff at the marina in Anguilas). At anchor, our SUP board was rapidly deployed and the fun started. Dora is already a well trained and agile SUP fan, me on the other hand have to practice a lot still, however things are improving rapidly. Of course, during setting up the equipment a rather important plastic piece of the paddle went overboard, and quickly putting on the scuba diving gear, not able to recover it.. lost in or better underneath the sea grass.. Not to worry, kind of fixed the paddle MacGyver style and all went well. During our beach excursion were confronted with nude sunbathers and ladies bare breasted (some indeed should, others maybe not so… )

We went the next day to nearby San Antonio, but couldn’t find a good place to tie up the dinghy, so we decided to head straight for Ibiza town… this was no easy sail, (strong head winds and only the last part of the trip we had a favourable wind, making 7-8 knots speed.

It was already getting dark and we still hadn’t found a nice place to anchor. We ended up dropping the hook nearby a small pier and a bunch of small power boats. I knew this was not the best place, but it was only for one night. Very early the next day we went over the Botafoch Marina (the cheaper option around). Tied up next to a wonderful mega yacht, and met Guilherme (from Curitiba, Brazil) who is crew on this vessel. We had him over for coffee and decided that later on that evening we would join and have dinner to gether.

During the day we explored the old part of town of Ibiza and had lunch in a touristy but famous bodega. Then we walked inside the old city. Wonderful place and luckily the high tourist season is over.

That evening we went with Guilherme and his girlfriend Tammy to a very nice restaurant Sansara. Great food, great company.

The next day we set of early to the island of Formentera, and by trying to eyeball our way thru some shallow waters, almost got SV Lumina stuck on the rocks, but we were able to get us out of this predicament and anchored in front of a lovely beach, with pristine water. SUP deployed and of we went. Great fun. That night we anchored in front of another great beach, very tranquil. We needed some gasoline for the outboard motor and se went to shore and tied up the dinghy at the marina… They didn’t have gasoline but advised us to try the gas station further up the road… Well it was actually a fair bit up the road, and of course, when we arrived there.. the thing was closed (no more tourist, no more action). Not satisfied, we left and spoted a nice anchorage.. just beautiful.. however I must say that it looks all very exotic (bare rocks, some cactus etc…) pristine blue water… In my opinion it just can’t match the lush green islands settings in Ilha Grande and Paraty (Brazil, remember, our previous stomping grounds).

That evening we left Formentera and sailed over night to Mallorca. Our friends Gil and Alepio of SV Baravento suggested to anchor in Santa Ponca Bay… indeed nice and quiet. By bus we went to Palma de Mallorca, to amongst others, organize our passports/visa etc etc (we grosely overstayed Dora’s tourist visum for Europe) .. however it was hard to learn where we had to go with our burocracy. We walked around in the old city centre and dodged in and out those great tapa boutiques.. Boy, these people know how to enjoy a good wine, tapas and olive oil…Lovely. The next day we had to return to finalize the passports… great guys at customs and immigration, no sweat all in order.

So we left the next morning this lovely Island. A pitty we didn’t have more time to explore the NE side of the Island. This will have to do a next time around. We found Mallorca much nicer than Ibiza (and Formentera). It looks greener for starters…

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     Baia Cala Bassa, Ibiza                                                       SUP time…

 

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                  Blup time….                                           Holiday Island 

 

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                    The SUP board                                               Ibiza, the old town…..

 

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  Tourist Day..                                                         Near Ibiza town

 

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          Chill….cofee break                                    Chill.. Bubble and Tapas break

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There is no better life than a good life                     Beautiful anchorage in Formentera

 

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Santa Ponsa, Mallorca                                         Nice anchorage

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         Catedral in Las Palmas                                     Las Palmas

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Boats, Yachts, Mega Yachts and more boats in Las Palmas…

To be continued and final part 3.

 

Have fun

Pieter