Operation Cous-Cous has returned after successfully conquering Morocco. More details and about a million photos to follow [ ed – see some photos here ], but this is a brief summary of our trip:
- Day 1 – Get boats past grumpy check-in supervisor. Land in Marrakesh and meet up with Sharif and The Van for the first time. Head into central Marrakesh for food and beer. RJ finds all you can eat restaurant.
- Day 2 – Paddle the Ourika. Bump heads and smear faces under low bridges. Become tourist attraction whilst waiting for The Van. Drive up the worlds most wriggly road.
- Day 3 – Wake up in the middle of a desert film set. Drive. Arrive at the Dades valley and paddle top gorge. Ben swims on low pipe. Stay in hotel on river bank.
- Day 4 – Get up early to paddle lower Dades gouge. Load up The Van and drive further into the desert. Get laughed at by policemen. Rich meets a camel named Colin. Get rained on while sandboarding in the Sahara.
- Day 5 – Rich spends more quality time with Colin. Everyone spends more quality time with The Van. Stay in a random town full of Jedi and buy dodgy beer in a dodgy off licence.
- Day 6 – Paddle the Riba. Mark comes within inches of taking out a tagine on the cafe section. Rolls from Mark and Rich. Lisa dislocates thumb and has to walk out. Eat chicken and beans with the locals in Beni Mellal.
- Day 7 – Spend hours trying to get permits to paddle the Ouzoud. Drive. Meet other Bristol group near the get in for the Ahansal. Spend about an hour faffing with the overnight kit. Mike has prolonged inspection of the inside of a large syphon. Wildcamp on the river bank and build an unnecessarily large fire.
- Day 8 – Overtake other Bristol group due to extreme efficiency in breaking camp. Get sunburned paddling across large lake for 3 hours. Find hotel that serves more Cous-Cous than RJ can eat, cold beer and pastise.
- Day 9 – Paddle Grade I ditch in 40 degree heat. Main obstacle is man riding donkey down centre of river. Drive to the Ouzoud.
- Day 10 – Paddle the Ouzoud. Awesome sequence of pool drops up to 40 feet high. Get cheered by crowds of tourists. Eat celebratory stew at get out and drive to Marrakesh. Eat pizza and wind up the other group about the Ouzoud.
- Day 11 – Walk round Marrakesh and get mugged by snake charmers. Rich almost gets arrested for spying. Mike buys some slippers and ends up in a beer shop. Say goodbye to Sharif and The Van. Fly home.
Overall awesome. Where next?