Thursday April 2
So much for weather forecasts. The wind if anything was blowing harder this morning when we woke at 05:30 than it was last night, a good fifteen or more knots howling in the rigging. Even here in the shelter of the reef Temptress is bobbing around though fortunately not too much. Definitely not the weather to attempt to get north as our speed will add five knots or more to the apparent wind and the waves will be the Red Sea chop. Extremely disappointing.
An hour later as the sun rose, the wind seemed a little less. The skippers decided to have a conversation about our prospects after breakfast. This headland is a ‘windy corner’, twenty or so miles further up the winds are much lighter. So do we go or do we stay? The answer after their discussion is, they are undecided. Scotia are happy to move at a slower pace whilst Silver Tern and Temptress want to reach Suez and Hugharda respectively so maybe this afternoon or maybe tomorrow we will leave depending on how much the wind is eases.
Our onboard email has been cleared by the provider so we are much relieved to be back to normal service again. An email from the Suez agent warns that Egypt is likely to step up its quarantine actions but we don’t know how much of that is his posturing as his income is dependent solely on boats reaching and passing through Suez. If we clear in and stay in Hurgharda the first action will reduce his income, the second will delay the remainder.
Meanwhile Jules brought his fuel cleaning system over for Kevin to take a look over. They cleared the aft end of storage cabin (again) and mounted the filter and pump on the bulkhead below the lockers. It can just run whilst we are at sea pulling out any bits stirred up in the tank. The initial running of it showed the fuel itself to be pretty clean. Eventually after a couple of hours it was a rigged in line, ready for us to go to sea with it in place so it can do its work as we motor.
The wind is just as strong as ever. Definitely not going anywhere today. Except that by three in the afternoon, the pump doing its stuff and the engineers were having a cuppa waiting to see if there were any leaks when they decided we should go. So depart we did quarters of an hour later. The sun was still high enough to see our way through the narrow gap in the reef though we did follow our inbound track too.
Then out into the Red Sea on a port tack making just a tad north of NE. Ghalib is 108nm to windward so tacking there may well double the distance. It would be good to arrive tomorrow but it could be Saturday. Only Silver Tern and Temptress left the reef anchorage, Scotia is in no hurry they have decided to go slowly and tackle the Suez Canal in May when hopefully the madness of closed ports and quarantine in the Med has cooled off and they can decide where to head next. Like the other two boats their plan this year had been to reach the UK but they think Turkey may be a better option for them, after all this is their second circumnavigation.
We tacked after supper before the watches started setting the pattern for the night of tacking at watch changes every three hours. During the second watch the wind freed us hugely until we were heading almost due north which was a bonus. It felt great to be making progress slowly northwards. The sea wasn’t too lumpy and for a while there was some current helping us too.