Saturday 28 March
We woke at sunrise, a full eleven hours after going to bed! Not a sound except the ticking of the saloon clock and the gentle rhythmic whump whump of the fridge compressor. The air is chilly and the visibility poor due to a slight morning fog over Berenice.
The dinghy was launched for the firs time since Djibouti with the intention of going over to Scotia. Then the Egyptian navy called Scotia. Brenda spoke for us all explaining we had come to shelter from the weather. He said it was a prohibited area and we needed permission to be there. She asked how and he took a few details including that we needed 48 hours, then directing us not to do any activity on or in the water he went to ask. We waited. They called us too but not Four Seasons presumably because they had heard us speaking to Scotia and had initially picked out Scotia as her name is written large on her dodgers (the sail cover bearing Temptress’ name is not on).
So where do crazy ants come from? We don’t see them often, rarely at sea; this morning a couple appeared on the worktop over the fridge. It’s a mystery, ant gel doesn’t seem to draw them out so they remain our rather odd, shy, travelling companions.
The navy sent a patrol boat out to discover Four Seasons identity about 8am. They politely asked us to remove Sheila from the water so she is sitting on the foredeck rather forlorn with her engine on. The wind is getting up a little.
Today’s email/blog upload brought an email from SY Joana, three yachts have been turned away from Ghalib leaving Hugharda and Suez as the only options. Most Mediterranean countries only accepting vessels with their own national flag. On the positive side apparently two yachts have been provided with fuel by warships on patrol in the Red Sea. And the GRIB also brought good news. The northerly wind looks to ease from Monday through to Thursday which would allow us to get to Hurgharda.
Doing a few jobs whilst we wait on the navy. I re-did the navigation, assuming Hurgharda as our destination. Then I entered all the potential anchorages Sheena of Myagi Moon sent me when we were in Suakin, into iSailor. They cruised this coast extensively in the past and she kindly sent me a couple of screenshots of the coast plus waypoints from Suakin to Hugharda.
Kevin meanwhile went fishing for lumps of diesel-bug gunge in the tank again. It’s not a perfect solution but helps a bit. The fuel got another hefty dose of bug eating additive. That with our choice of three feed pipes and hopefully a spare Racor filter from Scotia should aid us through to somewhere we can properly treat the issue. Emptying then re-stowing the forward end of the stowage cabin to access the fuel tank hatch has become a routine exercise.
Just nine of our Langkawi onions left. They were a good buy, only three or four rotted. The Sudanese veg supplies haven’t been so healthy, we fried the last three rather soft tomatoes to accompany our last two Djibouti eggs for breakfast. Most of the cucumbers and gourds also gone soggy as they were quite over ripe when supplied. Not short on veg though as still have fresh peppers, aubergine, the last Cochin pumpkin, a few Djibouti carrots and the remains of a cabbage and a Chinese leaf. Beyond that it’s down to tins and jars of peas, carrots, green beans, beetroot, red cabbage and sauerkraut plus a few tins of tomatoes. And with most of a kilo of limes we will not suffer from scurvy!
The icebox is looking quite empty just two ribeye steaks (saved for an occasion) and 500g of chicken breast both vac packed from Langkawi. The last 500g pack of mince is being cooked up with carrots, peppers, aubergines and a tin of tomatoes; the basis of suppers for the trip ahead. The result will be stowed in the bottom of the fridge and hopefully it’ll make four meals for two with the addition of rice, pasta or potatoes and some appropriate beans or pulses, herbs and spices. Some fish would be a nice protein boost to our supplies though we have a hoard of canned meat and fish to eat our way through. We are definitely not going to starve yet.
Just before lunch the Egyptian Navy called to say we had permission to stay until the weather improves but no on or in the water activities. The chap was very pleasant, with excellent Oxford English and wished us all the very best. I guess he was thankful for his air conditioned, dust free office. We are extremely grateful to be able to remain.
It’s not a sand storm but eyes feel gritty after any short period in the shelter of the cockpit. The wind is blowing hard now from the north, F6 gusting a bit more but Temptress is comfy, scarcely bobbing around as the water here is very shallow offering very little opportunity for waves to build. Mr Wibbly-Wobbly, the wind generator is working hard, though at one point he turned himself off; he self-protects in the event of a 35knot plus gust.
The afternoon passed quietly, we read, a navy patrol boat came and inspected us, Sheila was tied back on deck. The wind has become background noise to life. Kevin and Hugh compared Racor filter part numbers only to discover we have different models so their won’t fit ours. Ah well we have an almost new one on and the old one is cleaning up nicely. Soaked in detergent today then back in it’s petrol bath to clean the detergent off.
Rhona (Kevin’s Mum called). It was good to hear all is well with family at home. We are quite isolated, even the BBC World News had little except the postponement of the Olympics, deaths in Spain and short piece on ventilator production so we appreciate the calls and sms we do get. Thank-you too to Jo Greedy for calling yesterday evening.