Marsa Thilimit 3

Day 35: Sunday 19 April

Skipper there’s a fly in my coffee! The day started as normal, kettle on, tea for the skipper, coffee for the mate whilst we caught up on the news, the weather and social media and ate our breakfast. Somewhere in the midst of this a fly drowned. Despite or perhaps because of the wind outside we seem to have a hoard of flies again this morning.

Yesterday’s thoughts of how we are bearing up after all this time made me think back to other difficult times we have had together at sea. Those of you who have known us a long time may recall the Barbate Incident of March 2002. I reread my account of that long night today, and immediately felt better; here we are secure, the boat is safe and the weather though bad is a long way from being a hurricane. Those events of eighteen years ago or rather the emotions of that night are still fresh in my memory; the very mention of Barbate conjures up the noise of the wind, the darkness, that moment when Kevin yelled from the pontoon and our turmoil during the trudge across the quayside, having abandoned Temptress to her fate.

Nothing we face today is that bad! We have already sailed almost 4000 miles in a single ocean non-stop passage in the Pacific so the challenge of sailing across the Mediterranean to Gibraltar which is shorter mile-wise can be done. We have faced storms at sea; Dover in 2013 and Cabo St Vincent when the furler failed in 2001 spring to mind. The unknown for us not so much the variety of weather systems across the Mediterranean, but a lack of ports of refuge from bad weather due to border closures. We cannot simply turn in somewhere anymore but need to give advance notice of our desire, effectively asking permission to enter, which may be refused.

09:45 It’s now so windy, gusting 30 knots, that though Silver Tern would like to borrow some of our egg surplus, it’s not safe to launch their dinghy to cross the couple of hundred metres between the two boats. We also missed out on the fishing boat who sold Silver Tern fish and prawns earlier. The fishermen have retreated to anchor in the north east corner of the bay. Hopefully the wind will abate and we can attract their attention, prawns for supper would be good. The wind is definitely not as forecast but we are noticing a trend, high tide seems to add ten or fifteen knots to the forecast. High tide here is at 09:56.

The wind continued into the afternoon. Mr Wibbly Wobbly hasn’t sprung back into life since early this morning a sure sign that it’s windy as our faithful, vibrating wind generator self protects in high winds by turning himself off.

A nana nap seemed a good way to pass an hour or so after lunch. Then I had some rather surreal exchanges with well meaning folk on FB – no The Netherlands is not on the way to Northern Ireland even though ports are open there and no, we weren’t sheltering in Dun Laoghaire last week! Though we might wish we were, that would mean Temptress was was almost at her destination.

The last of the rich tea biccies accompanied our afternoon cuppa. We do have Ben’s tin of shortbread left which was being saved as a special treat. Seems tomorrow we will be breaking into it.

Thoughts turn to supper. It’s going to be pumpkin but what else? The fishermen are still at anchor, there are two or three boats there now. I’m rather tired of dreaming up food from the dregs of our coolbox. Curry? Rissotto? With a chorizo or just a veg dish? Potatoes, pumpkin and chorizo? I hate using the oven as it uses more gas than single burner but putting that lot in a dish with oil and herbs seems like a lazy, easy dish. Tomorrow I’ll stew the last of the beef slowly in the thermal cooker to make meals for two nights. If we are going north to Suez on Tuesday it’s going to be a long day and we will be grateful to have supper already prepared.

Late afternoon the fishermen came by, initially they wanted Egyptian pounds which we don’t have, then they decided US$20 for a fish and some prawns, expensive but we would have been willing just for some variety to our diet. Sadly the only small change we have left are four one dollar bills. I’m guessing that six guys on a local boat wouldn’t be carrying change for a US$100 note; we couldn’t buy any for our supper.

20:52 And the wind continues to blow harder than the forecast, more than double we reckon. Still it’s comfy enough, just rather fed up of being stuck. Being confined to the boat would be fine if we were moving or even able to socialise but as the weather has not permitted either it’s becoming a prison. Even sitting in the cockpit wasn’t an option today because of the dust in the air.

So we have the saloon sofas, our bunk or the guest cabin. Well I suppose we could sit in the one of the heads for a change of scenery but they are pretty cramped! And things to do are rapidly loosing their attraction too, there are only so many hours you can read or knit or play cards or do cross stitch each day. We try to keep the routine going of coffee, breakfast, elevenses, lunch, an afternoon cuppa and supper but in between it is hard work to keep occupied. I swept the cabin soles this morning but it’s a thankless task as the dust quickly returns whilst the current water shortage means washing the woodwork down or doing the laundry will have to wait until Suez or Ismailia. A good long walk would be incredibly welcome right now.


  1. Your need for movement is clear. Soon my friends soon. Once though the canal, you will be in a whole different part of the world, one that you are (were) a part of (e.g. Europe). While it will present a host of new challenges, it will be so much more familiar and hopefully you will find comfort in that familiarity. Be strong and rejoice in the knowledge that you are in the middle of perhaps the greatest adventure of your lives. Stay safe and stay well. Richard and Kay


  2. Hi Susie
    Sorry to hear of your confinement at the moment. At least if the boat were moving it would be easier to take. The longest passage I’ve done is 21 days so I appreciate but only to a little extent what you’re going through. Most certainly bunkering down into a routine as you describe is important. You two are the epitome of resilience!! This weather has to change. Fingers crossed!!


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