Red Sea Passage Part Four: Egypt

Abu Tig Marina
I’m not going to go on about more trials and tribulations of our Red Sea passage except to say that we were within 40 miles of Port Ghalib for two days. This is a boat that can easily make a 140 miles a day with decent conditions. It was so frustrating not getting anywhere. Once, during my 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. watch the G.P.S. estimated we would be in Ghalib about the time the sun came up. Just the thought of being moored and off the sea buoyed my spirits. The preceding week of wind, steep seas and system failures had pushed me to my limit as far as being on the boat was concerned. At 1:00 I woke Gene and took my turn to sleep. Three hours later, when Gene woke me, the wind had died completely and the GPS now calculated our arrival at Port Ghalib to be thirty-six hours away. My spirits plummeted like a Peregrine falcon in a stoop.
One of the many really good restaraunts in the marina.
When we got to within seven miles of Port Ghalib, it was getting dark; we would have to stand off until morning. We positioned ourselves nine miles off the coast and ghosted back and forth until morning light. Still no wind, and I was considering swimming ashore rather than spend another day on Peregrine. I suggested inflating the dink and towing Peregrine in the last seven miles. Gene said there was no need for either of those ideas. We stood in the very early light of a new day, and looked at the shoreline. I think we would have been bobbing out there for another day if it hadn’t been for the squall. It was a proper squall with lightening, rain, and wind, and it blew us straight down the channel onto the marina. (As I write this, we have been in Egypt for ten months and have not had any rain. I think that was probably the first squall in a hundred years.) We had radioed in and had plenty of help tying off although Gene executed the landing as though we always came in without an engine. For those of you coming up the Red Sea, Port Ghalib is a great place to check in. No agent is needed. Captain Sharif, the port master, checks you in with friendly efficiency. The marina was just being born while we were there. Many large buildings were being constructed of steel enforced cement and everything was gray. The wind was still fierce in the marina and Peregrine was covered with sand and gray building stuff. Some of the cruisers who came in before us, left the day after checking in because of this. It was a bit of a mess, but it was a sanctuary in my eyes. The port staff drove us to little grocery stores and big resorts for shopping and dinner. The cost for driving was reasonable. We had a very good mechanic fix our engine in record time, and we were soon on our way. I think that the next group of cruisers coming up through the sea will see a beautiful new marina similar to the one we’re in now: Abu Tig.
El Gouna
The Abu Tig marina is located in the little city of El Gouna. It is a beautiful little spot that attracts people year round. In winter, the British and Europeans come down here to escape the northern winters, and in summer, the place is alive with kite-surfers, divers, history buffs, vacationers and the like. The marina has been managed by Philip Jones since it’s inception six years ago. The staff is excellent, and the place is so clean and perfect, it has a Disneyland air about it.

                                                                     marina sights

It didn’t take long to feel the effects of rest and recuperation in El Gouna. We ran into a few friendly faces, had long hot showers, went out for nice dinners, and had some pretty good Egyptian beer and wine. One chocolate mousse cake from the Seventh Star is equal to about two weeks at ‘Happy Acres’. 
It was good to see a few people we knew. Mahdi and Gandalf were there. If you remember, they were the boats attacked by pirates off Yemen.

Patsy and Gene on Stella di Mare were there. We first met them in Bora Bora, just before they headed off to Samoa. They lost their rudder on that trip and had to jury-rig steering.

Too soon, everybody was on their way out the Suez Canal. We decided to stay a season. We had repairs to do, and I insisted on going home for an extended visit. We felt Peregrine would be perfectly safe here, and the rates can’t be beat. While we relaxed and pampered ourselves in El Gouna, we did some tourismo stuff. Unbelievably, we decided to go on a boat trip. But this wasn’t any boat trip. This was a trip up the Nile on a floating hotel. The interior was like something out of an Agatha Christie novel. We stopped at various sites along the way; Karnack, Valley of the Kings, the Falcon God Horus’s temple in Edfu. It was a great trip and we really enjoyed it. We disembarked in Aswan and took an overnight train to Cairo where we saw the museum and the Pyramids. Well, Gene saw the Pyramids. I was suffering from Pharaohs revenge and lounged around our large, luxurious hotel room for the day (included in the package). It really killed me to see how other people travel!

Movenpick Resort, El Gouna
El Gouna and Marina beach at sunset

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sue O,

    What an adventurous life you and your husband lead! I loved the story about the scrambled egg eating yellow wagtail that joined you at sea. Thanks for your kind comments on my photos at Birdforum and at Picturetrail. Cheers, Mary Claypool


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