Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Thu 15 Nov 2007 15:35
The Gulf of Suez is quite a windy place with northerly winds between Force 4 and 6 the norm.  For the last 5 days the wind has rarely dropped below Force 3. 

After a day resting in Marsa Thelemet we got up early on Tuesday morning for a 40 mile passage south-east to an anchorage at the Sheratib Shoals.  We sailed all the way, averaging 6 knots even though we had a tidal stream against us (and we'd not managed to scrub the weed off the bottom which was slowing us down).   We had to cross the shipping lanes again, but didn't see many ships.  More of a hazard are the many oil installations dotted around the Gulf, including in the central reservation of the shipping lanes. 

The approach to the anchorage at Sheratib was fairly straight-forward though we are still getting used to the very different environment here.  Most of the anchorages are inside reefs and sandspits that are low-lying and difficult to see.  It's essential to arrive before the sun gets too low otherwise the reefs are impossible to spot.

When we arrived at Sheratib there were a number of other rally yachts already at anchor there so we were not short of advisers on our approach.  One of the yachts already there had actually got stuck on one of the nearby reefs so Lo, the rally orgniser, was understandably worried!   We were soon at anchor and spent a windy but safe night there.

Yesterday we came south and east for another long day sail of almost 40 nm to Sheikh Riyah harbour.   The winds were Force 4 to 5 and again we had the tide against but we got here in the early afternoon to find not only 10 other rally yachts but also 3 other British registered yachts at anchor.  Having had two days' hard sailing we decided to spend a day here, if only to spend some time scrubbing the weed off the bottom of Lynn Rival!

Route so far: