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The following e-mail excerpts are taken from e-mails either addressed or forwarded to me (Brother John), and are excerpted for their trip-related narrative.
In order to retain the e-mail conventions of informality in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, these excerpts are generally unedited prior to posting.
They are arranged in chronological order, newest to oldest.
This page will be updated on an occasional basis . . .
Date: 7/28/02 6:12:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time
I met this guy, Giovanni, at st catherines in Sinai...great shots...see the burning bush..Father Justin..the American from Texas who is more greek orthodox monk than the greek orthodox monks. Me..and Giovanni a graduate student at columbia who was on a travel/study tour...St catherines..(Katrina) in the background....
Brec is referring to this, from Giovanni, a Columbia student Brec met in
Subj: Hi from Rhodes
I am at an internet in Mandraki the main port on the northwest of Rhodes, a 26 mile sail from Mamaris. The prices ar 4 times higher than in Turkey so I will try to be a little shorter.
On Friday morning I was up early and showered and stowed the water hose and prepared for sea before the 7 15 am sked with Alan on Karma. He is fixing things still in Malta and hopes to sail early next week for Gibralter.
At 8 Francoise and Dominique of Ouma came over for coffee and to write in my guest book and say goodbye. They are a French couple I met in Massawa and have a wonderful way of finding and appreciating the more out of the way places in the red sea. I spent 3 hours with them going over charts and anchorages and strategies in Massawa and they made it all soud easy and wonderful and relieved a lot of my anxieties about the passage north. It was good to see them again in Mamaris. Like closing the Red Sea circle somehow.
Then goodbyes to Antares 2 and Bobbin and Pura Vida and with a group of 5 to wave goodbye at 11 am the engine would not start. Tony said.. well mate it IS friday ..you know it is bad luck.... They all dispersed while I opened up the engine compartment because I thought it was a problem with the starter motor again. Fifteen minutes later it started like nothing was wrong. I think it is an electrical problem in the new electric control panel I put in in Malaysia. It must have a leak and moisture affects it. We had two heavy rain storms in Mamaris which wet it thoroughly. I'll deal with that tomorrow.
So at 11 / 15 i got underway. On the way out of the harbor I took out the bottle of Johnnhy walker red and poured a finger of scotch into the water to Posidon and hoped for no more bad luck. It worked and had a fast passage at 5.5 knots under power in almost flat calm seas for the 25 miles to Rhodes.
Pulling into the Harbor at 4/30 was exciting as it has two pillars with a stag on one and a doe on the other on either side of the small entrance where it is thought the Colossus of Rhodes stood in 200 + bc. It was a statue to Helios the sun god and the greek galleys would sail between its legs. It is thought to have been a hundred feet high.
Con and Cheryle on Youryia ,another friend from the red sea, were there and waved me into a teeny piece of floating dock almost under the pillars. They helped with the bow anchoring and sternlines. Bob ...of the papaya painting... and his wife Ronnie were there too so there has been another mini Red sea reunion and a dinner planned for tonight.
I spent all day today going to customs and immigration and the port police and long chats at coffe shops with Bob and Ronnie. They can tell as many stories as me so I didnt get any sketching done.
It is incredibly picturesque here and I am putting all of tomorrow aside to draw. ( I forgot...the engine panel too )
I am trying to decide how to use the next 10 days in Greece before I have to leave for Malta. I can go west along the north coast of Crete or north to Patmos of John the Revelations guy and then diagonally down through little Greek islands to the Northwest tip of crete. Ill let you know.
