POSTED: Casablanca  March 22

It was a real push to Tangier/ Gibraltar and we all took our turns and did it in four days. Aline left us there and we took on a few more provisions and headed to Casablanca. Our trip was quite unnerving as we would hear the news each day and the confirmation of another airline canceling service to the region. Two nights before, Morocco had canceled all flights in and out. A few emergency government-arranged extraction flights, including a Canadian one, happened on Friday the 21st, and on our arrival in Casablanca, two of the doctors who did not make it onto those flights joined us. So at this point, we have gone from a contingency plan to an actual plan for execution.

Earlier today, we set sail again, now with two passengers, heading south toward Dakar, Senegal to pick up two more but learned this afternoon that one is going back to the Gambia, and the other caught one of the last flights from Dakar to Cape Verde to make our sail shorter.  So Cape Verde is our new interim destination and we expect to be there in six days. For those not familiar with the geography of the region, Cape Verde is off the west coast of northern Africa and is both a point to stop and take on provisions, and the last stop do any repairs before crossing to the Americas. It is further south than we would usually go but not as far out of the way as Dakar and does break up that long sail.

We have very good weather and Ciara has started her little class with Alisha and Benji on sailing basics. Alisha is a dietitian by training and Benji is a general practitioner. Benji has done a bit of recreational sailing and Alisha has never been on a sailboat but she is young and very fit.

We have many days on the ocean ahead and on a boat this size with what eventually will be five of us, the provisions are going to get pretty thin if we don’t hit a good pace when we leave Cape Verde. That pace will depend on the weather, which we can’t control, and the discipline of the team, which we can, so Ciara is all over that one right now. She won’t take the time for an overboard drill but will tell them how to do it. As we will always be on the move whether under sail or by power, her “on-deck” protocol is a simple rule – if your anywhere on the deck you are wearing a PFD.

The fellow we are meeting in Cape Verde has our provisions list so he will be sourcing that and we should be in port for only hours.

Wish us luck – the weather forecast is about as bad as it can get within the band of it still being safe to leave.