12.00 29th March
Captain here. I wish to announce that the cabin boy has been made up to
second mate. He has done well. No real errors, no serious mess and we have
not hit anything on his watch. Official ceremony will come later but in the
meantime it is congratulations. We look forward to his further progress with
You may have got the impression from yesterday's entry that conditions were
tough out here. Well we left yesterday with the forecast promising southerly
winds but in fact we had a quiet night of gentle sailing, all be it in the
wrong direction. We are now motoring in the correct direction with little
wind and calm seas and still hoping for the southerly wind. Fingers crossed.
Over to the second mate.
'Quiet night of gentle sailing' - Not in my world, there I was lashed to the
helm, reliving the epic drama The Cruel Seas in my duffle coat and
sou'wester, fighting the waves as dramatic music matched the tempo of the
onslaught.. Okay, it wasn't quite like that and the music was my ipod!
Anyway, back to Port Sudan, a bit more to fill in about our visit. The
centre seems to be dominated by a large market selling very good vegetables,
spices, fresh herbs and other dried seeds etc. A really intriguing place to
walk around, being examined and watched by local people as much as we took
in the sights around. Then comes the meat market. Inside an open sided
warehouse, stalls about 8 feet square with a tree stump in the centre on
which meat is chopped, counters with mainly goat and lamb hanging and offal
or mince on the counter. This is not just food, this is scary food! We
settled for fresh fruit and veg. Electricity seemed to be an ad-hoc affairs
with offices which obviously used a supply having large diesel generators on
the road outside. But in amongst the local shops, banks and airline offices
made up the commercial sector.
I've already told you about our return home on the bus and our departure,
the only other drama was to watch a stowaway slip very quietly up to the
boat and hide himself away in the hope of free passage. Late yesterday
afternoon an African swallow flew directly up to the helm, almost landed on
Sam's arm then settled on the floor. After few minutes to catch his breath,
he crept slowly into a cockpit drain that runs horizontally from the floor
of the cockpit. We haven't seen him leave and assume he plans on sitting out
the passage to arrive in the Med in good health rather than exhausted.
Unless he slipped out in the night, there are now four of us and tomorrow he
does the blog!