Date: 7/2/02 6:52:23 AM Eastern Daylight Time
[In the following excerpt Brec fills in another cruiser – and now us -- about his trip since leaving Malaysia on January 10, 2002. Gotta love the freeform finger-stylings of the typist . . brotherjohn]
I left Malaysia for Sri Lanka on the 10th of Jan. Had a great passage and sr lanka was worth the stop...160 buckeroos to get in but then where else can you go to a full moon festival at a buddhist dsneyworld lit temple in the hills wth thousands of people thronging around the parade of fire eaters and acrobats and jugglers and bad demon good demon dancers and stilt walkers and float type trucks wth giant buddahs with huge Las Vegas type halos of colored lightbulbs flashng and chasng in patterns that sgn engneers in Vegas would drool over and all run from a second truck bed wth a giant wooden drum wound with wire just like an old piano roll sending the electrical signals like colored musc to the godhead. Went to Kandy which ..no joke..has the temple of the tooth..buddah's that is..and met a convention of British dental surgeons visiting the temple..only they have that kind of humor....and at the guard gate to the harbor entrance in Galle is a sign warning that bribes are against the law and all the guards stand under it askng for rupees and gfts on the way in and out. They obvously can't read Englsh....cricket matches on the lawn wth all the navy boys...and explosions in the harbor all nght to blow out the eardrums of those sneaky Tamil terrorist frogmen.. soundng lke a load of alumnum ladders fallng on deck each time...you learn to sleep through it. And Mike..a wonderful human being who has taken Don Windsors place as the yachties best friend. And cheap cheap....almost as cheap as Malaysia.
Then 4 days to Uligan in the northern Maldives. A must stop as it is almost untouched. Not even electricity. White sand streets that are swept each am and coral walls along the lanes that curve softly at the corners and the one and only telephone booth is on the beach
Another 1700 miles to Salalah Oman and the start of the Arab world. A mix of Newport RI and Elizabeth NJ...yachts and freighters mxng it up wth the big international navy presence...American English German French Dutch and even Japanese.. and lets not forget the style consious Italans.....more helicopters and planes than any tme before...no pirates at all this year...and no wonder...call VHF 16 and you'd get a helicopter buzzing you in less than 10 minutes....( although there were 6 yachts lost or abandoned this year due to bad weather and gear failure...a high percentage..no one harmed however)
Next to Aden where the Cole was blown up...another place that is so friendly they trip over you wth happiness to see a few yachties..I was even interviewed by the local press for my ideas on how to get more yachts to stop. Djibouti I heard from those who stopped there ..was really the super pits and Aden was a better alternative.
Then Eritrea..a Coptic Christian country. Massawa is the hottest city on earth ...in the 90's all the tme I was there and it was Feb...but the people are overwhelmingly friendly and happy to have won their long war for independence from Ethiopia singlehanded...no foregn help... for many years I remember reading of the rebel province...they feel the Allies gave their country to Halie Sallassie after WW2 as a reward for fighting the Italians...without consulting them...they had to capture the Russian guns and tanks from the Ethiopians to fight. They have a giant 30 foot high statue of the plastic sandals that won the war ..like a Claes Oldenberg ..the Ethiopians were barefoot and a small factory in Eritrea made tons of really cheap plastic sandals that allowed the Eritreans to jog over stony mountan territory a lot faster than their enemy......The Ethiopians were led poorly and were cannon fodder...poor farmers herded into impossible charges..hundreds of thousands died to tens of thousands of Eritreans. ......Massawa is still bullet ridden...but there is a pride and friendliness that was wonderful.
Then a fair sail to Suakin in Sudan. Not to be missed. The ruins of the old slave port in the moonlight. Un touched by tourism. All the men in white robes and turbans with long sharp bright swords across their backs and daggers at the belts...fierce..rdng camels through the dusty streets...bblcal.. and camels everywhere..Mohammed is the yacht agent and a wonderful man..the 2 yachts that were there at the time and I.. all tried to help him spread the word about what an exotic stop it was so more would visit next year.
After Sudan the wnd did its thing and turned to the northwest and started to blow. There are beautiful lonely marsas and reefs and anchorages all along the way. The only trouble is getting socked in wth 35 plus knots outside for 4 or 5 days at a tme..Dd a lot of reading.
