Casablanca. For many, the name conjures up thoughts of international intrigue, colorful markets, and soaring architecture. For beachcomber Mohammed Nasry, it’s home. Mohammed lives in Aïn Sebaâ, a neighborhood north of the center of this coastal city. There, he combs the beaches, finding beautiful, wave-worn sea glass, meteorites, stones, and more.
Mohammed’s favorite time of year to beachcomb is in the winter, but he tries to make it to the beach at least a couple of times a week to collect sea glass, hike, enjoy watersports, or just relax and drink tea overlooking the water. Beaches are easily accessible here, and gearing up requires little more than a sun hat, some waterproof shoes, sunglasses, and a few snacks. Mohammed always brings his camera, and takes gorgeous photos of his finds on the beach, in the city, and at home.
“The thing I like about where I live is that it is a world of secrets, a world of spirituality and inspiration,” says Mohammed. “When you hear the call of the ships, see the sunset on the horizon, or walk on the sand, you can hear the eternal voice of the sea. The words of the waves open the doors of a closed heart. It is the greatest secret. Everything in nature may disappear, but the ocean is eternal.”
The beaches where Mohammed finds his beautiful sea glass are on the Atlantic coast. “There are a lot of strong currents that bring things up from the depths,” he says. “There were also glassmaking factories and colonial pubs beside the shore, with many different types of bottles ending up in the sea.” He says that there are only a few beaches near him that have sea glass, but that the quality of glass is excellent in his area.
Originally a French colony, the area is a mixture of diverse cultures. “There is a ballet theater, a large market, gardens, beautiful pools, a new train station, hospitals, glass factories, and iron factories. The streets are named after types of roses and fruit,” Mohammed says. Though the city has gone through many changes and demographic shifts, Mohammed enjoys much of what these changes have brought. “The place is still beautiful. There are beautiful churches, the late King Hassan II Mosque overlooking the water, clubs, skate parks, and cities overlooking the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.”
For the past 20 years, Mohammed has been beachcombing, and he has recently been going through his collection and returning some to the sea. “I recently picked out the best ones and I am trying to keep my collection under 100 kilos (220 pounds).”
He says his country has something for everyone. “In the south, you can visit the seas and oases. In the north, you can visit the wonderful mountains and waterfalls and enjoy the snow.” Mohammed prefers the south and its seas, mountains, sun, and beaches. “I love to discover special beaches that offer you their secrets on the sand and hidden in the stones.”
Though many places are closed now due to the global pandemic, when things are re-opened, Mohammed recommends visiting Morocco for the towns, archaeological sites, cafés, shops, the Royal Palace, and the Bazaar. And, of course, the beautiful beaches with their secret treasures.
Find Mohammed on Instagram @the_sea_is_secret.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine July/August 2020 issue.