22 December 2019 | Christchurch, New Zealand
16 December 2019 | Christchurch, Canterbury, NZ
28 November 2019 | Christchurch, SI, New Zealand
19 November 2019 | Picton, Marlborough, NZ
04 November 2019 | Collingwood, Tasman, South Island, NZ
04 November 2019 | Collingwood, Tasman, South Island, NZ
29 October 2019 | Nelson, South Island, NZ
22 October 2019 | Christchurch, Te Waka o Māui, New Zealand
15 October 2019 | Scarborough, Queensland
05 October 2019 | Scarborough marina, near Brisbane, Australia
16 August 2019 | Southport Spit, Gold Coast, Australia
06 August 2019 | South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast, Queensland
15 July 2019 | Boatworks, Coomera River, Gold Coast
25 May 2019 | Biggera Waters, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
12 April 2019 | Coomera River, Gold Coast, Australia
02 April 2019 | Southport, The Gold Coast, Australia
16 March 2019 | Southport, Gold Coast, Australia
09 March 2019 | Currigee, South Stradbroke Island, Gold Coast
21 February 2019 | Santa Barbara, Coomera River, Gold Coast, Australia
04 February 2019 | The Broadwater, Gold Coast, Australia
Christmas in Agadir, Morocco
24 December 2012 | Agadir marina
Arrived safely in Agadir marina. Beautiful warm, sunny weather. As the area was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1960's, the city seems more Mediterranean than African with its relatively new white washed apartments and hotel complexes. The marina is situated within a man made apartment complex but the continuous swell outside, even though certainly no worse than Finike in Turkey and Aghios Nikolaos in Greece, manages to invade the area but only so much that the mooring ropes creak and groan. There are very few transient yachts here and certainly none that are Caribbean bound like ourselves. We have decided that we will leave when we are ready and unless we feel we have a pressing need to do any more preparations for the Atlantic we will go down the coast of Africa and then sidle off towards Sal in the Cabo Verde Islands and not go to the Canaries.
Day 3 Mohammedia to Agadir
22 December 2012 | Off the Moroccan Coast
Alison; warm and sunny
Just 10 miles from Agadir on a warmish, sunny morning. The wind has disappeared and, now in the lee of Cape Ghir, the big swell of yesterday has almost gone too. Dry, scrubby hills line the coast - quite different from the flat, built up agricultural and industrial landscape between Rabat and Casablanca.
The SailMail saga was solved when it was discovered that the new serial port to usb cable we had bought in Gibraltar was faulty. Luckily we had two old but still serviceable cables bought in Auckland 10 years ago which still work well. Now we have discovered that connection is good at almost all times of the day - this might seem trivial, but it is our only way of weather forecasting when on the longer ocean trips to come.
The only radio net we know of - (there might be more), which has so often served the trans Atlantic cruising community was suspended early this year when the few people using it arrived in the Caribbean, so we have no other communication with the outside world.
Passing Safi on the Moroccan Coast
21 December 2012 | Off the Moroccan Coast
The north easterly did arrive - not that much - 10 knots or so, but enough to set genoa and mizzen and we are now coasting down between Safi and Essouaira. The North West swell has grown to about two and a half metres, again as predicted. Sailmail has been working ok from time to time. We used a Canadian station last night - Nova Scotia, then Belgium came back quite strongly. Not sure what the problem is as there seems to be enough interference now and again for the computer to freeze up.
Clear blue sky with the sun shining nicely. It was cold in the night, but ok in the daytime if you can sit in the sun. A few gannets around and 2 sets of dolphins glided passed in the night. Identifiable by the sounds they make gulping air.
Las Palmas Port Radio, via Arrecife in Lanzarote is now booming in from time to time on Ch 16. Last night a ship got to within half a mile of our stern and then did a sudden shift to clear us - seemed a bit bad tempered when we called him up to tell him he was breathing down our necks. We guessed he must have seen us and was probably trying to avoid us as he resumed on his previous course once he had passed. We had spotted him on the AIS and he didn't seem to be too close. A few ships around as we passed El Jadida / Jors Lasfar Ports, now nothing.
Another 24 hours till we round Cape Ghir for the last stretch into Agadir.
Light breeze and slight sea
20 December 2012 | Off the Moroccan Coast
Everything going smoothly on SV Saraoni, although the breeze is too light to turn the motor off. The Northeasterly should fill in tonight if the forecast is correct. Should be in Agadir by Saturday noon, then it is southerly again for two days. Plenty so see from Agadir, including Souss-Massa National Park, so will stay a few days before venturing further South towards Sal in the Cape Verde islands, off Senegal. Sailmail not good enough for a radio signal, except at night, so are using up last bit of Spanish modem time!
