A fantastic, if a bit boisterous, day’s sail in hot African sunshine. We set out in light winds & flat seas to do about 40 miles to anchor at Cap Bon, but the winds picked up to give us a perfect fast sail, so we carried on to the next port Kelibia, a bit south of the Cap on Tunisia’s east coast. The waves got up a bit, but it was great fun, with the wind behind us and the boat flying along, touching 8.2 kts at one stage (yes, I do appreciate that under 10 mph is not exactly fast to any of you!). Once we rounded the cape the scenery changed from mountainous to smooth, flat-ish & “beachy” – most of the way down we were in turquoise seas over the sand. This fishing harbour was as challenging to berth in as promised by the pilot. – over-flowing with fishing vessels of all sizes, looming over the tiny jetty that visiting yachts are tolerated on. We made a small hash of coming alongside a very experienced French sailor, who had firm views on our poor technique, which he was forced to rescue us from. Pas de problème I say.
Kelibia: Fortress from the harbour, and harbour from the fortress (after the fleet had gone fishing):
This is probably the most “fishy” place we’ve visited since we were in S Ireland – very busy and atmospheric. The harbour is dominated by the citadel which dates back to the Carthaginians, although those bloody Romans managed to capture and destroy this as well as Carthage. What you see now still has some foundation stone blocks from that era but most of it is about 1500 years later in construction. Still pretty ancient in reality and it made a great visit.
The high point of this place though is the Carthaginian town about 10m north of here – Kerkouane. Established on the shore by fantastic azure seas around 2,500 years ago, those bloody Romans never got to destroy this one, and it wasn’t rediscovered until 1952. It has been sensitively uncovered and makes a really atmospheric visit. The small museum has more and better remains than the one at Carthage, and you can see the way such an old town (village by our terms – 2,000 inhabitants) was organised, with proper town planning, drainage & baths. Now we know where the Romans got their ideas from! The site was also covered in wonderful spring wildflowers including delicate miniature blue irises.
Kerkouane: ancient & modern ruins (D sitting alongside the original slipway & site of the boat shed).