| 10:00 PM local time, Wednesday, May 8 (1900 May 8 UTC) 27 24 N 033 40 E.
Temp. 84, Humidity 28%, Cloud Cover 0%. Abu Tig Marina, El-Gouna Resort, near
Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.
There's a low-pressure system moving eastward across the Mediterranean
Sea right now, headed our way. The thinking is that the high usually sitting
to the north of us and creating the kind of strong contrary winds we are
experiencing as I write this will be shoved out of the way as the front moves
through on Friday morning, giving us a short period of southerlies. At first
light on Friday, about five or six boats, Maverick among them, will be
getting underway to take advantage of as much of the fair breeze as we can
get, before the low moves on and the back of it slaps us hard in the face. If
everything goes exactly as the weatherman says, we will be almost to Suez by
the time that happens. Of course, it could do otherwise. This is a dangerous
stretch of water, known for high winds, steep seas, dust storms, heavy
shipping, and oil rigs. There are even some unlit oil platforms cut off at
water level, to keep you awake. We just heard today that another boat, the
Kiwi-flagged Cariad, fetched up on a reef while trying to enter an anchorage,
was holed, and sank as it was being towed to a harbor after being pulled off.
Attempts are being made to refloat her. A beautifully finished wooden
sailboat, she was the life's work and sole possession of her owner.
Maverick's engine has finally passed muster. About two weeks ago, Nafea,
our mechanic, announced the job was finished, but since it overheated, would
hardly start, and smoked prodigiously, the finicky Captain with his spoiled
and pampered American mentality would just not be satisfied. So daily he
called Nafea and cajoled, whined, annoyed, pestered, nagged, threatened,
begged, and, when appropriate, burst into tears, with of course the strictest
regard for manly professionalism and seamanship. For his part, the Right Sage
Mr. Terry Shrode had faith, as he usually does, that things would turn out
OK. For days, Nafea was content to simply assure us that the engine would get
better by itself. We did our best to believe this but in the end something
made Nafea actually come by and fix it. Given the present stage of
technology, it is not possible to empirically verify whether the procedure of
Mr. Shrode or that favored by the Captain was the more instrumental in
achieving our result, but achieved it was and there's nothing left but to pay
twice the estimate for the work and be on our way.
So tomorrow we bid our fond farewells to the common working folk we've
come to know in the faux-Egyptian village of El-Gouna and come early Friday
we cast off the lines and head out through the reefs of Tawila Channel to the
Strait of Gubal and the Gulf of Suez, our last passage of the Red Sea.
While we've been in port it's been possible to receive larger letters
from you folks, but now that we'll be underway and using the boat's email,
please limit your correspondence to a paragraph or two.
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