---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see: http://www.sailmail.com
The Marrakech not such an express and a visit to the kasbah
16 December 2012
Alison; warm and sunny
Pic shows snake charmer and cobra in Marrakech's Jemaa el Fna square
We boarded the Fez to Marrakech express at Mohammedia's posh gare and discovered that a fair percentage of Morocco's population was already on the train or had decided to visit Marrakech with us. Nevertheless with a bit of pseudo French negotiation we got two comfortable seats and watched Morocco roll by over the next four hours. The express was a little slow, as it seemed to stop in a number of towns on the way. Casablanca was first up on the coastal plain and then we made our way across increasingly undulating bare hills - green and grassy, with the occasional olive grove and wandering sheep herd.
Marrakech's beautiful new railway station was in the middle of the new town,which was easy to negotiate along wide boulevards, parks and fountains.
Then came the medina and the souks. We had booked the cheapest hotel in Marrakech online as is our normal custom - a place called Riad Dar Nael. This appeared to be on the other side of the medina from the large, chaotic and lively square called Jemaa el Fna- a fatal mistake!. We dived into the warren of labyrinthine alleyways in pursuit of the cheapest guesthouse in Marrakech - this place made Kathmandu's maze of alleyways seem positively ordered and simple to navigate. We soon learned that honey tongued "helpers" who went out of their way to lead us through the alleyways or derbs, were keen to earn a dirham or two.
We eventually arrived at an ornate door down a dark alleyway which opened to reveal our hostess clothed in full burkha with a pair of glasses peering out from her veil, ready with a welcome glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.
It was a comfortabke retreat and we did finally manage to get to and from Jemaa el Fna twice more in our brief stay, eat couscous and watch the entertainment and activity all around us. The snowy peaks of the High Atlas, including 4000 odd metres high Jebel Toukbal (North Africa's highest peak) were etched against the blue sky in the distance. If we had been in Morocco a month or two earlier then we would probably have made a beeline for the open spaces of the mountains, but time is getting on this year.
With a stroll through Marrakech's kasbah this morning and past Royal Palaces, the mellah - the Jewish quarter- we are now on our way back to Mohammedia to get the boat ready for the next leg of our Atlantic journey.
Off to Marrakech
14 December 2012 | Mohammedia, Morocco
Alison: warm, sunny days and cool nights
Pic sows the Bouragreg river at Rabat and Rabat's kasbah
The weather is still not suitable for the run to the Canaries and southwards. Unfavourable winds with a large 6 m swell coming from a deep low off Portugal doesn't seem a lot of fun, so we are staying put until a suitable weather window appears over the horizon. Mohammedia is certainly not a sleepy fishing village - it's bustling with activity. With a huge refinery nearby and a thriving fishing fleet, there is a lot of hustle and bustle.
We are situated within a small marina, with mostly game fishing boats surrounding us and we have to show our passports every time we leave the port. The town itself is not that inspiring but has some nicely kept gardens and a fish market surrounded by small fish restaurants, very popular amongst the locals.
We took a train to the administrative capital of Rabat and had a wander round. Not a tourist in sight. We are just beginning to wonder where all the millions of tourists that come here hang out. Rabat has a nice marina, which is also a lot cheaper than the one in Mohammedia, but it is just up a barred river. We passed it a couple of days ago in flat seas, but were unsure how long it would be till we could get out again.
Tomorrow we are going to check out Marrakech by train. The fares are half the price of Spanish buses for the same distance and an overnight stay is only 22 euros so not too expensive for us.
Salaam Aleykum and Bonjour from Morocco
11 December 2012 | Mohammedia near Casablanca
Geoff; Calm and clear; mild
Pod of common dolphins off the Moroccan coast
Arrived at the port of Mohammedia after an overnight passage from Gibraltar.
The port has Morocco's largest refinery, but also a little marina where we are berthed. Here for a few days while we tap away on the computers to pay for all the diesel we have just burned up and the rather expensive marina prices.
The passage was in mostly light winds as forecast, but they turned right on the nose as we left the Gibraltar Strait and headed South past Cape Espartel. We had a whole day of headwinds - fortunately not too strong before we were able to put up full sail.
Today we passed hundreds of gannets, petrel, dolphins and our first whale since the Indian Ocean - a sign that the continental shelf on this side of Africa still has plenty of marine life despite the numerous trawlers and odd assortment of fishing contraptions we have passed.
One consolation is that the diesel engine has been working well, despite an oil leak, which has now been fixed. It has certainly had a good work out.
The winds turn south westerly for a few days while we are here - and then there is a 6 metre swell forecast and the wind shifts back to the north.
Time to see something of Morocco. Bye bye Europe.