Sunday, 28 September 2008

Still waiting..

The weather finally looks like it will give us a break tomorrow or Wednesday. We have to be in Gran Canaria on 7th October for our marina booking at Puerto Mogan and our flights to London on 8th October for Angela's wedding. So, with over 600 miles to cover it looks like we are going to have to sail past La Graciosa, Lanzarote and Fuertoventura.

In the meantime we have been getting on with some work on the boat - new guardrails and 3 new instruments in the cockpit. No change with my back problem - not much pain but I am still limping - which is frustrating.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Waiting for weather

Back in Rabat and itching to get off to the Canaries...unfortunately the weather is not cooperating. At the moment all reports are showing either headwinds or no wind for the next week due to some major systems circling around in the Atlantic.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

5 days in Marrakech

We spent 5 days in Marrakech visiting 2 spa hotels which we are very luckily reviewing for the Daily Mail, thanks to Anabel.

We arrived by train on Sunday afternoon and checked into La Sultana a luxurious 5 star hotel with 21 rooms created out of 4 riads. We were given the "Tigre" suite with a bathroom much bigger than our cabin on Irony! On Monday afternoon we went down to the Spa to have a hamman (a traditional steam room) where we had 2 girls rubbing us down with fragrant soaps. I then followed that with a oil body wrap and we both had relaxing massages. It was a struggle that night to drag ourselves out to a restaurant, although Nic was entertained by some pretty bellydancers!

After 2 nights we moved to Dar Les Cigognes smaller with 11 rooms and not quite so lavish (we planned it the wrong way around) but still great. Again we had a hamman and massage and sensibly had dinner in our hotel. It was specially cooked for us and we were alone on the roof terrace under a full moon, very romantic.

We managed to do some sightseeing although we are slightly od'd on carved cedar ceilings, tiled courtyards and ornate plasterwork, as beautiful as it all is. We hit the souks and did some present shopping. Marrakech also has some more expensive "designer" shops and I weakened in one! The famous Djema el Fnaa square was a little disappointing perhaps due to it being Ramadan. It is still quite a sight at night, packed with people and the storytellers and entertainers are there but it is very touristy and we had dry, tasteless kebabs from one of the foodstalls.

We returned by train to Rabat on Thursday afternoon, always an interesting experience as there is a distinct lack of signs or announcements so it's a guess where you are stopping and a challenge to get out at the right station!

Pics at

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Delayed by health and mast problems

Having experienced continuing pain in my right leg I decided to have it looked at...we ended up visiting a large university teaching hospital here. The specialist diagnosed sciatica and asked me to come back the next day for an MRI scan which confirmed that I have a herniated (slipped)disc. Not much I can do about it other than taken anti-inflamatories and avoid anything too strenuous. Another chapter in my continuing explorations of foreign hospitals!!!!!

Addtionally, we had a problem at the top of the mast - two of the pulleys had become detached. After consulting with ZSpars in the UK they said we would have to take the mast down to remove the coverplate at the top and re-attach everything. We hoped it might be possible to avoid such drastic action (certainly not possible in Rabat) and use a cherry picker or crane to access the mast. The marina here were really helpful and tried to find one for us but to not avail, despite the enormous amount of building sites around us. After days of being on drip feed with no results, Nic finally decided to brave being up a semi-unstayed mast and attempt the repair himself. It worked but he was up there for 3/4 hours and said it was the most difficult thing he has ever undertaken.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Visit to Chellah

We spent a lovely sunday afternoon visiting the old citadel of Chellah in Rabat. With areas dating from Roman times onward, the site has been uninhabited since the 12th century. Apart from very picturesque ruins, capped with enormous stork nests, there are some gorgeous tropical gardens to walk through brimming with a myriad of coloured flowers and huge leaves.