Day 11 - Agadir
|Friday, October 20, 2023: When we awoke, we were already tied alongside the pier in Agadir. There was cyrillic lettering on the ship moored directly across from us, and when we looked closer Tom could read that it was the Vasily Lozovskiy based out of Murmansk, Russia. When he looked it up on the Marine Traffic app, it said that it was a fish factory ship, which is a type of ship that catches, processes, and freezes fish on board. Cool!
|We had an early morning tour, so we dashed up to the Lido Market at 6:30 AM to grab some food. Tom had scrambled eggs and bacon, and Debbie had a Portuguese custard tart.
|Our tour was meeting at 7:30 AM in the Ocean Bar on deck three. We were the first ones to arrive at 7:15 AM, ...
|... and everyone else was there before 7:30 AM. The tour was organized by Viv, a fellow passenger, who took a few minutes to do a roll call, to tell us what our tour bus looked like, and what our driver's and guide's names were. As it turns out, they were both named Mohammed.
|We headed down to the gangway, and then onto the pier. Our bus was easy to find, we quickly got aboard and settled in, and we were the first bus to leave the port. The roads of the port area were lined with containers including this short Maersk Line one. Maersk!
|We met our guide just outside the security entrance to the port. Viv had been chatting and emailing with Mohammed for quite a while to arrange this tour, but this was their first time meeting. He explained that he had been with another tour in Marrakech the day before, and had driven here early this morning to guide our tour today, and then was returning to Marrakech in the afternoon after our tour was complete.
|There were beautiful murals along the walls as we exited the port. ANP stands for Agence Nationale des Ports or National Port Agency.
|Out of the port, we headed up the mountain just outside of town ...
|... to the Kasbah of Agadir Oufla.
|We were the first bus to arrive, and we had the entire place to ourselves. It was amazing. No vendors. No camels. No one.
|Mohammed took some time to explain the history of the Kasbah and the restoration and repairs that are currently taking place, ...
|... and as he talked, the camels started to arrive.
|By 8:15 AM, other tour buses from the ship had arrived.
|Here's the view looking down on the fishing port, with Agadir's magnificient cresent beach on the left.
|Mohammed spent some time talking about the restoration of the kasbah and the history of the city.
|Here's the view looking east, away from the city. Those are the Atlas Mountains in the distance, ...
|... and here's the view looking west. That's our ship in the center of the photo, and if you look at the larger image, you can just make out the towers and the wires for Agadir's new cable car in the foreground. It wasn't operating this early in the morning, so there were no cars visible.
|As we drove back down the mountain and into the city, Mohammed explained that there are two offical languages in Morocco, Arabic and Tamazight. At the top of this Coca Cola stand, you can see letters of the Tamazight alphabet on the left and Arabic script on the right.
|We drove through the Swiss quarter, where there were gardens overhanging the walls, ...
|... and hotels with outdoor cafes, ...
|... then through the French quarter, where the Clichy Hotel had an Eiffel Tour symbol just to make sure you knew you were in the French quarter.
|Farooj, on the left, serves chicken, and Fine Burger, on the right, serves, well, burgers. Do you think that the Fine Burger logo looks suspiciously like the Burger King logo?
|Our next stop was at the Mohammed V Mosque, the largest mosque in Agadir.
|Again, we were the only tour bus here. What fantastic luck!
|Mohammed spent some time explaining the five pillars of Islam and what it means to be muslim while we stood on the square outside.
|These doors are the womens' entrance, with the doors on the left leading to the ablution room and the door on the right leading to the mosque's interior.
|Check out these cool bike racks that were along the street in front of the mosque.
|This street sign is for the Avenue 29 February, which commemorates the devestating earthquake which struck near midnight on February 29, 1960, destroying more than 70 percent of the city and killing 15,000 people.
|After visiting the mosque, we drove to the Souk El Had.
|It had opened only 40 minutes before, and as we were becoming used to, there were very few people inside.
