Customs turned up eventually and waved a grubby form at me from the harbour
wall so I had to clamber over two yachts and a rusty freighter to get it.
While filling it in (difficult as just in French and Arabic) the Immigration
Police arrived on the boat. Filled in his form (almost identical information
to that needed by the previous three officials seen). Immigration wanted to
take the passports away but could only return them after 10:00AM unless I
went with him to the police station. Met the Customs man who was waiting in
his car for his form. Customs man decided he would drive me to his office to
wait while Immigration man did something else. Drove what seemed like miles,
finished Customs paperwork then I was sent to the Police Station where I
waited hours for Immigration man turning up do some more forms and passport
stamping. After being let go I got lost in the very big and very smelly fish
dock. After almost finding my way back to the commercial harbour,
Immigration man roared up in his van and I got bundled into the back while
some more paperwork was done that he forgot about the first two times we
met. Some dithering about involving requests for baksheesh then I was back
to the boat with all paperwork done and still in possession of all
documents. It's not easy to keep calm after spending a couple of nights at
sea beforehand. All official were friendly enough but obviously couldn't do
admin for toffee.
During the night the boat got a good covering of phosphate dust which is
mainly what the port does. In the morning we motored through the very filthy
harbour dodging bits of fishing net and plastic sacks. The King of Morocco
was apparently turning up to the city the next day so some of the bigger
boats were dressed with dusty bunting. Hope he likes it.
There was no wind so we motored all day to Essaouira. Several miles
offshore, Lori, wearing a bikini, waved enthusiastically to a bunch of
Moroccans in a fishing boat who naturally wanted to come over and sell us
fish. The skipper vetoed this on the grounds of safety and was declared to
be a 'tourist' rather than a 'traveller'. C'est la vie. And this is off the
desert coast of the Maghreb!
In Essaouira we rafted up with a French boat on a small pontoon in the very
picturesque fishing harbour. Paperwork was not too bad. I just had to visit
two offices. Different uniforms, same information. Oddly, they always need
to know how many children you have at home. Explored the streets of the
fortified town in the evening and ate a good meal at the 'Chez Sam'
restaurant next to the pontoon.