Archive for April, 2008

Egypt undercover

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

16 days, 1441 nautical miles and yes I am a sailing geek and should skip the stats because this ain’t say anything.

It doesn’t tell that we were becalmed for almost 1/3 of the trip and had over 30 knots headwind during the last two days. It also doesn’t say that in our first port in Egypt the clearance was so expensive that we decided to add yet another day sailing to the trip although we didn’t have any gas or food left. We did that and sailed 12 hours to another port only to be sent away again! arriving finally in Hugada, 100 miles backwards from where we got first.

And then there is Andrew, Chloe’s cousin, who waited for us in the first port. There we were but we were not allowed to officially go ashore and he was not allowed to come aboard. The story is to good to be told online so let me only tell that it involved jumping off cliffs, the cover of night, approaching a reef by boat up to half a meter, jumping onto boats, hiding, swimming ashore and advanced roleplay. Further grey hair, worries as much as heaps of fun… and of course this is all just fiction ;-)

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Transition

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

The change from Tropics to Europe becomes even more obvious as we pass day 7 about half way through the Red Sea. We’re leaving the monsoon dominated weather system of the Indian Ocean which delivered some great days of fast sailing and enter the prevailing North winds of the Med. This means headwind, going in endless zig-zags, slow progress, spilled cafe and potentially a delay on our arrival in Egypt. Everyday our eyes are focused on the weather forecast to find the most suitable course strategy.

On the bright side, life aboard is relaxed as always even if the low cooking gas supplies force us to cut down out on our usual backing and cooking orgies. Instead we break records in speed cooking to save gas. Chloe’s provisioning skills made sure that we have veg and fruit in sheer abundance and my input helped that our cookie and chocolate stocks still look quite respectable, too. All about the balance!

Leaving for Egypt

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

We’re all pretty happy to leave expensive Djibouti as colorful and lively it may be… 1200 miles to Egypt are waiting for us with the tricky always changing winds of the Red Sea. Provisioning and some repairs as usual up to the last minute, until that unique moment when we can finally hoist the sails, switch of the engine and lean back to enjoy another passage.

Looking back from Djibouti

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

After 22 days at sea, over 2300 nautical miles and on literally the last pieces of fruit and chocolate we arrive in Djibouti. Surprisingly, we are not even that exhausted and the 3 weeks feel like just a few days. Reckon this make clearer than anything else how very well we got along with each other and how much we enjoyed every day. There’s only one other yacht here and the city seems far smaller and more local than we thought. Colors everywhere in an addictive mixture of Africa and Arabia.

We’re looking forward to 3 relaxing days of indulgance before pushing on to Egypt but also use the time to look back on the Indian Ocean, which we got to know as a place full of beauty. The Islands of Maldives are as amazing as people picture them to be… but only if you manage to look off the beaten track and away from the resort islands. And what can I say about the ocean? Big, beautiful, unpredictable and full of energy as always. Chloe, Richard and I had a fantastic time, sailing gales, enduring calms, spoiling us with delicious food and talking on the top deck under the sun shade.

I feel like Australia is far away… and well it ‘IS’ far away. Europe is close. A new start, a new adventure ahead… dear BE will soon carve her way through the Med. All welcome as usual… you know our address!

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Big step forward

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

On day 18 of this passage the GPS clicks over to 1700 nautical miles sailed since the Maldives and we enter the Gulf of Aden leaving the Indian Ocean behind. Another big milestone on my voyage back to Europe and above all in 3 days I will be on the sea with Berlin Express for exactly one year. Every night since leaving Melbourne 12 months ago, I slept aboard this great lady, who looked after me so well. During all that time I got to know and to love her in every little detail with all her strengths and flaws. She took me to beautiful foreign places and we got to know even more beautiful people. And like hundred times before I sit at my navigation table during a night shift and write a logbook entry to my good friend Thomas in Germany, who not just created the website but also maintains it.

BE has once again found her groove and despite being very hard into the wind, we do over 5 knots in gentle sea with an ease I never will stop to admire. Moon hasn’t risen yet and we sail under trillions of stars with a bow wave of bright silver phosporencence. The wind generator is turning eagerly, the auto pilot grunts solidly and the crew is sleeping. Well, this is actually not quite correct because something else has changed during this trip. From the two types of snoring inside BE only one is from a crew. The other is from Chloe. Someone so special to me that this trip of mine has becomes ‘our’ trip home. So, it looks like it’s true: one year can be more than just 12 months and an ocean is more than just water between two continents.