|Somewhere down there is Temptress!|
The pontoon where we are moored is full of a different type of boat to those of Europe; long haulers forty feet or more equipped like us with solar panels, wind generators, biminis and a vast range of other appendages Temptress has not yet acquired. These aren’t boats heading to the Med for some winter sun but boats either just starting a circumnavigation or in the case of the half a dozen or so American boats, heading home via the Caribbean at the end of several years of world girdling. One or two boats are heading north to Europe but most are biding their time in Morocco until the ARC (a big trans-atlantic sailing rally) leaves the Canaries in November freeing up anchorages and marina berths in the islands.
|Rabat Khasbah from the river|
Research about the port prior to our arrival implied that some baksheesh would be asked for by officials to oil our way through the endless form filling and that small gifts in the shape of ciggies or alcohol (neither of which we felt comfortable with giving partly because we don’t smoke ourselves and partly because many Muslims don’t drink) would be needed but that has not been the case. A simple "salaam alaykum" before introducing ourselves, a smattering of French conversation to follow and plenty of smiles has been all that we needed. That plus plenty of ink as we filled in forms asking for the same information several times over! I’m sure that once we’ve checked in and out of a few more ports down this coast both our passport numbers and the boat registry details will be as easy to recall as our shoe size and date of birth. Then it was off to our appointed berth, a very short pair of finger pontoons with French style end-loops rather than cleats that we are securely fastened to on either side, stern to for ease of boarding. After that a final round of form filling at the marina office and we could relax.
|Carpets, Rue de Consuls, Rabat|
|Tour Hassan, Rabat|
How long will we be here? Like the rest of the boats we are in no hurry to get to the Canaries, berthing here is relatively cheap at 17 dh per metre per night (there are 13 Moroccan dirhams to the GB pound), less for longer stays and very safe so we might leave the boat and take the train to Marrakesh for a couple of days and or a day trip to Casablanca. Then there is historic Rabat to explore across the river.