Completion of Middle East cruise & Levante Basin Rally, Cruise to Egypt - The Red Sea, Passage through the Suez Canal, Egyptian Pyramids, Nile River | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Completion of Middle East cruise & Levante Basin Rally, Cruise to Egypt - The Red Sea, Passage through the Suez Canal, Egyptian Pyramids, Nile River

- Completion of Middle East cruise & Levante Basin Rally
- Boat Maintenance at Yacht Marine, Marmaris, Turkey
- Cruise to Egypt - Red Sea
- Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
- Red Sea Rally
- Passage through the Suez Canal
- Egyptian Pyramids
- Sailing down the Nile River
- Leaving the Mediterranean for Madeira and Canary Islands

- New Season of Distant Shores on Travel Channel and Canadian Learning Television
- DVD review in August 2006 issue of Cruising World
- Free shipping offer on DVDs ends in August. Order today and save.

Hello Friends,

We hope you are all having a good summer and enjoying lots of outdoor activities with friends and family. Paul and I certainly are and as we prepare to set sail from Turkey to leave the Mediterranean Sea in the fall we'd like to update you on our adventures of the past few months.

Welcome to New Subscribers / Cruising World Review
First, welcome to all newcomers to our newsletter list. Many of your were introduced to our website through the recent review of our Distant Shores DVDs in the August 2006 issue of Cruising World magazine and we hope that you'll find the resources on are entertaining and informative. Glad to have you aboard.

Completion of Middle East Cruise and Levante Basin Rally
Those of you that have been with us for awhile will recall that last summer Paul and I joined 11 other international yachts in the Levante Basin Rally to sail to Middle Eastern countries that border the Eastern Mediterranean - Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, as well as Jordan on the Red Sea. (See our October 2005 newsletter as well as the Levante Basin Rally website at ) It was an enlightening voyage as we learned first-hand about the issues and concerns of everyday people living in these countries and it is with aching hearts that we listen to the news of the latest conflicts. We think of the many people that we met there who were working to create tolerance and peace in their communities and wonder how they and their children are doing. We completed the rally in Herzliya, Israel, last August.

Boat Maintenance at Yacht Marine, Marmaris, Turkey
In August the temperatures in Israel were climbing to 42-44 C and it was just too hot to continue filming productively. We, along with most of the other yachts in the rally, sailed back to Turkey and Paul and I stopped in Cyprus on the way for another visit with relatives that have retired there. Four of the rally yachts sailed on to Egypt, 2 to spend the winter at Abu Tig Marina in El Gouna on the Red Sea where we planned to join them later in the spring.

In mid-August we hauled our Classic 37 sailboat, Two-Step, out of the water at Yacht Marine in Marmaris leaving the boat in the good care of Mustafa Yesildag and his son, Ali, who are experts in yacht painting and fibreglass repair. They are featured in the Distant Shores Volume 5 - Greece and Turkey II DVD . There were a few blisters in Two-Step's fibreglass hull that needed patching and we left Ali and Mustafa to also do the brightwork and bottom paint for the next season while we flew home to begin post-production on the Middle East shows. If you're cruising in Turkey and want to contact the Yesildags for a quote, just send us an e-mail and we'll put you in touch.

Yacht Marine is an excellent marina and boat yard for having work done on your boat, for doing work yourself, and for long-term boat storage. Many live-aboard sailors spend the winter here aboard their boats too since there's an active community and lots of social events.

Middle East Episodes of Distant Shores airing on Travel Channel and CLT
The Middle East episodes of Distant Shores started airing in the UK, across Europe, Asia and South Africa on Travel Channel on July 4.

Cruise to Egypt - Red Sea
In April and May Paul and I did a very different cruise. We flew from Toronto to Cairo to join our sailing friends who were spending the winter on their yachts at Abu Tig marina in El Gouna on the Red Sea and sailed on their boats. What fun! We first stayed aboard the 52' motor yacht, Lady Coppelia, (it has a bath tub), home of our British friend, Tony Cobb, who some of you know from the "mud baths episode" on the Distant Shores Volume 1 - Western Mediterranean DVD, and later aboard SY Ginny, home of Chris and Elaine Champ, a beautiful Halberg Rassey 46. Both kindly let us film aboard to show you what cruising is like aboard their boats. Together with Bill and Jean on SY Soliel sans Fin (See them in the Hvar Rendezvous episode in Croatia in the Distant Shores Volume 3 - Adriatic Sea DVD), Patricia and Jean-Claude on Tololea and the Varriale family aboard the catamaran Itusca we cruised the deserted out-islands of the Red Sea diving on the fabulous reefs, thanks to Chris who certified as a PADI Rescue Diver as a winter project and knows all the good reefs.

Scuba Diving in the Red Sea
Chris also introduced us to the Orca Dive Club which operates out of Turtle's Inn and the Abu Tig marina in El Gouna. If you're looking for a great dive vacation, owners Racquel Marcos and Norbert (Nunu) Bewernitz run a top-notch operation and offer vacation packages through the resort. We spoke to many repeat customers on the days we joined them to dive and film on the wrecks of the Carnatic, Chrisoula K and Ghiannis D. For info: or or e-mail

Red Sea Rally
At the end of April, Tony was ready to head back north to the Mediterranean. He's planning on returning to the Red Sea next winter 2007 and is organizing a Red Sea Rally. If you're interested in joining up there's info on his web site:

Passage through the Suez Canal
We joined Tony as crew for the night passage north through the Gulf of Suez lit by many many flaming oil rigs. We entered the Suez Canal at Port Suez where we were held up for a day when a war ship passed through. For security reasons, the canal is closed to yacht traffic when there are war ships using it. Our next stop was the port of Ismailiya where we said goodbye to Tony and he, accompanied by the sailing yacht, Miss Cat, made the passage to Turkey.

We stayed in Ismailiya at the Timsah Hotel for a few days (~ $25 US/night) to participate in festivities for Coptic Easter and the spring festival, Sham el Nissem, which originated with the pharoahs over 3,000 years ago. Coloured eggs are part of the feast so we learned that the tradition of Easter Eggs originated in this ancient Egyptian fertility festival.

From Ismailiya, we rode the bus to Cairo to see the Pyramids of Giza and the Solar Boat museum which has a perfectly preserved ancient boat found buried in the pyramid of Cheops for use in the afterlife. Lots of crowds and touts! We much preferred the pyramids of Dashur 15 km south which are the oldest and best preserved pyramids in Egypt but a bit out of the way and alone in the desert so are hardly every visited - a great experience! While in Cairo we stayed at the Mayfair Hotel (~ $25 US/night) not too far from to the Antiquities Museum where we enjoyed the fabulous King Tut collection.

Sailing Down the Nile River
We completed our exploration of the waterways of Egypt by making a voyage down the Nile River for 3 days. You can do this in style on a cruise ship but, being sailors, we opted to do it on a felucca, a traditional lateen-rigged open sailboat run by 2 rivermen - Captain Atef and Chief Chef SherSher ( It cost us $175 US for 3 days and 2 nights including all food prepared by the crew. The cost would have been divided if we'd had a few more friends on board. They can take up to about 6 people. It was a wonderful way to drift back in time. The bird life along the river was amazing and it was a great way to approach the temples and to get to know the real Egyptian people. The conditions are comfortable but basic, i.e. no washroom facilities, just regular stops at shady palm groves which beat the public washrooms at bus stops.

Wishing you Fair Winds,

Sheryl and Paul Shard
SV Two-Step
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