Morocco Markets: Objects of My Desire

in Morocco / Overland Travel / Sailing the World

Sailing into Rabat, Morocco

It was hard to focus on helming as we pulled into the harbor in Rabat, Morocco, as I stared with wonder at the ancient stone structures lining the right side of the entrance and the colorful wooden fishing boats bobbing up and down on their moorings. I sensed that we hadn’t just left Europe; we’d sailed into another era from the distant past.

Fishermen working on their little boats stopped for a moment to stare at Cheeky Monkey as we motored past. A few men smiled and waved and I wondered whether they were transfixed by the arrival of a foreign vessel or the spectacle of what appeared to be a female-run boat with me at the helm and Kristi and Meg preparing the fenders and lines for docking at Bouregreg Marina. Ryan, the male minority on board, was on the radio getting docking instructions from the marina while I looked around and noticed the lack of women on the many boats we passed in the harbor. I smiled and waved at the fishermen as their mouths hung open, their jaws involuntarily unhinged.

Our jaws also hung slack as we pulled into this cute harbor in Rabat.

We weren’t sure what to expect from a marina that only charged $15/day for a 44-foot catamaran, but we definitely weren’t expecting a welcoming committee of eight officials to step on board bearing gifts of baseball caps, pens and key chains emblazoned with the marina’s logo for each of the crew. Two of the officials excitedly thumbed through our passports and asked us questions about ourselves and how on earth we could all survive without jobs, while the other officials on board looked around silently. I wondered if the extra men were having a dull day in the office and so they decided to tag along just to have a closer look at the boat and its crew.

Our amusing clearing-in experience motivated us to get off the boat and go explore what Morocco had to offer beyond the waterfront of Rabat. So once our French friends, Morgan and Xavier, arrived from Paris, ready and packed for the Atlantic-crossing, we shut up the boat, rented a car and hit the road on a mission to go see Casablanca and Marrakesh, two cities that were near enough to explore in the three days we had spare before sailing away to the Canary Islands.

Xavier and Morgan were thrilled to join us in Rabat for our Atlantic crossing.

Morocco markets: Shopping in Casablanca

I’m sure Casablanca has a lot more to offer the keen tourist than just bazaar shopping, but as we only had a few hours to stop there on our way to Marrakesh, we dove into the heart of the traditional marketplace in an attempt to absorb our surroundings in the most efficient way possible. We were aiming to shock our senses and dive into the experience of our sudden departure from Europe.

The best way to dive into any foreign culture is to EAT!

The crafts displayed in tiny market cubicles formed a tapestry of colors, textures and smells that drew me in as soon as we walked through the gates of the Casablanca Bazaar. There was silver jewelry with colored stones, carts piled high with roasted almonds and dates, handmade leather bags and slippers dangled above our heads, all of them too beautiful not to reach out and touch. Vendors pleaded for us to come have a closer look at their wares in their direct but gentle way, looking us in the eyes and smiling as they held out pretty objects to entice us into their shops as we walked past.

“Must touch…so pretty…how much are they?”

Before we even got a few steps into the market, Meg and I were drawn to a stall that was intricately stacked with polished wooden boxes of all shapes and sizes. The boxes begged to be touched and opened and held, and the vendor took full advantage of the power of his beautiful handicrafts by encouraging us to try and open one of his many “magic boxes,” clever little cases with hidden keys that required puzzle-solving skills to find. Without knowing what we would need a magic box for, and before Ryan could complain that little wooden boxes have no use on a boat, Meg and I bought three of them.

Resisting the irresistible

It’s moments like these when I long to be able to collect things, when it seems like a shame that I can’t keep much on a boat. I ran my fingers through the multi-colored woven cloths and reached up to touch the gleaming brass lamps above my head and, for a second, I wished I had a house I could fill with unique objects from Morocco. But then I remembered that being free to roam means being able to carry everything I need in one bag or on one boat. I remembered that shedding objects and leaving the weight of possessions behind is what has allowed us to keep moving from one beautiful experience to another.

So many beautiful things and so little room to keep it all.

And with that thought, the shiny brass lamps, though beautiful, transformed into heavy burdens that would require somewhere to be housed and someone to polish them. So I pulled my hand away, smiled at the vendor and kept walking.


This is Meg. She has a large family and 3 sisters, so she bought everything.

Update from Tasha

Hey everyone!

Thanks so much for reading and having patience with the lack of postings while I’ve been moving around in areas with poor WiFi. Life on a boat means we’re often not connected, which has its pros and cons. But from the perspective of a blogger and YouTuber, they’re mostly cons. I have learned to switch off and be patient every now and then, but it’s a struggle – I’m constantly chasing down SIM cards and data in remote islands.

In any case, if you didn’t catch our video about Morocco on Chase the Story Sailing, catch it here:

Thanks so much for reading and watching – don’t forget to hit the red subscribe button on YouTube so you don’t miss an update!



0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Glenn Madill March 12, 2016, 7:07 pm

    Of course we, your readers, will wait patiently for your posts. Because they are worth waiting for. You’re really very good at this.

    • Tasha March 13, 2016, 11:51 am

      Aw, thanks, Glenn 🙂

  • Ted Fitzgerald March 14, 2016, 3:51 pm

    Great blog, as always! Do you guys use a wifi or cellular repeater on the boat? Not having stable internet keeps me up at night when I think about our move to the boat later this year!

  • Ric March 17, 2016, 8:30 pm

    Many years ago I remember reading an article in USA Today about “sombrero’s”, I don’t remember all of the article, but it was about always having a sombrero from every place you tour. The point of the article was focused on making sure the “sombrero” was the most outrageous, useless item, with absolutely no purpose.
    It’s funny, I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I remember a 500 word article from a newspaper 18 years ago.

  • Hang Around The World April 1, 2016, 4:32 am

    That’s why we love traveling! You do things that normally you will never do.
    Know new places, new people, new cultures….. AMAZING POST!!
    Hang Around The World recently posted…ArlonMy Profile

  • Dalal February 21, 2017, 12:16 pm

    I am glad you enjoyed my beloved city Rabat. I just found your blog and I am going to binge read it tonight… we need more surfer girls on the web <3

  • Suellen Tomkins May 27, 2017, 7:58 am

    Hi Tasha
    We literally just bought our Helia 44 today – yikes! Love your content.
    Wondering how secure you felt Cheeky Monkey was in Rabat?

  • Surf Maroc January 10, 2020, 4:20 pm

    Morocco in an incredible country, any recommended Surf Spot?

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