Wednesday 29 April
Our preoccupation since yesterday has been the weather in the eastern Mediterranean. Kevin has been modelling routes to Crete using Open CPN. Yesterday the forecast was such that over 90% of the route would be upwind closed hauled, this morning it seems to be more favourable. As Jules has fixed their autopilot, both skippers have sent Captain Heebi a request for a transit to Port Said tomorrow morning.
Our first destination will be Ierapetra, on the south east coast of Crete, just over 400nm northwest from Port Said. We are more than ready to depart with plenty of food and eager to make a start on the westward journey. It seems too that in May things might start to ease in Europe which should also assist us as we head for the UK.
Yesterday we tried to obtain 60l of fuel to fill up the remaining three empty jerrycans but no luck. The marina has no supply until Saturday. It can’t quite be believed that in an oil producing country diesel is in short supply! We also received the bill for our provisioning, three pages of Arabic that apparently amount to US$100. Not so bad, the process was all a bit muddled but we essentially have everything we need and could sail direct to Gibraltar on what we have now. Hoping that in Crete we can pick up beer and wine for sundowners!
Excited, with renewed enthusiasm we set to on a few last tasks; checking the battery water levels, sewing a reinforcing patch back in place on the mainsail, planning meals for three nights at sea and stowing things away. Finally we are on our way and Temptress will be sailing in familiar waters very soon. Well I say Temptress, not entirely true as her previous Med adventures stopped at Barcelona. Kevin and I have competed in two Middle Sea races and therefore sailed in the waters around Malta and Sicily a few years back. As yet undecided as to whether to go north or south of Sicily, there isn’t much difference in distance. Will make a decision based on the weather as the shallower waters between Sicily and North Africa can be treacherous and as we can’t stop in Malta it may not be the most advisable route.
Late afternoon the skippers paid their bills. I took a last walk around the YC grounds, it could be a while before we get to go ashore again. After supper Kevin and Jules discussed the weather routing. Both boats will sail west along the coast until our destination lies almost north of us then tack and head for Crete. Probably four days sailing. We have heard from the agent in Crete and all seems well, as long as the port are happy with our health declaration. An early night beckons as we need to be up at four tomorrow morning.