The mood onboard is one of uncertainty amidst the gloom of the news. Behind us India and Sri Lanka have withdrawn all visas, except those of visitors already in country, the Maldives yesterday banned locals and tourists interacting leaving friends who had just sailed stranded on their boat unable to go ashore. Here we can only go ashore via the main port. Ahead Sudan has its first case and on Friday closed its border with Egypt, whilst currently Egypt remains open but with restricted movement. Should we go or should we stay?
Here recent strong winds have covered everything in a layer of fine desert dust, eyes are gritty, noses running. Add to this the fact that Djibouti is expensive and making a noticeable dent in our limited funds; staying isn’t a sensible option. However carrying on north we have to hope we will be able to at least access fuel enroute to the canal. Over a thousand nautical miles, mostly to windward will require the engine to make progress. Food is less an issue as we have tins for a couple of months or more.
On reaching Suez it should almost be touch and go as it takes just 24 hours to process the canal paperwork. Two days in the canal and we can be on our way to where? Our current plan is Crete then through the Dodecanese to the Corinth Canal and on to Messolonghi Marina. There we plan to leave the boat and fly to Glasgow for a family wedding. Will Greece still be open to incoming yachts in April? Will there be flights come the end of April? The alternatives Malta and Italy are already closed.
There is a weather window for a few days at Bab al Mandeb with favourable light, southerly winds may be as far north as Suakin, Sudan some 640nm up the Red Sea from Djibouti. However Sudan announced on Friday incoming passengers need a certificate of health. Will that apply to us? We have no idea, nor do we know what the situation will be in a week or so time. Add to that the fact that once at sea we have little incoming information and no news it’s a step into the abyss. Tomorrow, assuming we can check out in a reasonable time frame, we depart, not entirely certain of where the next port of call will be.