Our Reflections on Egypt

Published 15 years ago, updated 6 years ago

Having just completed our 3 years circumnavigation we only have a few regrets, one of them is having the Egyptian experience. Unfortunately, this was the only country where we couldn’t wait to escape. For the benefit of fellow cruisers heading North in the Red Sea, I would like to point out 2 incidents that happened to us whilst in Egypt:

Port Ghalib Marina

This is the first port of clearance into Egypt coming from the South, and a lot of the boats heading North stop here to refuel.

The marina’s procedures are that whilst clearing boats in we have to wait at quarantine dock, then directed to a berth, where we wait another further day or 2- depending on the day of the week and holidays – for the cruising permit.

We waited half a day on the quarantine dock just for the visas and when we asked if we can leave the same day due to good weather window, we were told no. When questioned further about the procedure the marina manager came and explained that the documents have to be sent to another office and that take days. We asked if it is possible to have the permit faxed to Hurghada Marina as that was our next destination without stopping, again were told no. After much persistence from us and another boat the manager finally gave in, made a phone call and the permit was ready in 30 minutes and we left the same day.

We felt that the marina delay the paperwork to keep boats for a few days, thus making money.

Suez Canal

I am just adding another negative comment to the big list already existent on Noonsite.

From Ismailia to Port Said we have delayed a total of 3 times. The first time the canal was shut due to the visit of the President, we only found out that at midnight the night before. Second time there were 25 boats leaving and 8 were left behind, nobody told us that we are not going, we just worked out ourselves as it was getting very late for the crossing. Third time Ahmed, the Yacht Club man who takes payments and books the transit, did not forward the list to the authorities, so again it was an early wake-up and waiting around for nothing.

By then we asked to speak to the manager, Foud, who never turned up. Following morning again got up at 5 am and Foud did make an appearance much later, just to take the payment for the berth and to say that we are leaving at midday, but no explanations of what is actually happening.

Indeed we left at lunchtime, but that put us in Said at dark, not the best of the times to negotiate very busy waters. By then we just wanted out, better Port Said at night then another day in the country.

Booking the second transit worked better once done via the agent, do not use solely Ahmed.

Judit and Graham Ransley

S/Y Nomad Life

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