Day 17 – Saturday 7 Mar
The skipper spotted land at 03:05 this morning. By the time the first mate came on deck an hour later the sky was lit with the glare of shore lights , whilst a few miles away a dozen or more ships lay at anchor off Djibouti. Africa, dry dusty Africa, another continent and one we last visited on its western side back in 2013 when we sailed down the Moroccan coast. There is something rather romantic about approaching a port at dawn, seeing the land reveal itself as the sun comes up.
Djibouti Navy have been trying to contact us but at 03:00 we were too far away for them to hear our responses and at 04:00 they asked us to switch to VHF11 for the routine questions of last port, how many crew but again couldn’t hear us clearly. Just before 05:00 they tried again , this time we were successful; last port Cochin, number of crew 2, number of persons on board 2, vessel flag UK, nationality of persons on board British, ETA Djibouti port 07:00 local time. Interestingly no questions about health/quarantine/time at sea – has coronovirus not touched here? Or has it run its course over the past fortnight?
In the early hours it occurred to me that we will cross our outbound track of all those years ago close to the port of Sines, Portugal, rather appropriately Vasco da Gama’s home town and a place we have fond memories of. My early hour ponderings were not about Da Gama or even the pretty little town squashed between two ugly industrial ports but rather about distance. From here to there is much the same distance as that we have covered since departing Langkawi in January! In around 3600 nautical miles Temptress will officially have completed her circumnavigation by crossing her outward track! Then there is the small matter of a passage up the Western Approaches to Donaghadee, another 1200 nm, small change compared to recent distances.
As the sun rose we motored in towards the anchorage. We met Yara on her way out bound for Egypt. Robert, her skipper told us we need to wait for a doc to come on board to check our temperatures. Unlikely to happen today as it’s the weekend, hopefully tomorrow. It was full daylight when we anchored at 07:10. There is hardly a breath of air and it is already hot. After a few tasks like anchor ball and sail cover the skipper cooked breakfast.
Total distance Cochin to Djibouti: 2046nm
Distance to Suez: 1400 nm approx