This story is set out to be a diary, mostly for the use of documentation for remembrance and for those who want to do the same trip. It is not an story about peril, adventure or fun. It's solely here for the purpose of documenting what to do, and what not to do. i.e. don't go on a road trip to Morocco without the papers for the car... Nor will there be any description of feelings in the story. For instance the feeling of fucked up happiness when your catching a wave won't be described because it's impossible to describe in a way that tells the reader how the suction in the stomach of taking the drop, the dance on the wave to pick up speed and the rad turns on the lip really gets a sense of well being and complete happiness. If there are any description of this sort in the story, they can be ignored because they are complete lies. Go here. Make the trip, discover for yourself. This is just for documenting the facts on this journey.
Sunday 12 o'clock, leaving Carcavelos. The trip went by Decathlon to shop for a gas kitchen. 666km later we were in Gibraltar after luckily taking the wrong route in going by toll roads in Spain. Luckily because the boats from Tarifa are more expensive than the ones from Gibraltar.
We arrived at 9 o'clock and went straight to the ferry terminals to see when the boats went. The fast ones goes all the time and the price is 95€ for two people and a car. But since we are surfers and are on a budget we bought the cheap one for 55€ that went at 10 that evening, which meant no time for dinner... Rushing to the boat we arrived just as they started letting the cars through. As it was our turn the Police officers asked for our passports and papers for the car. It turned out I had left the car papers in Stockholm. After much talking and discussion we had to turn round to get the papers faxed. At this time we were too hungry to think and looked up the cheapest hostel in town and ended up getting a chicken shwarma and some offers for punta from the drunken locals which we kindly declined.
Monday at twelve we had checked out of the crap hostel, fixed the papers thanks to Artur who had to look through all my belongings in the boxes in the garage, taken the breakfast in a cafe and were standing in line for the next cheap ferry at two o'clock. The all too friendly guys at the queue line helped us with some papers that you had to get stamped and only wanted two euros for the help. What we didn't know was that the same thing would happen in Morocco by five other guys. All wanting some money for their help in checking that we had the papers in order...
This time we made it through the police control where they were laughing at us since they now recognized the stupid swedes without papers. Thereafter we had a super relaxing boat ride which was supposed to be two hours but ended up being 4. When we finally drove of the ferry high fiveing that we were finally in Morocco the next friendly man asked why we didn't have stamps in our passports. Something we were supposed to do on the boat. Parking the car outside the boat we ran up the stairs and after fifteen minutes the police man who was supposed to stamp the passports came back to do the stamping. Running back out we ended up last in the queue for tolling.
After an hour later and several procedures we actually came in to Morocco. Exhausted from the trip we found a nice hotel, Valencia, just outside the Tanger harbor, which cost 330 Dirham (the local currency, 11 Dirham = 1€) including garage space. After a shower we had a nice dinner at a classic Moroccan tourist place. The food was excellent but a bit pricey. Fortunately for us there were some nice Spanish ladies at the restaurant that also were in need of some beers and we ended up going to one of the only places serving beers until we couldn't talk anymore.
Tuesday. Waking up way too late we set of for some breakfast in the sun before hitting the road. The drive to Marrakesh ended up being in a constant state of panic as cars were changing lanes without looking and we found ourselves amazed that the number of deaths didn't exceed 34per day which we had read on wikipedia. Coming in to Marrakesh we were lucky enough to get a hotel room at a hotel just outside the wall of the Marrakesh city center, Medina, which made it perfect to go for an evening walk to look at the market (souk), which is supposed to be one of the biggest in Africa and Djemaa el Fna, the busiest square in Africa.
There at last
Forcing down the panic attacks we left Marrakesh early after a nice breakfast in the sun by the pool. Once we were out of Marrakesh the traffic got a bit better and we were able to enjoy the dessert drive. Just as we got relaxed we were stopped by the police who started talking to us in French about getting our papers. We did not understand much but we handed him the papers of the car and the drivers license and he started with a smile on his lips describing that we had gone too fast... 73km/h on a 60km/h road and for this he wanted 400 Dirhams. We nearly fainted and agreed to try a bribe of fifty to get out of the situation. After explaining that we didn't have 400 and trying to give him fifty he let us go with a warning. Relived we continued driving keeping a close watch on the speed limits all the time to Taghazout, a small surf village, 20 kilomiters north of Agadir. Coming in to town after the five hour drive we went and got ourselves an apartment with the help of a local kid, Mohammed, who tried to explain that we were getting the place way too cheap and that he wouldn't get any commission because of it. We felt a bit sorry for him but glad to have found a place in the center of the village which was clean, nice and with a sweet balcony. The only downfall was the hole in the ground Moroccan toilet which Mohammed gladly described how to use. After enjoying the night time at a local restaurant Panorama and relaxing after the long trip we easily fell asleep.
