Abu Sawmah 5

Day 30: Tuesday April 14

Our fifth day at anchor here. Overnight it was windy. At 2am I lay there wondering if we should have folded back the bimini to lessen the windage but on getting up to check, it was barely flapping. Temptress remains bow into the wind most of the time, scarcely swinging and there is little current to mess things up. There’s a sand storm obliterating most of the land to the west. The air is dry and dusty making eyes itch and the mouth furry after just a few minutes on deck. A flock of dark gulls plus one boobie squabbled over fish at the edge of the shallows.

Life in our small space is becoming tedious. We played a couple of games of cribbage yesterday afternoon to while away an hour or so. Planning meals is about as exciting as it gets. After 30 days, self-entertainment is no longer fun, it’s a chore trying to think of things to do. Even my usually time occupiers of cross-stitch, solitaire, knitting or reading are becoming monotonous. The skipper is re-reading Hornblower. Few of the items on the boat job list can be done as they nearly all need either supplies we haven’t got or a boatyard.

Planning meals is about as exciting as it gets. If we actually get away from here tomorrow then we will need a supper at sea so some of the beef the agent obtained for us back in Ghalib, is defrosting to make a stew in the thermal cooker that will do tonight and tomorrow. A loaf of bread is rising.

Entered all our stores this morning except the isty bitsy spare jars of spices and herbs, in a spreadsheet,(what else is there to do?). On analysis there are in tins, jars and packets thirty three meals for two containing meat or fish, probably half as much again in pulses and nuts plus plenty of tins or jars of vegetables so roughly main meals for seven weeks, fewer if we use things like tinned tuna as a sandwich filling. Then again we might catch some fish and we have enough meat in the icebox for four meals still and there is always eggs, we have possibly 3 dozen onboard at present! So I’d guess we can last almost three months on our current food supplies. However bread flour, pulses and toothpaste are running low, the only deodorant left is in use so my shopping list for Suez is being compiled.

The wind is getting up this afternoon. The toughest thing about this passage is the weather. Patience doesn’t come easy to either of Temptress’ crew and hanging around waiting for the weather to improve does lead to frustration at times. Let’s hope we do get out of here tomorrow. Tor Harbour is around 18 hours away at five knots.

Thermal stew was lovely; beef is always better for being slow cooked. Two onions, two carrots, two cloves of garlic, one drying up lime (cut a slit in it so juice escapes but not pips), piece of cinnamon, cardamoms, bay leaf and lots of potatoes, skin on, cut into big pieces. Soften onion in a little water, add spices and meat. When browned add carrot, lime, potatoes and water to cover. It filled the pot! I also rinsed out the tomato ketchup bottle into it. Pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to simmer for five minutes or so and place inner pot into outer one. Leave for three or four hours.

Half the meat and potato went into a tub for tomorrow’s supper, the rest plus the carrot and some already cooked kidney beans was thickened for tonight’s supper. After we’d dished up tonight’s supper the remaining gravy was saved for a lunch time soup later this week. One stew, three meals!

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