Sunday, October 31, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

S/Y Juno



GPS location Date/Time:10/31/2010 13:40:15 GMT

Message:Juno's latest position:

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Halloween in the Canary Islands

Lanzarote, Canary Islands---What else could I be?  But I am on a boat that does not endorse the idea of costumes. The first thing the kids saw when they woke up was my hairy face. I was then greeted with "Miss Edee, you've gone mad."  I continued being as Pirate like as possible until we crashed into the dock (bad, bad wind with a boat that can not turn starboard and no bow thrusters).  I thought wearing the beard in front of all the people trying to help us tie up might not look serious enough.

The Captain said no one celebrates Halloween on boats, so when the 2 little kids in costume knocked on our boat, we all went flying around the boat to find candy. The Captain offered them zucchini but I found some Tin Foil covered chocolate US Dollar candy I had brought with me.  A few "I told you so"'s to the Captain later, I felt justified in my love for Halloween fun.
The Brit (crew) rolled his eyes when I suggested a costume for him and the kids wanted nothing to do with the idea. The Captain I think, has never been silly in his life, so I'm alone in my humor.

I've had some of the best times in my adult life celebrating Halloween. Costumes have included:
Martha Stewart in Jail  with craft glue gun (before she actually did go to jail)

"It's all about Respect" Trash can costume 2004
 Daytona Beach "It's all about respect" Trash can a political statement exclusive to Daytona Beach, Florida at the time: Mayor thought Black College Reunion could be tamed by simply covering the trash can's with this plastic wrapped message. Note: In the first week, all wraps were stolen and had to be reordered.
Black Cat with patten leather thigh high lace up boots ("Does this tail make me look fat?") Note: Runner friend CJ and I both ran the Tower of Terror 9K last year at Disney in these costumes, sans the thigh high boots. Meow.
Shamu I climbed inside an inflatable Shamu pool toy. DO NOT TRY THIS. Black hot plastic, not so fun.
Pulp Fiction chick complete with needle in chest.
Tanya Harding complete with skating outfit, skates, lead pipe and LOTS of blue eye shadow (Thanks to my friend Sharon for going as my partner: Nancy Kerrigen) This was back when they were in the news.
Zena Princess Warrior (thanks to my friend Tara for going as what's her's side kick)
Jose and the Pussycats...I was Alexandria with black cat and the last Pussycat with 6' guy we dressed in black jumpsuit and leopard bra, panties and black wig. Thanks to friends Tara and Sheila as the rest of the group.
I-HOP waitress (to the Hawaiian Tropic party where everyone ELSE dresses sexy) Thanks to Tara for being Thema with me...or was it Velma?
Charlie's Angels---Farrah. And thanks to Sheila, angel and Markus, our 6 ft German male friend that sported a 70's double knit jump suit and wig for the final angel.

...ah the fun.

Even my dog Turbo loves Halloween!
 So here I am, on Halloween with no one to play with. Bummer. But as normal, I think I'm funnier than anyone else does (especially on this boat) and have enjoyed my Pirate costume. I'm sure I'll be using it again, even when it's not Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

S/Y Juno



GPS location Date/Time:10/29/2010 13:41:43 GMT

Message:Juno's latest position:

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sailing to the Canary Islands

Sunrise facing Africa coast
Atlantic Ocean----Our trip from Morocco to the first Canary Island is suppose to take about 5 days or 90 hours. We decided to keep 2 hour watches with 4 hours off. My slot is from 11pm to 1am and 5am to 7am. This allows me to see the sunset and sunrise everyday which I love.


Another Sunrise
Last day: sunrise

Strange Haze over the water is Sahara dust blown in from the African desert!

A bit worn out but getting used to the 4 hours of sleep intervals
We were able to put out both poles and sail down wind with about a 15 knot wind at our backs. It was glorious fun. Then the wind died and we needed to motor for the last day. Total time for passage: 93 hours.

