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15th January, 2013

Agadir, Morocco

Overnight the vessel experienced strong winds up to severe gale force 9 at times, again demonstrating her ability to manage with rough seas. The wind had however completely abated by the time the Moroccan coast was in sight.

It was still dark while we were made our approach to the port and the Arabic writing on the hillside above the city was lit up as if on fire, so that all could see the message “God, Nation, King”, the three pillars of the Moroccan people.

Weaving our way through the flotilla of fishing boats, we entered the port as twilight started to claim the sky. Agadir, once a Portuguese trading post called Santa Cruz (or Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gue to give it its full name) is a fishing port. The pungent smell of this industry doesn’t let you forget it if the wind is blowing from the south. Anza, the commercial port adjacent, is where the Sapphire berthed at an old grain berth. The silo’s here are painted to depict the Moroccan flag, so you are not likely to forget where you are.

Agadir was taken by conquest in the 16th Century and its new rulers built the Kasbah on the hill overlooking the port. On the Kasbah’s gate the sentence in Arabic still reads ‘Fear God and Honour thy King’.

After two centuries of prosperity, the town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1731, and again in 1960, also destroying the ancient Kasbah. The new city is built just 2 kilometres from the epicentre of that tragic earthquake.

Our call to Agadir offered a number of cultural tours that allowed passengers to experience the colour and clamour of Morocco, including an overland tour to Marrakesh with the passengers to re-join the ship in Casablanca the next day.

Sailing at 13:00 in calm seas with no wind, was a stark and welcome contrast to the previous day. Sounding the whistle as we left the harbour to warn the small fishing vessels of our intent, we rounded the breakwater, sweeping the bow to starboard and on towards our next port of call.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.