|Mohammed led us through the maze of corridors, taking us by shops that sold touristy goods, ...
|... and rugs of all shapes and sizes, ...
|... and leather goods and everything you can possibly imagine. Some stalls had all of their wares out and were fully open, while others were either closed or just opening up. Mohammed explained that some stalls would open at 9, some would open maybe a little later, others wouldn't open until noon or later, all depending on the mood of the owners.
|The souk had many entrances, some of which had open courtyards like this one.
|There were lots of cats wandering throughout the souk, although some of them were sleepy like this one.
|There were bread stalls, ...
|... and candy stalls, ...
|... and this one that appeared to specialize in clay pots. Look at all of the cone-shaped tagine pots! There have to be hundreds of them.
|We eventually came to the vegetables and spices part of the market, with some things that we recognized, ...
|... and some things that we didn't.
|Look at all of those olives!
|This display case had pastry shells and something even more rare, a price tag.
|This stall was selling cleaning products and toilet paper, ...
|... and this one was selling baked goods.
|Look at the carving on this door. Just gorgeous.
|We made our way back to the entrance where we'd started, and then we were given free time to shop. We choose to sit on the wall of planter in shade and watch as a mama and her kitten played in the bushes until it was time to leave.
|This mosque was near the souk. Mohammed explained that it was for the people who worked at the souk, so that they could meet their obligation to pray five times per day while they were working.
|Our next event was a scenic drive through the tourist quarter, passing hotels, ...
|... and apartment buildings, ...
|... a beach club, ...
|... and resort buildings.
|Mohammed gave us a choice of stopping at a nice garden or going to the beach and we chose ...
|... the beach! We were so happy to be able to spend time at that beautiful crescent-shaped beach. That's the kasbah on the mountain top in the distance.
|Check out this beautiful shell!
|We walked out toward the line of the surf. The sand was well packed thanks to the rain that had been in the area before we arrived in port.
|Up the beach a little ways, there was a group of surfers making their way into the water.
|They appeared to be mostly women, with one or two men in the group.
|It was a good day to be surfing. There was a steady supply of of small rolling waves.
|We were here! And very happy to be here, too. We'd wanted to visit this beach since our previous visit here in 2011.
|There were plenty of people here, but it wasn't too crowded. There were people walking along the surf, kids digging holes in the sand, ...
|... and this group of guys playing soccer. At one point, the ball got away from them and rolled toward the ocean. Tom started to chase it down, but then one of the guys ran after it. When he got to it, he smiled and kicked the ball to Tom as a way of saying thanks for going after it, and Tom kicked it right back to him.
|After our free time was up, we made our way back toward the bus, posing for a group photo with Mohammed before we got back on. Several of our group posed for individual shots with him, ...
|... while Debbie took this photo of the beautiful manhole cover. It's always nice when they have the city name stamped into them.
|As we drove back to the pier, we got a photo of Agadir's cable cars in action. Mohammed explained that private cars were no longer allowed drive up to the kasbah, which was another reason why it was much less crowded this time compared to last time. Now, you either have to come on a tour, like we did, or take a shuttle bus, or take the brand new cable car that just started operation in August 2022.
|Just after 11:30 AM, we were back at the ship.
|As soon as we got past security and were on the ship, crew members were telling us that Express Lunch was being served in the dining room. We decided that Express Lunch sounded delicious, and headed right there.
|We were seated at a lovely table for two on the starboard side of the dining room.
|After a first course of potato corn chowder, we were delighted to have beer battered fish and chips as a main course. It was crispy, hot, and delicious.
|Back in our cabin, we headed out to the balcony to take a last look at Agadir before we left port. Look at all of that Maersk! They were all beautiful white containers in perfect rows.
|At 12:45 PM, it was time for sail out. Tom headed up to the Sea View Bar and got a bucket of Stella Artois to drink as we left port. It's kind of a tradition that started on our Alaska trip in 2012 when we drank a bucket with Jill as we left Vancouver.