3 Sails up going down wind

Sail, Moon and our Flag

Land! The first Canary Island: Lanzarote

City of Arrecife

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

S/Y Juno



GPS location Date/Time:10/27/2010 13:32:56 GMT

Message:Juno's latest position:

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Impressions of a Kid about Morocco

I could have lifted him in the air and hugged him so tight, squeezing all the air from his lungs until he squeaked, when I heard his answer. I had asked, “What were your impressions of Morocco?”

Slowly and thoughtfully he answered. He thought that it was very, very different than the European countries he had recently visited. He referred to the clothing; with many women in the traditional covers and some men in the long white tunics. He said that some parts of town could have looked like Europe or the US, except even the smells were strange and different and the language was so different no words were recognizable, not to mention the fact that five times a day, the sound of methodical singing seems to blanket the city from the top of all Mosques during the call to prayer. And then there was what was hard to look at---it was inescapable to not notice the poor all around you.

And then he said what you wish every kid, let alone adults, in the states would say: “I think I’ve taken A LOT for granted living in America.”

There it was; the results of the power of travel and its ability to give new understanding, first hand, of different cultures. It is the bridge that helps bring about tolerance. The link to knowing we are all people, trying to survive, have families, friends, jobs, religion…

And then I asked, “What did you think of all the kids in the street playing soccer?”

“I felt sad for them. I’m not sure if they go to school.”

“But did you notice something about them playing with their friends?” I continued.

“They were happy. They were having fun,” he finished.

Exactly. They had happiness in their life despite the terrible conditions of the street, the dirty, worn soccer ball and the ratty clothing. If you closed your eyes and listened only to the laughter, it could have been anywhere. But it was in fact, right outside of what looked like a shanty town in Casablanca and only blocks from the beautiful mosque.

I wonder about all the American aide that goes out around the world and how exactly it helps. I wonder if we improve the conditions of kids on the street or the conditions of their governments. Because perhaps, like I saw in the human rights movie in South Africa (Post 10/10/10). Perhaps we should ask the people first what it is that would improve their lives before we decide for them. And maybe the answer might be to help them fix the holes in the street and then maybe, a new soccer ball to play with after attending a good school.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Road Trip: Casablanca

Casablanca, Morocco. Africa---I’ve seen the movie. So I had always wanted to see this far away city. Casablanca. Turns out, Hollywood did a much better job with the set. It was a big disappointment.

Heralded as the “most beautiful city in Morocco,” according to the travel book I bought, that was not the impression Casablanca made on me.

Taking the Train from Sale to Casablanca cost 38 Dirham each way (3.80 Euro or about $4.50 US). The train’s second class was clean and comfortable, certainly not worth upgrading to first class for the 60 Dirham required, since there was little difference.

First we walked from the train station to the crowned jewel of Casablanca, the new Mosque built along the Atlantic Ocean. The tower alone is 700 feet, Gates built of titanium and amazing tiles and marble work throughout.

In the Medina, people selling from the ground

Then, the new crew, Mark and I decided to walk through the “Old market” after being warned it can be a little rough. The “new” market, we were told, was in a different area of town. But this was the real deal. Inside the Medina (old city walls) was as authentic as you can get. So in we went for it and pre-warning was true. I observed it was even more rugged than the Sale market. Much business was done in the middle of the narrow street itself and not just the shops. People would have spread out a towel, sheet or rag and then laid things for sale on top. Many appeared old, used and dirty. Some spreads were lined with fake watches or sunglasses. At times there would be someone squatting next to the stuff, more often, only when you stopped and took interest in something did the owner, who had been having tea or talking with a group, suddenly appear to anxiously suggest more options. They did, as did Rabat, have beautiful fabrics and local crafted goods.

At one point a man started yelling in Arabic throwing jackets onto the street in a huge pile. He was making such a big commotion that I had to check it out. Suit Jackets, coats, windbreakers… I happened to reach down and lift out a Helly Hanson sailing jacket that fit me perfectly. It was 47 Dirham (about $6). Knowing this brand and checking that it is indeed not a fake, I imagined the man was yelling “Hot jackets, cheap, buy them quick before the police come after me,” in Arabic. I bought my 47 Dirham jacket and quickly moved on.

All this shopping was done while dodging speeding motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles who flew though the lane with no intention of stopping.

But all in all, I was not hassled much by shop keepers. In fact, I’ve been hassled more by time-share marketers in Florida than in the cities of Morocco.

We made our way out of the Medina and found a hamburger joint that made cheeseburgers that tasted like I was in someone’s backyard for a barbecue. (a far cry from what I swear was a dog-food burger in Almeria, Spain…my last attempt at a little Americano.) Although the ketchup was 50 percent sugar and uneatable, and the mustard was spicy hot. This burger was incredible…or I was really hungry.

As I walked out, we noticed what looked like a dive bar. It was unusual because none of the cities I had been in had I noticed a bar and they didn’t sell beer or wine in their cafés. Mark was with me and mentioned it almost like a dare, so I boldly walked through the wooden beads dangling from the doorway as a cover and got to the other side. Mark followed. In front of me sat a room full of men in a dingy setting with small tables and chairs and one long bar where several men were standing. Everyone, everything stopped for a moment and I felt all eyes. I had my shoulders covered, which I learned the hard way the first day in Morocco. Even after spending a summer in the Mediterranean, I have never felt so naked as wearing long pants but my sleeveless LIVESTRONG shirt in the Moroccan market.

The bartender hesitated for a second but I made eye contact. I asked for a beer at the same time Mark said it in French, the second language here. Two short beer bottles appeared, and I sighed a secret sigh of relief. I had a general idea that women were not a usual sighting in such an establishment. Soon, the man next to me started up a conversation. His name was Amead. Amead and his friend answered some of my questions, the first one being: “Where are the women”? I was explained that this was a Man Only bar but because I was a stranger and I was welcome. They said there were co-ed bars that women could go to. I wondered how any women would have time to go to a bar when all the men were sitting around in bars or on the street cafes drinking mint tea ALL DAY and the women appeared to do mostly everything else…but I didn’t bring this up.

Amead was a friendly man and when the conversation about Casablanca the movie came up, I jokingly said “Where’s Rick’s bar” Suddenly opinions came from several directions, even a well groomed man at the end of the bar in a stunning business suit decided to come over and counter what we were being told with a new location.

Then, we were on a mission. We must find Rick’s Bar in Casablanca.

We decided to go first to the location the “suit” told us. After nothing, we stopping in a nice international hotel and the desk clerk knew right away, got a map from under her counter and gave us a new fix, near but different. Going there we asked along the way, hitting some dead ends. Some had never heard of the movie and some pointed us forward. FINALLY, there along the street that we had passed first thing in the morning: Rick’s Cafe.

A bit upset it was closed
Hurrying around the corner to the front door with thoughts of a t-shirt in my head I went for the door handle to find it closed and the hours clearly showing a “siesta.” We had missed by one hour. After rattling the door, a guard appeared and opened the door slightly, just enough for THE t-shirt to be seen in the gift shop right behind him: Rick’s Café Casablanca. As much as I could beg and plead, there was no going inside. So we took a few photos of the plaque, only to find out, like Hollywood, the place was completely made up.

Even though I knew, and had recently re-watched the 1940’s movie, something inside of me wanted it to be based on something true.

With trains leaving every 30 minutes, we caught the next train back to the boat feeling a sense of disappointment. I think it was about the entire day, not just a made up café.

What you imagine a place to be like can be a great disappointment countered only by the great surprises found in the most unexpected locations.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Morocco, Africa

Rabat, Morocca. Africa---The Marina is brand new. Shiny buildings and cafe's that line the dock. Enormous billboards that line the construction of new condos that will face the marina, the river and the ocean some day. Hot showers, a laundry. This is just another marina...but look again.

It is surrounded by guards.  There is a large fence that surrounds the compound. The images on the billboards show people enjoying the beach in full clothing. The women cleaning the marina bathrooms are in full Muslum cloak.

No, not another marina and not another Port town.

