06.05.2017, Morocco (Part 4/4)
At the coast about each two kilometers is a military post. A small house with an access road, a solar-panel and a water tank on top of the house. As is began getting darker, I went to one of them and explained that I have to sleep here. “No, not possible. Only for military.” The second one I’ve tried I get the same answer. So, I looked for a good place, started cooking and built up my camp. It was already complete dark and before I was finished with building up the tent, two men with a quad stopped right next to me. “Are you the swiss cyclist? Sorry for the misunderstanding. Please come with us to the next military post to sleep there. It’s for your security.” I followed them for 3 km and built up the next to the military post and had a place with sea view.
Cost (133 Days, 18.01.2017 - 31.05.2017)
|1||Food||686.25 €||5.36 €||27 %|
|2||Lodging||851.68 €||6.65 €||34 %|
|3||Transport||176.91 €||1.38 €||7 %|
|4||Miscellaneous||139.50 €||1.09 €||6 %|
|5||Tourist attraction||578.55 €||4.52 €||23 %|
|6||Equipment||72.75 €||0.57 €||3 %|
|8||Totally||2505.65 €||19.58 €||100 %|
06.05.2017, Day 111, Tiznit: Invatation from Mohammed
My finger wasn’t really better today… actually it was even a bit worse than the days before. Anyway, after the break for almost two weeks, I wanted to move. My next destination I planning to stay longer is Dakhla. Should be one of the best places to do Kite-Surfing and I want to try it. And then I saw it…” Dakhla 1142 km”. Thank you, road sign…
In the afternoon, I arrived in Aglou, another small village at the beach. After all the nice spots Valentino and I visited at the beach, I was disappointed and continued my way to Tiznit. On the road I get in contact with Mohammed which also went by bike to Tiznit. He invited me to his friend for dinner and his home to stay the night.
07.05.2017, Day 112, Sidi Ifni: Natural arch
Today Mohammed had a lot to do, so as soon as we woke up we started preparing ourselves and ate a small breakfast. I left the small and quiet city Tiznit and continued cycling to Sidi Ifni. Next to the road I knew there has to be a natural arch. I pushed the bike down to the bay and found the huge rock reach out in the sea. At the front of it some fishermen gathered and kids were preparing some shells to wear them back to the city.
08.05.2017, Day 113, Guelmim: Dog attack
Since my bike stand was broken, I carry a long bamboo stick with my to place the bike stable. And since a dog has bitten in Valentino’s bike bag, we often were joking about the situation and the bamboo stick we could have use. Today I cycled a little up the hill when two dogs were running at me barking. My right hand moved to the bamboo stick, while the left one was on the handle bar to continue riding. One of the dogs stopped in the middle road, but the other came very close. I pulled my stick and beat him exactly between his eyes. That confused him for a moment and I could built up enough speed to drive away.
09.05.2017, Day 114, El Ouatia: Camping place
Tonight, I woke up early, because some jeep drivers just parked next to the ruins I’ve camped. They had a small break to eat and pee and continued their way. Because it was very hot the last days, I decided to get up as well and start cycling in the cold of the morning. At afternoon I reached a camping place for a cold shower.
10.05.2017, Day 115, El Ouatia: Rest day
We finally found a very good place to camp and after ten minutes the first interested kids visited us. They’ve seen us cooking, went home, returned with their donkey and gave us some beans and breads to complete our diner. Before they had to go home again, we had a chance to ride the donkey with them what was very funny.
11.05.2017, Day 116, Akhfennir: Endless roads
The days are getting longer. Same as the distance between the cities. I’ve passed many police posts at the road. Mostly they’re placed on the access roads to the cities. But today it was the first time they stopped me and asked for my passport, destination and profession. After they checked it, the officer want me to show up at the police station in the next city. I was a bit confused and scared about the reason. Did my visa run out? May they want to check all my bags and I will lose a lot of time?
When I found the police station, the officer was already there waiting for me. “Please follow me. You sleep here tonight, for your security.” We walked to a hotel and payed the guy from the reception a tip. “Please come tomorrow again to the police station to specify your next destination and the leaving of this village. Good night et bonne voyage” That’s it. He left and I found myself in the room of the hotel. At a tea outside the locals explained me that the security of tourists in south morocco is very important and the officers can lose their job if something happens to them. “They’re friendly to foreigners, but to locals they aren’t.” Well this time I was happy to be the tourist and pleased about this kindness.
