Friday, 2 October 2009

Along the coast of Morocco

It was getting dark. I turned on the running lights but soon realized that the battery was low. We had to sail without them. The moon wasn’t up yet, it was pitching black. I couldn’t see any other boats in the area.

The coastline seemed deserted except for several vehicles with strong searchlights, driving back and forth. I could tell by the wobbly light that the terrain were rough. They kept climbing up and down, searching the area.

There was almost no wind. I could hear an engine crank up somewhere in the dark. The sound resonated under the cliffs and narrowed in as they came straight for us. The motor boat didn’t have any lights. I guessed it was the coast guard, or some sort of military, and turned on our lights. Nina came up to have a look.

We could barely make out the black shape of the boat as they turned slowly around in a big circle. Okay. Back to sleep. Back to nothing.

photo Henrik Nor-HansenThe fishermen in Morocco had the most gallant salute I’ve ever seen; they would put their hand on their heart and give us a short bow with their head. It was a custom we quickly picked up. I simply loved to do that salute, and could hardly wait for another boat to pass.

It was still Ramadan. No eating, drinking or smoking between sunrise and sunset. Otherwise it seemed to be business as usual, except people were a bit edgy around their daily chores. It could easily flare up an argument in the crowd at the fish marked.

After sunset we often got visited by an old man who used to sit in silence and smile, and later on he would climb out in the cockpit for a joint. We couldn’t communicate, but we understood he’d been a sailor of some sort. He always sat back and smoked the joint down to his fingernails. Then he would lean forward and turn his head like a heavy crane towards me and Nina in the cabin. He would say something in French and beam another smile.