Just a 12 hour delay to Morocco, Inshallah!

Were off!… ‘It’s ferry to Morocco day!’ 

I can’t remember the last time we set an alarm to wake us in the morning, but we need to be up by 07:00, off and moving by 08:00-ish, LPG top-up at 08:30 and queued for the ferry by 09:15 ready for the 10:00 sailing…sounds like a plan. It  was a plan. But like all great plans…it all went to the wall. Got up, check…filled up with LPG, check…got to the ferry terminal at 09:15 to be informed ‘no space on any ferry until 22:00!’ They were only taking 10-12 Moho’s per ferry, there’s  one at 10:00 and one at 16:00, you are now #33 in the queue. Judging by the amount of containers being towed onto the awaiting ferry, we suspect they are attempting to shift the back-log of lorries from Spain back to Morocco. If we’d have left the waiting area and returned later, we may have lost our place in the queue, there were 40+ Moho’s parked in a row, so we had no option but to sit in ‘the ferry departures’ car park for over 12 hours.

Time 09:30. All lined up waiting for the big ‘off’

12 hours later, still here! Just a little closer to the gate.

It’s at times like this, we’er glad we carry our home with us. If we want a cuppa, we can just put the kettle on, hungry? just open the fridge and dig in. Loads of others in this car park weren’t in such a good position, small vans and cars also had to wait 12+ hours along with us. After doing a circuit of the car park several times, a light lunch and a ‘nanna-nap’ and it was approaching 9pm, almost time to shuffle onto the ferry. We’d been told by many a traveler before us that the ports of Ceuta and Tangier were “a nightmare of confusion” and to be avoided at all costs, that’s why we plump for Algecarias to Tanger-med. We hope this is just a ‘blip’ in the service as usual for this port. It didn’t help that the other 4 gates here seemed to dispatch it’s customers fairly rapidly. Perhaps it’s time ‘Carlos the ticket agent’ switched ferry companies.

It was a great relief to finally get moving at 21:30 and we were rolling onto the ferry to Morocco and I’d no idea where we’d be sleeping that night. The Gibraltar straight was calm and we docked an hour and a half later without spilling one drop of much needed, caffeine laden coffee.

Lights blazing at Tanger-med port.

The thing that jumps out straight at you is the lack of ‘Health and Safety’ signs, a simple ferry trip across the mouth of the med, it highlights how obsessed northern Europe is with H&S. Here, no longer in Europe, there’s an emphasis on ‘look after yourself,  for no-one will do it for you’. Fall in a hole on  the pavement? – “you should have looked where you were going”  sort of culture exists, you won’t get much sympathy from many folk, others have bigger problems than you, after all you are just a visitor, suck it up and get on with life. Last September we crossed over to France via ‘the chunnel’, I must have been asked or instructed  at least 4 times to turn the gas off. There’s even a little fella that lives in a box just before you board the train whose only job is to physically check that you turn the gas off. What a striking difference here in Morocco, no signage, no instruction…nowt. “Hey…leave the gas on we don’t care, don’t select first gear, don’t apply the hand-brake, it’s your MoHo that’ll be rolling around down here bashing between the wall and the van behind, it may finally go boom because you didn’t turn the gas off, but there’s no come-back on us.” …We turn the gas off, select 1st gear and apply the hand-brake, because we were brought up in a world before the term ‘No-win-no-fee’ ever existed.

The view of Northern Morocco from Gibraltar.

Charlie was in the same spot as we left him. Intact and undamaged, hand-brake still firmly on. As the ramp went down, we were second out of the blocks and 40 mins later, squeezing through customs unscathed, Mr. Customs couldn’t care less how much alcohol we’d stashed into every crook-n-nanny. We got parked up in front of the insurance/currency exchange booths on the Tanger med port. A few other vans were parked up for the night, it was 23:30 (or 00:30 it depends how you want to think about it, as we just gained an hour) so we thought we’d join them for a free night. Let’s get some sleep after this 14 hour ordeal and start afresh with Morocco in the morning. I didn’t fancy roaring down the motorway in the dark anyway.

