When we first arrived in the fishing port of Essaouira, we fell in love. It was mad, vibrant, full of life and colour.
However, after 5 days of constantly battling against the army of tiny flies that were invading the boat, we were ready to leave. Furthermore, after a long weekend of painting and repairing their boats and nets, the fishermen returned to the water on Monday, and by Tuesday the port was a little TOO full of life. Seagulls, cats, not to mention all the fish. It also got to the point where our Moroccan neighbour was constantly asking for beer, money, cigarettes, and, although he had been hugely helpful and we were thankful, our patience was wearing thin. No. It was time to leave.
However, we made the most of our time there. On Monday, I went for a 3 hour horse ride (while Nick got a cab to the Carrefour and stocked up- bless), which took me down a deserted beach on horseback. It was beautiful and very serene. Of course, I couldn’t walk properly for the rest of the day, but hey. It was worth it.
We also ate out for almost every meal- ostensibly because we were trying to conserve water (there was water available at the port, but only the hardiest of digestive systems could have swallowed it and escaped unharmed), but mainly because there were so many awesome restaurants in Essaouira, and I was keen to find a truly delicious tagine. Happily, I did succeed, but I think we’re both a bit tagined-out now.
So, 5am Tuesday morning found us emerging into our cockpit, coffee in hand, bleary-eyed, ready to leave. The fog was thick, and the lights from the port and breakwater barely penetrated it. We dropped our lines, along with a Maltese boat we were rafted up against, and followed him out of the harbour and into the blackness of the open sea. We followed his light, a small white orb bobbing around an indeterminable distance from us, and hoped that any small fishing boat (there were quite a few leaving the harbour) would be able to avoid us- because there was no way we could see them, since many of them carry no lights and the fog had reduced visibility to about 10 metres.
The moon was just visible, but blurry and indistinct through the fog. The water gleamed faintly, but above it was nothing but dull blackness. It was disconcerting to say the least, and we kept our speed down and studied the radar obsessively.
It was fairly miserable for the first 4 hours. The entire cockpit and deck were soon dripping with water. We had a fine layer of tiny water droplets on our jumpers and hair; it was damp, cold and miserable. However, finally the sun rose and burnt through the fog, revealing a warm, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. Heartened, we put the fishing line out, and were rewarded some hours later by the biggest fish we’ve caught to date! We ate it that night, pan fried with a little lemon and butter, and boy, it was amazing. We gave quite a bit to our Maltese friend, Peter, and we still have about 3 kg left! Fish tagine tonight, then.
Of course, when it rains it pours, and at the same instant we caught this amazing bonito, a large pod of dolphins chose to visit us. I spared a few moments to snap some pictures of Nick with his catch, then I raced up to the foredeck to watch the dolphins, leaving Nick to deal with killing and gutting the fish on his own (not that I’m usually an active participant in this activity… my role is more a supervisory one). That done, Nick grabbed the GoPro and joined me on the foredeck. We got some pretty nice underwater footage of some of the dolphins playing under our bow, and I promise to put it up on the website as soon as I can. Last time I tried to embed a video into a blog, it crashed the website for some reason. I’ll need to find another way. In the meantime, it’s up on Facebook. If you’re not my mother, or a friend, and you’re just a random reading this, first of all- hi!! Second, there’s a link to our Facebook and Instagram profiles on the sidebar, if you want to check it out. Like our page, follow us, etc. You know the drill.
Anyway, these dolphins. Wow. We’ve had dolphins many times, but these dolphins must have been in a particularly good mood because the show they put on for us was awesome. They were leaping completely out of the water, as if to say, “Look at me! Look what I can do!” Or, perhaps, “I’m SOOOOO happy!” It was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, our GoPro stick broke after we put it under water- it’s obviously not strong enough to deal with 6 knots of resistance! Luckily we didn’t lose the camera- the two pieces remained connected by a flimsy piece of the plastic film covering the pole. Phew.
So, after the dolphins came another type of drama, of the less enjoyable type. Our watermaker has been turning itself off, which is highly, highly inconvenient considering we’re planning to cross the Atlantic next month, and I’ve heard that water’s kind of important to one’s, you know, survival. We’re going to carry as much fresh water as we can, but we’re a 40 foot boat with 4 people on board, so there’s only so much we can take. I’m certainly not about to sacrifice my chocolate supply to find room for more water, and Nick would rather die of thirst than give up his peanut crisps. So, in short, we need that watermaker.
Nick called the manufacturer who wasn’t sure what the problem was- apparently in 8 years, he’s only had 2 faulty watermakers, and there’s a 5 year warranty anyway; ours is 2 years old- but he’s coming out to Gran Canaria for the ARC, and will give us a new unit, free of charge. We were pretty pleased with that, but of course, it doesn’t give us much time to test out the new unit once it’s fitted. There might be an element of crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. Isn’t there always?!
After a long, varied day, we arrived into Agadir literally as the sun was setting. After the smelly, fish-strewn, cat-filled port of Essaouira, Agadir was almost like arriving in a totally different country. In fact, the marina wouldn’t be out of place in southern Spain. It’s new, clean, upmarket, quiet, and attractive. As a final bonus, it’s the cheapest marina we’ve stayed at in all of Morocco. Sadly, the wifi connection is poor to non-existent and the water is still undrinkable. Our tanks are full though, so we’re cool.
We plan to stay here for a few days- or more, if there’s surf, but it looks pretty flat to me at the moment!- and then back to Spain. How quickly the last few week’s have gone!