One of the problems with not winterising your self-steering gear properly is that 18 months down the line you pay for it. When we started recommissioning Esper at the beginning of the year we were horrified to discover that our Pacific Plus self-steering gear would not budge. Worse still, I had turned the auxiliary rudder round so that it was pointing inwards and therefore made the brass gears inaccessible. Here is a video to the solution.
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.
Today is arrival day. Our predicted landfall is 1600 and I’m writing this as we motor across flat calm water towards Port Said, so we’ll see if my ETA is correct. Although we can’t see land the depth is only 20 metres, and we’ve passed a couple of oil rigs and been overtaken by a huge cargo ship. With the hazy sun the entire experience reminds me of the east coast of the UK. On a good day. Instead of familiar Turkish banter the VHF is now choca with angry-sounding Arabic fishermen.