Morocco: the land of the right-hand point breaks

Morocco: the land of the right-hand point breaks

Morocco: the land of the right-hand point breaks

Traditions and modernity perfectly mix in this incredible country famous for its perfect long right-hand point breaks, where teas and flavours spice up your days!

As you soon as I get off the plane in Agadir I can smell Africa. The perfume of the spices fills up the air and the desert gets in my lungs and in my heart. I am driving along the coast to get to the surf town of Taghazout. I can see from my window the perfect lines coming from the open ocean to meet up with the rocky coastline creating those perfect right-handers this area is famous for.

I have been to this place in many occasions, but I am always stoked of how many different experiences I get every time I am here. This is actually my first trip during the peak of the winter swell season. The forecast looks good and the froth is high. I spend my last years dreaming about surfing these waves and still can’t believe I have finally made it! Luckily I brought my step-up surfboard along and now I just need to get into the mind-set of “being ready to charge”!

From Imsouane to Anza, a great variety of waves for all surfing levels!

Well, of course, to enjoy surfing Morocco at its best a bit of surfing experience is required. The world-renown Anchor is not a wave for everyone, especially when it gets double over-head. The competition is high. Many Moroccan surfers are shredding out there and surfers from all around the world come to chase it when it’s on!

Killers (my personal favourite) requires a long paddle to get out there and clean up sets are pretty much guaranteed in this swell magnet spot. Many people think it’s called Killers because it’s gnarly and gnarly it is! But the actual name comes from the fact that Killer Whales used to show up here at this spot, right in front of the cliff.

A good thing about this region is that point breaks work mainly on low tide and beach breaks on high tide! Anza is a great alternative for a different session! There is always a wave here even in the smaller days) and it’s super fun!

For beginner surfers, Crocs and Camel Beach deliver super fun easy waves where to practice your take-off and improve your skills and, up north, Imsouane is what every longboarder has always dreamt of!

When to go and what to do apart from surfing?

If you are an experienced surfer you want to visit Morocco in the winter season November to March! This is when the famous points turn into life and will deliver some of the best waves of your life. Be prepared for cold water (you would need a wetsuit, 4/3 for the less brave ones like me and 3/2 if you are already used to a bit of chill in the water), but nice air temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius and the famous mint teas will warm you up after the session! Outside the main season, there are still waves in Morocco! Swell magnet beach breaks North of Taghazout and South of Agadir are offering great waves during the summer months and Taghazout area is still alright for first-time beginner surfers!

When you are not surfing there are plenty of things to do and places to visit! A walk into Taghazout town during sunset hours is an experience not to be missed as some shopping time at Agadir Souk! On Wednesdays, the local market of Aourir (aka Banana Village) is wonderful (best place to buy dry fruits and spices)! Stop in the Mini Sahara on your way to Imsouane and jump from one of the rocks of the gorgeous Paradise Valley, an oasis in the middle of the desert and mountains!

Tips and tricks for an unforgettable trip!

Rent a car!

There is no better way to explore the area than having your own independent transportation. Don’t be shy and take that small dirty road that will take you to the most amazing corners!

Eat like a local!

Morocco is actually so organised. As soon as you get out of the water you will find in the car park many people selling mint tea, donuts, raspberries, crepes and other delicious stuff! 

Choose a good surf camp and get the best surf guiding!

You really want to make the best out of your trip and knowledgeable guides are definitely a game changer as well as a cosy room and healthy food during your stay! My personal favourite: Moroccan Surf Adventures, located in the outstanding beach of Imi Ouaddar, and The Yogi Surfer, a gem in the local town of Tamraght.

Purchase a travel insurance!

You’d rather not think about all of the things that might go wrong on your trip, but they can actually happen! World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials. Travel smarter and safer, always!

Save Jaws: Swimming with Sharks in Hawaii

Save Jaws: Swimming with Sharks in Hawaii

Save jaws: swimming with sharks in hawaii

Swimming with sharks in North Shore Oahu: a great experience to raise awareness about the fact that sharks are not monsters but apex predators.

The sun was rising over the range of the North Shore and my heart was beating fast when we left the harbour in Haleiwa. “Am I crazy?” I thought. I was going to free diving with sharks. What does this mean? No cage, open ocean, wild sharks. Which type of sharks? Well, it depends on which ones show up. Can be Sandbar, Galapagos, Tiger or even Great White. It’s pure wilderness and so, unpredictable.

