Agadir, Morroco

We left Gibraltar fast behind us with an overground speed of 9 knots, but as the wind didn't keep up, it took us three and a half days to cover some 450 miles to Agadir. We stepped for the first time on the African soil and yet here we feel as if we had never left Europe. This is not as one would imagine real Morocco, but a typical tourist town with real McDonald's and Pizza Hut, as well as their local versions. Hotel after hotel, restaurant after restaurant border the endless beach, including an old Club Med resort. The marina facility is pretty good, situated as if in a courtyard surrounded by expensive boutiques and restaurants, this is a place where Moroccans come for promenade, to shop, to feed the fish or just to admire this setup. Unfortunately, the marina sanitary facility needs a good scrubbing and renovation, this is the only item ignored by otherwise very helpful manager and staff of this otherwise attractive marina. As we wanted to see a bit beyond this tourist town, we visited the mystique town of Marrakesh. We think even with a detailed map, wandering through the haphazardly laid out streets of the medina and the souk is a real challenge, a city within a city, we would never find our way without a guide! Every nicknack produced in Morocco (or China?) can be found and the competition is fierce with alley after alley full of shops. Motorcycles, vendors, trade workers, tourists fill the place and produce an incredible chaos, mixed with smell of fumes, spices, herbs, also music and motorcycle noise - what a show! - but well worth the visit. The great Jamaa el-Fna, the main popular square is the scene of feverish activity as night begins to fall, outdoor food-stalls get installed in a snap, air gets smoky as everyone starts to cook at the same time and street dancers, monkeys and snake charmers get in action and animate this place which is completely filled with tourists and locals who try to sell you anything and everything. And as the weather in Agadir is always pleasant and mostly sunny (24 to 26°C during the day), besides wandering around, we continued with the improvements to Vanille and tried our hand with the installation of some new lining (not a very fun job, especially the fumes of the glue get our heads spinning round and round!). And so now the new standing rigging is re-tuned, the cockpit is polished to perfection and we are keeping our eye on the weather to grab the next window to head to Cape Verde.