Greg has just left with Aissa, Karima's brother, who
will give him a lift to Spain tomorrow. As I sit here I have heartache thinking about my wonderful son. I already miss him. It was a really special gift being able to be together experiencing so many different
things, for the last month. Enjoy your travels, Greg, have fun.
Today we received the last of the African visas that
we were able to obtain here in Rabat. The two visas still needed are Nigeria and Angola. We will get them both later, maybe in Libreville, Gabon.
We also received the OK from the Moroccan Civil
Aviation Authority to head further south. Base Ops advised us that they have already obtained many of the flight authorisations for Africa for us. Unfortunately, on an expedition like this, there is a tremendous
amount of paperwork to deal with and many bureaucratic headaches. In the early days of aviation, they must've had more freedom – but, I guess on the downside, they had few runways, little fuel, no medical backup,
unreliable aircraft. The first pilots were really courageous…. or crazy, or a bit of both.
So, tomorrow we fly south to Casablanca and then if
we get flight authorisation, a bit further down the coast to the start of the Sahara Desert. Olivier and I know that the toughest flying conditions and the greatest challenges and test of our strength, of the whole
expedition, lie ahead of us. Dealing with the bureaucracy will also test our patience and negotiating skills. The route we have chosen is to keep us clear of the most of the wars and areas of conflict in Africa. The
route will take us over part of the Sahara Desert to Tombouctou to avoid Liberia and Sierra Leone and then, when we get further south, we will fly over the sea out of range of the gunfire …. hopefully! That's the
Olivier has done all the negotiations and
arrangements for us in Morocco. Very few people speak English …. but almost everyone speaks French. It would be very difficult and frustrating if I had to try and get the visas, flight authorisations etc. in Morocco
and the rest of West Africa without Olivier.