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.
The rest of my commentary of this fine town will be done by picture. I have to say I was bowled over by the local people’s willingness to be photographed! Only three people declined their portrait being taken and a couple of people tapped me on the shoulder and told me off (one for photographing his cycle shop!), but the rest of Ismalia were queuing up! Young lads jumped in front of each other, young parents grabbed their children and market traders picked up fruit and offered it to the camera.
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…
This, our first official followtheboat podcast, is an interview with a young south African family half way through a sailing circumnavigation. They’ve visited a staggering 30 counties in 3 years but their trip has been put on hold as they attend to a dismasting hiccup! As if that’s not enough, Ronnelle has returned to their home in America for three months, leaving dad Neil to look after Emille, 7, and Pete, 5. There’ll be hell to pay if that mast isn’t up when she returns in the new year!
It’s perhaps not surprising that my best holiday so far was the result of a series of coincidences and good fortune. Even now, parts of it feel like a dream. How likely is it that your boss in South Africa tells you that you’re being sent to a conference in Istanbul and that – taking a chance because you know your friends are sort of crazy – when you email friends in London to say you’re going to be in Turkey for a few days, do they want to join you, they come back immediately to say that they’d love to.
Much later Jamie impressed not just our immediate party but everyone at poolside by performing a series of beautifully executed complex dives. I think this one was a reverse back somersault with triple pike from memory [which wasn’t too good by then].