Our departure from Seville was a mad dash, but the drive to Algeciras was a breezy 2 hours and we arrived at the ferry booking office (Viajes Normandie – Agence Voyage Ticket Bateaux Tanger) just before dark. Carlos, the ferry booking agent, has become quite a legend in the campervan fraternity and is definitely the go to guy for ferry tickets. We were greeted by huge cheery smiles and given explicit instructions on where to go, what time, info on possible scams and a document even showing photos of the road signs in order to make it as easy as possible to get to the correct place in the docks. After purchasing our ticket, we were even given a present. A bottle of red wine and a huge packet of chocolate biscuits. Sometimes it’s the little gestures that go such a very long way to making you feel special.
Across the road from the booking office was a Carrefour Hypermarket. Trust me, if you have forgotten anything, you’ll be able to find it here. From appliances to sporting gear, to chairs, to food and let’s not forget the all-important stocking up of all things pig and alcohol. Yip – there is no pork to be found in Muslim Morocco.
We bought a months supply of salami, prosciutto, chorizo, and a few other things, then headed to the carpark behind the ticket office where we would be spending the night, along with about 30 other campervans.
Due to our gas heater not working in Miles, we have needed electricity for our little blow heater and as such we have hooked up to electricity each night. This would be our first wild camping night with no hookup, so I put the fridge on gas. Or should I say, I tried to…
The gas fridge has an igniter switch. You turn it on and it starts flicking. You then turn the gas on and the gas lights. There is a conductor element in the flame and when it gets warm, it tells the igniter switch to stop flicking. Our igniter switch did not want to stop flicking. I heard the gas light but was too nervous that it wasn’t staying lit, so I decided not to have the fridge on.
Tai then started cooking us dinner on the gas stove and all was going fine until the gas died. I tried. Nope, no gas. By this stage, I was hitting panic mode. We were leaving for Morocco in the morning, but the fridge wasn’t working and the gas might now be an even bigger problem. Traveling is never easy and at times it is downright tough. Most of the time I am upbeat and solution driven knowing that everything is solvable in the end. Other times it takes its toll and I wonder what on earth I am doing? Halfway across the world in a campervan that has one issue after the next, trying to juggle the travel with work commitments and balancing the homeschooling and sightseeing with it all. Tonight was one of my low points. I wanted to cry and run back home. I decided it would all have to wait until the morning.
Up early, I checked and our brand new gas bottle was empty! It must have been leaking. I switched to the other bottle and all was working. One issue solved! We popped into the ferry ticket office and Carlos suggested it was WAY better to get things fixed in Morocco. So limping along, we were finally off!!
At the docks, we were told that our ferry’s door was too small for us to fit so we would have to wait 3 hours for the next ferry. Aarrggh!! As luck would have it, there were 2 other campervans that also had to wait. We got chatting and hooray – they could all speak English!
Jean Francois was French and traveling with his Border Collie dog, Jorka. Theo and Jeanne were Dutch but now live in France. As sometimes happens when you travel, we became firm friends during the quick one hour crossing and decided to travel together for a bit. There is nothing more comforting than sharing fears of the unknown with others.
The immigration controls were painfully slow – lots of paperwork and checking inside the campervans – and it was dark by the time we made it through. We were asked if we had a drone and boy was I grateful that I’d decided on a GoPro instead of a drone. Lord knows how much longer and what drama would have unfolded should we have dared to bring a drone into the country! A quick decision to spend the night in the docks had us all parking alongside each other and heading to the greasy corner café for a chicken wrap dinner.