Relief was my first reaction as I watched Miss Tiggy, Calliope and Lisanne on the YB Tracker, cruise up the coast of Sudan, stop for a night to get some much needed sleep and then sail into Suakin in Sudan. Little did they know that the decision to go ashore for much needed food and a break was to come back and bite them. They encountered a dusty and poor town but more importantly a friendly and smiling population, good fruit and vegetables and a chance to call home for a chat. What they were unaware of was some 700 kilometres south an outbreak of yellow fever would play havoc with them for the next them for the next 14 days.
Feeling refreshed they continued north to Port Ghalib in Egypt, ready for their planned Egyptian cultural experience and what they got was an experience of another kind…the cold shoulder! Entry denied! Why? 4 of the remaining 8 on board were not vaccinated against Yellow Fever. The choice – keep going after weeks of sailing with little break or commit the 4 to a 6 day stay in quarantine in a local hospital. A no brainer! There was not going to be a stop for shore excursions of any type in Egypt. A local took pity on the group and went to the local market for some provisions – certainly not food that they were used to but enough to sustain them for now. And so tired and emotional they headed back out into the Red Sea in high winds and rough seas both of which they had hoped to avoid to continue the bash northwards through to the Suez Canal, just stopping somewhat illegally at a protected bay to rest.
At Port Suez, after 2 days of completing paperwork for their passage through the Canal and a day visit to the pyramids, they were ready to begin their transit. But no…just prior to throwing off the lines, they were told of a delay to allow an Israeli warship to pass through ( the Suez Canal is closed to any small ships while a naval vessel is transiting). Finally the Wong Diwection were on their way to the Med! A half way overnight stop (it takes 2 days to go through), the threat of another delay due to lack of pilot availability to travel on the 3 yachts (sorted at the last minute) and Miss Tiggy, Lisanne and Calliope were spat out into the Mediterranean!
Sadly Lisanne peeled off from the group for a more speedy trip to Mamaris in Turkey, Eric’s circumnavigation complete! Miss Tiggy and Calliope sailed overnight and arrived in Limassol on the south coast of Cyprus on Good Friday. Our 3 boat Oyster Rally was now down to 2.
The Greek half of Cyprus is very Greek and everyone was happy to back in Europe. All of a sudden everything was available from food and alcohol to pedicures and hair treatments. Over the weeks that followed there were many conversations about their treatment in Egypt by the local authorities, diametrically opposed to the kind and helpful assistance of the Sudanese. The Red Sea experience was just that!
Limassol was a great base for our extracurricular activities after a couple days of cleaning the Sahara desert and dust out…it took an entire day to clean our cabin and heads alone. From there we did some sightseeing driving up into the hills and along the coastline before an overnight sail to Finike in Turkey…home of the most complicated names and difficult language yet encountered. Even trying to remember “Hello” and “Thank you” is a major task (not for Nicky who is a talented linguist)! James headed straight for the Turkish barber which is his want and which are readily available on every corner.
The southern region of Turkey is also known for its walking being the home of ancient Lycia and the long distance footpath known as the Lycian Way. The 540 kilometres marked by red and white stripes has become a popular hiking destination and now hosts an ultramarathon….we did a 5 hour trek (a little like a goat track) from high above Kekova, where our boats were anchored back to the coast, just a short section of the trail, and hobbled into the village of Ucagiz. Thank goodness for Hassan and his welcoming cold Effes beer! A bit more training required for our next hiking foray!
Turkey is full of history and at every turn there is more to see. Amphitheatre’s with amazing acoustics, Roman viaducts for water transportation, graves inserted into the side of rock faces and sarcophagi dotted along the waters edge or high in hills. As we slowly make our way towards Mamaris for Miss Tiggy to get some TLC we get a daily dose of culture mixed in the plenty of yoghurt, houmous and shish-kebab washed down with a local wine.
Today we are in Kas and we farewelled our friends Nicky and Charles on Calliope as they make their way to London shortly to resume their lives. Their circumnavigation happened here just off the coast, on Nicky’s birthday a couple of days ago. Still a few months to go until Miss Tiggy arrives back in Palma, Mallorca and finally joins the dots we started on 7 October 2016.
….so now there is just one!