Seagulls shriek and cats skulk around the tables of fresh fish displayed under umbrellas right on the dock. Blue wooden rowboats knock against each other a few feet away from welders at work on dry docked steel fishing boats. The smell of fish and machinery permeates the harbor, but a steady breeze freshens the air. Head up to the stone ramparts left behind by King Mohammed III in the 1700s and you can take in the entire scene: to the north is the medina, protected from crashing waves by a high stone wall; to the southwest, an unoccupied island and the Atlantic Ocean beyond; to the south the harbor juts out into a hook, creating a protected wide beach that stretches a few miles down the coastline. Parasailers and surfers makes use of Essaouira's stiff winds as steady sets of waves role into the beach, where soccer players are also taking advantage of the summer-like conditions.