Tuatara

Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
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27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
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02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
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13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Egypt

08 May 2010 | Egypt
Jean
Endeavour Harbor, Egypt.
27 deg 33' .718 N 33 deg 46'.892E
8th May 8, 2010

A good weather window has arrived for heading up the Gulf of Suez to the canal. We left Port Ghalib yesterday and motored all night on a mirror calm sea, 130 miles here to Endeavour Harbour. If the weather window stays open as long as the forecast predicts we should be ready to transit the Suez canal, as far as Ismailia, by the end of the week. Weather windows invariably slam shut on your finger tips a day or two earlier than predicted. So tomorrow we leave this lovely anchorage, perhaps our last Red Sea stop to enter the Gulf of Suez for an overnight sail to Port Suez. Looking out the port hole at the calm there is a nagging thought at the back of our minds, should we have kept going instead of stopping this morning. We are pleased we stopped to enjoy the clear blue water and a swim in the Red Sea for maybe the last time, I don't think we will be back this way again.

Port Ghalib, a resort oasis on the Egyptian coast, was our official entry into Egypt. Dolphin reef, part of Fury Shoal was our first Egyptian stop after leaving Sudan. Dolphin reef is visited morning and afternoon by pods of dolphins which enjoy swimming amongst the anchored dive boats, yachts and the snorkelers. The weather window we had enjoyed for the 150 miles across Foul Bay was sliding shut we had 24 hours to enjoy the reef and dolphins. Glossy white dive boats full of sunburnt European tourists were the first signs that we were leaving the peace and isolation of Sudan waters. Egyptian reefs are a huge draw card for European divers, dive boats work out of the resort strewn coast taking day or week charters to the many reefs in the northern Red Sea. Dolphin reef waters were so clear that at 10 metres deep we could see the ripples in the sand and at 30 metres the sea bed rocks looked close enough to touch. With Silver Fern and Largo Star we enjoyed just 24 hours at the reef before the northerlies started to play with us, springing up for a few minutes then disappearing for an hour or so. Alan had swam with the dolphins in the afternoon and was hoping for a repeat in the morning before we up anchored. We had been assured that the dolphins appear about 8 oclock most mornings, but by 10am they were obviously playing elsewhere and the northerly was tapping us on the shoulder so we reluctantly headed north to Sharm Luli. The wind and sea increased. Largo Star, being a smaller boat, found the going difficult and wisely bailed out to a closer anchorage. Silver Fern and ourselves persevered to Sharmi Luli. We arrived late afternoon to a nice calm Marsa. The wind died down over night so we decided to leave the next morning to try and get half way to Port Ghalib. We went 8 miles before we decided to turn back to the comfort of Sharm Luli. The sea and wind were building, we didn't want a day of bashing our way north, the calm Marsa was a nice place to return to. At least we now can say we have had the complete Red Sea experience, no Red Sea passage is complete without being sent back to an anchorage by the wind at least once. The afternoon was spent being taught how to play Canasta by Bryce and Martha. Late afternoon the wind once again died so we decided to take the calm and go overnight all the way to Port Ghalib. A good decision, the next morning we were just 10 miles out of the Port as the wind began to build. By the time we spotted the Fairway buoy the sea was a bit rolly, but a few metres past the buoy the sea smoothed off and we were inside the luxurious Resort and Marina oasis of Port Ghalib. Clearing in was easy, except the agent Achmed charged us an exorbitant price for our SIM card, we didn't know it was exorbitant until much later. Still it saved a hot walk up the hill to the only shop that sells them at the Port and even he is double the correct price. Oh well it didn't break the bank but be wary of smiling Egyptians who want to do you a favour, especially ones in white jeans!!!

Port Ghalib marina, heaven, our first marina in 6 months. 4 of those months we have been covered in dust inside and out, so the hose was well used everything possible washed on deck, sheets soaked, even the mast washed. I had been looking forward to getting laundry done but the hotel service next to our berth was too pricey even though it was the "cheaper" dive resort of the complex, The Marina lodge. The pain of once again doing washing by hand was taken away by being able to use copious amounts of water and a brisk wind drying the washing quickly. Although our marina minder kept coming over and turning down the pressure when he thought it was too strong, we paid for our water so I guess he saved us a few cents.

The marina area for yachts is across the canal from the main luxurious shopping/ eating/ hotel Corniche. Super yachts are med moored to that promenade but we common folk moored across the way by the supposedly down market Dive resort. There is a water taxi for transport across to the shops and restaurants. Not places we could afford often but being yachties we walked up the hill to the one local restaurant for delicious and well priced chicken meals. There was a rumor that falafels were available, every time we asked the answer was " no sorry no falafels today". I suspect that was the only English he knew!

I found a hairdresser just a few metres from our dock, at the Marina Lodge, so one morning I took my coffee and went and had the first decent haircut since well probably Darwin last year. To be fair most of the other cuts have been adequate, that is accept for the last one which I did for myself. One of those windy anchorages way back at the beginning of the Red Sea had me tired of having a fuzzy mop of windswept hair continually stiff with dust and salt spray. Trying to find a woman's hairdresser in Yeman and Oman was like looking for an Egyptian who doesnt want baksheesh. Consequently several weeks later by Egypt that bad cut made my fuzzy mop look even worse. I came away feeling like a new person.


Achmed the over charging agent arranged a car and driver, this time at an acceptable price, for the Silver Ferns and ourselves to go 70ks to Al Quseir the nearest town. The smooth fast coast road is lined by desert broken every few miles by a resort or one being built. Our driver didn't really notice any of this as he spent the trip driving at break neck pace one hand sometimes two operating his phone, at times one hand was on the phone and one hand on the horn as he whipped passed vehicles on either blind hills or with on coming traffic. During the morning trip we were distracted a little by the scenery, but on the way home 3 of us sat in the back seat with our hearts in our mouths and that is even when we told him to slow down! Bryce sat in the front seat and slept through all the heartstopping moments then thought we were a bit mean not wanting to give the driver a tip!!!

We have found a lot of things to enjoy and buy such as fruit and veg and over priced SIM cards in Port Ghalib and the flies have found us. Nothing makes them go away. I hope they don't want a ride to Turkey. Perhaps we will sneak out at night as they seem to disappear then. With any luck we could be a few miles off Egypt before they wake up and come looking for us.

Seven days at Port Ghalib flew by, enjoying our surroundings and the company of about 9 other yachts we have been travelling on and off with since the Maldives and Oman. There are Kiwis, Swedes , Americans and now that Lloyd from Déjà Vu has caught up there is an Aussie and his Canadian crew, Beverly. We spread apart for days even weeks then like a rubber band we gather back together before we stretch out again. This time tho I think the next time we get together will be in Turkey. Some are off travelling to Luxor and south, some are still enjoying Port Ghalib and the rest of us are taking this weather window through to Port Suez. Some would say we have the Red Sea fever its time to go, we feel during the last 2months we have seen the best of the Red Sea. Some cruisers have skipped through in 4 to 6 weeks, several in far less time, they haven't done the place justice. We originally thought we would be here for 12 weeks but we are ready to sample the pleasures of the Med and reminisce about our Red Sea experiences.

Will we survive the agents, measurers and pilots for the canal transit ?

Will we give enough baksheesh? We know that answer already no, any amount of baksheesh is never enough!

Will we survive the touts and scammers on our visit to Cairo?

How much will Cairo have changed since we were there 33 years ago??? Beyond recognition undoubtly.

I'll let you know in my next blog which may (depending on weather windows) be written on Mediterranean waters.
Comments
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