The city of Rabat (Row-bot) is separated by a river from another city named Sale (Sal-lay). The area has 1.3 million residents and although I don't see it as a third world country, it is obviously very, very poor. Language spoken in Arabic and French. Although they allow Christianity and other religions, the country is predominately Muslim. Five "call to Prayer" are chanted/sung from Mosques around town reminding me of my visit to Istanbul...except, these "singers" are REALLY off key. The Captain looked up what the call to prayer actually says and reported that all except the 5am say each line twice: God is Good. There is one God. Ala is god. God is good. There is one God. Then at 5am they add at the end "It is better to pray than to sleep."  I woke up at 5 this morning and caught the methodical wailing chant in the background, rolled over and thought "I think I'll praise God today for my good extra sleep."

However, there are plans for a light rail, this marina project and a new bridge to link the two cities. There are cranes and construction going on all around us.

There is a distinct difference between Sale and Rabat's Medina markets. Sale's is rougher and poorer. Rabat, still poor has more paved streets and a better variety of crafts.

Amazing woodwork, hand sewn native dress with ornate decor and exotic fabrics are visible being made in the markets. Leather goods, shoes that remind me of "I dream of Jeannie", metal work, tea pots and ceramics. Exotic fabrics also make wonderful scarfs and bedspreads for sale in the markets. And of course, the rugs. Prices are MUCH cheaper than other destinations that we have visited.  The money they use is Durham and the exchange is close to 10:1 compared to the Euro. So, 200 DH is really twenty Euro. A baguette of bread costs only 1.30DH (13 cents). The following are pictures from scenes in the Markets:

Rabat's market

Sale's Market

Things for sale in Rabat

In Sale's market

Rabat's market at night

In Rabat
Scarfs in Rabat

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

S/Y Juno



GPS location Date/Time:10/19/2010 11:32:28 GMT

Being boarded by Police!

Following the pilot boat around the fortress towards the Marina
Rabat, Morroco. Africa---We arrived in the morning as required to make it into this port. The only way to get in to the marina is to be escorted due to the shoals and sand bars that cannot be seen through the dirty water. After calling on the VHS, a dinghy came out to meet and us and motioned for us to follow. Passing a red walled fortress, we made our way to the customs dock.

There the Captain with docking papers and passports in hand, waited for the officials. After a bit, several men in suits came down the ramp, looked over his paperwork and asked him to follow them into the Police station.

The Kids, the Brit and I waited after being warned by the Captain that it could possibly take 1-2 hours. The next thing I knew, I saw two other men in uniforms head to our boat without the Captain. They requested to board and search the boat. We assisted them in opening tricky drawers and cabinets. Twice they asked me if we had firearms, because I guess, as Americans we all carry guns everywhere we go (World view).

The customs dock witht he Marina in the background
 Finally I saw the Captain leave the police station and go to customs. Soon after he returned to the boat and said we were cleared and the guide boat would show us our berth.

I was exhausted from my last watch and crawled up in the fore cabin and fell asleep. The next thing I remember is voices, looking up to see a man in uniform staring down at me and someone up top saying something about a drug dog coming on board. I fell back asleep and only when I woke did I found out that, yes, a dog was brought to the boat and no, he did not board us. I guess the Captain mentioned that we had not done laundry in a long time and he hoped all the smelly cloths would not bother the dog.

They moved on without inspection.

Good thing, the poor dog would have fallen over with paws straight up if he smelled our cloths from 36 hours of passage with no changing.

Here we are, in a marina, in Africa. It's worth exploring but so far, we are in for a very, very different experience.

Monday, October 18, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

S/Y Juno



GPS location Date/Time:10/18/2010 10:05:02 GMT

Click the link below to see where I am located.

Sailing the Coast of Africa

Leaving at 2 in the morning, this was our Sunrise leaving the Sraights
Straight of Gibraltar and Atlantic Ocean---We have decided to stop in Morocco if we can get into the Marina there. This will be a two night watch and now with three adults, I am looking forward to the adjusted watch times: 2 hours on, 4 hours off, much better than 3 and 3.

