The entire past seven days paled insignificantly compared to the Saturday of this past week. We were able at long, long last to finally undertake an adventure that I have been talking about since my very first visit to Saidia in April 2005 ... a kayaking trip down the Moulouya River.
Many of you will have crossed the river by the bridge coming from Nador or Melilla, near the estuary that spills out into the Mediterranean sea just a few kilometres from the Med-Saidia Resort. During the summer there are fishermen lazing on the shores along the riverbank, intermingled with the goats and cows being walked and tended by a few local kids.
We have been talking to the local water sports rental company, Marsa, for the past few months concerning this adventure. They'd also had the idea, and were in the position to also have the equipment necessary to be able to put it into action. So, acting as very willing guinea pigs, Michael, Vaughan & I, accompanied by Antonio the Marsa manager, drove up to a point on the river bank which enabled us to easily get into the kayaks.
The owner, Rachid of Marsa, and our friend Alex also came with us to take the cars back to Saidia. Logistics will have to be thought through if this is to become a regular activity. We hope that this will be a start of pursuits yet to arrive here in Saidia. Marsa have been key in setting up water-based pastimes here on the resort. Last Summer they had outlets on the beach at both the hotels, offering kayaks, hobie cats, jet skies, etc. This year, out of 'season', they're hoping to have a 'Club' where you pay a set fee per month and you can use the non-motorised equipment as much as you like.
Anyway, back to Saturday ... the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the water of the river was not nearly as cold as we'd expected and off we set, floating down the Wadi Muluya - the Arabic name. The river is a total of 520 kilometres long and its sources are located in Middle Atlas. It empties to the Mediterranean Sea just a few kilometres from Med-Saidia.
As we bobbed along in our day glow orange kayaks, we took in the scenery, waved at very bemused locals on the shoreline and tried to identify some of the birdlife that was drifting overhead. It was so peaceful, very warm and quite idyllic in a way. Mr V. dozed off at one point and almost ended up marooned.
After an hour or so, Rachid and Alex appeared on the shoreline to check that we were OK. Better to be safe than sorry. Onward we sailed, towards the sea we went, slipping quietly and serenely along this water mass that has been flowing since the Atlas Mountains were formed. It really was the most amazing feeling for me.
Another hour passed by in a blur, and already we were arriving at the estuary, under the bridge and past the new 'Canal de Saidia' that has been installed to help prevent flooding of the resort. All too soon, our most amazing Saturday adventure was drawing to an end. However, a little piece of me was really quite relieved, as by now sitting in wet trousers had made me desperate for a toilet!
Marsa have an office in the Marina, and will be operating outside of the hotels again this year, so if you like water based activities, you're in for a treat.