Tanger Med to Genova

Our ferry to Italy was due to depart at 10.30 pm and check-in was from 1.30 pm.  From past experience we knew it was going to be a very long process.

Driving through the town of Tanger several young men hitched a ride by hanging off the back of our truck.  A few blasts of our air horn soon scattered the stowaways – or so we thought until we reached the port of Tanger Med, 35 Km away.  The police at the port entrance summoned Tony out of the truck to see a stowaway jumping down from our roof and running off. These agile young men easily scaled the 6 metre security fences surrounding the port and security staff were constantly chasing the would-be migrants, the staff looking rather like lumbering lions trying to catch a herd of startled gazelles. Security was necessarily high before we left for Europe, each of the 800 or so vehicles had to be x-rayed as well as interior seaches; one search was carried out with a dog and its handler.

We began our check-in procedure at 3 pm and it was about 9.30 pm when we were finally cleared to proceed to queue for boarding. By that time it was dark and we were very tired. There were no helpful staff lining the route to show us the way to the waiting area and we managed to get ourselves lost amongst hundreds of parked containers. We turned round to head back but got ourselves stuck behind a security gate, penned in by concrete bollards.  Nearby staff had to open the gate to release us, directing us back along the quayside.  We arrived just as our ferry was starting to board and we happily found ourselves right at the front of the queue!

Thus expedited we were soon settled in the ship’s restaurant and enjoying a light supper of seafood pasta washed down with a chilled bottle of Italian rosé.  We were the only diners in the restaurant and as soon as we had finished our meal the restaurant closed up for the night. It was well after midnight when we grabbed a nightcap from the bar and went to look over the stern to watch some of our fellow travellers still waiting to board.  We went to bed with a reasonably clear conscience and were hardly aware of the boat slipping her moorings and leaving Morocco – a good two hours behind schedule.