Made it to Safaga and then to Abu Tig..a frst world marina just before the Gulf of Suez. Left Otter there while Sandy and I dd 3 weeks of travel to Cairo and Luxor and Aswan and Alexandria...more temples and tombs and pyramids than Id ever imagined.
Back on Otter after Sandy left. It was hell the last 170 miles up the Gulf of Suez. 25 to 40 knots all the time on the nose. I was triple reefed and reefed staysail and motorng to get a better angle to the wind. Stayed very close to the Sinai coast to keep out of the big waves..tacked when Id get more than 3 miles off..but there were anchorages each night. Took 9 days to do those 170 miles. Really glad to see Port Suez. Ismalia is in the middle of the 80 mile canal and I left Otter for a week while I bussed to St Catherines at mt Sinai where Moses got the commandments . There is a Greek Orthodox church at the burning bush..I saw it..not on fire anymore but the desert air at night is so dry that in my dark little backpackers room the blankets and sheets gave off enough static electricity to light my hands ..like little sheet lightning (pun)....so a bush wth a bit of breeze could have put on qute a show I think.......Then to Jerusalem...Did I say there were no tourists cloggng the holy sites and falaffel shops?
Well then straight to Turkey and I am in Mamaris now preparing for Greece and Malta. The plan is to do the standard Atlantic crossng to the Carribbean in Nov and then up to Bermuda and home in the spring of next year...big party on Block Island in late April..mark your calendar......Ive rambled on to the detriment of my wallett but....
I do miss you guys and hope you keep in touch...again a big hi to Lee when you see him and ask if he still has the s. pacific survival kit I gave him.
Remember...its a pushy lttle wine with out being overly hostile...
Subj: Brechin Morgan
Met Brechin Morgan at 36° 37,2 N / 28° 52,1 E Friday evening 28.June 2002 in a small inlet at the coast near Göcek, Turkey. We had a light dinner and two hours of interesting discussions.
Best regards Peter
I am leaving this afternoon for Marmaris and expect to be gunkholing along the coast for about 6 days and out of reach of email. Got the genoa repaired for a 150 bucks yesterday. Worth 300 at least at home. It should last now till I get back. It was fraying along the leech and the next big wind would have blown it out. Also had the towing motor and the engine starting motor repaired and did a lot of maintenance which has been put off on the slog up the rs. Well onward. Sorry we didnt connect. Oh ..I went to the hospital and had tests...giardia still. Since Aswan. The doctor thinks my self Flagyl ation didnt work because the pills were over 3 years old. I bought them in Panama. So in 10 days ill be a regular guy again. Ill call when I get to Marmaris.
Date: 6/11/02 5:04:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time
hi guys....still in Jerusalem and will leave tomorrow I think....saw the birthplace of the Virgin and got sprinkled with holy water...the glow is getting brighter....by the way ...I think it is Via Dolorosa....where is the spell checker on this thing...
Date: 6/10/02 3:27:17 PM Eastern Daylight Time
cranking through my e-mails tonight as the connections are very fast.....unique for this part of the world....but hey, Israel is like Los Angeles...except for all the kids with machine guns.....love Brec
Date: 6/10/02 2:39:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Saw the wailing wall. And a wide eyed and truly electric Joseph from Baltimore who works at a stand giving out the arm and head wraps and literature about rabbi Lubovitch from Brooklyn gave me a talk on the 7 basic commandments. The wall is a powerful place. Then a part of the via della rosa and The Church of the Holy Sepulcher (sp). Also very moving. No-one there. There are almost no tourists. I spent a long time in the very tiny room where they have His tomb, or where it was they are pretty sure. I had the personal testimony from a book shop owner this am about his religious conversion. While in the church, I was upstairs in a Coptic? chapel full of icons and candles, very beautiful, the best part of the place architecturally( the church is divided into a dozen denominational segments and none of them can agree on a common direction so most of the place looks like an old construction site) a guy comes in and walks up to an icon of the virgin and lights his cigarette from a candle and blows it out saying hey its ony a picture. He looked Muslim and a bit righteous-angry. The priest there chased him away and called for the absent guards below. So there is a low level tension. Outside the crusader gate into the church is a big heavy steel sphere with a door on it I think was a bomb disposal container.