12.05.2017, Day 117, Tarfaya: Caught by the Military
As the officer wished, I went to the police station to say good bye and thanked for the hotel. The way was very boring, there is nothing else then sand, rocks and the ocean for dozens of kilometers… So by bike for hours. Some dunes and camels were the exception. The next city I entered at afternoon and after I refilled my foods, I continued. At the exit of the town the military General stopped me. After I explained that the next village is too far away to reach in one day and I want to do a part today and the rest tomorrow, he agreed my leaving of the city but I had to sleep in one of the military post. I agreed as well and continued my ride.
13.05.2017, Day 118, El Marsa: Western-Sahara wind
At some time, today I entered the Western-Sahara. Like Catalonia in Spain, the Western-Sahara wants to be independently from Morocco. I defiantly can understand the feeling of the locals here because my grandparents were from Catalonia. There was no police control or something like that. The only thing that changed was the wind. A very strong and constant wind in south direction. Today I was far enough from cities and military posts that I could camp outside again without someone is carry about his job… or my security.
14.05.2017, Day 119, Boujdour: Boat builders
Late in the afternoon I entered in Boujdour. The last big city before Dakhla. As soon as I started buying food the police officer asked me to stay in the city for the night. Fortunately there was a camping so I could place my bike and tent there. On a tour through the village I found a garage with interesting noise. As I looked closer there were about 8 workers cutting wood and hammering nails into wooden boats. I like the construction of the boats out of natural materials and to see the handwork how they create them. The high sidewalls make it possible to use them in the ocean as well so they are used as fisher boats in the Atlantic coast of Morocco and even in Portugal and Spain. The price for a 5.3m Boat is about 5000€, 7.3m about 7000€.
15.05.2017, Day 120, Oued Kraa: Sahara camping
I recognized that my Optimus Nova fuel stove didn’t worked that well anymore and I used the opportunity that I stayed at the camping place to clean it. The additives of the fuel and the sand of the desert aren’t the best friends of the stove. With the multitool which is included I was able to disassemble all the necessary parts to rinse them with water. I changed the fuel filter as well and the stove burned again like his younger days.
The distance to Dakhla was about 350km. My food reserve was calculated for 2 to 3 days. This time I was again far enough from any military and police officers that I could camped outside. Once I stopped and found a place to stay, the fine dust of the Sahara was almost everywhere. As soon the tent was built up the inside was covered with fine sand also the cooking pots, the spaghetti water the sleeping bag… nothing was safe. I hidden all electronic devices in the waterproof bike bags and hoped the sand will not find his way inside.
16.05.2017, Day 121, Western Sahara: Invitation from Mahfoud
At the 59. Km of this day I stopped to take a picture of a group from about 40 camels, next to the road. At the 60. Km a man was waving his hand very hard to grab my attention. I drove to him and he invited me to his place. It was a very strange building defiantly not designed by Moroccan. It was a UN-base with 6 houses. Mahfoud himself explained that he work since 8 years for the UN to take care of the houses. He gave me a book with a lot of notes from other tourists and I interested started reading. He hosted many cyclists which crossed this road and told me that yesterday a Asian cyclist stayed here. Even if I just had done 60 km I decided to stay here as well to have a relaxed night in a real building. After I placed the bike inside the building, he brought me to the other side of the street to a hot spring. It smelled a bit like Sulphur and some truck driver stopped here already to take a hot shower. He explained me also that all the camels were here to drink.
17.05.2017, Day 122, Dakhla: Caught the Asian cyclist
Today I had strong downwind again. After I crossed a hill they were all in front of me… dozen kites in the air. I arrived in the paradise for kite surfing, about 30 km north of the city Dakhla. After I checked some prices to sleep and to rent the equipment, I decided to continue my cycling first to get to the city itself. The prices to rent the material or to have some lessons where similar to the one around the lagoon. The city itself had big tourist flair with a lot restaurants next to the sea and a long sea promenade to walk on. I found out in which hotel the other cyclist stayed and I choose the same one. Later we met and he had the same route as me: Crossing Mauretania to get to Senegal. But he had to hurry up a bit and me I want to stay in Dakhla to practice kite surfing, so we didn’t continue cycling together.
