We both have to think hard to work out the date and the day of the week for the journal. It is incredible how easy it is to lose track of these. Having so many night watches lately and waking up in a new place most days makes this difficult too.
SATURDAY, 12 APRIL 2008
We enjoy a great day and night sailing with the mainsail and headsail.
This is only dampened early on by discovering we can't find our new apple computer (which Scott gave us as a joint present), and later our digital camera and new mobile phone for making contact when we go ashore. I am woken the previous night by a loud rustling noise. I don't get up as I feel too tired to deal with a rodent (which is so unlikely as we have been at sea and at anchor for sometime), and am too frightened to think of an intruder. Ross is in a deep sleep, and we have since decided it is better he didn't get up. I can remember when I took the last photo, about 4pm yesterday, and we haven't left the boat since as we have cleared customs. So the above items and charges, including some I could still use, have gone.
All our precious photos since Phuket have gone, including those of our time with Scott and Augusta. I had the U.S.B. stick out to save them all.
This all has a numbing effect on me. Ross is marvellous how he can be positive and move on, but it takes me a while. The thought of some creepy person being on the boat is abhorrent.
We have since heard this has been happening quite regularly. The general opinion is it is the Egyptian fishermen also anchored in the port. Robbie and Phil have been marvellous and have very generously lent us a camera and given us a copy of their photos from Phuket to Massawa.
We pass by the Eritrean/Sudanese border at 9.30am. Sudan is the largest country in Africa. We are advised to keep 5 n.miles off the coast for 10 n.miles south and north of the area, because of the political unrest here.
Sailing past the Eritrean/Sudanese border
It's wonderful how good news can lift one's spirits. Scott is coming to meet us at Rhodes with Augusta, and Lily. This will coincide with Heather, Paul and their Lachie, Anna and Lucinda. Life is looking exciting again. One of our highlights of the week is calling each family every Sunday. We so enjoy hearing their news. We especially like hearing the children's voices. We speak with Steve and Meg's Georgie, Sam and Sophie today.
Later in the day we catch up with the yachts we met up with in Massawa; Gone with the Wind (Liam and Annie from Sydney) and Belvenie (Amanda and Mark from N.Z.)
About this time Belvenie calls us up to say they have a fishing boat approaching them and they are preparing a pirate pack in case. However we are all visited by different fisherman in the area and they are very appreciative of drinks, Marlborough cigarettes and goodies, e.g. biscuits and sweets.
We all anchor at Shatira Island within the Khor Nawarat group.
Ross and I go in the dinghy some distance to a very small island with good snorkeling off its reef. As we walk up the beach in our snorkeling suits and carrying our flippers and goggles (imagine what we look like!) we have a most surreal experience. There, walking in front of us, is a man and his son (with their traditional clothes on) leading their camel. They get the camel to lie down and they squat next to us. They have no English but we understand they would like some food and drink. Unfortunately, we haven't any with us, not expecting to see anyone on this tiny, uninhabited island. We still don't know how they got there with the camel.
Phil and Robbie host a marvellous dinner on Free Spirit tonight for the four yachts. We have barbequed mackerel freshly caught by Liam, trolling off the back of their 52 ft. catamaran.
The following morning Ross speaks to Mark in Sydney. We have so many issues with the boat he is coming to Cyprus to give her a thorough check over and be there when the Yanmar engine is completely checked by one of their mechanics. This should stand us in good stead for the rest of the trip. We know things go wrong with yachts but when Ross lists the different problems we have encountered it is quite extensive. It is suggested you should own a boat for two years minimum before heading off on a trip like this and perhaps many of these issues are worked out before you leave. It suited us to leave well before that time frame. Anyhow, we are both very pleased with this outcome and look forward to seeing Mark soon.
We have an early morning snorkel back near the tiny island and think it is the best we have experienced. We have never seen such a dense number of fish and such a variety. Some of the coral is beautiful too.
We are thrilled to have the most wonderful sail with both sails up (one of our best ever. We average 7 kts, and up to 8kts as the breeze freshens. We sail to Long Island.
We enjoy a walk on the island along the beach. The inner lagoon area is reknown for its wader birds. The island is a low lying area covered in a shrub with pretty heather -like flowers. Ross spots a small blue spotted sting ray in the shallows on the sandy bottom.
We host dinner on Impulsive tonight for the same four crews, which is great fun. Ross barbecues the special large coiled South African sausage Derek gave us in Phuket. Everyone brings a dish of pre-dinner nibbles or salad, and some drinks so it makes for easy entertainment and not too much stress on the supplies.
This has been a wonderful day and night, especially with this lovely warm, calm weather.