After waiting out all of the wind, we were finally ready to set off across the Gibraltar straight to our next destination.
We hadn’t decided if we were going to stop at Tangier or not, as we had heard from some friends that it was going to be full, so also had a plan to head all the way to Rabat.
Not long after setting off we quickly got the rod out as Kathryn saw a giant tuna leaping out of the sea. Within a few minutes, there was a bite, and we spent the next 15 minutes (it felt like) reeling in our catch whilst underway.
A tuna! Our first catch since northern Spain (we think).
As we approached Tangier we saw a whole bunch of boats leaving. This was the moment that we started re-evaluating weather options as well as considering how long customs can take in Morocco.
Rather than stop in Tangier, as we were a week behind our plan, we decided to keep going to either Rabat, Essaouira or the Canaries.
Very quickly we found ourselves 3 days into a 5-day sail.
Throughout our sail along the coast of northern Morocco, there was quite a lot of sand in the air, making everything very hazy, kind of like fog.
The weather dropped and shifted, making it look unlikely we could make it to the Canaries before getting caught in the worst of some horrible swell. As the weather continued to develop we were weighing up Essaouira, Agadir or Lanzarote. Also, playing in the sea 😉
The wind shifted back to something more desirable, as we went for it, all the way to Lanzarote!
While talking about how we might be able to go faster with the wind almost directly behind us, we realized that we had not yet used the mizen staysail.
It’s meant for use when the wind is from the beam to almost dead behind the boat, so perfect!
We spent some time figuring out how to hoist it for the first time, and up it went.
We kept the mizen staysail up for at least 1 day, and it managed to keep our average speed at above 6knots. Epic!
This was the point where we saw a large navy ship behind us. Adam also realized that we weren’t listening on channel 16 (we had switched to listen to some weather, but never heard the broadcast).
Upon switching back to channel 16, the navy ship was hailing us (they might have been for some time…).
They wanted to know the details of the boat, how many people were aboard, and if we had any kids of pets. After a lovely little VHF conversation, they said to have a nice sail and then continued on past us.
The wind and swell continued to build, the staysail came down, and we continued the rest of the sail with a reefed main and a working gib.
In the last 12 hours the swell was probably somewhere between 2 and 3 meters, and quite mixed up. There was a primary swell from the north at 2-2.7m, but also some other swell from somewhere east or south ish that made things quite interesting…
The worst of this came at night, but here is a short video from the daytime before, where we capture the swell size quite well we think.
We came in between Lanzarote and the northern island of La Graciosa at about 5am on Saturday, before getting to our anchorage at 6am ish.
The moon was quite full, but unfortunately obscured by clouds so it was quite dark.
The anchorage was full of boats, but we snuck around all of them right to the front next to the beach and dropped anchor in what we hoped was sand according to the satellite view. We held well and headed for some well-deserved sleep! (pictures of where our anchor landed coming in the next post)
Overall our track looked something like this!