Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Hi from Clare,                                                           Monday 10th October 2011 


We left Rabat last Sunday around to travel the 450 miles to the Canary Islands. We had a terrific sail averaging 5.6 knots for the trip. Apart from the necessary motoring leaving Rabat and arriving at our destination we only had the engine on for four hours on the second day due to no wind.
                                                          The Graciosa Anchorage

Since arriving here we have spent our days in a very calm anchorage in the south of Graciosa Island. Graciosa is at the northern end of the larger island of Lanzarote.
We are here with the Aussie yacht ‘Just Jane’ and the American yacht ‘Tsolo’ and yachts of other nationalities.  There is a small resort town about a mile away where we can get provisions and Wifi.
                     The sleepy town                                   Andrew Skyping Sarah with Phil and Janey

We have spent much of our time on the beach or going for walks. Today we are heading into the township again and so we will send this newsletter.

Later this week we will go around the other side of the island to Arricefe the capital of Lanzarote.  There we will organize a marina to leave the boat while we come home for a month.

We have booked our flight home arriving into Sydney on Thursday 27th October.

Love Candy xx

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Hi from Clare,                                  Friday 30th August


Dock party underway

It is now Friday and we are still in the marina at Rabat waiting for the right weather opportunity to sail 450 miles to the Canaries.  We are in the company of three Australian, three New Zealand, two American and one English yacht.  It has become quite a little community, pooling our resources and knowledge to help each other with weather information, maintenance concerns, computer problems, shopping tips, easy recipes, reading material and Gas decanting.  Most nights we get together for drinks. Sometimes it is all together as a dock party and other nights it will be a smaller group on one of the boats. 

The guys have just about worn a track from the marina to the local gas supply depot. We can't believe how cheap the gas is in Morocco. Gas decanting is a bit like a barbeque, all the men stand around prodding and poking the gas tanks like bits of meat on the plate – good thing nobody smokes.  The most expensive gas we have seen is 26 Euros in France. But to exchange our 2.9 kg camping gas bottle here, it costs 1 Euro. The only problem is that the local bottles are so old and knocked about, we doubt whether the next country will accept them as an exchange. So Andrew bought all the necessary bits to decant the gas into our good bottles.  He has also been busy preparing the boat for the more rolling sea of the Atlantic; more screws in the floorboards, chocks to hold the bilge covers in place, and string nets inside the cupboards so if the doors fly open we won't end up with the contents on the floor.  The first trip we did back in 2005 a dozen eggs flew out of the cupboard and tried to make an omelet under the table.  Of course I am hoping that all this preparation is unnecessary but I guess I'm about to find out.

We went on the train to Casablanca. I was very pleased that the trip only took one hour. The train seemed to be traveling very fast on tracks that weren't entirely smooth. The carriages rocked and wobbled and trains coming from the opposite direction flashed past the window a few feet away rocking and wobbling as well. I thought of derailment reports in remote countries and had to concentrate on calming myself with a silent prayer for survival.


                                                     Streets and slums of Casablanca

Casablanca was a bit of a shock. It' has around 1 million people and a third of the population live in the slums. Many of the streets are broken, smelly and littered with rubbish. We got off the train with a Canadian couple. The woman looked startled and said to me "I always imagined Casablanca would be a romantic place".  Her husband (who obviously didn't share her vision) said that the mosque was the only thing worth seeing and don't waste our time going to Rick's Café (the legend of the Casablanca movie with Humphrey Bogart) as it was a rip off.  So after parting ways Andrew and I went to the both the mosque and Rick's Café.

The mosque is the third biggest mosque in the world and it cost half a billion dollars to build. A lot of the money was raised by public donation. It houses 25,000 inside and 80,000 in the grounds. It is very beautiful outside with endless tiles, marble courtyards and shaded gardens overlooking the Atlantic.
Although it allows women inside we decided not to go on the one hour guided tour.


                                                       The Mosque at Casablanca

So we went down to Rick's Café; an establishment that has been in business for only seven years.   It doesn't have anything to do with the movie but advertises as Casablanca – The Legend Continues …

Inside Rick's Cafe
It was the most impressive (if not a little intimidating) establishment in an otherwise broken street. However the concierge is happy to open the door for tourists. Once inside it is very posh with intimate bars, private dining rooms, a grand piano in the atrium, the main dining area on several floors overlooking the atrium. We arrived mid morning for coffee and were very cordially invited to a small lounge where the video Casablanca runs on a flat screen continuously. The staff is very professional and didn't mind me taking photos. I'm glad we went there; it is a lovely oasis of refinement.

Andrew and Lauren

Tomorrow I will be cooking for the trip to the Canaries. I always feel better with a few meals up my sleeve. This way, if conditions get a bit rough we won't starve.

At this stage we are planning to leave here on Sunday and we should arrive in the Canaries on Thursday.

Love Candy xx