Finally North Africa!
We're here, we made it and we were treated the entire voyage with great views, not that the views were new to our eyes but the colours in the sky and the reflections in the water from sunrise were just blissful.
Of course this was not an uneventful trip, we had some more annoyances with the engine which seems to be becoming our routine, lots of pan-pan messages on VHF, a couple of messages from the UK Royal Navy regarding vessels infringing UN regulations or illegally on Gibraltar waters, a probable search and rescue mission of a drifting speed RIB (we saw a big zodiac with 3 big engines adrift in the TSS (TSS means Traffic Separation Scheme which is shipping lanes used in areas with intense traffic of container ships and tankers, they have quite restrictive rules and in normal situation these are no going zones for smaller vessels) and shortly after the sighting our AIS detected a helicopter, when it passed it had orange stripes and at the same time a Guardia Civil speedboat passed us), we also saw what we think was a shark fin near our boat a couple of times.
Crossing the TSS was a bit stressful because of the engine recurrent loss of RPMs but John steered The Dream through the tanker convoy beautifully managing to avoid the massive wakes while dealing with the engine at the same time. Finally, we were on the "other side" of the TSS and heading towards Tanger, our first port of call in Morocco. When calling Port Control I was expecting to be ignored until John had his turn trying, however we had a good surprise of getting a female voice on the other side in perfect English replying to us, we made our way in, tied to wall and as instructed by port control we waited and waited for Customs. At some point, a guy showed up asking us to follow him to Customs, but we had been warned of a possible scam by a fellow Aussie we met in Gibraltar, so we called port control and eventually, they told us to make our own way to Customs and Border Police. Shortly after we returned to the yacht another smaller yacht, French, arrived and they tie rafted to us since this is a fishing port and there's actually no room for us, a new marina is ready but is not open yet. So this us, tied to a concrete fishing wall.
Our first wall mooring, and raft mooring. Gibraltar was our first-time solo doing a med mooring, so it's a trip of many firsts. A day full of excitement!
***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COM website sailors community.