Post customs at Tanger-med. The wind an rain battered us all night, but we were too tired to be bothered by it.

Apart from the flag pole strings slapping against the hollow poles, (ting-ting-ting all night) it wasn’t a noisy place to sleep. The whether is a bit pants, squally, wet, windy, everything but sleet at the moment, but the forecast is improving.

I stuffed the Halifax Clarity card into the ATM and out popped 500Dh, (about €50)  we’re going to need some of it for the tolls on the motorway to Asilah.

Just follow the thick blue line.

The main motorway from Tanger-med to Casablanca is as good as any stretch of French toll tarmac. Cycles, carts, donkeys and motos (scooters/mopeds) under 50cc are not allowed, that’s not to say the don’t use it, they just don’t get caught often.

Heading for our first planned stop of this tour, Asilah…Inshallah.

Soon be the weekend.

Cheers…Wayne.

Sleeping spots, the Port exit at Tanger-Med, FREE, but I wouldn’t recommend it. 🙂

7 thoughts on “Just a 12 hour delay to Morocco, Inshallah!

  1. Mark Bloom

    Gidday Wayne,
    Good to see that you have arrived in Morocco safe and sound,except for a little rain at the start.
    How long are you spending down there escaping the colder northern winter? and we do like the under the cushion storage for the beer.
    Cheers Mark and Mireille.

    Reply
    1. Wayne Post author

      G’day guys…The cushion cellar works a treat, but I may need to lift the table by a stubby height if we get guests for dinner 🙂 We were planning on 90 days in Morocco, or until the beer runs out, or until the LPG runs out, which-ever comes first. We’ve got a plan ‘B’ for LPG, a bottle and regulator fed in through the BBQ point, we’ve a plan ‘B’ for “shit, we are out of beer!” Carefour have alcohol ‘caves’ we can raid, so I think we will run the full 90 days. There’s certainly no chance of us getting bored with this country.
      The Journey goes on…
      Take it easy mate…regards to Mireille.

      Reply
    1. Wayne Post author

      Thanks Chris and Peter, it’s crazy to think you can drive all the way to Cape Town from here!! with the correct paper-work of course…that’s just mad! I think we’ll stick to Morocco.
      Cheers…Wayne.

      Reply
  2. Cathy

    Looking forward to hearing about your further travels, we are soon going to be travelling ourselves, a year later than planned and really want to go to Morocco after following several blogs for the last couple of years , we will be reading with interest

    Reply
  3. Fred Chase

    Hi Angie and Wayne,
    Just read the above, yes sir nothing changes when the Arab world and western societies entwine!
    Took me back to when I worked in Saudi Arabia in the early 70’s for the Royal Saudi Air Force when it was not uncommon to have two or three jets at the end of the runway but, hey presto, the great god above magically told all the pilots that they should not fly that day. Also, we used to travel home to UK by Middle Eastern Airlines but re-named as Yimkin (means maybe) Airways because, you know what’s coming, “maybe we fly, maybe we don’t” Happy days.
    We wish you well for your journey through North Africa, still trying to convince the memsahib that we should go but after hearing all my stories from Saudi and with the underlying conviction that the cats would become kebabs I am on a struggle. We are at Albufeira for another week then it is off towards Spain, maybe Tarifa.

    Take Care and safe motorhoming,
    Glenys and Fred.

    Reply
    1. Wayne Post author

      No feline kebabs here, canine maybe 😉 No such thing as ‘late’, no concept of urgent. ‘You may have the money, but we’ve got the time’ attitude. We like Tarifa, it’s chilled-out check out the free spot in with the horned beasts and cheap service point.
      Stay safe.
      Kindest…Wayne and Angie.

      Reply

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