We're currently tied up to the Ismailia Marina half way through the Suez canal and waiting for good weather in the Med to keep going. Our trip up to Port Suez was pretty eventful with oil rigs and heavy shipping to contend with along with 25 knots of wind right on our nose. On arrival at the Port Suez yacht club we were met by our agent from Felix Maratime and the measurer was scheduled for the same afternoon. All went very smoothly until the question of fees arose and then as always in Egypt everything became very difficult.
Baksheesh is a way of life here and everyone is constantly asking us for money, whether it's buying groceries at the supermarket or catching a bus 'everyone' wants a tip. However they also try to sneak in extra costs when they think you don't realise and this is what happened with out canal transit fees. Jimmy had already worked out with the measurer how much the cost would be but when Felix came back with the bill an exta $50 had been added on out of nowhere. After a lot of arguing and many comments about how they didn't like Americans the agents finally agreed to the correct price and we made our transit the following day.
Our pilot was a really nice guy and we actually enjoyed the first half of the canal with a relaxing atmosphere. Arriving at the Ismalia marina however, he did ask for extra money of which we expected and so we gave him $10 and he left with a lot more ease than other pilots!
Jimmy's birthday was on the 20th so we took a trip into Cairo to see the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. We spent two nights in a great hotel called 'City View' overlooking the museum and enjoyed wandering the busy streets of Cairo and generally taking a break from the boat. We had a really nice taxi driver from Ismalia 'Mohammed Imbaby' come and pick us up on our last day and take us to the Pyramids and then back to the marina. Now we're waiting for the weather to calm down so we can make our transit through the second part of the canal and then on to Fetiye in Turkey some 375 miles away.