Thursday. We woke up at ten and after a huge breakfast we set out for some spot checking. In a short while we had heard of all the breaks nearby and checked out Mysterys and Anchorpoint but ended up surfing at Bananabeach after meeting some Norwegian guys who with the help of a local kid, Salah, seemed to know what they were doing. The surf was easy and relaxed for us as we for the last days only had been surfing really big and fast waves in Portugal. It kind of felt like vacation from the vacation. We also managed a two hours session before sunset at Mysterys. The waves which we had heard only were right hand waves which meant backside for us who are goofy ended up being lefts. Easy going and getting some nice rides we enjoyed a golden sunset in the water. We ended up spending the night time at the Norwegians place. Taghazout being a dry village, meaning that the bars aren't serving alcohol, our Norwegian friends had bought their own and since they were leaving the next day they needed some serious help drinking their beers, something we couldn't refuse.
Long nice rides
Friday. The swell charts were showing 3m waves which was having all the locals excited so after another huge breakfast we set out for Anchorpoint. The place were the action was supposed to take place. Anchorpoint is a reef break were the wave goes for 600 meters when it's working. The place was crowded when we got there and the people catching waves were going slalom between the guys on the inside. Taking some time watching how to get in since it's all rocks we saw one guy getting smashed bloody on the rocks trying to get up. When we eventually got in we paddled around the reef going from the beach which seemed safer for us. Too late we realized that Anchorpoint only works on low tide and when we got in it was already mid tide. The waves were breaking on the rocks which left nothing for us. We paddled over to Mysterys which also is a reef break but a bit slower than Anchorpoint. Almost alone in the water we caught some nice long easy backside rides. After some lunch and after checking out some other spots we realized that the best place was were we had been the whole day and went back for a sunset session at Mysterys. This time a bit more crowded but still okay. Hanging out at the crib trying to cure Peter's cold, we watched the Tom cruise Coctail movie before going for and Morrocan hamburger dinner at Christofers place, an American we had met in the water earlier. The food was so cheap we ended up having two main courses each and apple crumble for desert. A perfect meal to finish the surf day.
Saturday. Getting up late as always we went to Killers, one of the most famous waves in Morocco which is a world class right hand point break next to Mysterys. Unforutnaly for us, it only works on low tide and it needs a bit of swell which was not the case for today. We ended up surfing it on mid tide with a small swell which was more of a paddle than anything else. Exhausted in the arms from trying to fight the currents to get to the bigger waves on the outside we went in and checked out the spots to the north of Killers with hope of finding bigger waves.
Sunday. After missing out on good morning sessions we decided to make an early start. At nine we arrived at Tamri, a beach break and a swell magnet fourty kilometers north of Taghazout. In the mornings it is often offshore winds which makes the waves clean, however, the currents is very strong pushing you in many different direction. This is a perfect spot to go to when it is flat in Taghazout cause the waves are often double the size as the beach faces more to the north. We ended up surfing the spot all day and having a perfect praia day which only was interrupted by the local kids who wanted money for guarding the car. At lunch time we gave them some bread, fruit and cockies but what really made them happy was when we put on some Morrocan Berber reggae which almost got the kids dancing in the sand. If you go to Morocco we recommend bringing some old t-shirts for the kids, it will make their day!
The shit on fire
Monday. Don't know why they are calling it Killers but it is probably because the wave is so good you'll be surfing it until you die. At least that's how we felt after waking up and arriving to Killers were we were amazed by the perfect waves peeling of the point. The forecast was showing 2.7 meters (14 second wave period) and the size was definetly that. The surfers out there were taking some huge drops and getting some seriously long rides. Humbeled by the size we followed a local out to the launching spot which is situated about 300 meters out alongside the cliffs. The waves were fast and powerful but still easy to get out. After two and a half hours fighting the crowd we had caught some of the best rides ever.
