| 9:00 PM local time, Sunday, May 12 (1800 May 12 UTC [We've gone to daylight
savings in Egypt]) 29 25 N 032 42 E. Temp. 84, Humidity 35%, Cloud Cover
0%. At anchor at Ras Sudr, about twenty miles south of Suez.
Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.
We got our predicted low, left at dawn on Friday, and had an easy sail
through the reefs and out to the Gulf of Suez. We used the engine, which
seems to be running fine, in light air for half a day since we needed to make
as many miles as possible before the weather turned on us. By midnight,
however, the low had passed, the barometer had been rising steeply, and as a
high had followed the low through, we found ourselves in a squash zone. Winds
built to the thirties, on the nose, and by dawn Saturday we were trying to
make it to Marsa Thelemet, an anchorage in a horseshoe bay surrounded by
coral. As we approached the entrance, we compared our computerized chart with
the waypoints given in the Red Sea Pilot and also the aids to navigation on
shore, and found that no two agreed. Our paper chart was up to date, but was
a small-scale chart of little use in entering the pass, and because of the
rough conditions we couldn't see the reef itself. All the boats that have
been lost in the Red Sea of late, and also our experience back in Borneo,
weighed heavily on our minds as we contemplated the discrepancies in the
information at hand. After some fidgeting and circling, we determined to
follow the range marks on the land, though they were very hard to see, and we
found our way safely into the anchorage. The computer would have put us on
Later in the day the wind rose to forty and they closed the Suez Canal for
a period, so we had made the right choice in seeking shelter. Just a mile
away, under the jagged peaks of raw limestone, we could see the highway from
Suez to Hurghada, along which our bus had brought us from Cairo a few weeks
back. Aboard that bus, people were sitting in air-conditioned comfort
watching bad movies (we saw an Arabic remake of "Some Like It Hot"),
completely oblivious to the chaos and violence just beyond the beach.
We sat around all day Saturday at anchor. As it turned out I slept most
of the day and night since it had been too rough to sleep while we were
underway, so I wasn't too jealous of the fact that Adverse Conditions, a boat
that followed us in, had a VCD player and tons of VCDs from southeast Asia,
the land of bootlegs. Hollywood movies are, like, 75 cents, and Tom Cruise
gets, like, nothing.
I observed that the gulls in the vicinity were completely unfazed by
the wind velocity, carrying on as usual, and it bothered me, or impressed me,
just as much as it did sailors of old. But what amazed me was the flies that
found their way to the boat. If they came with a purpose they would have to
have flown upwind in order to have picked up the scent and certainly, on
Maverick, there are things to smell. In that case they must have flown about
two miles against forty knots of wind. Is that possible?
On Sunday morning we headed out and had a pleasant sail up to our present
location, talking along the way with Alan, the skipper of Karma. He had lost
forward gear in his transmission and as the wind had died he was
contemplating driving to Suez backwards. A veteran of the British infantry,
he just considered it all a good challenge, and when we last spoke the wind
had come back up and he was trying to make Suez tonight. As I write this
there's no wind, though, and Alan is out there somewhere, amongst the big
ships. They may find it confusing when he backs up to dodge them.
Had we continued we would have reached Suez tonight as well, and
although this is possible it didn't seem like a good idea, so we'll leave at
dawn tomorrow, with Adverse Conditions and Balloo, a third boat here at Ras
Sudr. In Suez we will meet an agent who will try to swindle us, and through
him we'll make arrangements and pay fees for checking out of Egypt, and the
transit of the Suez Canal.
PS to Paul: The high-strung Nashville tuning is achieved by leaving the top
two strings as they are but replacing the bottom four, E, A, D, and G, with
lighter gauge strings and tuning them one octave higher. I don't remember the
gauges but a good guess is .018, .014, .011, and .009. GV would most likely
PS to Chris and Kelley: Congratulations on the Islander 36. You'll be very
happy you have a boat that sails well, and I'm afraid that may put you in the
minority of cruisers.
PS to Hank: Because of the delays with the engine, we may not be able to make
it to Antalya, or however it's spelled. What do you think, is it worth
missing a few Greek Islands for? And, dude, have you been everywhere, or