Western Sahara and Catching a Boat

I’m sitting here at a park with the beach in front of me on the island La Gomera or the Spanish Canaries off the coast of Africa. It’s been my first real opportunity with WiFi and some free time for that matter. It’s been busy trying to figure out a way to get a boat home. But more on that in a minute.

First, I had to find a way from mainland Africa to the Canary islands off the coast. I set off by stopping in Essaouria and Agadir on the coast of Morocco. These are port towns and my main mission was to find a boat to the Canaries. Essaouria was tiny and just fishing boats and Agadir while bigger didn’t look too promising. I spent one night sleeping on the beach in Agadir which turned out to be a bit colder than I anticipated at night. The second night I spent in a nice Airbnb. The Airbnb was run by a nice family who shared their meals as well, so that was really nice! But since I didn’t have luck finding a boat to the Canaries the next best bet was to fly.

I got a decently cheap flight from Laayoune to the Canaries. Laayoune is technically in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. It was interesting to see the UN trucks and later the UN planes at the airport. I guess it’s mostly a diplomatic battle, but of course there is bloodshed as well. Seemed pretty tame from what I experienced as well. In Laayoune I stayed with two guys from Coach surfing. They we’re both around 25ish and had just graduated from University. They were both doctors in the town there. So they had a really nice apartment, at least comparatively. They were also super nice and they took me around and I met there friends. This actually mostly happened on Easter Sunday, so it definitely wasn’t my most traditional Easter! None the less my time in Western Sahara was pretty awesome thanks to the hospitality of the doctor who let me stay in their spare room!

The flight to the Canaries was a short 45 minute flight with immigration taking longer than the actual flight time. The views from the plane window were stunning! It was so cool to see how vast and deserted the Saharan region looked from above. The sand stretched all the way to the ocean! Me, being incredibly blessed in a way some might call super duper lucky, managed to get picked up by a boat captain from the airport. We drove down to his boat in a port South on the island and on the way I judged his character well enough for me to decide this might work. I had been in contact with the captain weeks before on an online crew matching website, but it didn’t look promising to me. He seemed uninterested, but I stayed persistent. And what do you know? Now I am days from departing on a sailing trip acrossed the Atlantic.

I’ve already sailed with him and two others to an island nearby for us to gather our last provisions. So far the sailing seems manageable and the captain doesn’t appear to be one to murder me at sea! It will be just the Captain and me for the full voyage across the ocean, but having a short trip with him under my belt already I feel comfortable. Departure is pegged for Tuesday or Wednesday. In, give or take, 20 days from departing I should be in the Carribean!

Seems a little bit surreal how lucky I am in having things come together, but I guess I have only God to thank for that! Say some prayers for me while I’m at sea!

Western Sahara and Catching a Boat