18.05.2017, Day 123, Lassarga: Fishermen’s Village
I removed all the heavy bags from my bike to make a small excursion to the southernmost village of the peninsula: Lassarga. I heard it’s a small fisher-town and expected some traditional buildings and grilled fish. After a downwind drove I reached it. And it destroyed my illusion. The improvised houses were built from everything they found. Wood, tin, container, plastic foil and some fisher nets hold the houses together. Comparing to the touristy buildings in the northern lagoon of Dakhla, it was terrible to see.
19.05.2017, Day 124, Dakhla: First Kite-Surf-Lessons
Today I cycled back to the Kite-Surf-Spot in the north to learn it and stay some days there. I wanted to stay close to the place where I have to practice it, even if it costs a bit more. As soon as I arrived in the “Auberge des Nomades” they organized the equipment for me and took me to the beach to learn to fly the kite. My teacher Mohammed (aka Simon) and I spent 3 hours there to learn it and at the end I went in the water without the board, to do some Bodydrag. This way you learn how the kite works while pulling you.
When I stopped here two days ago to check the prices, Cathy told me that this place is one of the most familiar one. “Fatima is cooking every day for us and we eat all together. Everybody talks to everyone and we speak “by you” to each other.” Her words and the price made me coming back again. It is a basic location with everything you need and without any luxury you will not need. Unfortunately, I was the only one who was not from France and it was not easy to follow all the conversations or to find one. But the moon was good and I felt very comfortable.
20.05.2017, Day 125, Dakhla: No wind
Even in the best place can have some doldrums days and today was one of them. Maybe it was better this way to relax the body a bit after this new movements which made me a bit sore muscles. Piere and Cathy had their fishing rods with them and we went at the lagoon to do some fishing. Unfortunately, the high tide came and flushed away our sandals we placed in the sand. Some electronic material was wet as well.
21.05.2017, Day 126, Dakhla: 2nd Day of Kite-Surf-Lessons
After an unwind morning, the afternoon was windy enough to go kite-surfing. Today I had to practice again with a bigger kite which had much more power. In the end, I had to let me pull upwind with the kite but that wasn’t that easy… But I was able to stay at the same position. After many tries and some sips of sea water we finished for today. Simon said to me: “You control the kite very well, tomorrow I’ll give you the board.”
22.05.2017, Day 127, Dakhla: Time for the Board
Because I learned to control the kite very fast, my teacher gave me the board today. After some minutes practicing upwind-bodydraging, I felt ready to get on the board. In the morning, I learned to do the waterstart. That’s the movement to get from sitting in the water, to riding on the board. From cycling I had already very strong legs and from snow- and skateboarding I knew how to handle with a board on my feet. So that was easy for me to learn. After some tries I was able to ride till the other side of the lagoon, stop there, sit in the water again and do the waterstart in the other direction again.
If you don’t want to sit in the water every time you switch the direction, you have to do the transition. If you change the direction of the kite fast enough, you don’t have to sit in the water. After a lot of tries I was able to do that as well but the actual goal was to ride upwind. I tired that the whole afternoon but I didn’t manage it. I was only able to stay at the same position, so riding 90° to the wind. To ride upwind was like the final exam. I wouldn’t need a teacher anymore. Just rent the material and go by myself what is much cheaper than the lessons.
23.05.2017, Day 128, Dakhla: Try to go upwind
This afternoon I got a bigger kite again. For the students and to rent they had 5, 7, 9 and 12 square meter kites. To ride I usually had the 9er but today I had to use the 12er. Unfortunately, there is nothing in between and the big kite was pulling me all the time like a bull. When I felt, I flew many meters downwind my board because the kite had so much power. A lot of my time I spent in the water with bodydraging upwind to find my board again. It took a while till I was able to control the big and slow kite, but once I get it, I was able to do nice sliding transitions.
