|Map 6 – Crossing the Mediterranean Sea|
Thurs 5 Nov 09
0700hrs: Beautiful day. Cloudless blue sky. Slight breeze. Temperature 17 deg. Barometer 1013mb. Today we set off. Motor started. Dinghy lifted onto foredeck and lashed down. Generally make ready for sea tidying down below and stowing stuff that might rattle around.
0800hrs. Anchor up and underway.
0815hrs. Clear of Karagol Adalari Island, a series of rocks guarding the western approaches to Kekova Roads. Course initially 192 deg Mag southerly. Slightly bumpy just outside with some small swell.
0830hrs: Change course to 156 deg Mag. Waypoint on the fairway buoy off Port Said 318 miles away.
0915hrs: Motoring up to 7 kts. Mainsail put up. Dark cobalt sea. No depth on sounder, too deep for it now. Seas have smoothed somewhat as we get away from the coast. Large snow-caps on the mountains behind the coastal ranges behind Ucagiz. Spinnaker pole breaks free from its clips. Normally stores vertically against the mast. Roger manages to hold it until the rest of us can get up there. Secure the foot of the pole to the mast and drop the head of it onto the bow. It’ll be ready there if we need it.
1045hrs. Raise the headsail though winds are fickle and mostly on the nose. Heading SSE. Some whitecaps but not many. Some big swells come through. Feeling a little unsettled in stomach with a bit of reflux. Ongoing problem for me usually controllable with prescription tablets. Motor sailing.
1500hrs: Motor sailing. Have tried to sail at one point but wind still too fickle by changing direction and speed. Land drops out of sight.
1700hrs: 60 miles travelled. Have been watching small sparrow like birds with a yellow breast all day flitting around and hovering over the surface of the sea. They don’t really look like sea birds and wonder why they are out this far to sea. One makes its way inside the boat and lands on Roger’s startled head as he’s preparing dinner. It soon finds its way back out again but hangs around the gunnels resting for a while.
Sea is much calmer. Outside temperature about 23 deg. Motor sailing. Andy rolls the headsail up. Winds still light and fickle from the south. Heading SSE close hauled to the wind.
1800hrs: Seas calming even more. Rippled surface though still some good sized swells coming through. Roger feeling a little nauseous while preparing dinner downstairs.
2100hrs. Seas calm. Smooth surface. Slight swells only. Moon casting soft blue light on boat and the sea. Hardly any boat traffic. Sky almost clear. Starry. Jumpers on but not overly cool. Motor sailing with mainsail up, headsail down.
Fri 6 Nov 09
0600hrs: Beautiful day dawns. 151 miles travelled. Cyprus 87 miles behind us to the NE. Lots of high cirrus cloud commonly called “mares tails” indicate strong wind activity high up. Seas rippled, almost flat. Andy reckons they’d be calm enough to water ski on. Had another of those small birds visit during the night. Andy says he sat under the seat behind the helm and refused to move. Sun rising broad off our port bow, moon setting abeam off starboard.
0800hrs: JASDIP – Just another shitty day in paradise. 160 miles in the 24 hrs. Motoring with full headsail and mainsail and getting around 6.8 kts. Smooth sailing. Another flock of those little birds fly past heading south. About 7 or so in this group. Wonder if they are migrating for the winter.
0900hrs: Wind turning to ESE and coming onto the port beam. Cut the motor and start sailing. Speed drops down to around 5 kts but soon builds up with the strengthening wind.
1200hrs: Speed over ground around 6 kts. Wind variable but mostly around 10-12 kts. Cloud has come over a bit. 140 miles to go.
1715hrs: Sun sinks below a small band of clouds. Sailing has been excellent all day reaching up to 7.6 kts. Wind holding steady broad off the port bow at around 12 – 15 kts but dying a little now. Turn the motor on with headsail and mainsail up. Hitting up to 8 kts. 98 miles to go.
Sat 7 Nov 09
Overnight: Very good sailing. As good as any I’d done before. Winds gusting to around 20 kts abeam to port. Seas got lumpier but Jenzminc glided along beautifully with barely a jolt even from the biggest waves. Moonlit seas.
0600hrs: Clear sky. A hazy horizon obscures the sun. Shipping appearing out of the haze.
0645hrs: 4 miles from coast. Can’t see it yet. Sea is a dirty green colour. Passing one anchored ship. Dolphin dives under the boat. Several more charging towards us, leaping and jumping all around. These are a smallish black dolphin. First marine life we’ve seen since leaving Turkey. Find a dead silver and black flying fish on the deck near the midships chainplate and gunnel. Must have come onboard during the night.
0730hrs: Reach our fairway buoy waypoint off Port Said. It’s taken one hour under 2 days to cover the 318 miles. This is really a good boat. Still can’t see anything but anchored ships, about a dozen or so. Several fishing boats moving around. Sun slowly seems to be burning off the haze.
0800hrs: Follow the sea lane into Port Said which looms indistinctly through the haze off the starboard bow. A Pilot from the local Port and Suez Canal Authority comes out and stops alongside so that an official can climb on board. We tell them we don’t need a pilot but they insist it’s required even for a small “ship” like ours.
It soon became evident why it was so necessary. It’s obviously a chance to make a little baksheesh. The pilots name is Asimari or similar and he isn’t backwards in asking for drinks and a small payment. As we enter the port he points out the Suez Canal Authority building, an impressive big green and white place. He guides us to where the other rally boats will be tying up.
|A colourful fishing boat||Closer look at a smoggy looking Port Said|
0900hrs: All tied up securely to the dock. We’re the first one in from the rally and have to wait for the rally agent to turn up. It’s becoming clear that the haze is more likely smog. It smells smoggy though some of it might be from the extensive shipyards right next to where we are docked. Beautiful day. Temperature 25 deg but humid. All of us are sweating. Cloudless sky. Very glarey and developing a slight headache. Pilot gets off the boat with completed paperwork. Give him a coke and 10 Euro’s.
|The Suez Canal Authority building||Jenzminc berthed at Port Said.|
The Vasco de Gama rally’s agent Felix later drops by to return our passports, appropriately stamped with the required visa.
We’re now free to go ashore.
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