Thursday 10th June 2010
The overnight sail passed uneventfully with the usual 4-hourly radio schedule in which each group leader called up each of the boats in their group in turn to get their position and check all was well. It was good that we had Pete and Mary with us, as Pete was able to do a radio sched during their night watch, allowing Steve to get some sleep. We felt sorry for group leaders who only had a crew of two. We also had to answer the radio calls from the Lebanese Navy who were checking that we were indeed Rally boats.
All the boats in each group had to sail within a few miles of each other so that they would arrive at the next port at their designated time. This was to ensure that each group (about 12 boats) could be berthed one at a time, allowing all 60-ish boats to be berthed in a few hours. It didn’t always work, though, as there was a large contingent of French boats who had rules of their own. These seemed to be along the lines of “ignore all the arrangements and all the other boats, sail as fast as you can to the next port, either with no lights or with every single light you have on your boat, preferably trailing a fishing line as you cut across the bows of other boats and then stop dead right in front of them as you pull in your catch, arrive at the next port whenever you like and enter the harbour, blocking the entry for all other boats as you ignore requests to wait outside until your group leader, together with the rest of your group, arrives.” But hey, they’re French so the rules don’t apply to them, do they?
Anyway, all this fun aside, we arrived safely at Jounieh around the designated time, under the watchful eye of Navy gunboats, and were duly berthed. We were pleased to see that this was a real contrast to the last harbour. It is, in fact, a modern marina, supposedly one of the most exclusive marinas in the Eastern Med. With entry procedures completed, we were free to join the evening coach tour to Beirut, but decided instead that we would have a wander around Jounieh and find a local eatery, as we were all quite tired. We thought we would prefer to explore Beirut under our own steam on our free day.
Approaching Jounieh, watched by a Navy gunboat.