The constant paddling was a bit tiering which made us deleriously hungry so we set up our portable kitchen overlooking the spot and had an amazing tin lunch in the sun. In the afternoon, at mid tide, we ended up at our more or less home spot, Mysterys, which was perfect except for the crowd which made taking the waves a hazzle.
Lately the night time has been spent at our favorite restaurant/ surf hang out, which we love. Le Auberge, a perfect place for meeting the other surfers at night time to watch movies or just do some hardcore surfing on the web.
Tuesday 8dec. Doughnuts, We have finally fallen in love. An angel came and sold us doughnuts on the beach just in time for our coffebreak. Waves rolling, surfers chargeing and we sitting looking at the break at Anchorpoint eating doughnuts. Priceless... Earlier we had another good session at Killers with a bit of a smaller swell but also less people which made it really nice.
Talking with an Belgian guy Carl that we met he told us the story of our doughnut angel. An eight year old girl and her mom that was a bit unfortunate. As they had a house on the beach at one of the best beaches on the coast, Mysterys, the king told them to move, something everyone is more or less afraid of since the king might want more than the six palaces he already has. Now they were renting a small room at the outskirts of the town and selling doughnuts to put food on the table. Next time we promised ourselves to buy some more.
The contrasts of the moroccans is that on the one hand you feel sorry for them but then some come up and try to hassle money from you which builds up a feeling of anger. Like earlier today when we were cooking lunch. Coming up to us on our lunch break is a Morrocan with his camel. Real friendly chatting with us and as he was there we asked if we could take some pictures of his camel.
- Of course, no problem.
He showed us the camel and asked if we wanted to sit on it for some better pictures. As we had finished the shots we gave him 5 dirham as thanks. He looked at us and said the cost was 50 dirham. We had a flashback from the parking guards that put up a rope over the rode as you're driving away from the place. The moroccan way of doing business. We told him that we were the best surfers in the world and that he had to pay 50 dirham for looking at us so it kind of equaled out.
Every now and then you need a resting day. After two days of really big nice waves with a lot of currents and therefor a lot of paddling we felt the fatigue in our arms and bodies. Getting late with the breakfast and then at ten going to check the spots. We drove to boilers which looked like it was really working, so thought a lot of other people aswell. We wanting some small waves weren't in for the crowded spot and therefor moved on to check out some other spots but finally decided to go to killer for an easy session.
As we went out the waves started rolling. Getting out, we were the only ones at the spot for an hour with some perfect waves before the other people started coming. Even though the forecast had said it was supposed to be a small day it started rolling some heavy waves and after two hours we were pretty exhausted again. Going for lunch and watching Anchorpoint working with people getting barreled every now and then really blew our resting day. We decided to get out at Mysterys for an evening session. The waves were rolling and we managed to avoid the crowd once again. As the sun was setting there was a rip growing more and more. In the end we had some serious trouble getting in, paddling for over half an hour to get in making us seriously exhausted. The forecast for tomorrow is looking to be bigger than ever. Luckily we had a nice resting day today :)
Thursday: Today one of the biggest swells we have ever seen hit the shores of Taghazout. At Anchor point the wave face was triple over head (7 meters)!! We sat there for an hour stunned of watching the pros struggling of paddling in and ripping these giant mountains of water. The rest of the day we spent driving along the coast south and north of Taghazout with the company of a South African dude we met in town, Jay. The day trip ended at a spot up north that we tried to surf but unfortunately without getting any good rides. A little bit disappointed we could finally rest our bodies after 5 days of surfing.
B as in barrel
Friday: Full of energy we were pumped to get some serious surfing today. We started with a quick session at Bananas at high tide, and then we surfed Anchor point just before the big crowd arrived. Satisfied of the rides earlier we went, without any expectations, to Killers for an evening session. Just after paddling out to the line up, a set of waves rolled in and Peter was just at the right spot and caught one of his best rides ever and got BARRELED (i.e. surfing in the tube of the wave)!! Peter could not stop smiling for the rest of the session J which ended up being one of the best so far.
