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11th November, 2012


As was expected, the usual morning rush of local fishermen sailed directly across our path as we approached Agadir in the twilight. They were small, without any lights and very difficult to see, either visually or on the radar, until we were almost on top of them. They are also very fearless or perhaps rather trusting in our ability to avoid them. A touch of the ‘Inshallah’ I suspect.

We, and they, survived without incident, probably to the quiet satisfaction of the bridge auditor we have on board at the moment (less paperwork). Our call was relatively short, but sufficient to get the folks off to Taroudant, the Folieberberes Fantasia Show (mint tea, horses and gunfire – quite exciting, once) and also an overnight tour to Marrakech for 23 passengers.

The weather was sunny and warm, but by the time we came to sail a very strong northerly wind had come out of nowhere, causing the mooring lines to tighten and stretch enough for the ship to come off the dockside by a metre or so. The pilot came on board and said ‘It is very windy’, I replied that I had noticed. He seemed just a touch nervous. ‘Should we stay alongside?’ I said. He looked slightly embarrassed and replied ‘As you like Captain’. We made a tug fast at the stern and let go the lines. Possibly to the pilot’s surprise, and obviously to his great relief, we did not go careering across the harbour uncontrollably. Once we had the ship pointed at the entrance I suggested he leave in order to prevent having a long bumpy ride back in his pilot boat

His toothy grin said it all, ‘I trusted you Captain’, he said and I thought he was going to add ‘You are my brother’ in that lovely Arabic gesture of friendliness. He was down to the pilot ladder like a rocket.

We sailed then, without incident, and within thirty minutes we were all on parade for our Remembrance Day Service conducted in the Britannia Lounge by Canon Eric Woods. It was a memorable occasion, made even more so by Eric’s thoughtful and eloquent reflection on why we need to continue with this important tradition. I believe all who attended were grateful for his inspirational words.

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