Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
No we haven't gone mad, it is Rosh Hashanah here in Israel, Jewish New Year. 
It was a family event and everything closed for 2 1/2 days including all public transport. So we just had to chill out and sit on the beach. After 2 months in the UK, my legs are like uncooked pork sausages, while Stu's are like frankfurters. This imbalance needs to be redressed.
It's not quite perfect here, still a little bit too hot to sit in the sun during the day (30 degrees) and if anything the sand on the beach is just a little bit too fine, and gets everywhere. I can tell you're full of sympathy!  
We have been busy constructing the new bimini (sunshade) with sides to enclose the cockpit during the rainy season. It will be like having a new conservatory on a house, and we can dine sort-of-al-fresco all year round. 
On Thursday we will be travelling to the Sinai peninsula of Egypt to go diving at Sharks Bay. Eeek! Apparently the sharks have mostly been scared away by divers. Lets hope so, I just want to look at small pretty fishies, not hungry ones. 
After that, we hope to travel up to Jordan, to visit Petra and Wadi Rum, returning to the boat via Jerusalem. That's the current plan anyway - as  you all know we could be onto plan B or C by tomorrow. 
We have an interesting neighbour in the marina at the moment - a 33m catamaran called Gitana 13 (http://www.gitana-team.com) the toy of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. It was called Orange and dismasted by Ellen MacArthur in the Indian Ocean in a previous life. It really is an awesome sailing machine. The French crew of 9 young men are not bad either. 

More news, it actually rained here 2 days ago. This is big news. The first rain we've seen since April in Turkey. Apparently in only rains about 8 times in the winter.This is why the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are disappearing rapidly, as the Israeli irrigation projects that provide them with successful agricultural land literally suck the seas dry. It would be satisfying to see some sort of restrictions on shower, toilet and water supplies to discourage profligate water usage, but it seems that they are just doing the ostrich trick. 

Next weekend is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement. On this occasion all sins are forgiven and one spends the day reflecting on also forgiving the sins of others. They can't use a car, or turn on lights, or use any other form of power. Another weekend of no public transport but no matter as we will be in Egypt enjoying clear blue seas and lots of irritating requests for baksheesh. Every time you try to take a photo, a local suddenly appears in the frame and then demands baksheesh for allowing you to take their photo. I wonder if they will manage to do that underwater too......