Abu Sawmah

Friday April 10

Despite having had a couple of hours sleep yesterday afternoon we both had an early night yesterday evening. We slept solidly for ten hours. The exertions of the previous 24 hours after two nights of disturbed sleep had been exhausting.

Today we will mostly be clearing up Temptress. First fishing the remaining meat from the slow cooked stew, then blending the remaining veg into the liquid created enough tasty mutton broth for two lunches. The meat will become a curry tomorrow. Batch cooking saves gas! Kevin put a couple of buckets of laundry to soak. He did manage to tie up the sail reasonably tidily yesterday so we are going to leave it like it is. Just waiting for a less windy interval to put the cover on.

Distraction tactics from the real job list involved more cooking; realising it was not just Friday today but Good Friday I decided to make Hot Cross Buns (a la Delia) as well as the planned flat breads. Raided the ships stores for dried fruit and found yellow raisins and dried cranberries to substitute for currents and peel. There was however a pot of mixed spice!

Flat breads: Two cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of dried yeast, good pinch of salt, three or four tablespoons yoghurt and 100 ml of water. Add yeast to one side of bowl containing flour, salt to the other, put yoghurt and a little water in a well in centre and mix the lot. You need a soft dough so add more water slowly as you knead the dough to get the right consistency. Leave to rise until doubled. Divide into eight balls and roll out on a well floured surface (on the boat I use one of those IKEA icing mats to contain the mess and a small, early 20th century rolling pin bought in a junk shop in Matlock Bath when Will was small so he could roll out home made playdough!). The rolled out dough needs to be very thin, just a few mm. Heat a solid frying pan without greasing then cook the breads for two or three minutes on each side til they rise up and brown, turn over to brown the other side. Keep the flat breads warm in a tea towel til needed. Any leftovers can be revived by sprinkling with a little water and putting under the grill tomorrow.

Having wiped all the cabin soles and much else of the woodwork with a damp cloth to pick up the desert dust and done the baking I think that’s enough for today! Kevin will rinse the cockpit down with the laundry water whilst the decks got a good rinse during the last passage! How long everything will remain free of the red dust is anybody’s guess, it’s windy but not too dusty here at present.

The resorts are weird to look at, lots of sun loungers along the beach but only a handful of people about. A few people appeared too for a swim in the sea late yesterday. These huge hotels must be suffering terribly as will be their staff, suppliers, the airlines and more. Just a tiny snapshot of businesses all over the world with no end in sight.

The rest of the day passed slowly. Jules came over to collect hot cross buns for Silver Terns crew. The three of us discussed tactics for make no further progress north. One observation is that some days the wind goes light in the late afternoon or early morning and could be used as a window to jump a few miles up the coast.

The problem is though, two fold; first the sea needs to go down which could be a couple of hours by which time the wind is back. Secondly although the distance as the crow flies is short, if we have to tack even under engine to make it through the seas eight or ten miles becomes twenty which can be four hours at sea and the wind doesn’t abate that long. However it’s an option worth watching out for. We will all be keeping a close eye on the forecasts. And a final concern is just how protected from the big blow forecast for early next week the bays just north of us actually are?

This is the Red Sea we have read about. The pilot books talk of cruisers being holed up for a week or more at times. Hugharda is on the corner of the Gulf of Suez and seems to have more than its fair share of strong winds. Once through there, the Gulf itself has periods of relative calm after a big blow at Hugharda. This is some of the hardest sailing we have ever done.


  1. You must be approaching the Suez in the next day or two? What is your plan. Heading through, waiting for things to open up again? Once in the med, what are your options for finding a place to land? Strange times indeed.


    • At present the weather is against us. Hopefully we will have 24 hours come Wednesday to move onwards. After Suez who knows. At the moment we will just be glad to reach Suez. No where in the Med is currently open except possibly to their own flagged vessels. We will have to patiently wait and see. For sure we can’t stay in limbo onboard indefinitely as will need cash to buy supplies.

      Kevin & Susie Harris SY Temptress of Down http://www.gbr195t.com



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