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Egypt:Clearing into Hurghada April 2017

By Karin Stubbs — last modified Jul 19, 2017 12:22 PM

Published: 2017-07-19 12:22:02
Countries: Egypt

Egypt:Clearing into Hurghada April 2017

Hurghada marina

Before we arrived in Egypt we all had read Fatty Goodlanders book : "The Red Sea Run -Two Sailors In A Sea of Trouble". Even if you take it with a pound of salt, it is a good story but not very positive or encouraging. The only good time they had was at Suakin. We were however prepared for the worst, and knew we had to be very alert with almost everybody in Egypt.


We arrived at El Gouna to clear is but it came out that El Gouna is NOT a Port of Entry anymore even if it ever has been one. The authorities sent us South to Hurghada and they called a local agent there for us who works for the Felix agency.

We arrived after dark in Hurghada and anchored off the town. Navionics and CMap were accurate so no worries. The next morning we motored to the Marina (3 miles away) to find a place to anchor and take the dinghy ashore to clear in. According to (old) information this was possible. We contacted the marina and they send a launch to meet us and pointed to a place where we could anchor, but it was far too deep for us and too close to moored vessels, so there was not enough room.

Then the Marina told us that for clearing in we were now expected to go to the new Hurghada Port Building. For the last year they have this huge new Port building with a long concrete wharf in front, seemingly designed for cruise ships. You have to clear in at the building on the wharf because all the relevant offices are there now.

We saw the wharf but we refused to fasten the boat to it. It is too dangerous for a small yacht. If you see the wake of the fast motorboats, which are coming past every few minutes and you see the waves smashing against this wharf, then you will think twice before tying up there.

Well, we were not the first yacht to refuse to tie up there we heard later. We offered to transfer the officials in our dinghy to the boat but they wanted to come with 6 men AT THE SAME TIME and our dinghy was not big enough for that. They left us cruising round before the wharf for 3 hours (!) whilst they were finding a "solution" to get those 6 men on our boat! In the end, our agent suggested to ask the marina (which is around the corner) for a launch, and that is what happened. The marina never charged us for that service.
The first man to come aboard was the "health" or quarantine officer who declared the boat 'healthy' after 5 minutes and a look in our First Aid Box. For this service we were charged $US100 . It was the fastest and easiest 100 bucks I have ever seen somebody earn. In our opinion it is a SCAM. After that the other 5 men came aboard, of which one was our agent. They were quiet nosy and wanted to look everywhere but everything was OK. Then we were all expected to go into the new building to personally meet the Captain of the Port, shake his hand and get our passports back, which were stamped. We did that with the launch from the Marina.

There was NO way to negotiate the price of clearing in, which was as follows:
$100 for "health"
$100 for agent
$100 for immigration
$25 per visa.
Previously there was a possibility that when you only transited the canal, you had 12 days to do that without the need of a visa, but that rule has gone. Everybody needs a visa for $25 from the first port of entry. Valid for 30 days it is a " visa on arrival".

Hurghada marina cost $27.50 a night but for a longer stay there is a discount. (a month cost something like $350 for a 34 feet yacht). The Marina is "Med Mooring" only and is popular for overwintering with yachts from the Med. There is even a very luxurious "Club Room" and it is the first marina I have visited in 25 years where there is a "guest relation manager". Her name is Daniela and she is from Italy but has lived a long time in Egypt. She is a very nice and helpful person and knows the town and Egypt well. They have beautiful showers plus a wonderful "salon" for the yachties with Wifi, tv and nice comfortable couches. There is a fridge, two washing machines and one dryer and the use of them is all FREE.
To contact Daniela:
The Harbour manager is called Sherif +20 1220001186

Our Buddy boat (Steven & crew) cleared in at El Gharib but they didn't have that health check. They paid the same as us minus the health check. They didn't like El Gharib very much and the marina there was the same price as Hurghada, also $27.50 a night. No shopping was possible close to the marina. They said, "it felt like a prison" because of the security checks all the time. Maybe you are better off sailing straight up to Hurghada as it is a modern town with lots of shops, very good restaurants, cheap beer plus the very economical Carrefour supermarket. It is just a lovely place to relax for a few days (and do your laundry).

Report by Karin from SY Amber Nectar

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