Cape Juby on the Atlantic Coast

A perfect crossing of 70 miles from the Canary Isles on a glassy sea

Cape Juby

On the "International Road" of Morocco south of Agadir, in the Sahara, boarding onto the Atlantic Ocean. Tarfaya, situated on the Cape Juby ( 27° 56' 31" N- 12° 57' 20" W) has seen the passage of time and a bit of history.

The Saharan town first developed in the 1880 by the eccentric Scotsman Donald Mackenzie as a trading post for the Canary Islands has had a few willing and unwilling visitors over the years.

Sailing to Tarfaya

We arrived by yacht on Elvire II from Lanzarote our first views of the Sahara desert putting a big smile on my face.

Its repartition as a dangerous port of call due to its longitudinally east to west situation on the normally north south Atlantic coast of Africa, the rock reefs surrounding the port entrance and the fact that its highest point is only 12 m above sea level, so very difficult to spot due to the drifting sands and reflections off the water. Things are now made easier with GPS.

Entering in the port (Port Victoria is the original name given by Donald Mackenzie) after completing a textbook perfect crossing of 70 miles from the Canary Isles on a glassy sea with favourable winds we were struck by the smell of the sardine fishing boats as we entered in the harbour early in the morning. Unlike a few past sailors who were shipwrecked here and spent their years imprisoned by the Moors and Tuaregs our only problem was losing a bottle to the customs for mooring fees.

With Elvire safely moored to the sand and reef bottom of the harbour, we were able to explore the town, including a fun surf at Fort Casa Mar on a right reef and a small inside wave off the harbour wall, a hair cut and shave at one of the many salons and targine for lunch and supper at the hotel.

After 3 days at this rhythm it was time to leave; as I did not want to lose Ian to the Moors as the first European, a French sailor called Paul Imbert had in 1630, captured and imprisoned after a untimely shipwreck at 'the graveyard of sailors'....