Paradise going shithole
Saturday: The day started of really nice with some small fun waves at Bananas left and then we surfed uncrowded clean waves at Killers for one hour before hell broke loose. The wind came and with that heavy rain and our sunny paradise transformed into a floating garbage dump, muddy and full of shit. The rain made us notice that Taghazout and its beaches contain so much garbage, the streets in town were changed into rivers of shit. On top of that, the water supply in our apartment stopped working. So, while the rain was pouring down we did not have any water which we thought was a pretty funny but a very inconvenient contradiction.
Sunday: When we woke up the day after, the rain had stopped but the whole of Taghazout smelled of shit. The rain had cleaned our car which had been covered in mud for the last two weeks. This made us notice scratches and a bump at the back of the car!! Were did all that come from?? According to a Moroccan that came up to us when we were inspecting the car it was our fault because we hadn’t parked in the right spot were the parking guard usually is situated. So incorrect parking in Morocco won’t give you a fine instead your car will be violated, good to knnnnnnooow! At this point we were seriously thinking of leaving, but the nice waves at Bananas put our mind on other stuff. We jumped in but soon after Tomas went out, as he could not stop thinking about sewage. Peter surfed another hour and Tomas took some nice action photos, so finally we got the first pictures with one of us surfing in Morocco.
Last day in Taghazout
Monday: The last day in Taghazout we spent on dry land because the water has really dirty and the wind was strong onshore. We went jogging on Panorama beach before packing and getting ready for a long road trip back to Lisbon. In the evening Mohammed, the guy who arranged the apartment for us, came by and we taught him how to make Swedish chocolate balls, he was so amazed that we gave him the recipe and he directly went out and bought all the ingredients. So next time we will go to Morocco it might be possible to buy chocolate balls in the cafés of Taghazout.
We love the Autoroute!
Tuesday: We started of before sunrise, on the way to Agadir we picked up two Moroccan surfers that we had met on the beach, Abrahim and Moner. They were going to the capital city, Rabat, to celebrate Christmas with their families and as we were going in the same direction we gave them a ride. The drive up to Rabat went smoothly, just stopping for lunch, coffee and of course a few joints for our hitch hiking guests. We were very happy of the Moroccan king’s decision of building the Autoroute (highway) from Tanger to Agadir. It is a toll road which most of the Moroccans can’t afford. Thus, we had the highway almost for ourselves. However, entering Rabat things changed. Unlucky for us we arrived just at rush hour, thus the traffic was seriously hectic. Instead of driving the route outside town our two local guides kindly gave us directions to go through the city centre, where the traffic is the worst. Thanks guys! Cars were driving on both sides of the roads, donkeys were running around and people were constantly crossing the streets. Our car horn went hot and our heart rates were reaching top levels. After half hour of crazy driving in Rabat, amazed to be alive, we finally arrived to Moner’s home which was situated in a small suburb. His mother greeted us and we were served cous cous and Moroccan tea in their living room. We had planned to stop and sleep in Tanger before crossing Gibraltar, but we saw the opportunity of catching the nine o’clock ferry in the evening and driving non stop and arriving to Lisbon in the morning. Because we were pretty fed up with Morocco and eager to get back to civilization we decided to try to make the evening ferry. The drive from Moner’s home back the Autoroute was terrible, we had to stop several times to ask police for directions as Moner and Abrahim gave us poor instructions and there were no traffic signs whatsoever. Finally we found the highway and after only one mishap before Tanger we arrived just on time for the ferry to depart. Night driving through Spain and into Portugal was nice and after four coffees and of few chocolate croissants we arrived in Lisbon seven o’clock in the morning which meant that we spent the last hour in the Lisbon rush hour queue, jippie! In total the drive from Taghazout to Lisbon took 26 hours.
Morocco is definitely a trip worth doing and what we will remember the most is probably the perfect peeling right hand waves, the haggling Moroccans, the warm climate and the extraterrestrial feeling when you are driving through the Moroccan landscape.
Finishing off we had some nice surf sessions in Portugal. We were lucky to surf the famous Santo Amaro, which only works on a super big swell. We also surfed Ribeira d’Ilhes in Ericeira, which normally is the most crowded wave in Portugal, but on the 18:th of December there were only two people except us in the water. As the waves are getting a bit inconsistent due to increasing winds, and at the same time the weather is getting pretty cold it is now time for us to head back home to Sweden for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. We are now looking forward to get some lussebulle and pepparkaka action.