The is the second podcast recorded whilst transiting the Suez Canal aboard Esper. In this episode we leave Ismalia with a new, quieter pilot and make our way towards Port Suez. We encounter some fishermen in the Bitter Lakes, which enrages our normally subdued pilot, and Ian of ‘Rhumb Do’ suggests lamb chops for dinner. It’s not what it seems…
This is the first of two podcasts recorded as we transited the Suez Canal from north to south. We set off from Port Said around midday, took in the afternoon sun and watched as a huge convoy passed, and spent a bit of time chatting to our pilot. Learn a bit about Egyptian families, the types of ships that pass and what goes on on the canal.
Only this morning I was hopping about on the empty promenade of Ismalia marina, having been left behind by the rally. We’d been woken up at 5am only to be told that our pilot wouldn’t be turning up till ten. After our last experience of that ungrateful arse of a pilot Liz and I had said that whoever came on-board as our pilot for the second day would not get any more than $10 baksheesh. A kick in the bollocks would also be offered if any objection was raised over the sum of our present.
He ripped open the parcel, threw aside the t-shirt, scattered the other goods across the deck and tore open the envelope containing the money. The next half an hour was spent listening to this whinging, ungrateful shit complain about his present.
A very angry Arabic marina manager started shouting in a way that only an angry Arabic-speaking official person can do. The pilot boat had to catch us up in order to drop off our pilot, Moussa, which is Egyptian for Moses. Biblical this man was not…
After leaving our yachthaven in Aalsmeer, not forgetting to give the middle finger to the hairy, cigar-chomping Dutch twat who told the skipper off for borrowing a hose (that wasn’t even his), we headed towards Amsterdam. Of course this involved negotiating a number of bridges which meant either approaching very slowly and hovering backwards and forwards until the bridge opened, or, more sensibly, tying up to the posts provided on the side of the canal.
With strong gusting winds we found getting out of the pillared berth a real test of lateral thinking. If you imagine the boat tied bow-to, but with three 10ft high wooden pillars down each side of the boat, we were continually blown side on to one set of pillars. With some very careful manoeuvring and pushing against the pillars from all sides we eventually managed to reverse our way out of the mooring back into the main canal – straight into the path of an oncoming barge one way and a container ship the other! Quick! Slam that motor into forwards and get the hell out!
We arrived at the Hoek of Holland early Tuesday morning but we still had a long way to go down the Nieuwe Waterweg. This is Blade Runner on water. It is pure industrial mayhem with many commercial ships chugging up and down the water way. Thumbs up to the Dutch for utilising their waterways properly.