03 November 2008

Tangier, Morocco

Anchored in Tangier
North African Coast
Mediterranean Sea

Sandpiper is currently anchored off a long row of hotels at the city of Tangier on the north coast or Morocco, Africa. We had spent the last several days hiding from the weather at Hercules Marina in Cueta, Spain, waiting for the westerly winds to die down so we can get out of the Med.

Spain drives me a bit crazy as it seems like every time we go ashore all the businesses are closed all afternoon. If we are lucky, they might open up at some random time for a few minutes, then remain closed for the remainder of the afternoon. About 9pm all the businesses open back up, and by midnight everyone is out shopping or having dinner. If you show up at a restaurant at 9pm, it is too early to have dinner. So you have to wait till later.

People seem to go out for dinner and shopping at 11pm and then stay out all night. I have no idea how Spain's economy functions. Saturday was 'All Saints Day'. So once again everything was closed, Then Sunday everything is closed again.

Anyhow, being in a marina in Spain when it is pouring rain and everything is closed all the time, we had to spend our time down below just trying to stay warm and dry. We have spent the last couple years living on the equator in shorts, and when we go ashore, maybe a shirt to look dressed up. Winter has been showing up with a vengeance and now when we leave the cabin we are wearing shoes, socks, sweatshirts, pants, and jackets. Our nice golden brown tans have faded away to a pasty white. All the Europeans here are walking around in full jackets with fur lining and boots. They stay warm by hiding in heated coffee shops.

We dug through Sandpiper and found the electric heater that we have not used since being tied up under the Golden Gate Bridge. And being in a marina, we were able to plug it in to keep the cabin warm.

This morning Amy went to the grocery store for some last minute supplies (it was closed when she arrived). We topped off Sandpiper's water tanks, then went to McDonalds to get lunch to go. We found that they too were closed. We tried to pay our bill at the marina office. That was closed. We pulled up to the fuel dock. That was closed.

By 1130 am the fuel dock opened up and we took on 100 liters of diesel, the headed west down the Straits of Gibraltar, skirting the shipping lanes and dodging fishing boats. We were hoping to be able to enter the Atlantic. As we approached Tangier the winds died down. We talked to the U.S catamaran 'Following Tides' who had just turned left outside of the Straits. They told us that winds were calming down. So we decided to drop the hook here in Tangier to see what the weather is doing tomorrow morning.

From here it is only 6 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. Once there we head south for 600 miles to the Canary Islands. We might wait here for a few days till we can be sure we are going to have good winds. If we do stay we will pull into a marina tomorrow morning. If not, then we will head out to hopefully sail.

More later, once we make a decision.
Tom and Amy

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