Luxor – Home of Pharoah’s
|Map: With location of Aswan on the Nile River|
2200hrs: Arrive Aswan. Most passengers already lined up in the doorway. Porter comes up to sit beside me. Indicates on the quiet that he wants baksheesh … No. Indicates again … No. Indicates…. Ignore him and he goes away.
Step off onto the platform to see a tall, casually dressed young man holding a piece of paper with RUSS written upside down. I can somehow just tell that must be my contact. His eyes fix on me because I’m the only westerner on the train. Introduces himself. His name is Mahmood. He’s polite but not given to talking, simply saying, “Welcome to Aswan”, and “Please follow me Mister Russ”.
We set off on foot outside the station and down the street. No car? Where we going? But we only go about 150 metres or so to a fairly nice looking hotel called the Nuba Nile Hotel. Mahmood sits me at a table where I fill in some paperwork and he gets me booked in. The restaurant is of course closed. Order a chicken wrap and a can of coke to be taken to my room.
The room is spacious. Double room. Has hot water, toilet paper and towels even if they are just the length of one arm. Furniture in good nick. Well painted. Bed quilts, sheets and blankets look clean. The food arrives and I pay the man. No booking up here apparently. Only one TV channel in Arabic so turn it off. Constant noise like water bubbling coming from the refrigerator so turn it off too. Have a shower and get into bed to be entertained by Egyptian yodelling through the wall in the next room for an hour or so before finally falling asleep.
Wednesday 16 Dec 09
0830hrs: Breakfast. One large bowl of cereal available plus milk and sugar. Mostly small meats, salads, cheese and bread. Even some butter and jam. Hot coffee and tea. Lovely hot, strong, unsweetened tea. Collect my gear to clear out. Nothing to pay at Reception.
0920: Still considering whether to get onto the internet to check out the sights of Aswan when my guide appears. He’s 40 minutes early and introduces himself as … Mohammed. Mohammed the Guide II is of average size for an Egyptian but with balding head. He’s friendly, very business like, seems to know his job which you can tell he’s learned his patter off by rote.
His brief consists of reciting facts but with some added emphasis here and there. That’s okay but I wonder if I should take notes or something. At least I can pretty much understand him so I don’t interrupt for fear he may have to go back to the beginning. In any case he’s probably speaking the clearest English of any Egyptian that I’ve met so far. I was to learn throughout the day he has a PhD which was earned by translating one section of a wall in the Karnak Temple. It took him 5 years.
Mohammed leads me outside to a black limousine and introduces me to the driver. The vehicle has a worn but luxurious interior with black curtains pulled aside on the inside of the back window. Settle in and away we go. Mohammed starts giving me a bit of commentary, pointing out places of interest as we pass through the city which is a welcome change from yesterday’s guide.
Our first call is to the Unfinished Obelisk. Entry cost £30. Mohammed pauses on a large flag-stoned area in front of a small hill of granite. He picks up a small stone to draw diagrams on the flagstones and gives me a bit of history about this place, then some detail in particular about the Unfinished Obelisk. He points out the path to take and gives me a time to meet him back at the front gate.
The obelisk itself had been hand carved out of the bare rock just using other stones and basic hand tools. Marks from workers tools are still clearly visible. The shape of it can be clearly seen with three sides completed but without any excavation underneath. If it had been finished it would have been one third larger than any other obelisk ever erected, measuring 42 metres and weighing over 1,200 tones. Apparently it was abandoned after cracks were found in the granite.
|the obelisk was carved out of the bedrock on three sides using rocks to scape enough access to starting using hand chisels to shape it, before a crack was found and it was abandoned||black rocks like these were used to scrape away the sandstone before the object could be shaped by hand chisels|
I wander further along the path after climbing some rough wooden stairs and rocks around and above the obelisk. A Police security guard yells at me when I move past a rope barrier to take a photo. I yell back at him but hopefully in a jocular manner. He grins and motions me to come closer, then indicates I should follow him somewhere.
We walk along the path for a little way. He keeps saying, “Shortcut” and soon steps over a rope barrier, heading for another cluster of rocks which was obviously another attempt by the ancients to create an obelisk.
This one is much shorter than the first and its top surface is badly damaged as if someone had taken to it with a sledge hammer reducing it to a lot of rubble. However the sides have been excavated and a little stone walkway has been scraped and chiselled to give access all around. The guy takes me around the back to show me how the ancients had been scraping away underneath for about 30cm or so trying to remove the obelisk from its grip in the bare rock.
