Bye bye Sale/Rabat!
We left Sale/Rabat yesterday with the high tide. Again, the pilot guided us down the river and waved good-by between the breakwaters. The days before, we restocked provisions and refueled in Sale for the next three to four weeks. Good place for cruisers, by the way! And good prices, too.
That is one reason, why many cruisers on their way towards the Canaries make a stop-over here. The first time on our journey, that we met many families with their kids. And we made new cruising friends in Sale. We are looking forward to meet them again on our journey.
The Harbor Master of Mohammedia on VHF channel 11
We are sitting on anchor behind the massive breakwater of the commercial harbor of Mohammedia, in the outskirts of Casablanca. We will leave in about an hour.
Mohammedia was an interesting experience, with out stepping on land. We dropped anchor, and only 10‘ later the harbor police went by. We had to check in, inside the marina. Obviously, there are not many sailors checking in. The procedure was straight forward as always. But no advantage granted, that we had checked in to Morocco twice already. In Tangier and Sale/Rabat. A friend told us, that the checkout requirements have been lifted, as a new law passed last week. The boarder police in Sale handed a form with an QR code to us. The boarder police in Mohammedia had no use for it. Customs asked us for the numbers of flares (!) and the serial number of our outboard engine! But the end was the best: the marina offered a price of 63€ for an overnight stay in a shady marina with no service in a commercial area. This is 3x more then we paid in Tanger and Sale/Rabat (brand new marinas within the city). Finally, we left the marina and dropped anchor. Finally, the harbour master called us (after the harbor police called him – he was not responding on our calls on VHF channel 16, 11 and 12) to ask us for our plans and confirmed the spot to anchor just in front of his office. The harbor police once again popped by and offered us to leave our dinghy at their office. Not without taken again all our passport, boat and insurance data. But to our surprise, this is a very quite and convenient anchorage at no cost.
Our learning: it is easy to deal with the Morrocan authorities, as long as you let them do their job. Their processes are a little out dated, bureaucratic and sometimes nerve wrecking. The officer in charge might disappear for a half hour or so because it is prayer time. But you get over it with some patience and respect for the other. They just want to get their job done. We NEVER experienced so far any bullying as a foreigner or a request for ‚tipping‘ officials. And you are nowhere in Morocco alone. There is everywhere (in the Medina, in the port, on any street) always somebody watching you and passing the information about you. But almost everybody is friendly and open for a little chit chat.
Sunday afternoon regatta?
We are southbound to Essaouria, but the wind blows out of the Southerly quarter. Not god. This afternoon we expect around 15.00h local time (UTC minus 1) a cold front passing with a wind shift to North. At time of this writing, the gusts are picking up to 20kn. We expect not more than 30kn in gusts, big and long waves and hope for a good sail.
Meanwhile, another boat, a First 45, flying the NZ flag, is also heading southwards. Maybe They are up for a litte Sunday afternoon race?