Help we’re trapped!

Weather next wednesday

Actually we aren’t trapped yet but next week we probably will be. It is looking like the entrance to river will become untenable. The Bouregreg has a bit of a bar and the entrance faces west, next stop North America. Out there in the Atlantic an autumn storm is brewing, moving north east towards Biscay rolling over the Azores high which in turn is a bit south of its usual position. So there will be strong southerly winds backing to a more moderate westerly off the Moroccan coast most of next week the net result of which will be swell… lots of it breaking on the bar! Great for Moroccan surfers but it means that the harbour will almost certainly be closed with us inside. We’ve yet to discover quite how high the swell needs to be for the harbour master to make his decision but it is forecast to be 2 or 3m high (it can reach twice that later in the winter) so we are assuming we won’t be permitted to leave.

Busy marina

Meanwhile life in Rabat goes on, yesterday spurred by the weather and the lure of a swimming pool at the yacht club in the next port down the coast most of the yachts with children on board left – six or seven boats, a mix of monohulls and catamarans. Mohammedia is our intended next stop too but as it is a tiny port with little room for a large flotilla we’ll bide our time, we are in no hurry, though with the swell forecast we did briefly consider leaving too. Our immediate neighbour a French yacht with a delivery crew also joined the exodus, heading for the Canaries. The rest of us continue to relax in the sun and join the round of sundowner cockpit parties swapping cruising tales.

This lovely S&S 40 footer from 1957 is for sale

Eid is over so hopefully come Monday the shops will have restocked and we can reprovision. We found out the hard way that Eid here is very different from the Middle East – everything except the trams stopped on the day itself and since Wednesday most businesses and shops have been closed. The supermarket shelves were almost empty of fresh food on Friday afternoon – chicken was the only meat on offer in Marjane and their vegetables were even more tired than usual. Fortunately we had supplies to see us through but today or Monday we must find some veg, milk and meat!

Almost all the boats that have passed through the marina in Rabat since we arrived are here because they are hanging around outside of the Canaries for either reasons of cost (marinas there are very expensive and safe anchorages few and far between) or because the time is not yet ripe for crossing the Atlantic. Anyway there are five or more rally fleets gathering in various Canary Island ports in readiness for November or early December departures – with between one and three hundred boats apiece that is a lot of full anchorages and marinas.  We can wait until it is a bit more peaceful.

Probably the most well known rally is the ARC which this year has two flotillas one heading via the Cape Verdes and one going direct to St Lucia. The cruising community here has christened itself NARCs – Not the Atlantic Crossing Rally – there are quite lot of us, something like fifty boats have reached  Rabat since we arrived of whom only two or three have been flying rally flags or owned up to be joining one or other of them. Some stay like us for ages, others only a couple of days to break their passage from the Med to the Canaries. And, of all of the crews we’ve met, only Temptress is heading for Brazil, the Caribbean is going to be very crowded this season.

So whilst we are hanging around we plan a few more train trips to other Moroccan cities – Fez or Meknes anyone?

Sunny skies