He points some things out speaking in a staged whisper although there’s no one within cooee distance and the radio on his belt keeps blaring out. He’s acting as if he’s taking a terrible risk by taking me here.
I take some photos and make to move away thanking the guy and offering him £10. I know that’s pretty generous of me but I’d got some good shots. There’s a pained expression on his face. Momentarily forgetting all previous experiences and where I was, I immediately think that maybe I shouldn’t have offered him this bribe. Take the £10 back off him and apologise. Silly me … there’s an even more pained experience so I realise my error and give the money back to him.
Now there’s much shaking of his head accompanied by accentuated tsk, tsk’s.
“No entry here …” he says with suitable unhappy looks.
Give him another £10 but this only changes the pained look to something closer to exasperation or annoyance? Walk off leaving him there.
|Basic outline of a statue begins to emerge out of the rock centre photo||Hieroglyphic writing in one of the granite pits|
At the end of the pathway are several shops selling the usual cheap junk. Each shop owner in turn welcomes me to Egypt and tries to get me to look at their particular collection of stuff which is pretty much the same as thousands of other little shops in Egypt. If none of that is your style there is a final shop selling drinks and packet ice-creams, the kind on sticks. Just keep walking.
Meet Mohammed back at the gate and return to the limo and we set off to Aswan Dam. My new “friend” now forgets about me and starts having an expressive chat with the driver. This sets the standard for the rest of the day while driving around Aswan.
Entry cost £20. There are two dams at Aswan. The High Dam and the Old Dam. The Old Dam was completed in 1902 and has a causeway across it. The High Dam was completed in 1970 with Russian assistance. The two dams are now used among other things to control the annual flooding of the Nile River. There are two lakes as a consequence of both dams and one of them is in between the dams. Lake Nasser is supposedly the largest artificial lake in the world so they claim. It’s 550 km long and 35 km at its widest. There are Nile crocodiles in Lake Nasser and in the Nile River upstream, but there are no longer any in the lower reaches. The Nile crocs are freshwater crocs but I understand they can be aggressive, having been known to attack and kill humans.
At the lookout Mohammed points out items of interest and gives me more facts and figures. He tells me that all up the hydro-electric plant has 12 turbines collectively producing over two Gigawatts of power for the whole of Egypt. 11,000 cubic metres of water pass through the dam every second. The scheme was supposed to encourage the establishing of industry here. Maybe it did … or didn’t.
He wanders off somewhere while I take a look about. Spend about 10 minutes or so rubber-necking and return to the limo with a can of coke for each of us. You’d have thought I was giving Mohammed a gold necklace. But I was to find the man is un-buyable as he resumes his sometimes agitated conversation with the driver after telling me we are now going to the Philae Temple. He seems very definite at times only to be met on occasions with, “la,la,la,la,la,la ….” from the driver which I think is equivalent to “no,no,no!”.
It was dedicated to the goddess Isis and is believed to belong to the period between 4th century BC and the start of the 4th century AD. Entry cost £50. The temple is still being reconstructed on an island in Lake Nasser between the High and Old Dams. It had been covered with water when the High Dam was built but was subsequently excavated by cutting it up into numbered pieces like a huge jigsaw and reassembling on the nearby island.
Down at the Nile River my man talks to a cluster of boat men whose job it is to take tourists out to the temple. There must be dozens of these little tinnies at the landing point all about 18 feet or so, gaily coloured with tatty canopies just like the Nile ferries. Dozens and dozens more are lined up further out. Am led to one in which a big, unsmiling, coal black Nubian guy is seated in front of an outboard motor with no cover on it. He’s wearing one of the usual off-white or dirty smocks with a scarf which alternates as a turban thing. I wonder briefly if the motor will start.
Once seated the Nubian starts to clatter and bang his boat out from among the cluster amid voluble protests from the other boatmen around. Just as well the tinny is made of thick aluminium. He now turns his attention to the motor and gets it started on the first pull, using a length of cord wrapped around the head of the motor. It erupts into a cloud of blue smoke which rapidly clears away and we move out into the lake towards the little island on which the Philae Temple was rebuilt.
On the way Mohammed quietly explains the tipping system here, £10-15 for the boat man and £15-20 for the limo driver. Politely doesn’t mention himself, but obviously he’ll be looking for something more substantial. Steep tipping all things considered. I would guess that kind of money would go a long way for a local Egyptian, but at least he points out various items of interest before landing.
Once on the island he takes me into a room which was once the most holy room in the place where the priest standing in the darkness inside could look out at everybody outside in the light, but he would remain invisible inside in the darkness. Mohammed arranges to meet me at the coffee shop at midday and again toddles off, probably to speak to our driver again over coffee or something.
This is really an impressive place with massive walls covered in hieroglyphs and relief sculptures. Every wall, every column, every surface is covered in carved symbols or writing. At some point in the past the temple had been taken over by Coptic Monks. They’d been so offended by the carvings and representations of Egyptian Gods that they started defacing them. They didn’t get to all of them but the damage they did do is plain to see.
The monks had even stabled animals in the most holy area of the temple including putting carving rings directly into the walls to which they could tether their animals. Maltese crosses can be seen in places carved into the temple walls and columns, and there’s even an altar with an alcove above it for offerings. Finally, among all the other ruination is graffiti in the form of French writing on the walls engraved by Napoleon’s soldiers during his era of occupation.
|inside the temple||hieroglyphs cover much of the walls|
|the most holy of rooms showing ring bolts carved into the rock by christian monks to tether animals||beautiful columns and wall murals carved into the wall|
|in the grounds of the temple complex||pieces of stone still to be assembled|
Left: a christian maltese cross carved into one of the doorways alongside ancient hieroglyhphs
Am sufficiently “templed out” so wander over to the coffee area which is just a collection of small huts under big shady trees. Mohammed is there talking to friends. He makes to come over but I indicate he should stay with his friends and order a coffee. It doesn’t arrive. A new discovery. If you’re with a tour guide you get served. If you’re on your own forget it.
Take a look at the various junk stuff on sale and then front the counter to at least buy an ice cream on a stick. Give them £100. That’s in spiteful retaliation for ignoring me but they don’t seem to have much trouble cashing it. Anyway, I need the change for the tips I’m yet to pay. Lots of tourists are wandering around and it’s fairly warm so I guess they must be doing a brisk business anyway, even if there are only a couple of people here right now.
Back to the boat, climb on board and return to the boat landing. Slip the Nubian guy his tip who judging by his smooth, unlined face has probably never smiled in his life but manages a quiet, “Thank you”. Step ashore, back into the limo.
1230hrs: Mohammed leaves me back at the Nuba Nile Hotel. I’m to be picked up at 1400hrs by my old mate Mahmood from last night and taken to the Bus Depot. I’ve got an hour and a half to kill so decide to take a walk. Wander along the tree lined esplanade facing the Nile River, stopping at times to watch the felucca boats. The wind’s up today and they’re charging downriver, turning about and tacking back upriver.
Am approached by all kinds of differently dressed men, every one of them polite and enquiring but all trying to drum up some business for themselves. One with a briefcase even offers me a single room for the night for £15. Must have been a goodie. On the way back to the hotel I stand aside for a short and fat woman wearing a brown burka. She’s only as tall as my chest and waddles from side to side rolling like a boat going over a wave, passing unnecessarily close and touching me as she works her way around me. Roll and touch. Roll and touch.
|street view – Aswan||street view – Aswan|
|felucca’s on the Nile River – Aswan||multiple style dwelling – have to wonder who lives at the top levels|
1430hrs: Mahmood picks me up in a yellow private car and takes me out to the bus station. Tells me the bus will leave at 1500hrs. Settle down to wait at the cafe next to the bus station and order a Nescafe for each of us. Waiting, waiting. Find out that one of the staff has had to go somewhere to get two sachets of Nescafe coffee.
An old man in a dirty dark brown smock, a week’s growth of grey beard and a filthy turban comes up with his hand out silently asking for baksheesh. Shake my head. He stands there silently talking to himself and moving his hands about, then moves off into the bus lanes striking odd poses and with his mouth still silently working all the while. Poor man. He comes back after a while and picks up my empty coffee glass and tries to drain any dregs of coffee. Mahmood gives him a glass of water which he gulps down thirstily, spilling most of it down the front of his smock, on the table and over my backpack.
1510hrs: Mahmood points out the bus I’ll be leaving on. Try to tell him he doesn’t have to wait but he doesn’t seem to understand. Tells me he’s working so I let him be. Another bus arrives and the driver gets out and disappears somewhere. Mahmood tells me he’s going off to drink tea. Another elderly portly man who has been wandering around for the past hour trying to cadge money climbs aboard. There’s no one in there so he comes back out again. Someone slaps him on the head sending his turban askew.
Eventually the driver returns and Mahmood leads me towards it. Am a bit confused. He’d told me the other bus was going to Hurghada. This new bus is supposed to be going to Cairo? A Spanish man is also confused. He wants to get to Cairo and had been told the other bus was going there. But all is well. This bus is going first to Hurghada via Luxor then on to Cairo. That is assuming the balding and badly pockmarked rear tyre holds out.
Mahmood points out on the ticket that I have seat number 11. Climb onboard. An approximately middle aged dumpy Egyptian woman sits herself down in Seat 11. She looks at me quizzically with startling green eyes and pencil thin eyebrows as I draw next to her. Sit myself down in the opposite aisle. I don’t think they pay that much attention to seat numbering as long as there is a seat. In a little while a youngish Egyptian man joins her assuming a lovey-dovey attitude, whereupon the woman adopts an almost permanently pained expression from then on. Would love to know the story going on there.
1540hrs: The bus leaves the station. A man in civilian clothes carrying a little box comes around checking tickets. Says nothing about Seat 11. Apart from me as a foreigner there is the Spaniard and a Brit guy. Apparently no more than five foreigners can catch the same bus because it’s a security thing. Any more than that and a Police escort has to come along as well. Decide to try and stay awake at least until it gets dark. It’s going to be a long night. Stare outside at the passing scenery as we travel along the Nile River. Lots of tall grass, thick clusters of date palms, cultivated fields, mud brick houses in various states of disrepair and regular military check points.
|cruise ship sailing on the
|two men sit chatting near the end of the day at an unknown town north of Aswan|
1620hrs: Stop at an unknown town for 10 minutes. Manage to buy a small can of coke and a small bottle of cold water.
1840hrs: Stop at a rest stop beside the road near the village or town or city of Esna. Not much here at this stop for food and drinks except for the usual wafer biscuits and packets of chips snacks. There is a rough roof sitting on top of timber poles, no walls and an uneven dirt floor. A man at a table at the rear is selling cups of sweetened hot tea. Look at the toilet off to one side but am not game enough to go in there so walk across the road behind a derelict hut for a piddle.
Back at the rest stop there are several freshly made amphorae’s lined up among the rubbish and clutter lining the road. Earlier beside the road I had seen what I’d assumed to be a small bus shelter except that the bench seat had holes cut in it. They had looked like the sort of toilet where a bin was placed below the hole … but surely not. It wasn’t private enough and sitting right beside the road! Had been kind of curious about that. Now I understood. The amphora jars are still used to this day as water jugs and they get placed into the holes of the benches to hold them upright. The water is then available to anyone passing by.
This one here is a larger system with each large jug having a lid. A single cup stands on top of one of the lids and people at intervals come along, remove a lid, dip the cup and take a drink. A very good way to earn a dose of volcanic diahorrea if ever there is one.
|amphora’s still being used as a way to store water at a rest stop
between Aswan and Luxor
|free water from communal water jars – just help yourself to some projective diahorrea at Esna, Egypt|
On the way again. It’s dark outside and a colour movie starts playing from a VHS cassette tape player and flickering on a TV screen mounted up the front. The picture suffers badly from white noise lines, is very jerky and loud. Finally the plot settles down into some kind of melodrama involving mostly shouting, shooting and bloodshed. In between these activities on the screen, a bratty and whinging three year old throws little tantrums and even manages occasionally to sob convincingly at a volume to compare with the movie. Nothing to see outside except when the bus pulls up at the numerous check points.
The movie stops and another is put on. This one is obviously a parody of a James Bond type of film. Although it’s meant to be an Arabic comedy it also involves mostly shouting and lots of shooting, killing people and bloodshed.
2145hrs: Stop at the village of Qena. Loud shouting starts up in the aisle of the bus and a man is being ushered off. A young Egyptian lad tells us the fellow was a friend of the driver and had been demanding a free seat. Stretch the legs for a bit outside though it’s very cold now.
2215hrs. Reach Safaga on the Red Sea coast to the south of Hurghada. Only stop long enough for people to get off and retrieve their luggage.
Midnight: Finally reach El Gouna Bus Depot. I don’t recognise it having not seen it before so wonder where I am for a moment. Apparently I’ve got to get off here. A sign says El Gouna but I still don’t know how far it is to Sekala. Find a taxi who offers to take me for £25 – no problem. There are two guys in the taxi and they take to right to the front gate of the marina – no problem.