When we arrived miles away from shore and we stop the boat engine, several Galapagos and Sandbar sharks surrounded us. We located in a deep channel when the sharks use to rest after the dawn hunting action. They were so elegant and all the fear was suddenly replaced by pure charm for these creatures and a great excitement to get in the water with them.

Was it scary? Not at all! It was like being in a live nature documentary and it’s gorgeous to watch this animals behave in their natural habitat.

We free dived with 8-10 Galapagos sharks of 4 to 12 ft of length. The dominating female was pretty big and was swimming closer to the surface compared to the other smaller sharks to establish the hierarchy in the group. It’s very important to keep eye contact with the sharks to make clear that we are not preys and to always stay above them to establish our hierarchy too. Sharks were actually not really interested in us, but they got pretty excited when a school of tunas made its appearance and some little victims got in the mouth of the Galapagos. That was actually super exciting to watch and will definitely remain as one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

I joined the Pelagic Shark Program with One Ocean Diving, the research educational company run by sharks conservationist Ocean Ramsey and sharks photographer Juan Oliphant. All the researchers and guides of One Ocean Diving are really passionate about sharks and about what they do. They share knowledge and help people to better understand sharks and safely interact with them.

Sharks are often defined as monsters, but they are not. It’s sad to see how they have been demonised and for this reason culled. It’s time to share knowledge and protect them!

Did you know that every year there are more victims due to coconuts falling compared to sharks attack? But still, sharks represent one of the most threatened marine animals on the planet. Their number has declined by approximately 90%, and if we continue on the current path many species will go extinct very soon. As apex predators, they play a key role in maintaining the health, biodiversity, and productivity of the ocean.

One of the biggest things we can do to help is taking action in our daily life to be conscious consumers. Don’t support businesses that sell shark or shark derived products like shark meat, cartilage, shark fin soup, shark leather, teeth, pet products, etc. Support sustainable fisheries rather than commercial sources. We would also need the state governments to ban the right to fish for sharks recreationally and commercially, as well as to ban the selling and shipping of sharks, shark products and their fins.

We really need a global perception change for those gorgeous creatures!

Sharks were not interested in us at all, however please keep in mind that they are still wild animals. Make sure you purchase your travel insurance before taking part on this experience. World Nomads Explorer Plan covers every type of extreme activity!

Mount Ijen – hiking inside an active volcano crater

Mount Ijen – hiking inside an active volcano crater

Mount IJEN: Hiking inside an active volcano crater

How far would you push your limits? This time we have chosen a really extreme adventure and hiked in the middle of the night to get inside an active volcano crater in Java (Indonesia) and see the unique Blue Fires!

It’s midnight and the alarm rings! Time to put some warm clothes on and wake up after this few hours of sleep. After a short 4×4 drive we are at the bottom of Mount Ijen and ready to start our 2 hrs night hike towards the 2,799 mt volcano peak guided by the stars, few torches and other many tourists. Our guide tells us that the hike is for beginners, but some passages are steep and the more we get close to the volcano, the more the sulfur smokes make our ascend hard! At 3/4 of the hike we need to wear gas masks cos the toxic smokes are surrounding us and it’s hard to breathe. The wind is on and the smoke moves around in every direction.

We finally arrive at the top and here starts the toughest part of our hike: the descend inside the crater of this active volcano! Something like this would probably be forbidden in any first-world country with some kind of security measures, but here we are in Indonesia and whatever attracts tourists (and money) is welcome!

Blue Fires: one of the most spectacular and most unique wonders of nature in the world!

A 45 minutes hike down brings us to the most stunning views I have ever seen in my life: the Blue Fires! This electric-blue flame of Ijen is ignited sulfuric gas which emerges from cracks at temperatures up to 600 Celsius degrees. When these ignite enter Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere burn and generate flames that can reach the 5 meters of height. This is the largest blue fire area in the world and the lake inside the crater is the largest highly acidic crater lake on the planet due to its high sulfuric acid concentration (the PH is 0.5 only!). The turquoise-blue caldera lake is one kilometre wide and 200 meters deep. The colour of the water is a result of its extreme acidity and a high concentration of dissolved metals. 

The volcano remains active: the last magmatic eruption occurred in 1817. The latest phreatic eruptions occurred in the recent 2001 and 2002. These have caused very little damage but present a danger to anyone mining sulfur or visiting the caldera.