We have had two days of perfect sailing weather, with calm seas and a steady 15-20 knot wind. The only problem has been that the wind is coming from exactly the direction we need to go. We have sailed on long tacks to get against it, but the distance made good towards Bizerte is just to slow. So, back on with the motor, which is more effective now. We felt something wasn’t right with it a couple of days back since we just weren’t getting the normal boat speed for the power setting and it wouldn’t rev up to its normal maximum, plus the prop seemed to vibrate a lot more. Anyhow, the sea was calm enough this morning for me to go in for a shufti. There were traces of a line or net around the prop.: presumably the rope cutter had dealt with most of it, with just a few strands interfering with the blade feathering. The water was bracing and unbelievably clear: the depth here is 9000 feet and it was a bit creepy seeing the keel hanging above oblivion. It was hard to judge the visability until half a dozen king fish swam by: it must have been 200 or 300 feet. Of course I didn’t have the speargun to hand so dinner swam away unmolested. I’ve got the trolling gear out, but nothing so far. The engine is running now as it should and giving us the normal water speed. It is just a shame that the wind won’t back around to the north so that we could carry on sailing. Aside from the noise, its a lot quicker (and cheaper). We’ve decided to stop in at Tabarka, which is 40 miles closer since we’ve been at this 5 days now, and 10 hours makes a big difference. We should be there for luch tomorrow, inshallah. We have settled into a sort of watch scheme which seems to work.
The catering has been luxurious: Andrea is working wonders with the food as at home. Unfortunately the mutton Madras the other night when it was rough went over the side (before eating it – we just couldn’t face it!) which was a shame since it was a first class curry.