Monday, August 17, 2015

Gibraltar, Day Trippin'

 Hello to Everyone,
Nobody uses these but its a good photo!
We're in 'Gib' at least until our planned departure on the 21st. The weather for the passage to the Canaries is shaping  up very nicely, light NW winds increasing and veering more to the north as we get further south, a following current of about half a knot and following seas. What could go wrong?
Bill Norton, an old flying friend who goes so far back neither of us can quite pin down when we actually met, will be joining us for the trip. Bill did the NZL to Fiji voyage with us so he knows Airstream and has plenty of experience in his own  boats. Should be great fun.

The Lounge, our favorite marina hangout.
For anyone interested in following our progress here are two websites that are convenient. The first is:  This site displays the position of all vessels equipped with Automatic Information Service,  AIS. Since almost all commercial vessels are required to have AIS and since many pleasure craft now have it, including us, it gives a real time position, track and other information on almost everything out at sea. Just go to the website, click on 'vessels' , type in our boat name "Airstream", click on the name and you'll see the most current position and other data. Maybe a simpler way if you know roughly in the world where we are is to just start scrolling down on the world wide map which starts as listing the number of vessels in a given area. As you scroll down it starts displaying individual vessels and if you click on 'vessel names' it will name them. Just keep going on down till you find the craft you want and click on it and all available info is displayed. Very cool once you learn the site.

The second site is the Pangolin webpage at:  This is the list of boats reporting their position by HAM radio to the Pangolin yotreps site. Just go to the page and you'll see a long list of boats by HAM call sign alphabetically. Our HAM call sign is:  KI6IKE, Kilo India Six India Kilo Echo. Scroll down to our call sign and you'll see our boat name, click on 'track' and you'll see our position displayed. This is only a position we have reported by HAM to pangolin and usually just once a day.
At Europa Point, furthest point south in Gibraltar
So we've got most of our boat jobs done. We've done a lot of exploring around Gibraltar and a few days ago we did a day trip over to Morocco which was 'interesting'. There are no fast ferries from Gib to the Moroccan ports across the straits but a gazilion each day from the Spanish city across the bay, Algeciras. So when we saw a travel agency advert for a 59 Pound Sterling day trip to Ceuta, Tetouan and Tangiers we inquired within. 59 pounds got us a fast ferry to and from Ceuta, the Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, a bus tour to Tetouan and Tangiers, lunch, etc, etc. We knew there were a few little 'issues' here but decided to do it anyway.

Market scenes from Tetouan
It involved a cab ride over to the ferry terminal at Algeciras, 30 EU each way, and a lot of time on the bus which was comfy enough and not crowded. We had a nice tour guide and an amusing if not particularly tasty lunch in an old palace in the market at Tetouan.  

Lunch in the medina
We were led around the market areas of Tetouan and Tangiers. Arab rug merchants tried to sell us the usual stuff. The perfume guys were out in force but not as bad a Cairo years ago. And the bus ride through the Atlas Mountains was a nice view of the rugged coastal Moroccan countryside. On the way across the border from Spain into Morocco we saw the line for the border crossing back into Spain stretched for many miles. By the time we got back in the afternoon it was still at least as long. Our tour bus apparently had special powers because we went around most of the line but still waited over two hours to get through customs. 

Mosque in Tangiers
Cat heaven, Tangiers
I'm sure there were people in line that morning who were still there when we went past them in the evening, amazing! So we left the boat at seven in the morning and got back about eleven in the evening. Long day. Was it worth it? Maybe, but we wouldn't do it again. We spent more time on the bus than we did in Tetouan and Tangiers. Those cities are worth a visit as is much more of Morocco I'm sure. But it needs to be several days of planned out travel and we didn't feel like making that effort
Camera shy Berber women, Tetouan
So soon, 'the good lord willing and the creek don't rise' , we'll be off to the Canaries, Posito Blanco Marina on Grand Canary Island to be specific. I'll probably send a short update to the blog via SailMail while we're enroute but no email notifications. Please wish us a "bon  voyage"!

Love to all,
Bill & Janet
SV Airstream


Agustín said...

Have a nice trip..Pasito Blanco waiting for your arrival..
Big hug, Agustin.

Unknown said...

Travel gypsys for sure ! Enjoy your crossing to the Canaries !!!

Unknown said...

The places that you have visit are very nice. Enjoy all the time in Canaries, is really nice. Have a nice trip with calm seas!!