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30th January, 2015

Agadir, Morocco

It was a pleasant change to our arrival time this morning. Normally we arrive early morning in darkness but today we arrived at the Pilot station at 1100. It was a bright sunny day, with little or no wind and there were an abundance of small fishing boats to negotiate in order to get to the port. The pilot called to say he was busy berthing a large container ship but said we could continue approaching into the port where we would pick him up after he had finished on the ship. So we duly did this. Again having been to the port many times, and most recently just a few weeks ago, it was straight forward. The winds were very light, and when the pilot eventually boarded we recognised each other. He was a very jovial and pleasant chap and we were reminiscing as to the last call when we had much worse conditions, 40 knots of wind to contend with!!

Anyway all that was required was to stop the engines a few ship lengths from the pier, and let the ship glide in. And giving a little helm, and the odd kick astern on the engines to slow the ship, we placed ourselves into position nice and neatly and gently!!  We were all fast by 1200.

Agadir city lies six miles north of the mouth of the Sous valley. Possibly the site of the ancient Roman Portus Risadir, the city was occupied by the Portuguese from 1505 to 1541, when it fell to the sultanate.  In 1914 work began on the construction of a new port, and so began the 20th century development of the city.  However in 1960 around 12,000 people were killed by 2 earthquakes, a tidal wave and a fire and as a result a new central city was built to the south of the old town. The city is linked by road with Safi and Marrakech and it also has an international airport.

The region that surrounds Agadir is composed of the plain of the east-west–trending Sous valley, which itself is enclosed between the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountains. Cereals (primarily barley), citrus fruits, olives, sheep, goats, and cattle are raised on the irrigated Sous plain, and sheep and goats are grazed in the mountains.

Once again the excursion tours made the first venture into this interesting town. Starting off with “Taroudant- A taste of Morocco”, then the “Agadir City Secrets & Fantasia Show” where guests watched and listened to the sound of Morocco and also the had a taste of its popular mint tea and some Moroccan pastries; “Imouzzer Paradise Valley by Jeep” was the most active tour, but the one that gave our guests a complete taste of Morocco was the overnight stay in Marrakech, staying in a hotel and then re-joining the ship here in Agadir, having left us in Casablanca.

We sailed this evening, again in nice calm conditions and the pilot got off very quickly and left us to negotiate a large fleet of fishing vessels which were intent on returning from the fishing grounds, and getting to their berths without deviating. So always realising that fishing boats around the world, are not always sailing as per the rules, we are always very wary, so as they streamed across the entrance of the harbour I just slowed down and let them cross as I knew they were not going to give way to us, as they should have!!.  One boat decided to stop right in front of us, for no reason at all, so we just sailed close by and as we did perhaps he woke up on the bridge, or his lookout dog barked or whatever but then his engine fired into action and he sailed in the opposite direction. It always amuses me, and the experience we get from our years at sea always comes in handy as you try and second guess many mariners.

There was more fun and entertainment for our main show time with the star of ”The Comedians”, Mr. Don Reid.  The Saga Orchestra followed with music for dancing while, in the Drawing Room, the late night cabaret featured Explosive Singer Aaron Alexander as he sang musical favourites.

Captain Alistair Mclundie

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