First Cut is the Deepest

Rob & Sarah Bell
Sat 19 Jun 2010 08:07

31:40.9N 34:33.2E


Friday 18th June


A few excitements during the night sail when we had to shine a spotlight onto our sail to warn a yacht that seemed intent on running us down that we were there. Also Trevor called up the Swedish yacht ‘Kanavo’ because they had failed to hear the Israeli navy who were repeatedly calling them by position on channel 16. They were being called because in their enthusiasm to sail they had ventured well out of the corridor and were in the middle of a military zone!


The wind had died away during the night and what little there was, was directly on the nose, making sailing near impossible if we were to make our group’s arrival slot time. We arrived off Ashkelon just a little early (the group times were all set back at 8.00 am which was a little frustrating) and had to wait while several other groups were docked. It sounded like total chaos in the marina and it transpired that whilst the various group leaders who were running the dockside operation were doing their very capable best, their efforts were seriously hampered by the marina staff who seemed to have little concept of what was happening and were intent of frustrating all their efforts.


We ‘hove to’ and waited and watched the entertainment which was being provided by several acrobatic microlight planes and a tug boat pumping huge jets of water into the air from its fire pumps. We were duly called in but in a very late change were not directed to the pontoon where it had been planned to berth all three Najads. The marina had been organised to arrange this so that the Israeli Najad agent could have a mini boat show type display, but like everything else, they cocked up and there were boats already moored in the way. We were directed round to an unusual mooring for the Med and had to reverse down a line of moorings and then turn very sharp left into a slot that was ‘guarded’ by two large, rusty steel posts. With a very healthy crosswind blowing I made a mistake in turning too hard too soon and whilst recovering from that, lost all way and inevitably we were blown down onto one of these posts which left a short but significant scratch on Serafina’s immaculate hull. Almost certainly not the last one we get, but indisputably the first we have been responsible for!


T & L went off at a gallop to hire a car (they had just 30 minutes to get to the hire car office) as it is our plan to drive to the Dead Sea tomorrow rather than go on another organised tour which looks a little hectic and largely based on viewing more old stones again.


There was free beer on the quay and we were all treated to a stunning acrobatic display by a stunt plane, before we sat back to enjoy a quiet G & T.

At 7.00 pm were invited over to ‘Ko Ko’ to celebrate Haaken’s birthday and so the four of us joined his other 8 guests on board the Najad 570 for champagne and nibbles before he took us all out for a very enjoyable meal in the nearby restaurant. A good time was had by all and we drifted back to our boats around midnight braced for an early start in the morning for the trip to the Dead Sea.