24.05.2017, Day 129, Dakhla: Riding upwind
In the afternoon, the wind was strong enough for the 9er kite, I liked much more than the strong and slow 12er. I was able to ride upwind till the end of the lagoon which was about 1km from my starting point. My teacher saw me riding upwind and at the end I went back to his position. The moment I tried to stop at the beach, I pulled too much on my handlebar and I did an uncontrolled jump just in front of him. That impressed him that much that he allowed me to go by myself the next day. Till now I had 17.5 hours’ lessons.
25.05.2017, Day 130, Dakhla: First solo ride
While riding I had a lot of salt water splashed in my face and I felt pain in my eyes. That’s why I went to the town Dakhla to buy some cheap sunglasses, sunscreen and new sandals. The afternoon I went in the water for my first solo ride. I practiced to slide and ride toeside and to do Jibe transitions. The difference to the sliding transition is that you riding a curve and have to turn the board. In the end, I found it easier to do curves instead of sliding transitions, because there is no moment where you stay without speed. At dinner I asked some other surfers for tips to do jumps and down loops. Everybody gave me the advice to not try the down loops now. Only Francis from Tenerife was optimistic and his words were: ”Damn look at you guy. 4 days ago, you asked me for an advice to do upwind bodydraging and now we’re talking about down loops and jumps. That’s incredible!” Another comment was for example: “You can ride upwind and do Jibe transitions after 4 days of kiting? That took me more than 2 weeks to learn!”
26.05.2017, Day 131, Dakhla: Down Loop Jibe
My legs felt very rusty from surfing all the time, so I decided to exercise a bit in a different way. I wore my shoes and jogged for 1 or 2 hours. From the bible of kite-surfing, the “Tricktionary”, I get the theory for my next steps. I want to try my first jumps and to do some down loop transitions. The jump was very difficult to learn, I just went 3 or 4 times in the air. The down loop transitions were much easier for me to learn. I used them for the jibe curves I learned yesterday and also for the waterstart. The down loops gave much more speed.
27.05.2017, Day 132, Dakhla: Relax at the lagoon
28.05.2017, Day 133, Dakhla: First “Jumps”
Early in the morning I went to the rental house to get a kite. I was one of the firsts in the water and trained all day to get in the air. I had some problem to learn the Pop, the kick that lifts you out of the water. After training the whole day I was able to be a little bit in the air. I was very tired and went to bed just after dinner.
Those who think you can not fall in love with a sport, have never done Kite-Surfing before.
29.05.2017, Day 134, El Argoub: Couldn’t stay longer
The morning I woke up very destroyed. I felt pain in my feet, hands, ribs, legs, back and had absolutely no more motivation to exercise more. I also started feeling boring to stay so long at the same place. Like in Taghazout I stayed 10 days here. Seems like to be the maximum I can stay at the same place. I packed my stuff and after lunch I said goodbye to everyone. It was a very good time and special thanks to Cathy & Francois, Pierre & Celine, Jan & Friends, Francis, Marc, Simon my teacher, Celine to take all the pictures from me and all the other guests who gave me tips and made my stay more interesting!
Back on the bike I felt motivation to move forward. Forward to the first boarder I will cross by bicycle. After less than an hour I crossed the next road sign where my next destinations where listed. Nouadhibou and Nwakchout in Mauretania, Dakar in Senegal. The police officer wanted me to sleep in the small town El Argoub, where I had an amazing sunset, behind the mosque.
30.05.2017, Day 135, Barbas: Downwind distance record
Before sunrise I woke up already by some dogs who touched my bike and triggered the alarm. The wind was very strong and in less than 9-hour cycling I reached 205km! That was the longest distance I’ve done on my journey till now. On the way, I had there were some nice sandstone formation. The police officers asked me to sleep at the gas-station next to them.
31.05.2017, Day 136, Morocco: Boarder to Mauretania
The long distance I cycled yesterday and the hard days kitesurfing I felt very hard today. I reached the boarder shortly after midday. I was very tired and fortunately I didn’t have to wait like all the trucks. To exit out of Morocco was a very fast procedure. After the boarder, there was a gate and after the gate the asphalted road ended and goes into a 4km piste to the boarder of Mauretania. I had some help from Ahmeida. He carried my luggage and I followed him by bike. The area between the boarders is mined so you shouldn’t leave the path.