AN Canary Islands to West Africa

Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:


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AN530 Las PaJmas

AN531 Ca-.z-iz S 2"? 25'N. 15 3ÜAV AK532 B =.rc 20'50'N, 18'15'W

Nouadhibou :<0 5-rN any


14'42.7'N, 17'25.5'W


AN53D Las Palmas

AN53" CrJ'cir rt S AN532 Blanc AN534 Bald 13 35'N. '5 55'W


13*26.5'N, 16'34.5'W "


WP AN531 south of Gran Canaria, from where a course should be set for WP AN532, 60 miles off Cap Blanc. If not intending to stop in Mauritania, it is recommended to stay well offshore to avoid not only the shallow waters and large number of fishing boats but also the risk of being stopped and possibly boarded by a Mauritanian naval vessel patrolling the disputed area of former Spanish Sahara. Those who intend to call at Nouadhibou, the main port of Mauritania, should approach the coast with great caution and attempt to make landfall NW of Cap Blanc at daybreak so as to reach port in daylight. If continuing to Senegal, St Louis, at the extreme north of that country, on the border with Mauritania, has been used as a port of entry into Senegal, but the entrance has a dangerous breaking bar and is therefore difficult to enter in a sailing yacht.

Boats bound for Dakar should sail the same route as far as WP AN532 from where the next WP AN533 is approximately 10 miles off Cap Vert, north of Dakar. The area should be approached with caution on account of the heavy traffic. Cap Vert, a traditional graveyard for ships, should also be given a wide berth. Boats entering Dakar must pass south and east of Goree Island. The recommended anchorage for yachts is in position 14°42.7'N, 17°25.5'W.

If sailing from Dakar to Banjul, the time of arrival at the entrance into the river Gambia should be planned to coincide with a rising tide. Boats not stopping at Dakar bound for Banjul should stay well off Cap Vert and, having passed it, set a course for WP AN534 NW off Bald Cape in the approaches to Banjul, the capital and only port of entry into Gambia. As the harbour entrance is encumbered by shoals, entering the harbour at night is not recommended. The anchorage used by visiting yachts is in position 13°26.5'N, 16°34.5'W, but as there have been many reports of theft from yachts one should either take adequate safety measures or find another anchorage. Permission to take the boat up the river Gambia, which is navigable for about 200 miles, can be obtained from the harbour master in Banjul.

All rivers in this area are navigable and even keeled boats can travel far inland. A popular river with visiting yachts is the Casamance, which belongs to Senegal and lies south of the Gambian enclave. The main town on the Casamance is Ziguinchor (12°35'N, 16'16.5'W), located some 50 miles upriver. Boats must clear in first at Dakar and, at the time of writing, could not clear into Senegal at Ziguinchor. Officials occasionally check papers at Elinkine, some 30 miles downstream of Ziguinchor and a main tourist centre (12'30'N, 16°40'W). Also navigable is the river Saloum, with many cruising attractions in its lower reaches. French charts for these West African countries are reported to be better than the British or American charts.

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