Essaouira - lively chaos

Espen Aalstad
Sat 27 Oct 2007 10:03
31:30.5N 9:46:45W
The 55 nm south from Safi to Essaouira was uneventful in low wind. The port of Essaouira has been more exciting: from entry between rocks, old fort and into a narrow fishing harbour to the unpredictable and lively fishing port.
We were surprised to see only a few sailboats here also after having read the pilot. Just as well and we wonder what happens when the other ARC boats behind us arrive.
Two sailboats hang onto the only rescue boat, and we have had to dock next to the local tourist ferry with a Norwegian boat coincidentally. RX-II has four Norwegian students who have been selected to borrow the boat for the next few years. A great and representative Norwegian gang:)
We were first told the ferry leaves once a day, but it turned out twice a day and returns within the hour....luckily we were around when the ferry came back early.
With Ingeborg and Eivind on RX-II we did some rather exciting manouvering to let him out and in. Espen manouvered with RX-II alongside just like a catamaran.
The ferry owner is quite a 'capitain' and enjoys what the sailors must 'provide'. Tonight he is painting his boat at midnight after enjoying the whiskey 'Hearbeat' brought him.
An amazing 78ft. Dutch boat also in the ARC (4 kids!), and whom we had met in Mohammedia.. Their arrival at dusk was today's event. We enjoyed their 'ankerdram' and got to also see inside....beautiful.Ray: you were right!
More fun and caos as we were leaving with lowest low tide, stuck sailboat (blue) and film crews (big fishing boat) doing a telecom ad......
Essaouira is becoming a top tourist attraction in Morocco, and we can understand why. A small medina (old city) under an old Portugese fort with charming small streets, long surf beach and closeness to Atlas and Marrakesh. Local artisans is famous for their wood craftman ship...if only we had more space.
The sights and smells of the fishmarket is a strong memory. On the street by the old fort.
Fresh seafood from our favorite tourist captain was a great lunch
There were at least twice as many of these small fishing boats in the port....and not easy to see ashore.
Tomorrow we head for Lanzarote. Wind looks good.