Yacht Delivery Turkey MUSCAT – RED SEA – SUEZ CANAL – FINIKE
We started from Muscat, me and Francesco, the 17 February, 4 days later our arrival cause some burocratical problems regarding inmigration and clearence: not so easy, some different interpretations of rules by police, inmigration and port authorities got us this delay.
We leaved at 11.45 pm with sun and wind on our normal track, trying at first to sail with engine, but very soon we had to change toward NE and put sails, cause our speed decresed under 3 knots; in this way we tryied to earn something on our way to E. This first night was rainy…the first and the last rain during all the trip; we had to alternate engine and sails, changing progressively our track, and following the wind changes, from 60° to 85° and later to 130°: finally a better one!
During the following 3 days we alternate sails and engine (this alternance was used during all our way) with not so high speed in both situations, except around 18 hours of sailing down a 26/28 knots of wind, pool on our genoa, and speed until 11 knots sometimes!!!
In all Arabic sea we found more or less the same conditions of wind (10 to 25 knots sometimes) and sea ( no so big waves, arriving at their max to 2,5 meters). Arriving in yemeny waters, we stay always at an average of 40-45 miles from the coast, trying to avoid eventual pirates attacks: I think was a good distance to avoid somalian and yemeni pirates.
BAB EL MANDEB STRAIT
We enter in Red Sea in the first afternoon of Sunday 28, with a wonderful 28-30 knots of wind from port-side at first, and from the stern later: 9 to 11 knots of speed all the afternoon and a long part of the night with only a few jib. Sailing at 25 miles offshore the yemeni coast, we were approached and called by a yemeni war ship, saying us that we were sailing in a dangerous area; so we change our track towards eritrean coast.
We made a stop in Massawa, arriving at 3 pm of 1 March, and trying to get gas for cooking: in fact, even if we had on board a big bottle, it finished only 12 days after our depart: it’s clear the it wasn’t well filled in Muscat!!! But we weren’t lucky with this matter (not the same nozzle on the bottle), only taking the opportunity, and after about 2000 miles without stops, to have a good dinner of fish in a little familiar restaurant just out of the harbour, and after the visit of the port authority that gave us very quickly our permits to go onshore; just some little tips and no fees for 48 hours. That night we slept very very badly at the tugs pier because of hundreds mosquitos!
Apart the restaurant cheap enough, all in Eritrea was abnormally expensive: diesel for 3,5 USD/liter, imported beer for 10 USD each cane, the same for taxis, and so on…..incredible!!! So we just buy some fruit and some local (good!!!) beer for 3 USD the bottle, and we restarted in the morning the next day.
We restarted from Massawa with a good 18 knots wind, track NW, and we sail with that until the evening. Than we have to put one more time the engine: wind was dead. Arriving in front of Sudan coast we even found waves and wind on our nose, making hard our navigation during many hours. All our navigation until Port Ghalib in Egypt was done with frequent alternance of engine and sails.
We arrived at 9 pm, and we stay at first at the inmigration pier: at midnight…!!!… they called us for registration and finally we were free to circulate in Egypt; of course we slept all the night at first!
The day after we move to a berth in the marina for a longer stop and a longer rest after so much miles (excluding Massawa, only few hours!). Moreover, we must buy meals and diesel to continue our trip; in reality we stay there 3 nights, also beacause of bad weather, but we had the occasion to meet 3 more sailboats following our same track, and arriving in the marina one by one: Jamie and Jenna with their childrens Leo and Hazel (6 and 11 years old) on a SOPHIA sail-catamaran, Ken and William on TRIM 13.50 wonderful “vintage sailboat”, and Daniel, alone making a worldwide tour on PIROPO 10m. We spent some little good little toghether!
Than, restarting, we try to make a stop looking for cheaper diesel in Safaga (in Port Ghalib 1,19 USD/liter), but, no chance, military authority of egyptian navy base in this gulf forbid us to do it, because we drop the anchor before calling by radio – we were far enough from the navy base, and for us was not so clear, following many red and green lightening buoys in a very wide natural bay, where exactly begin the harbour – so even if the Captain of the harbour promised to help us for anything (very kind guy!), military authority obliged us to restart immediately! So no chance, and we put our bow directely towards Suez; anyway just to be sure we had bought some jerrycanes of diesel in Port Ghalib at our start.
EL TOR BAY
Like in other occasion we got strong wind and waves on our nose, and we were very lucky to have this bay on our starbord-side just when our speed with engine was reduced to 1,5 knots at 1900 RPM! So we drop the anchor there, in this fishermen bay. Few hours later also Daniel on his “PIROPO” arrived founding finally a protection from this difficult wheather!
In this side of south Sinai there’s also a Hotel/Resort, and a kite-surf base and school. We went onshore, and the owner of the Hotel gave us help like informations about the town, and invite us to use in any time the wi-fi in the saloon of the hotel……another very kind guy!
In the town we could buy meals and we relaxed visiting an authentic corner of “real” Egypt, meeting so much kind persons very helpful for anything: this side was not alterated from mass tourism. And also, restaurant, cafés, and all kind of meals and services were so cheap! Our stop in this place was really lucky, cause we had to stay there 4 nights waiting for better weather: the second night we tried to leave at 12 pm thinking that the weather was bettering, butweI had to come back and at 7 am we were one more time on our anchor in EL TOR.
We arrived during a cold enough night, with strong wind and waves on the bow, and we went to drop the anchor at first in the east side of Port Ibrahim; the green and red lights were not working, but anyway we went in this part of the harbour reserved to small boats. The day after we went finally in the marina of Port Sufik and we meet our shipping agent, ready for manage our entry in the canal, contact pilots and provide us diesel. Totally we stay there 2 nights, and we took the occasion to buy some meals in the town and get internet in cafés, cause no wi-fi in the marina. Totally we spent 3 nights there, waiting for clearence and diesel. We prepared “mandatory tips” for pilot, and we start for the first part (40 miles) of the canal arriving in Ismailia at 6 pm. The day after we restarted with another pilot and at 6 pm we were finally in the Mediterranean.
Very early in the night, after the lightening corridor of exit from Suez canal, we realised that was no possible to keep the bow directely on FINIKE. Daniel and his “PIROPO” was still close to us, and together we decide to reach S.Raphael marina in Limassol. We had to spent there other 3 nights cause a 40/45 knots of wind from NW: exactly our track and final destination!
We had to restart during the night to get a “window” of good wind that was expecting us after Paphos, on the east side of Cyprus; so, at this moment, our saling was easier even if temperature during the first night was strongly cold! But finally we reach our destination without problems and our shipping agent was already waiting for us on the pier.