From Europe to Africa – 17 June 2019

We started the engine at 8:40am and escaped the tight harbour and forecast strong winds, heading Kelibia in Tunisia. Not quite immediately escaped though as we spend 30 minutes looking for a lost fender, which we never found.

Heading for Kelibia

The reason we decided to head here first was to take advantage of the excellent low prices of fuel, equivalent to about 50p a litre. Important when you have 1,500 litres of fuel tank which at that point were mostly filled with fumes. Hence the decision to sail rather than motor across.

But as is life, wind and waves were against us and I had too make the decision to divert further south to Hammamet.

All sails hoisted we were running at 7-8 knots with a strong breeze of 20 or so knots. But with 1 to 2 metre waves off starboard, it was like being a cork in a washing machine. Not comfortable. The wind then dropped in the afternoon slowing progress to 5 knots as we followed the coast down from Ras Mamour.

9mph never looks as exciting at it feels
Sailing to Hammamet

Stupidly and unthinkingly turning my phone on cost me £200 over 2 minutes as all my apps, data and navigation updated on what was normally a free unlimited data package. No longer in Europe of course, now in Africa with massive roaming charges.

Plus, happily thinking that we had two hours to go on the passage suddenly jumped to three, as an extra hour was added on for the new continent. I didn’t see that coming either. Piss poor planning and all that…

Then the wind was back, up to 30 knots now, so we hit 12 knots a few times and some fun night sailing, healing right over. Fun for me, not so much for everyone else. Then not fun for me trying to bring in all that sail area in 30 knots. The main was real struggle but we found shelter just off Hammamet town in the bay at just gone midnight.

Sitting having a G&T nightcap in the pilot house in 30+ knots with a taught anchor chain but totally calm water was a massive relief. The lit world of Tunisia looked, sounded and smelled very different from Europe.