|We looked for jellyfish in the water but unlike last time, we only saw part of a life jacket and a plastic bag.
|We spotted this airplane mounted on blocks at the top of the mountain. Mohammed had said that the same company that built the cable car had purchased a retired aircraft and was hoping to turn it into a restaurant.
|There are ten grain silos at the port painted to be a giant Moroccan flag, ...
|... and here's the Russian fish factory ship again.
|Buh, bye, Agadir.
|Our LEGO daily calendar clearly showed our minifigs rocking the kasbah.
|The writing on the hillside says "God, Country, King" from top down, left to right.
|As we were leaving port, the captain came over the public address system telling us the distance to the next port, expected arrival time, and the expected sea conditions during the next part of the voyage. For tonight, he warned that they were expecting swells of up to five meters and that the ship might pitch as we reached the open ocean.
|By 5:00 PM, we had reached the rougher seas. We could determine how much we were pitching by watching the rail on our balcony swing from above the horizon to under the horizon. The ship's horizontal stabilizers were doing a great job of controlling the roll, however, because there was almost no roll in the ship's motion.
|You can kind of see the large swells in this photo. There were also flights of northern gannets that flying by the ship. They were almost pure white with distinctive black wingtips.
|The ship's motion wasn't bothering us at all, and we headed up to the Lido Market for dinner.
|Back in our cabin, our cabin steward had left tomorrow's daily program and information about our next port, Casablanca.
|Another beautiful sunset.
|At 7:30 PM, we headed up to the Lido Pool near midship for the Grand Fair, a carnival-style party featuring ...
|... carnival food such as cotton candy and caramel apples, ...
|... and carnival games where you could win tickets and prizes. Here's one of our neighbors, Cheryl, taking a turn at ladderball. You throw bollards, two balls connected by a string, toward the ladder and try to get them to wrap around it. If you got two to hang onto the ladder, you won a ticket. If you got all three, you won two tickets.
|The rough seas, however, were making it a little bit of a challenge. The water from the pool was not wanting to stay in the pool, ...
|... and with every big pitching motion, it would alternate from all being at the back of the pool, ...
|... and with a big splash it would all run to the front of the pool. Debbie tried in vain to get a photo of the water splashing upward as it hit the pool wall, but couldn't ever get it. You'll have to take our word for it.
|Look how happy Debbie looks with that corn dog! There were crew members circulating with various appetizers, ...
|... and Tom chose a slider and Debbie chose a corn dog. They were both really good, with Debbie going so far as that even with the mustard on it, that was the best corn dog she'd ever had. High praise indeed.
|There were teams of crew members on both sides of the pool trying to squeege away the sloshing water. By this time, they had placed a safety net over the pool to make sure no one fell in, and they had started to reduce the amount of water in the pool.
|Here's the ring toss game. If you got enough rings on the stick, you would win a ticket. Throughout the evening, the cruise director, Ian, would announce a prize, like a free dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, and then would read a ticket number.
|Here's Tom, and more importantly, there's the water from the pool.
|This game used the shuffleboard pucks and sticks. You got three tries to shoot your pucks into the square marked with an "X" at the opposite end. You had to get several in to win a ticket.
|Here's Cheryl again trying her hand at a non-alcoholic version of beer pong. The crew operating the games were wearing bright orange top hats.
|In the foreground was a tic-tac-toe game where you threw bean bags toward the other end of the table trying to get them to form a line across the board. That's Viv, who organized our tour today, taking a turn.
|Debbie had some cotton candy, ...
|... and Tom got a bag of popcorn.
|There were also caramel apples available, ...
|... and ice cream cones with all kinds of toppings.
|Here's another view of the midships wave pool, err, swimming pool.
|That's the cruise director, Ian, dressed as a clown calling out the winning ticket number for some prize or other. What a fun evening!
|Back in our cabin, we took a moment to look at the moon shining directly behind the ship. Our wake, normally straight as an arrow, was a little more disturbed in the turbulent seas.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy