Denny had been giving us the lowdown throughout dinner.
'Yeah it's totally sick, a slab that you get onto by holding your leash and jumping off the rock between sets.'
He then looked at me and said
'Can you lie down and paddle your board?'
"Why would I want to do that?'
I asked, I was getting fractionally more nervous with every description that Den used to paint the picture that was Machine Guns. Words and phrases like, Slab, Reef, Firing and f'ing mental sprinkled with timing and insane were being used liberally.
He then dropped the bomb
' I just think that I would just prefer if you got going and got out quickly'
The other guys in the group lept to my defence Stating that I could probably paddle just as quick on my knees or standing, it was good of them but the seed of doubt had been sown in my mind. The counter to that was that it was Friday and almost certainly our last surf of the trip. So I was going in shit or bust.
So after an early start and an hour and a half or so on the road we pulled off the main road and headed down a desert track to a cliff overlooking Machine Guns. It was exactly as Den had described. The sets were stacking up well out to sea and were being focussed over a series of reefy lava outcrops up and down the coast. Our outcrop had been named as Machine guns.
Not wanting to spend too much time thinking about it I pulled on my rash vest and Vibrams and mooched off down the cliff. To be fair getting out was fairly painless - wait for a lull pushed through and over the wash and knee paddled quickly out behind the reef.
The sets when they came through were amazing and heeding Hishan's advice of 'Take the last wave Steve' I picked off the last wave of a set and paddled in to a steep drop and a rolller coaster ride down the green face before taking the high line and exiting cleanly as everything beyond shut down.
That was allright and the session that followed saw me rack up my wave count considerably. The break was mainly rights but a few lefts presented inside of me that the guys were on.
A couple of rides ended up with me holding on too long, ending up well inside in the washzone and I touched down a few times but really no great drama. If i had to go behind someone paddling out I would get caught if I cut across them I got away with it.
We all had a wave fest at machine guns and again credit to the Moroccan Surf Adventures team for once again placing us in perfect conditions and on a break all to ourselves.
As one or two decided to get out the real fun began. The wind which was virtually non existent when we paddled out had just gone slightly onshore, the swell had jumped up a bit and the tide was dropping back down the reef, all pretty small changes but together they were enough to change the character and atmosphere of the place from a benign, glassy break into something a little more grey and snarling. With the dropping tide the inside was hard enough for the guys with 6' shortboards - my Mana was going to take some holding on to. Three tentative attempts later, one involving me bailing inside and duck diving into three feet of water and six feet of wash saw me struggle to my feet and scramble up the reef carrying my board, desperately trying to hold on against the surging back wash.
All in all a great session and an experience to remember. Can't quite believe that the board came away unscathed from that but it did.
It's now Saturday mid morning and everything is packed up ready to leave at three. The offer of another surf this morning was tempting but it's great to finish with a good one under my belt.
As soon as I get a decent connection I will upload the pics - the whole guided surf camp thing has been a new experience and great fun. Imagine staying in a hosted ski chalet and you sort of get the picture. As Denny said it's not five star but if the alternative is camping or just taking pot luck and ending up in a scruffy guest house in Taghazout this is luxury. Always plenty of food, fun, hot water and waves.