Posted by: Vegard Bleikli | 03/11/2012

Mohammedia

We had read that the marina had limited depth, their own webpage stating 1.9m as maximum draught. With Værbitt being about 2.1m and placed along the smaller boats we were apprehensive about the depth. The harbour master said we’d be ok “Because its sand bottom which is soft”, and our echo sounder giving us the go-ahead with 20cm margin after considering tide differences. Low tide arrived and we were still well afloat, so we settled in and got ready to enjoy Morocco. The officials have been nothing but friendly and well-meaning, and checking in was quick and painless (and free).


Baked chestnuts and port-wine. Imported from Portugal

Two days in a row, after engaging in polite conversation, we have been followed by our personal guides (Mohammed and Abdulla, no joke). And as local customs dictate, expecting to be handsomely tipped. After these experiences we refrained from asking for directions. It’s not as much the cost that’s the issue, as it is the change from the initial seemingly genuine friendliness, to plainly telling us to give them money. Knowing that it’s deep in their culture is too small a band-aid on the wound that we’re unable to connect to any of the locals without hiring them.


Nothing much to complain about regarding the weather, apart from the wind that is

The town of Mohammedia used to be a thriving tourist destination some decades ago. But as the small fishing port gradually changed to a major oil port much of the appeal disappeared. Abandoned hotels, casinos and restaurants can be found all along the beach, and whole areas left to decay. It is still a popular destination for sailors, as the nearby and more touristy town of Casablanca has no place for mere leisure yachts.


Fishermen preparing their nets

The new and the old

We have met no fewer than two other Norwegian sailboats here already; Primadonna Tove and Summer Star, both headed Las Palmas and the ARC. It’s a good feeling, seeing other ARC-boats around. When we left Portsmouth, after our extended stay, we were unsure if the weather would allow us to arrive in time. Now, being 4 travel-days away and with a favorable north-easterly due on monday, we can afford ourselves a small pat on the back. We’ll still be rushing to get there, taking nothing for granted (not to tempt fate).

5-star hotel reclaimed by nature

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