Sailing under a full moon
First priority was checking in and getting all the paperwork in order to show that we had left the EU. A feature of Tunisian ports is that the Foreigner Police are at your boat before you've finished tying up and this was no different. Customs were also summoned and we completed formalities quite quickly. Harbour fees for our three day stay turned out at 54 Tunisian Dinars in total, or something like $9 per day.
Our last official encounter was an evening visit from Customs just prior to departure. All visiting boats are inspected, particularly for stowaways but also for the usual stuff – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, firearms. We didn’t have a strong sense that we were being shaken down, but the inspector did dwell on my stash of Italian wine for a while so I asked in French if he liked wine and he said his wife did, so we gave him a bottle as a ‘gift’. Then we were free to go – in fact we had to go at once!! Before we could sneak any illegals on board.
So it was back to sea, slipping out from between yachts rafted either side, and making directly for Licata, 140 nautical miles almost directly due east. We started out well, motoring with assistance from the 10 knot breeze, then zipping along under sail as the north-west wind increased to 20 – 25 knots. This was great, but as we all know, nothing lasts forever. At about 0530 the wind and sea really picked up and we were a little slow to reef the sails. I wasn’t strong enough to winch in the fiercely flapping genoa, and one of its whipping sheets took a great jagged piece out of the clear window of the dodger – a good lesson to never get in the way of uncontrolled lines! The wind was now 40 – 45 knots with quite a high following sea, so Terry pretty much had to hand steer the next fifty miles, surfing down the waves and trying to avoid the sneaky sets that hit side-on. Meanwhile I was down trying to clean up and stow stuff that hadn’t been prepared well enough for these conditions – another lesson there.
Finally the wind eased a bit as sunset approached, and we saw the very welcome heads of the breakwater at Licata ahead. It was wonderful to get into calm water at last, and to tie up safely on our dock. There was a party in progress, but somehow we weren’t quite up to it. I can’t actually recall anything after readying Common Sense for docking, so I guess it mostly involved sleep! So now we have a few fix-ups and repairs before we head off again in a week or so...