POSITION : 36°57'.0 N , 001°18'.6 E MELILLA, RUN AND HIDE, HERE IS THE PLACE !
DAY / TIME : 28.04.2013 , 02:50 UTC
MOOD : EXHAUSTED, AGAIN !!!!!!
It is now Thursday, 25th of April.
After 2 days of a very strong wind from the East we can finally leave Gibraltar. In fact we left already on Monday, but only to go to Alcaidessa , the spanish side of the Bay of Gibraltar, just behind the airport. Reason being that the Marina Ocean VIllage does some dredging, and therefore kicked us out.
The forecast gives a strong storm warning for the Alboran Sea ( east of Gibraltar) for Saturday and Sunday. So we have decided to run slightly ahead and slightly south of this storm, and that is the reason why
we are now on our way to Melilla,
east of Ceuta, the second autonomous spanish city on the Maroccan side, and
only 14km away from the Algerian border.
I think 5 surrounded us at the end, very curious, very friendly. Marvellous.
The 30 empty Jerrycans on deck caught most of their attention.
On a short stroll into the city, I gave back the pleasantries and joined the local folk doing some preparations for the spring festival.
And all this between some old colonial buildings which reminds the rare visitor of different times.
Nothing lasts forever.
I don't like it.
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Lybia are not necessarily known to welcome sailors,
and if, then only to get some cash for reasons unspecified.
Know what I mean ?
So where is the safety margin ?
Well, unless we run out of fuel or have a major accident on board, of course we can stay safely away.
Their land-based radar stations usually call us on the radio ( VHF ) for identification purposes, and
I don't like that either.
You never know who is listening in.
And there are some who might have an interest in a boat of our size.
Just more sophisticated, and more hidden and hidious.
Specifically the traffickers, who run big operations, just tow or sail under engine their human cargo into the Medeterrianian Sea,
destroy the engine,
and then call
and each seafarer who passes by is obliged to help.
Specifically the italian coastguard takes the brunt of this "business" ,
as Tunisia, Algeria, Lybia does not seem to have a Coast Guard !!! ???? !!!
Legally the Italians can not avoid but bringing the people from these boats onto land, mostly Lampedusa.
The rest you know......
We are following the "Barbary Coast", a term that sent
fear and awe down every decent ( christian ) captain and seafarer.
Because it was home to the
"Barbary Pirates" (sometimes also called Barbary Corsairs ) ,
named after the local inhabitants of this
stretch of north african coastline between Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis,
Of course different tribes, but still one people.
Full of natural harbours, hideouts, backed with rough mountainous "Hinterland" for both "watchtowers" as much as retreat areas in case of attacks, it was the ideal place for a certain type of piracy that was unique in the sense of its purpose :
for the islamic markets
in North Africa and the Middle East.
You bet it is, but it happened !
And it was dreadful as any other piracy business, however this was more.
In addition to capturing ships around the coastline,
they sailed far and away to raid
( european ) mediterranean coastal towns and villages,
and even ventured as far as the British Isles and Iceland.
They called it "razzias".
Now you know where this one comes from !
Well, again the 16th century is a good starting point, when Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli had come directly or indirectly under the sovereignty or influence of the Ottoman Empire as the so called Barbary States.
Before that it was small day raids by moorish and indeed christian pirates. but the arrival of
Privateer and Admiral
Kemal Reis in 1487 changed all this.
This guy actually is the one who
defeated the Venetians in August 1499,
one of the first naval battle in history that used
cannons on board of ships !
From here onwards, it became
It became religious, it became personal !
And it was just the beginning.
But seriously, nobody should complain.
They used the same principles with the "Letter of Marques"
as we know by now did indeed
the english, french or any other nation in the Caribbean.
And almost with identical consequences, as far as the development into "ugly" piracy is concerened.
In the first phase ( 1518 - 1587 ),
the privateers were admirals of the sultan,
ie "employed" directly by Constantinople, and later ruled by the local Ottoman governors, the "pashas".
All for the nominal "fee" of 10% of the loot !
Sounds familiar ?????
Privateering at its best.
Not only true locals, but also converted ( dutch ) and other Europeans joined the party ( later ) .
As the pirates grew stronger, they started to ignore the 'officials' and purely worked for their own 'pockets'. Sounds familiar again ?
Gosh, why don't I just copy my previous mutterings .
History is repetitive.
And even that I have said before.
Nothing new, folks, nothing new !
And here we stop.Otherwise you fall asleep ! I will continue this interesting story soon,
don't you worry !