Exactly one year ago I was in Morocco. I travelled through the North, was amazed, intrigued, annoyed and surprised by the life there, and came back with the idea I should one day head back to explore the South. I had no idea it would be this soon. I usually say that about places; ‘I really have to come back here’. But although so many places have blown me away, there aren’t too many I’ve revisited, because there is always a new country to explore. And yet, exactly one year later, I’m on Moroccan soil again.
It’s very different than I thought it would be though. After another busy summer season, all the tour leaders got the chance to celebrate the end of the season in Marrakesh. For three days we’ll be taken care of and get to hear how all the other people are doing. It’s a fantastic chance, but Morocco is still a good 4 hour flight and the flight is not super cheap. So I started puzzling with my schedule. It’s not long until I go to Australia, so would going to Morocco really be the right choice? Or should I just chill at home and not plan too much? Or… I could combine it with the surf trip I’ve been wanting to do for a while now!
And so I booked myself into the fancy Amouage hotel in Taghazout, complete with surfing package. After some struggles with Ryanair I found an airline who would fly me to Agadir and off I went. Landing in Agadir was so much different from landing in Fez last year. As I walked out of the airport I was greeted by a mob of people holding up signs. It seemed like every single person arriving here had booked some sort of package. Eventually I found my sign and after waiting for a few more people we made our way through the dark streets of Morocco. Everything took a lot longer than I’d expected, but when we arrived, dinner was waiting for us. It was 11PM by then, so we all quickly took some food and headed off to bed. The next day would be an early morning.
At 7AM I walked down the street to the surf shop a few doors down to pick up my wetsuit. It was still dark and the air was chilly. When I got back, there was a delicious breakfast buffet waiting. I could also fill a pot with my own mixed salad for lunch. At 8.45AM our instructors came to pick us up. And this is how I started the routine for the week. I was surprised with my group. I thought it would have consisted of young boys and girls who had a break from university or something, but to my surprise the people in my group were my age. I wasn’t the only one who was keen to learn a new sport in her late 20s or 30s.
We drove out to Camel beach and were one of the first groups there. We squeezed into our wetsuits and started our warm up with a run on the beach. The sun was already out and I was glad when we were done with the theory and could finally enter the water. I felt my body cooling down as the water made its way up my wetsuit. On day number 1 I didn’t go that well. The few times I got up, I fell back into the water straight away. And also, it was exhausting! But I wasn’t the only one who was feeling it. We kept taking breaks and our instructor kept having to push us to go back into the water. By the time lunch came, most people were done. I headed out for a bit after lunch, but didn’t last very long anyway.
Back at the hotel, the hot shower was the best thing ever! And afterwards I could chill in the most calming environment. There was an outdoor area with infinity pool that had couches, lounges and chairs everywhere. It was just so well set up. And even inside was a nice space to relax, with a fireplace for the colder evenings and quirky decorations everywhere, like a lit up heart made of the taillights of cars. There was afternoon tea, every day with a different cake or other snack. Just before dinner there were tapas and then there would be a huge family meal, with beautiful tagines and couscous.
As it turned out, November was the surfing season and the waves were a bit big for this beginner. White waves were fun, but when we headed out to the green waves, I felt I was in over my head. I paddled as if my life depended on it, but only caught a few waves. Then I didn’t get up quick enough. I was too often at the ‘almost point’, which is just not good enough. My team decided to head back to the white waves to give our confidence a boost. There were some pretty huge waves out there and I did get caught in a few washing machine rides, with my board pulling me forward. Don’t mess with the force of nature!
Unfortunately I had one sick day as well. It seemed like a process everyone in Taghazout went through. Some people said it was actually contaminated sea water that made all the surfers sick! I fainted in the night and had a huge fever, so took a day off from surfing and eating. Luckily I recovered fast and got back on my board the next day. I did finally feel like I was getting comfortable in the water after a few days. I was getting up quicker and quicker and could stand for longer, in a better position and even turn sometimes. I’ve made a good start, but surfing, unlike skiing for example, is not quickly learned. I really hope to have the chance to get out there again soon, and pick up where I left it. It was a beautiful holiday, with active mornings and relaxing afternoons. I truly felt like I was in paradise!