We hugged the coast of Spain and then Portugal until we needed to turn South and cross the straight. This felt EXACTLY like when I got on the wrong side of a 4 lane highway in Cape Town, South Africa (Post XXX). There was a line of cargo ships ahead and you couldn't tell if they were moving or stopped, after studying each, we had to decide how to weave our way to the other side of the staight.

Sunset over the Atlantic

City of Rabat approaches

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Itinerary change: Africa by boat!

We are sailing to Africa! Something the Captain decided to do on our way to the Canary Islands. The destination is Robat, Morocco, about 60 miles North of Casa Blanca. If winds are good, we will get there Tuesday.

Computer 1, Computer 2, Computer 3: Three strikes you're out?

Gibraltar, UK---Today was a very bad day for me. My brand new, 7 day old, Acer computer I paid a fortune for in Cape Town, South Africa just stopped working.

This is the third computer. A review:
Computer 1 was my HP I brought from home. Heavy but durable, it was a good computer until as we were pulling up our dinghy to a cement pier, I grabbed the rope of the boat next to us, causing me to move forward and our dingy to move back. The end result was me in the water. Even after being warned to Zip lock my computer, and after doing it so many times, I had not that morning. Stupid I know. Overly confident traversing the dingy after a summer of doing so: yes. End result was me in the water holding my back pack above my head. Still, with the water that seeped in, my phone, camera and computer were damaged. The boy geniuses on the boat rescued the computer the best they could, leaving me with a computer with some quirks.

Computer 2: after sending an urgent email to my Sister and best male friend for help, they ordered and loaded a new amazing Acer with 12 hours battery and 1 inch thick while I was making the passage to Sicily. Timing was crucial as we had new crew joining us in a few weeks who could bring this computer. My Sister shipped it to Washington DC and the new crew packed it in the Boat Supply luggage filled with other things we needed. But on arrival, this piece of luggage was missing. It took us almost 2 weeks and many, many phone calls to have the luggage found and shipped to a future destination: Minorca. Once we got there, the crew picked up the luggage only to find my new computer stolen.

Computer 3: Thinking Gibraltar was the place to get a computer or at least have a set address at the Marina. I waited and waited for 2 months. After turning down my friend in the US's desire to ship me a new one (afraid of the custom's tax), I discovered the UK computers have a different key board than the US. They hide the @ sign low on the keyboard and replace it with their Pound $ sign. So, on my trip to South Africa, I found the computers there have American keyboards. Overly anxious to just get this over with, I bit the bullet and paid for a new smaller Acer at Incredible Connection, the largest IT store in Cape Town. Their electronics prices are three times higher than US, but I thought in the big picture, this was so important to me, I would sacrifice in other ways and buy this to get it handled and stop all my computer frustrations.  Light weight, small and with an 8 hour battery it was perfect...until day 7 when it just wouldn't turn on. Upset, I got advice from the marina office and headed to Gibraltar's Main Street in old town to a computer repair shop. The technician was called and the first thing I said with my large sunglasses on was, "please excuse me ahead of time if I start to cry." Which I did as I told him the tale of 3 computers. After an hour diagnosis, he regretted to inform me that is was a hard drive issue and I would need to send it back to Acer. Easier said than done since I have no set return address as we are always moving. America Acer says I must call South Africa and South Africa's web has a bad email form so you get bumped if you want to complain.

Meanwhile, Computer 2 is limping along, getting me by. My frustration over this had been insurmountable. But, (deep breath) I will figure it out. We leave tomorrow so it will have to wait. Again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good Bye Mediterranean Sea: A tribute of Sunsets

Gibraltar, UK---We leave at 2 in the morning to head down the coast of Africa and slowly make our way across the Atlantic. This concludes the time spent in the Med. I am sad to say goodbye, yet still look forward to future adventures whether on this boat or not.

This is my tribute to the Mediterranean Sea by way of the Sunsets we saw throughout the summer.

On our way to Ithica

Sibari, Italy

Espalmador, Spain

Mahon, Minorca



Heading to Minorca