David's Diary: Tuesday, April 1, 2003
We were up at 6:00 AM to prepare the boat and by 6:20 I was at the police station. When you enter or leave Tunisia, you must check in with both the police and customs. The police in the marina don't have a lot to do, so a cruiser arriving or leaving is a major event that breaks up their day. I have to fill out lots of paperwork. Because this is Tunisia, there is no carbon paper, so when three copies of a form is needed; I have to fill out all three by hand.
After the police, I visit the customs officer. He sees on our inventory list, that we wrote when we arrived in Tunisia last October, that we have three computers. We guess that he is as bored as the police officer, so he says that he has to visit Dragonsinger to check that we really do have three computers. Two of the computers are put away for the passage, so we dig them out and after satisfying him that we still have the three computers the customs officer leaves and we are ready to go.
We finally get away from the dock at 7:35. The wind is cross-ways to our slip and it pushes Dragonsinger across to the boats docked on the other side. We have to push ourselves off boats and end up having an outboard engine scrape along our waterline. We finally escape to hear the horns of fellow cruisers. It is the custom to blow your horn when someone leaves after the winter and despite the early hours several people give us a send-off and stand on their decks and wave to us. We are reminded about what a sense of community there is among cruising people.
We have only sailed once in the last five months and the wind is blowing NW 20. That's the right direction for where we want to go -- East to Malta. We set Dragonsinger up and Kevin and I are off watch from 08:00 - 12:00. Back on watch the wind dies down and we end up motor sailing after lunch. I find that despite taking motion sickness drugs, I'm feeling a little seasick. Allen has already been sick a couple of times today, despite taking medication.
At 20:00, the wind switched to the East and F 4-5. This is exactly the direction that we want to go. We had expected this wind change, but not for at least another four hours and the wind is at least one unit of the Beaufort scale stronger than forecast. The night is pitch black as we sail through rain squalls. It is almost impossible to see ahead and the radar is cluttered from the rain, despite my making numerous adjustments. It was going to be a long night as we motor into the waves with a little bit of mainsail out to help keep us steady.