Season 2 Leg 1 - Portugal to Tangier, Morocco, AFRICA - 160NM
Updated: Apr 15
After missing our chance to sail to Tangier last summer, due to their borders being locked down to boaters, we have finally made the 160 nautical mile sail from Portimão to Tangier. After spending several days leading up to the departure conducting several weather routing assessments, re-rigging the boat and testing all our systems, we had a perfect weather window for our first sail of the season. Janine had been following closely the recent orca sightings and interactions taking place in the area. We made the decision to cross our fingers and sail directly to Morocco rather than hugging the Portuguese / Spanish coast.
We departed shortly after 5:00 am on April 10th and as predicted, the winds were light until dawn. By 6:30 we were under sail to watch the sunrise as we headed east on a bearing of 123 degrees in 10-15 kts of wind, a nice sea state of one meter following seas. The perfect conditions for 45North.
We used the three hour on and three off shift routine which worked well for us in the past. As the winds started to shift toward the west, we gybed over and were able to carry that sail position until 30nm from Africa,. This is where the winds quickly shifted and we were into a beam reach in 20kts of breeze. We were flying with speeds of 8 to 10.2kts.
The traffic approaching the Strait of Gibraltar were not as crowded as we had expected. We were about 13 miles south of our rhumb line (due to keeping maximum speed with the wind angles) and well before we got close to the Traffic Separation System (TSS), we were easily able to pass by the west going traffic and enter into the flow of the east bound traffic. Listening to the VHF communications on the radio of all the vessels negotiating how they were going to pass or overtake the other vessels, was beyond what I would have expected. Arguments pursued as ship captains demanded what side they wanted to pass or cross. At times yelling at each other "you alter course", "No you alter course you are the overtaking boat", "I am not overtaking you", "You certainly are and I have it on video now", "you are too close" ..... It went on like this all night. We were hailed twice. Once after we gybed over and a ship 2 miles away coming towards us wanted to know our intent and a second time when we caught up to another catamaran and I ducked her stern (we were overtaking boat).
We had a nice moon-lit night which made keeping a watch a bit easier.
April 11th sunrise:. A million dollar view. Thankfully no signs of Orca's or even any dolphins. We had some birds circling around the boat for a bit during the early night.
About 10 miles off shore we hit a massive fog bank that was about a mile deep and as we popped out the other side there was AFRICA. A bucket list destination for Andrew (Janine traveled and taught in Africa in her 20's).
We arrived at the Tanja Marina Bay around 10:30am. It took about 45 minutes to clear immigration and customs including three officers who did a full inspection on our boat. We declared the drone as it is a restricted item and customs will hold it until we depart. Surprised that they did not say anything about the hot pepper plants that Elaine and Duncan gave us when we visited them the week before in Caldas, Portugal. Nor did they take the fresh fruit we had onboard.
Tangier has a long 5km beach and boardwalk.
Tangier was founded as a Phoenician colony, possibly as early as the 10th century BCE and almost certainly by the 8th century BCE. The majority of Berber tombs around Tangier had Punic jewelry by the 6th centuryBCE, speaking to abundant trade by that time. The Carthaginians developed it as an important port of their empire by the 5th centuryBCE. It was probably involved with the expeditions of Hanno the Navigator along the West African coast. The city long preserved its Phoenician traditions, issuing bronze coins under the Mauretanian kings with Punic script and others under the Romans bearing Augustus and Agrippa's heads and Latin script obverse but an image of the Canaanite godBaalreverse. Some editions of Procopius place his Punic stelae in Tingis rather than Tigisis; in either case, however, their existence is highly dubious
Check out the low cover of clouds.
We took two hop-on hop-off bus tours on day two. One of the city and the second around the coast line to check out sights like the lighthouse at Cap Spartal.
Despite its modern transformation, Morocco has never lost sight of its deep-rooted traditions. The magical Medina is one example of traditional Moroccan culture embedded in people’s daily life.
The markets were full of spices and herbs in bulk.
A top view of the sook from a patio where we had our first world famous Moroccan tagine dish for lunch. Delicious.
Narrow and twisty streets made it easy to get lost in the Sooks. We took the roads that were going down-hill to eventually make it out to the ring road of the walled Madina.
This was cute.
Daily calls to prayer. The mosque is just past the marina port.
Bread delivery bike with the open back and flat breads piled up to the top.