Safaga to Suez
Despite the early arrival we all mustered ourselves and headed for the shore to clear in and arrange for our cruising permit and visas. After we had hauled the dinghy up the beach next to a dive center we hailed one of the many mini-buses that run between the hotels and town and headed for the bank and town. After spending all morning and most of the afternoon going from person to person we finally had our visas and cleared the rest of the formalities. After a spot of lunch at a local café we headed downtown to have a look around and get a feel for the place.
There were plenty of shops all over the place and the locals were a friendly bunch but after visiting a few of the shops and purchasing some fresh vegetables we headed back to the hotel strip. Once we were back there Gareth, Martin and Jack headed for an internet café in the hotel while Noel and Amiria headed off to enquire about the facilities that were on offer. While the boys were in the internet café Gareth spotted a fridge that held cold beer. So with the first cold beer to grace our lips since the Seychelles firmly grasped in our paws we settled down in front of our computers to let everyone know of our long awaited arrival. Once we had finished at the internet café we headed off to the dive center where we met Noel and Amiria at the bar there. After a few more beers there with one of the local dive instructors, we headed back to the boat for dinner. After dinner the call of the beer was to strong to resist so Gareth, Noel, Jack and Martin headed back to the bar where met our friend again and enjoyed another cold beer and a local shisha pipe of apple tobacco.
After a few rounds at the bar, and despite Jack falling asleep for the first half an hour, we decided to head for a local night club. On arrival with everyone's second wind going strong the beer call was swiftly answered with a chorus of delighted shouts.
With a few more rounds under our belt the temptation soon became to much to resist and the Lista Light crew was seen to grace the dance floor pulling moves that only a Mother could love.
On our way back our friend insisted that we stop past another club that was on the way and despite a few objections we were ushered into the next club. After several more beers that we had pressed upon us by our friend we hit the dance floor once again until the early hours.
Despite a fairly late start we spent the day doing boat chores and working through the ever present to do list. About mid-afternoon Noel, Gareth and Amiria headed off into town in search of an internet café among other things, leaving Jack and Martin on the boat finishing their own chores. Whilst ashore Gareth and Noel decided to push the boat out and have a bath unfortunately they forgot a vital element, water.
The next day Martin, Noel, and Amiria started the diesel mission with the help of our agent Hanjib. It took three runs with an extremely overloaded dinghy to transfer the six hundred litres of diesel in jerry cans to Lista and back.
Whilst this was going on Gareth and Jack had headed into town to start on the provisioning. After touring a large majority of the shops they purchased most of what was needed. After heading back to the boat to off load their purchases they returned to do the fresh fruit and vegetable shop accompanied this time by Martin.
Martin and Noel had arranged to do a dive the next day so they hit the sack early that evening promptly followed by everyone else. Noel and Martin headed off on a dive boat early the next morning and everyone else did their own thing for the day.
It was late afternoon before everyone met at the dive center where Noel and Martin were enjoying a refreshment after their dive.
We spent the next day doing the last few bits that needed doing with the intention of going to sea that evening. It was late afternoon by the time we were ready so the anchor came up and we headed back out to the open sea to tackle the last two hundred miles of the Red Sea rumoured to be the hardest part due to the shipping lanes and the multitude of oil rigs.
By the next morning we had settled back into the now familiar routine of slogging into the wind, except now we were entering the bottle neck near the Suez where we were never lacking the company of some large ship or another.
Unfortunately due to the large sea and the wind knocking our nose around the auto-pilot just couldn't cope so we had to resort to hand steering her again.
We spent the next few days keeping just outside the shipping lane passing plenty of oil rigs that would light the night sky with their burners. It was day four from when we left Safaga when we crossed the shipping lane and headed for an anchorage on the other side where we could decant some of our jerry cans into our tanks. After negotiating the entrance we dropped the anchor in the bay where we were sheltered from the swell but the reef gave us little protection from the wind. It was early evening by the time we had finished filling the tanks and we decided to stay for the night and carry on first thing in the morning. After a beautiful mixed vegetable stir fry and noodle dinner, Martin surprised us all by producing a beautiful treacle tart complimented by a huge pot of custard, needless to say it did not last the night.
After a fairly early start we headed back onto our course dodging the many fishing boats on the way. We were greeted by our first glimpse of Suez in the early hours of the next day. It was about six o'clock by the time we had scrabbled our way up the channel and after some vague instructions from the harbour master we finally found our anchorage and anchored to await our agent. Within half an hour our agent was on board and we were allowed to proceed onto the yacht club. We were given the use of their hose their with which we proceeded to fill our tanks. Once the tanks were full we turned our attention to the rest of boat and washed the encrusted salt out of all the ropes and sails and gave Lizzie an all round fresh water birthday.
After a quick chat with some of the blokes on the shore we arranged for some diesel and beer to be delivered to the boat. As it was going to take a couple of hours we moved onto the moorings that were provided. A couple of hours later, as promised, the diesel boys turned up and we soon had our tanks full again.
With the two most pressing jobs out of the way we headed for the town to see what it had to offer, with Martin opting to stay on the boat as he had jobs he wanted to do.
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