June 2003
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2 Weeks ending 7 and 14 June 2003 (Bob) 

Planning to move on -Egypt El Gouna Resort.jpg (22096 bytes) With our blitz tour of Egypt and its marvels behind us, it is time to move from beautiful Abu Tig Marina in El Gouna to the Suez and the Mediterranean, so we have had a quiet week doing the routine things:

  • Filling water tanks - with 'mineral water' since we are not sure about the water on the dock.
  • Laundry (lots, and lots)
  • Watching weather - a daily trip to the Internet Cafe to download weather charts looking for the right conditions for the next 180 miles ( a low pressure system in the Med north of Egypt)

Tara 3 Arrives - Just as we thought we were the last yacht heading north in the Red Sea, Tara 3, our sailing companion through the 'Danger Zone' near Yemen pulled in beside us so we could share sea stories.  It was good to catch up with John and Jane, and now they head out to visit Egyptian archeology.

Traveler Tummy hits LP crew - As we were getting ready for our trip to the Suez Canal a few bacteria decided to weigh in their opinion and laid Judi low for a couple of days, and then repeated the trick with Bob a few days later with a little more vigor.  As this is being written both are recovering but Bob is still ingesting antibiotics and other stuff but the future looks rosier.

Plans Change - Again! - And the future has changed direction, or at least includes a short detour.  A friend John, on a motor-yacht, needs help getting his boat from Egypt to Turkey and we said "hey, why not", so this will be a dress rehearsal for the approach and passage of the Suez Canal and crossing the Eastern Med.  We plan to leave this weekend on his 46' Nordhavn for a 10-12 day trip to Turkey, and then return to repeat the trip on Long Passages.  Might be an interesting way to compare the virtues of sailing vs. motoring in comfort - stay tuned

 2 Weeks ending 21 and 28 June 2003 (Bob) 

Dress Rehearsal - crewing Knot Yet II to Turkey - John, from Knot Yet II returned from Bangkok and a hip-replacement operation ready to move his beautiful Nordhaven 46 from the Red Sea to Turkey.  Unfortunately Egyptian Immigration messed up the plans of his normal crew to join him, so we volunteered to help John and Japanese crew, Roki, make the 600-mile trip to Park Kemer on the south coast of Turkey - here's a quick recap:

  • Getting Ready - Provisioning for 4 was sort of new, but Judi whipped up a menu, shopping list, and within a day Knot Yet II was stocked and ready to go. We had been monitoring the weather for about a week and knew that a low-wind weather window was opening on Monday (when we had intended to leave) so we targeted to leave in 2 days.
  • Motoring to Suez - The weather was just as predicted and we had light northerly winds and motoring into them was no problem.  Knot Yet II moves at a predictable 7 knots and so the 172 mile trip up the Gulf of Suez took just 24 hours.  We encountered choppy seas south of El Tor when we slowed to 4.5 knots briefly, but made this up later. By mid-morning we were moored at the so-called Suez Canal yacht Club along with Mantra (a British catamaran) and Parsifal (a red yacht with a delightful French couple on board).
  • The Transit - It went by the book:
    • Wednesday - Paperwork by Felix Maritime (agent) and measurement (by the Suez Canal Authority)
    • Thursday - Motored 40 miles to Ismailia, a quaint and friendly town where we tied to the quay for the night.
    • Friday - Motored 40 more miles to Port Said where we moored for the night at the grubby and unsafe Yacht Club, made necessary because payment by credit card can only be done at the main office of Felix in Port Said.
  • Cyprus - Leaving Port Said behind we motored in flat seas for 24 hours to an uneventful landfall in Larnaca, surprised to arrive at a FIRST WORLD destination!  Cyprus was a real surprise with ATMs everywhere (necessary since things were quite expensive), superb shopping (we both added to our wardrobes) and delicious tavernas along the waterfront.
  • First Glimpse of Turkey - This was a wonderful surprise - Turkey town anchorge at Kas.jpg (29814 bytes)steep mountains were visible from 30 miles at sea, the marinas were full of beautifully crafted wooden gulets, (schooners) filled daily by tourists from Germany, Britain, Italy and other countries, and the food - Ah the food!  The fruits and vegetables are the nicest we have seen in years and an evening at Pasa Kebap filled us with delicious fare and local wine.  We can see how cruisers can become hooked on this country.  The days of cheap living have faded into history however, and even though $1 will get you 1,400,000 lira, meals were $10-15/person, a rental car was $50/day and fuel an eye-watering $5/gallon.  But we think we will like spending a year here, using it as a base to visit other parts of Europe. 
  • Marina Survey - We rented a car and drove to the marinas close to Kemer. Our findings:
    • Park Kemer -     $$$ - Nice facilities, close to restaurants, in an expensive resort area.
    • Finike - $ - Spartan marina with 4-star toilet and shower facilities in a cute rural town.
    • Kas - $ - Beautiful town, barebones facilities.
    • Setur Antalya - $$ - Nice facilities in a commercial port; nothing close by but Antalya 20 minutes away offers major city attractions and shopping.
  • Fast trip Home - Anxious to get Long Passages into the Med, on Sunday we hopped onto a Turkish Air flight to Istanbul and EgyptAir flight to Cairo.  After a 7-hour layover in Cairo and a short hop to Hurghada we arrived back at our marina late in the night, tired but glad to be back aboard our yacht.
 

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