Walk down to the boat to find it all in darkness. Roger and Andy are asleep. Creep inside and enormously relieved, climb into bed.
Port Ghalib, Egypt
Late rise for me. Roger and Andy have been busy refuelling the boat and getting additional fuel in jerry cans. We’ll be leaving Hurghada probably around 1000 on Saturday. Take clothes to the laundry man. Maurice from Cobble comes around for sundowners. All head up to the local Sphinx Restaurant in the marina for dinner. Chat with some Brits for a while. Get an invite to join them for dinner uptown somewhere but don’t really feel like going out.
Friday 18 Dec 09
Roger and Andy continue with refuelling, filling and bringing jerry cans back to the boat. Also do some shopping. I spend most of the time bringing this journal up to date and starting to caption all available photographs. Hope to have them done so that I can burn off a CD and post it home from Port Ghalib. All the photographs and files at least will then be off the boat before we make our run to Aden in Yemen.
Have a chat with Ian of Rhumb Do to give him what detail I can about taking a tour to Luxor. Jamie of Esper interviews Andy for a podcast which he publishes on his website http://www.followtheboat.com. Andy pays the marina fees and obtains a valuable list of contacts for calling into Port Ghalib and other places to assist with getting clearances and so on. Colin and Tricia of Moody Time give Jenzminc a lovely Christmas card with a wish for fair winds. Nice gesture.
Early evening Maurice and all of Jenzminc arrive on Alice for dinner. We have soup followed by a Shepherd’s Pie except there are various vegetables in the mince and a dessert of strawberries and cream. While having dinner young Mohammed the Laundry Man arrives with the washing for Roger and me. Hard and honest worker that young man.
Saturday 19 Dec 09
0730hrs: Today we start out again on our long journey home via Port Ghalib to officially clear out of Egypt. Everything is done. Last minute charging of mobile phones and computers, sending of emails. Andy changes the gas bottle.
0830hrs: Canopy over the cockpit is taken down. Dinghy pulled up and secured on deck. Walk over to a corner of the marina where a yacht is tied up. It’s called Heart of Oak and is English registered. Was first seen in Port Said then in Ismailia, and last seen after it hit a reef somewhere north of Hurghada and Port Endeavour and had partially sunk. Anecdotally the skipper had no charts and had been relying just on a pilot guide book. Apparently he’d been arrested but that is unclear. The latest gossip is that he had gone back to England. Details of any crew not known.
Right: SV Heart of Oak had hit a reef and foundered north of Hurghada and was laying on her side with sails still set.
0945hrs: Crowd of yachties stand by to give us a hug, a handshake and good wishes. Lo Brust hands Andy the weather forecast for six-hourly periods over the next couple of days.
Colin’s mother of Moody Time tells us to take care of pirates. I tell her in all seriousness, “Never you mind about pirates, we’ve got a secret weapon”.
Power cable and gangway pulled in. Lines slipped and with final waves goodbye moved out of the marina toward the open sea.
1005hrs: All shipshape and secure. Wind light northerly. Motoring. The log isn’t working properly, only showing a speed of just over two knots. Andy tells me he’ll have to go for a swim underneath to fix the problem. Simply lifting it out from inside the boat won’t do the job.
1020hrs: Some dolphins playing around at the bow in the clear water. A motor cruiser tour boat has been feeding and calling them for the tourists onboard.
1045hrs: Seas rippled. Calm. Depth around 8-10 metres. Can see bottom but not in sharp detail. Dark patches of coral here and there. A glass-bottomed tourist boat glides along slowly nearby. Depth hits six metres. Roger goes up forward to keep a lookout.
1055hrs: Depth up to 90 metres. Dark blue sea. Several offshore small islands, some not much more than sandbanks with a few small salt tolerant plants along the shoreline.
1530hrs: Headsail up. No change in conditions. Wind less than five knots.
1600hrs: Safaga just behind us lying invisible in the front of a larger group of mountains that juts up all along this coast. Following the western side of the Red Sea about 10 miles off the coast. East coast is too far away to see. Flat blue sea. Trolling lines put out.
Dusk: Headsail and trolling lines pulled in.
1800hrs: Roger makes egg, salad and toasted pita bread sandwiches. Hits the spot.
