Marsa Thilimit 2

Day 34: Saturday 18 April

Thirty four days since Djibouti! That’s almost five weeks since we last stepped on land. Much as I love our floating home I am over this life exclusively on board, going nowhere fast. A quick bit of maths worked out that since we departed Djibouti we have covered 1632 nautical miles at an average of 2 knots, that’s 3.7 km per hour; we could have walked it faster! Only 15 days have actually been spent at sea and of those the longest stretch was the first five days out of Djibouti to Suakin. Since then sailing conditions have been like a brick wall.

Fresh food is down to thirty three eggs (mainly because we managed to buy a tray in Suakin, Ghalib and Al Qusayr!) four onions, two green peppers, one small pumpkin from Cochin that won’t keep much longer, two small melons, five apples and a few kilos of potatoes. The icebox has stewing beef sufficient for a couple of meals, three ribeyes which will stretch to two or three more and some vac packed smoked salmon. Hopefully we can eke everything out into mid next week and that the weather enables us to reach Suez then.

The oil lamp last night wasn’t so clever, the wick had rotted and the oil stank. Kevin tried sorting it out this morning but the wick trimmer is chewing up wicks and the replacement wick is far too narrow. Another task for the list of jobs that need spares to complete.

The day passed slowly. I discovered that my expired debit card won’t allow me access via the internet to check my accounts. A combination of not flying home next week as originally planned, and discovering a sat phone doesn’t work for telephone banking as entering the account number doesn’t work, means checking will have to wait until the Egyptian SIM can be topped up with some call credit. Getting the card sent out won’t help as it needs activating at an ATM and they don’t have those at sea!

After lunch I did an interview with a Reuter’s journalist for an article on how the rapid border closures had a far reaching impact on all those at sea. It seems my tactic of raising awareness about the boats trapped on the Red Sea via various Face Book groups is starting to have some effect. Hopefully it might improve the lot of those behind us and ultimately open some doors in Europe so we all have harbours to go to after Suez. After all we very definitely do not have the virus.

He asked a few questions about our mental state which I’d not given a thought too. Yes we both have had periods of feeling stressed, but we have supported each other through them. There is little we can do, the global situation has completely steamrollered through our 2020 cruising plan. In times like this you just have to keep on going, preferably with a smile. It’s a bit like being caught out in a bad storm at sea, it will pass, the crew just have to protect themselves and guide the boat through it.

Lori and I discussed provisioning for the long trip ahead. It was all a bit odd as Silver Tern has a comparatively huge freezer capacity and so can store enormous quantities of meat. Temptress’ ice box can fit possibly two weeks worth for the two of us which we stretch by catching fish and having lots of pulses plus vegetarian meals. Anyway as we may be in Ismailia for a while I plan to have an additional shop before we depart. My list to the agent was mainly to cover then next week or two but it was useful to compare notes. I discovered leeks and a few other veg not on my list are grown here so will be attempting to obtain them with the next lot of supplies. It is very odd not actually going shopping, even with online shopping you have some connection with what you are buying.


  1. Being out of country certainly adds challenges that we do not have. Nevertheless, we too are struggling to move north to our final destination. While the southern states tend to be open (marinas), the farther north and east we move, the smaller the options become. We are not welcome to return to our home port in Bristol as we are not residents of Rhode Island. We may move to Maryland and leave the boat on the hard for a while and have the cutlass and rudder shaft bearings replaced. Its’ all logistically challenging.

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