024: Fit Out in Tunisian Boat Yard - Sailing From Monastir to Hammamet
The last blog left us in our little apartment getting electrocuted, but at least we had WiFi!
Toilets issues continued to cause problems with our youngest.. and Woody, deciding to try out the Arabic 'hose pipes' instead of toilet tissue, which let’s just say wasn't pleasant.
There was a laser zone near the apartment which the kids made full use of with their French friends who'd just sailed in from Malta. We've always struggled to find music lessons for the kids too but in Monastir we met Ahmed - a lovely guy who found us a violin school!
But our boat was priority. Our bank refused to transfer money to Tunisia and we couldn't pay by Visa/Mastercard either so we had to draw out the maximum amount every day from the cash point (ATM) and we were concerned about covering our costs. Tunisia is one of the cheapest if not THE cheapest place in the Mediterranean to get boat repairs done.
But Port De Peach is still a working port - dirty, polluted and grimy with little Health and Safety. Woody was bitten by one of the boat yard dogs and it’s not a place you’d normally take a family.
One of the boats even fell from the crane - a bit disconcerting just before you're about to launch! The strops of the crane were filthy and gritty and even though we put plastic on the hull, as you'll see in later blogs it wasn't enough to protect the new antifoul.
The job list included!
* CHAIN - MEASURE OUT CHAIN LENGTHS
* HULL - SCRAPE BACK/GELSHIELD/ANTIFOUL
* KEEL - SCRAPE BACK/RESEAL/GELSHIELD/ANTIFOUL
* REPLACE ANODES
* GENOA TRACK - FIBERGLASS REPAIR
* GENOA TRACK - REINSTATE PLUGS
* GENOA TRACK - REPLACE ROLLERS
* GENOA CARS - REPLACE INSERTS
* WINDOWS - REPAIR LEAK
* COMPANIONWAY - SAND AND RE-VARNISH
* MAST SHEEVES - REPLACE
* SAILS - REMOVE AND REPAIR
* ELVSTROM SALES - MEASURING UP AND QUOTE FOR NEW SALES
* WINDLASS (LOFRANS TIGRES) - SERVICE
* BEDS - MAKE EXTENSIONS
* EXIT LADDER - FARICATE AFT CABIN LADDER
* CUSHION COVERS AND CURTAINS REPLACE
* BOW LOCKERS - REPLACE FLOORS
* CHECK & REPLACE THROUGH HULL FITTINGS AS NECESSARY
* SOLAR ARCH / DAVITS - FARICATED AND FITTED
* BOW THRUSTER - SERVICE
* FUEL FILTER - REPAIR LEAK
* FRESH WATER TANK - STERILISE
Things progressed slowly - not as fast as we’d have liked at times. But on the whole, we were pleased and eventually the boat was returned to the water. There was some dispute over the balance to pay and we hoped it just came down to a genuine misunderstanding. Costs and pricing were not always clear - forget computers and spreadsheets - it was all done with scraps of paper, drawings, a nod and handshake. With a language barrier too there is a lot of room for.. misinterpretation.
So, we paid slightly more than we expected in the end and marked it down to experience but it was still a good deal.
We made some good friends there too - Rihad - one of the workmen visited our boat with his wife and baby on our final night and we had a good chat about Tunisian life and their dreams of emigrating to Canada. Wages are low and conditions are tough for poor families without connections in Tunisia. Having said that, Tunisia is one of the more progressive liberal Islamic countries where Hijabs seem to be optional and ultra-conservatives rub shoulders with long haired girls in jeans.
After replacing the sails, it was time to leave Monastir Marina and Port De Peche and head North. We managed a visit to a lovely cafe in Hammamet old town medina which we'd visited about eight years ago on a previous visit and topped up on banana splits!
We anchored for a few days in the Gulf and the ‘pirate’ boats were a hit with the kids who loved copying the crew, swinging in the rigging and hanging off the spreaders. We refuelled and provisioned but even on a fuel dock you have to check in and out - they kind of like their paperwork - but the offices were full of men with machine guns so it's a bit disconcerting.
Kalibia / Calibia - another fishing port - was our final stop as we waited for a weather window for Sardinia. Not the nicest place for the kids' birthdays but we found a lovely beach and restaurant called Monaco Bay where we could briefly escape from fishy smells and flies!
We faced customs/coastguard/police/port authorities for the last time - always a complicated procedure, but especially when they lose your paperwork - then finally left for Sardinia!
Contributions to the video blog budget greatly appreciated!
Vlogs and mini vlogs from onboard the boat
Photos of the boat, the crew and other sailing families and characters
Updates and photos - as often possible - from the boat
▷THIS VIDEO LINK: https://youtu.be/6nHe3zU--rU
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