06 May 2008

Port Ghalib, Egypt

Med Moored at Port Ghalib Marina

282 Miles to the Suez Canal!!!
0 fish caught...

Sandpiper is presently Med Moored (bow secured to a mooring ball, stern backed against a low concrete sidewalk) in Port Ghalib Marina. The marina is part of a large dive resort/marina that has a long concrete sidewalks along a narrow waterway that boats can either side tie to, or Med Moor to. We are here along with 13 other boats that have all arrived in the last 2 days in the short weather window that let us all arrive here at the same time from several different anchorages.

If you have ever seen an African on TV with flies all over him, then this is the place. There are flies all over during the day, and they drive us quite mad. Sandpiper has flies all over her. Looking down the dock, we can see cruisers swinging their arms around trying to drive the flies away.

We reluctantly left Dolphin Reef at 10am, waving goodbye to our dolphin friends along with S/V Siraz and S/V My Chance for an overnight motor to Port Ghalib. We arrived at sunrise after a smooth, windless night of motoring. There were only a few reefs to dodge, and there was no traffic other then the other northbound sailboats.

Port Ghalib is Egypt's southern most port, and it is where northbound boats must to stop to check into the country. It is possible to skip this stop and check in father north, but it costs an extra hundred and fifty dollars. What a contrast from the rest of the ports we have stopped at in the Red Sea! The channel is very well marked with almost brand new buoys.

Once at the entrance buoy, we called Port Control to get permission to enter the harbor. It is kind of funny for this harbor is so small to have a Port Control since the only boats that use this port are sailboats and dive boats. Once we passed all Sandpiper's info to Port Control, we were giving permission to enter the harbor and to proceed to the customs dock. While inbound in the well marked channel, Port Control stays on the radio the whole time giving us helm commands, just like they were actually driving the boat. A bit of overkill and quite funny.

Port Ghalib is all very new looking with all its facilities built in the last few years with brand new concrete walls along the waterways that boats moor to. Sandpiper was the first boat to arrive, just after sunrise. By noon 7 other boats had arrived, all taking advantage of the mild winds the last couple of days to make miles north.

It took all afternoon for our agent to get our paperwork cleared and back to us. We now have a one month visa and cruising permit for Egypt. After all the boats that were at the customs dock were cleared in to customs, we were all moved at the same time in single file over to the moorings.

We are presently on down a long, narrow, winding waterway to the Port Ghalib Marina. This area is in a major state of development where all kinds of hotels and houses are being built along the winding waterways that have been dug out. Its kind of like a mini-America as we motored in we passed the restaurant chain TGI Friday's and a Baskin-Robins. Our friends on S/V Ohana Kai had dinner at TGI Friday's and said it was just like a scene from the movie 'Office Space'. All the waiters had suspenders with buttons and 'flair' all over them. They kept the kids entertained with magic tricks. It was just like the movie, except they were the only guests in the restaurant, and all the staff were Egyptian.

As soon as we got Sandpiper secured we took use of the marina's fresh water hose to wash all the desert mud that had accumulated all over Sandpiper. We also took advantage of the resort's showers, and we had dinner at the resort's all-u-could eat dinner buffet. This was followed by Egyptian belly dancing, and men doing the Whirling Dervish.

We are cleared to leave the harbor at sunrise tomorrow and will be motoring north for another overnight trip 120 miles. We are hoping to make the marina at Abu Tig if the calm weather conditions persist.

More from the north,
Tom and Amy

Note From Ron: Australia also has heaps of flies (their dirty little secret). Especially out in the country. The Aussie cork hat was invented to help keep flies of your face. The corks hanging from strings around the brim bounce around and scare the flies away. Also, the act of waving your hand back and forth across your face is called "The Aussie Wave".

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