1930hrs: Sliver of moon sets. Blackness deepens except for the odd town. Still about 10 miles from the coast. Milky Way turns splendorous forming a fairy light track across the sky running south-east to north-west. Andy points out Polaris – the North Star. Even though the stars shift as the sky turns at night, Polaris always points North and has been a Northern Hemisphere navigation mark for eons.
Have only seen one other boat since Hurghada and that one after dark. It turned into one of the little coastal towns.
Sunday 20 Dec 09
Port Ghalib is just a new settlement and is an official Port of Entry for Egypt. It lies on the coast near the township of Marsa Alam which is some kilometres further inland. There is a large airport and big jets are taking off and landing. Marsa Alam relies on tourism with wind buggies, trekking and camping in the desert. The port itself is probably one kilometre square. There are some small shops and a mini-mart not worthy of the name. No post office. Residential villas. Seems to be a playground for wealthy Arabs with a motor yacht, several of which are berthed around the port.
Sunday 20 Dec 09
0400hrs: Pull up and secure Jenzminc alongside the cement dock outside the Harbour Master’s building in Port Ghalib. Everybody gets to bed.
0500hrs: Local official in company with two Policemen stand outside calling, “Hello Captain”. Very polite. Tells us the Harbour Master’s Office will open at 1000. We ask about fuel. He tells us if we want fuel we’ll have to move away to another place nearby. He points it out to Andy.
0520hrs: Our man runs around the marina to the new location. A few minutes later we arrive to find a group of four security people ready to take our lines. We need to use three ropes to tie to the buoy and reach the dock. Grey Donkey is berthed here. She’s a Belgian boat and had been in Hurghada yesterday moored directly opposite us. As Jenzminc reverses into the dock the other skipper comes out with more fenders to make sure we don’t scratch his boat or something.
0540hrs: All tied up. Documents presented and our presence explained to the Port Official. He takes our passports and the ships papers away. Close to dawn and turning light outside. Sit down for a cup of coffee or tea.
0930hrs: A security guard tells Andy he cannot go swimming so he’s unable to fix the log transducer here. We’ll have to wait until we get back outside. This is a bit annoying at first because people are swimming about 20 metres away, but it soon becomes apparent they’re doing diving maintenance work on the berthing buoys. Andy contacts the Port Authority by radio. There are just two boats here and they tell us we’ll be second to attend the fuel dock for more fuel. They also tell us we’ll be second in getting our passports processed. After that we can go directly to the Harbour Master’s dock and officially clear out of Egypt.
1000hrs: Update this journal and burn a precautionary DVD disc with all journal entries and photographs taken so far. A man comes around asking for the marina fees. We consider this unusual since we aren’t visiting here and nothing we’ve read so far says anything about this requirement if a vessel is just transiting through clearing into or out of the country. The Egyptians never seem to let a chance go by.
Go for a walk around the port complex. Flies are thick and friendly. Very new buildings with lots of untenanted shops. No post office and unable to post off my DVD. Will just have to hide the DVD somewhere on the boat in the event of piracy although that situation we consider quite slim. There’s a lot of media hype about piracy but the level of danger given by the press to pleasure yachts although possible, is statistically unsupportable. Such reporting makes for better media sales I suppose.
Return to the boat as it starts to move around to the fuelling dock. During fuelling a man starts checking Andy’s papers and says there’s a problem with Customs. All the official papers are present except for some receipt, or document or something from Wadi Dome that says everything has been paid. I wonder if he thinks we got all our other official papers for free? Seems to me it’s just a minor clerk having a power surge. After all, we’d visited Hurghada since then. The chap came and went a couple of times.
1100hrs: Fuelling completed. Move over to the Harbour Master’s dock.
Approx Midday: Grey Donkey slips her lines and takes off. The skipper tells us he hadn’t had any problems with the paperwork. It was just the length of time it took for officials to process it. The crew appears to be a family of husband, wife and a son. The son looks strikingly like Harry Potter complete with glasses. Wave goodbyes.
Waiting, waiting. An older, different Customs man comes down to the boat. Quite distinguished looking. Has our papers in his hand and looks over the boat. Says, “It won’t be long”, gives us a big smile and heads back into the building.
1320hrs: Whatever the Customs problem was seems to have been resolved without our further assistance. Got our clearance and have permission to leave. Don’t need to be told twice. Lines in, fenders put away, head out to sea past the poor desolate looking yacht lying there. It lay apparently abandoned on a sandbar at the entrance to Port Ghalib with sails still set, torn and fluttering in the wind.
Moved out into the open water.