Have to run.
Love from the real holyland theme park. Where it all began. It is very moving to imagine all those stories in the heat of the streets.
Date: 6/9/02 8:25:27 AM Eastern Daylight Time
I am presently in Elait on the way to Jerusalem for a short visit.
While I was at St. Catherines, Father Justin, an American from Texas who has the longest beard there and looks more Greek Orthodox than the other 22 monks, suggested that it was easy to get to Jerusalem and now it would be empty of the throngs. It was the push I needed.
If you have a few days I highly recommend the trip to St. Catherines. I asked Father Justin if I could see some of the liturgy which is normally closed to tourists and he said yes. I stood at the back of the cathederal and listened for a half hour to the mass chanted. It was a scene straight from Rembrandt with the shadows on the priests and the texts on stands lit pure white from the celestory windows. I saw the bush and they have a new very modern small museum for their icon collection. I climbed the camel trail to the top of Mt. Sinai and watched the sunset. Then slept in a hut with blanket and mattress for 5 lb. I watched the sunrise with about 25 others that struggled up there at 530 am. It was beautiful. On the way down from the Monastery the cab driver stopped to point out where the golden calf was destroyed by Moses and there is still a cow image in the rock. The bus to St Katerine, takes 5 hours. I got it at the bus station in Suez, a van really, with locals and it was 35 lb one way. I think it should have been 25. I stayed at the Moonland hotel and campground. A short walk from the reataurants in the village and a 15 minute walk to the monastery. Asking price, 50 lb. We settled for 30. It was a nice room. Communal shower but I was the only guest. Its a lot cheaper than the 35 dollar us place at the monastery. Well worth it.
I am in total shock right now. The short walk to Israel and the 6 mile bus ride into Eliat is like entering another world. It's very very disorienting. Total first world with women everywhere in shorts and halter tops. I'll become desensitized to it in a day or so.
Expect to be no more than 2 days in Jerusalem then back to Otter to carry on. Straight to Turkey.
On Tue, 04 Jun 2002 16:01:58
I made it to Port Suez and today did a half transit of the canal to Ismalia. Alan on Karma has a busted gearbox and is stuck for awhile in Suez. A bit depressing for him as he was scheduled to be on his way to Spain by now.I am the 3rd to last yacht to transit this season. The rest of the fleet are spread out as far as Greece and Malta already.
It took me 9 days to make the last 170 miles up the Gulf of Suez. With 20 to 35 knots on the nose every day it was a hard slog. Sometimes 15 long miles tacking and motorsailing with triple reefed main and spray everywhere for 8 to 10 hours to the next anchorage. Getting up and out into it each day was difficult. But it is history now and Im looking forward to the sunny and benign ,hopefully, Med. May make a side trip to Jerusalem from here before I sail to Turkey. There is a wonderful little marina here where I can leave Otter safely for a few days.
Date: 6/3/02 2:24:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I am finally ..finally in Suez. It took me 9 days to get the last 180 miles up the gulf of suez against 35 knots of wind on the nose day after day. I'd do 15 to 25 miles of hard motorsailing with 3 reefs and scrap of jib and anchor in a little marsa or behind a point or reef. Brutal. But the red sea is now behind me and ill be on to crete and Turkey soon. I am the last of a 50 or 60 boat fleet this year. There are only 2 left behind me. It has been wonderful beyond my expectations, though. Suakin in Sudan with wild Bedoiuin on camels with bright swords. Straight out of biblical times. Lonely reefs bright with color and coral as alive as anything ive seen.
I put otter in a great little marina while sandy and I did 3 weeks at the tourist spots. Pyramids, Luxor Alexandria, Cairo...I have been arabized.....love it here.
End of E-mail Excerpts
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