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Date: 30 Mar 2008 08:55:07
Title: Red Sea - day 11 Egypt - at the border

22.28N 36:53E

10.00 30th March

Well, what a day: Sadness, joy and euphoria - a rollercoaster of emotions
set to the rhythm of the ocean and the sound of the wind. Where can I begin?
Sadly our forth crew member, the swallow, did not come to our happy home for
a free ride. The final beats of its wings foretold of the last beats of its
heart and once into our cockpit drain and out of our sight, it closed its
eyes for the last time. It brought us all some comfort to reflect that we
were there in its last hours and some considerable regret that we did not
properly interpret its needs in order to have been of more assistance.
Suffice to say we now have a very well developed swallow cardiac arrest plan
which will swing into action on first sight of another traveller. The
captain was reassured that we contained any great collective outpouring of
grief for the sake of the company's morale and we each found our own way of
privately marking its passing. On my watch I again turned to the comfort of
Faure's requiem and the thought that for one swallow St Barbara shall remain
forever a little piece of England.

So what of joy? Well, the radio net gave us our first contact with another
yacht that Peter and Sam had enjoyed the company of on an earlier stage of
the passage. Albert II was within a few miles and heading to the same port.
Catching up on adventures briefly on the radio and the promise of more to be
told in port truly heartened the captain and his trusty first lieutenant.
After a few hours and as darkness fell we sighted them on our bow and are
now progressing nicely together within 2 or so miles. Shortly afterwards we
hailed by a yacht we had left in Suakin, which had us on her bow, so now
there are three.

After such a day one might wonder what could bring euphoria? Well the answer
can be found not in the turn of the planets or other life changing epiphany,
but in a simple discovery. Hidden deep in the dark recesses of the hold,
lost amongst pots of tar and sail cloth, was a solitary can (a very small
one at that) of beer! Hail the prodigal son's return, the laughter and tears
on deck as 30cl of Chang was ceremonially laid to rest in the fridge. Later,
and as the sun once again set over the Red Sea a very delicate operation was
played out. Half a can for Sam (who has been away from the hop since deep
south in the Indian Ocean) The other half in a glass with one mouthful for
the cabin boy (now second mate ed.) before the captain enjoyed the
remainder. (Please don't feel
sorry for me, I stocked up in true earnest in the weeks before I left). Fine
Marxist principles - to each according to need!

This morning the sun is already warm, the win favourable and we sail on.

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