The vast majority of cruisers heading for the Canaries either go via Madeira or directly from Portugal. We had heard good things about Morocco and because it was somewhere we had never been we decided to give it a try. We were not expecting European 5 star marinas or cute sandy bays, but actually we were pleasantly surprised by some places.
Mohammedia was always going to be a small busy fishing harbour with limited space or facilities for yachts, but that’s fine – that’s the type of Morocco we wanted to see – just normal hard working Moroccans going about their everyday business as normal. As well as a fishing harbour Mohammedia is an oil transfer port – we arrived on a Sunday and there were queues of tankers parked up waiting to enter the port all along the roads.
We didn’t know what to expect with regard to the officialdom – customs, immigration and police but whilst a little more time consuming and labour intensive (mostly all recorded in duplicate or triplicate in hand written ledgers), it was an easy hassle free process.
When we arrived it was spring tides and the yacht pontoon was small and relatively shallow, so after spending one night there and touching the bottom at low water we headed out to the bay the next day.
The bay was very pleasant and peaceful. We were the only boat in it and could watch the locals enjoying the beach in the evenings. Fishing is obviously not only a commercial activity here – many fisherman were casting off the beach late into the night and some were still there in the morning. We could dinghy ashore and it was only a short walk into town, passing local barbecue stands cooking up all types of fish for both locals and visitors alike, eaten on rickety tables directly on the pavement!
The most intriguing fishing we saw was from a couple of young guys, one perched on an inflated inner tube paying out net and another swimming pulling the tube in a large probably 200m wide circle starting and ending on the beach. Eventually they gathered the net in and collected their catch!
The bay was safe to leave the boat so we took the train to Casablanca for a day then left the next day for a trip down the coast to El Jadida. Mohammedia had been a fantastic introduction to Morocco, albeit one that left crude oil stains down the tubes of the dinghy and memories of a harbour littered with loads of rubbish floating everywhere.