19 – goodbye mediterranean
19 – goodbye mediterranean

19 – goodbye mediterranean

sailing the Strait of Gibraltar and New Year’s Eve in Morocco

There are more and more orca attacks between the Portuguese coast, the Strait of Gibraltar and the Spanish coast. We have met 3 boats that were attacked shortly before and suffered serious damage and we know that 2 sailing boats sank for the same reason…  Scientists believe that killer whale mothers teach their offspring to attack prey, so they playfully attack the rudders of boats. So, to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, we were a bit tense: we tried to go as fast as possible, while watching the water surface and checking the direction of the many huge cargo ships that pass through there ! More info here

Our arrival in Tangier was therefore welcome and smooth.

New Year’s Eve in Tangier

After the entry formalities (about 3 hours for the customs to come and search the boat!), we could start to focus on spending our New Year’s Eve as pleasantly as possible. With Alexander feverish, no local money, no SIM cards to contact family at reasonable rates, we ended up eating at a large pizzeria overlooking the harbour. Not quite what anybody would wish for the 31st! But when we got back to ILLIKA, a group of sailors were on the pontoon celebrating, quite tipsy. Anyway, we joined them, and by 2am, we were almost in the same state (except for the boys)!

  • sailing away from Gibraltar
  • Tangier-sea-promenade in the rain
  • flower of the datura
  • art gallery Tangier Kasbah
  • museum of history Tangier
  • on of many fountains in Tangier
  • tea
  • harbour
  • sea
  • marina

the green and blue of the north

Over the next few days we visited Tangier, and took a taxi to Chefchaouen, an extraordinary village in the Moroccan Rif, winding through green hills and valleys along many dams. 

On the 4th of January, we had a stormy departure for Rabat: first we had to fight for 5 hours before being able to leave the marina because of a computer problem at the customs! By then the wind had seriously increased… The wind and waves were such that we could not even hoist the mainsail and only sailed with the genoa partially rolled up. With reduced sail, we were still making 7-8 knots. We were tossed around all night but arrived in Rabat in the afternoon just in time for the incoming tide, a requirement for entry. Otherwise, the tides are so high that the entrance pass is too dangerous.

Rabat and beyond

The view of the Kasbah of Rabat, which overlooks the entrance pass, is impressive. We would not have wanted to have to attack the Kasbah a few centuries ago! The Bouregreg harbour master was not in favour of receiving visitors, neither us nor the 2 other boats that arrived after us. However, he did give us hospitality for 2 nights, then we had to leave this beautiful spot with the last possible high tide before the port was blocked for 5 to 7 days due to the expected swell.

So we left in the late afternoon for Mohammedia, 35 nautical miles to the south. The night approach to this industrial harbour was somewhat interesting: lots of lights but none that matched our sailing instructions! Finally, docking manoeuvre at midnight, customs, police, sealing of the drone (forbidden in Morocco)… and in bed at 01:30 a.m. More about our route here!

Unknown territory for all but Jean-Luc, you’ll be able to read it these next few days…


  1. Mum

    Interesting stuff, and lovely scenery. Not sure I liked the orca bit much!
    Think I know what Anthony means about the computer glitch!

    Does that village name actually mean ‘the blue village’? It certainly is!

  2. Anthony

    Boy… what an adventure you lot are having… I have just managed to catch up on your orca avoidance tactics but to me I find it interesting that a ‘computer glitch’ is the modern term for something quite different, which was common in Tz! 😉

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