August 1993 - Al Kantoui to Mar Menor

1 August 1993 Al Kantaoui
We’ve been living on the boat for 1 year and we have done 4238 miles. Glenys went horse riding and spent half of the time fighting off the amorous advances of her guide. We went to a pool, but got kicked out, so went to beach and then to another pool.

2 August 1993 Al Kantaoui to Hammamet
We were awoken at two o’clock in the morning by a blood curdling scream as Craig fell out of bed - gave him a bit of a shock, which is not surprising considering that he fell about 4 foot down to the floor! It was absolutely boiling all night, so we were very glad to get a small breeze when we set off this morning.

The engine started OK. Perhaps there was some air in the system from when I changed the fuel filters in Malta? We had a very boring trip, motoring all the way. We anchored about ½ mile from the Ribat and ¼ mile off the beach in 4.5metres of water, surrounded by six French yachts.

3 August 1993 Hammamet
We had a very peaceful night. I love being at anchor (providing that it’s calm!) We went swimming before breakfast; I swam around and found an old fisherman anchor half buried in the sand (about 12 ft from tip to tip). There is a fairly large octopus living in a hole underneath the anchor – needless to say, I couldn’t get it out.

We all went over to a wreck in the dinghy and I did a 20 minute dive while the others snorkelled around on the surface. The wreck is just a carcass but ranges from 7 metre to 1 metre below the surface. It isn’t buoyed and a real danger to navigation. Hoards of tourist boats visit the wreck and it’s quite dangerous swimming about over it.

We returned to the boat for lunch and then went to the beach with the windsurfer. There wasn’t quite enough wind but I had fun. Swimming, diving, windsurfing and beach – it was an ideal day! The only bad part is that teenage boys swim out to the boats at anchor and are a nuisance hanging onto the dinghy. I’m paranoid that one of them is going to cut the painter and steal the dinghy.

I told one guy to leave the dinghy alone and that I didn’t “want him here” to which he replied that he didn’t want me here either and it was their sea! I’ve just put Anglo-Tunisian relations back 5 years!

4 August 1993 Hammamet to Kelibia
Absolutely flat calm this morning. We motored until noon and then sailed into a light head wind. By four o’clock, it was blowing 15 knots and we were just pinching on the right course. The wind started to back and I lazily motor sailed for about 20 minutes until Glenys pointed out that we could tack!

By five o’clock, the wind had picked up to 20 knots and I insisted on leaving a reefed main up, much to Glenys’ annoyance. After 5 minutes of heeling over and after Glenys had picked up all the things off the floor down below, I relented and dropped the main – we went ½ knot faster! The approach to the port is quite pretty with a large fort on the hill behind. The yacht quay was very busy and we ended up on the outside of a raft of four, next to Ip and Oola on “Evita” from Denmark.

5 August 1993 Kelibia
Too hot to move today. I just about cajoled Brett through his school work. Glenys went to the local supermarket and came back 15 minutes later like a limp, wet rag. We lounged around gasping for air until four o’clock when I cycled into town on Ip’s bike. The town is “functional” with very little tourism – there seem to be a lot of useful shops, but it's about 1 mile from the port.

We went out for a meal in the evening (fish and chips again!) and then looked around an exhibition of paintings which has been set up in the car park next to the port. The yacht quay is like Piccadilly Circus with about twenty French and Italian yachts crammed into rafts four and five deep. About ten leave in the morning and ten more arrive later afternoon. We walked along to a beach and had food on the first floor of a cafe with locals drinking coffee below.

6 August 1993 Kelibia to Sidi Bou Said
We set the alarms on both of our watches to go off at half past five. We were actually awoken by Craig at six o’clock! We jumped up and ran around like headless chickens. We managed to clear customs and extract ourselves from the raft by twenty past six. Thank goodness that we were on the end raft with only one boat on the outside of us!

We motored all day and arrived at four o’clock at the Sidi Bou Said marina, which is packed. We had to raft up right next to the main entrance into the marina and they want to charge us 18 dinar (£12) per day.

We decided to stay one night and went up to the village of Sidi Bou Said. It is very pretty and very touristy. Apparently, the property owners are fined by the “Town Council” if they do not whitewash their walls and paint their doors blue at least every year! The walk up the hill tired Craig out probably because he was up at six o’clock in the morning.

On the way back down, I foolishly picked a fruit from a prickly pear cactus and 3 hours later, I’m still picking out the fine spikes. It feels something like glass fibre – you think it’s all gone, but...! The fruit tastes like the inside of a honeydew Melon with loads of pips.

7 August 1993 Sidi Bou Said to Cap Farina
Glenys went shopping first thing in the morning. She took a taxi and went through Carthage, but didn’t see anything of the ruins! We filled up with fuel and ran away. I was glad to leave - although it’s a pretty setting, the marina is too crowded and too expensive.

We went around Cape Carthage into a N15 wind, so we decided to motor all the way because we would have to take down the awning if we put up the main (lazy sods!). The wind dropped completely but picked up again at two o’clock in the afternoon. An hour later, we were getting 30 knot gusts. We anchored in 4 metres of water about 100 metres from the shore in a relatively calm patch of water. After dinner, we were still getting gusts of 20 knots, so we re-anchored a lot further out.

The herd instinct of yachtsmen never ceases to amaze me. We were anchored in splendid isolation, at least 1000 metres from the other yachts, when this Italian boat appears and proceeds to anchor about 40 metres away from us – not good when I have 40 metres of chain out! There must be 5 miles of coast here and the idiot anchors within my swinging circle, thank goodness the wind has dropped. They drive me mad! We sighted a couple of dolphins surfacing about 400 metres from us.

8 August 1993 Cap Farina to Bizerte
We all went for a swim before breakfast (great!) The Italians didn’t hit us last night, but we came within 10 metres of them as we weighed anchor. We motored around the corner and anchored off a lovely beach. Glenys rowed Craig to the beach in the dinghy while Brett and I swam the whole way which was about 400 metres.

I had just sat down when we were asked for our papers by two policemen on horseback. We told them we were only staying 1 hour, but they still made me row back to the boat to get our papers. We motored all the way to Bizerte where we saw “Honey Hush 2” (Aus) who we saw in Sidi Bou Said. We went towards the yacht club and saw “Bonnie Day” and “French Mistress”. We moored bow to dock, went over to “Bonnie Day” and got drunk with Neville and Margaret.

9 August 1993 Bizerte
It’s blowing 20-30 knots from the north west.and we're nursing our hangovers. Glenys walked into town, while I looked after the boys and then went windsurfing in the port. I had a wonderful five minutes with three dolphins swimming along just in front of my surfboard.

I had a relapse in the afternoon and did nothing. “Bonnie Day” and others on the floating pontoon were ordered to move because the “Jasmine Route” rally is expected with 50 boats from France.

10 August 1993 Bizerte
It’s gusting 35 knots from the north west again. The rally arrived and gave us hours of entertainment as they “badly” manoeuvred about.