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This page is meant for information purposes only, to give an idea of what to expect on a southbound passage, the costs involved and so forth.  It is not meant to be a comprehensive article - just a basic aid.

All prices and costs are correct as of November 2009.

All waypoints should be checked on your charts for accuracy.

 

Approaching Port Said from the Mediterranean.

The pilot book tells you to be in Port Said by late October - I arrived on the 8th November.  The approach is fairly easy, just watch out for the oil rigs, fishing boats and convoys which assemble in the anchorage off Port Said.  The convoys are assembling or on the move S'bound  2330 - 0500 and again 0630 - 0900.  The N'bound convoy exits the canal at any time from 1530 - 2230.  Time your arrival to be in Port Fouad around dawn -  though I arrived just after 5pm as it was getting dark.  My waypoints followed those given in the Pilot Book, and were as below:

WP1:  31o25'N   32o15'E - clear NW of the anchorage and assembly area.  Skirt the area anti-clockwise to

WP2:  31o21'.3N   32o21'E  where a sub-channel leads to the Port Said entry channel at approx

WP3:  31o19'.3N   32o21'.9E  not far from the El Bahar light tower.  Enter the channel to

WP4:  31o17'.04N   32o20'.02E  follow buoyed channel to

WP5:  31o15.42N  32o18.9E  which is immediately outside Port Fouad Yacht Club.

A mile from the canal approach fairway buoy, you should call Port Control on VHF Channel 12 for clearance to enter the canal, then proceed to buoy 5 before calling them again.  It is a legal requirement to take onboard a pilot for the entry to the canal though I know several boats who did not do so (pilots too busy).  Another boat skipper refused to take one onboard and a loud argument ensued, with threats of ramming and canal transit delays.  Baksheesh is a way of life in Egypt and the pilot will expect a few US$'s for his efforts.  The pilot boat will also expect a 'present' - usually a packet of cigarettes will suffice.   It isn't enforceable, but it makes life so much easier!

Berthing in Port Fouad is stern to the wall with your anchor laid.  Alternatively, tie up to one of the two large buoys (you'll need about 100 metres of line) before reversing up to the quayside.  There is considerable swell (it's a commercial port), from the many ships passing through the canal but mostly from the pilot boats which go past at great speed.  Make sure you are well fendered.

CHECKING INTO EGYPT.

Using an agent makes things much easier, though it is quite possible to complete check in yourself.

I used Felix Maritime Agency (there are others) call them on VHF Channel 67 after calling Port Control on approach.

Port Said Head Office:  Palace Tower 1, Palastin & Al Salam St., 2nd Floor No (5) - Port Said - Egypt.

Telephone:  +20 66 3333132 / 3248283

Fax:  +20 66 3333510 / 3249293 / 3347875

E-Mail: felix@felix-eg.com

Website:  www.felixagency.net  or  www.felix-eg.com

PORT FOUAD

Fuel is available, delivered to your boat in 70 litre jerry cans - or in my case, 130 litre jerry cans!  You can order it in the morning through Felix and it will arrive the same day.

The ferry across to Port Said leaves from just outside the port gates, and runs every five minutes.  It's free, just walk on.

A beer is difficult to come by but if you take the ferry across to Port Said, then go up the street directly opposite where you disembark, walk for about two blocks and turn right (if you reach the roundabout, you've gone too far) and you will see Cecil's Bar on the corner - a bottle of Sakara Beer is 10 LE (about 1).  Next door to Cecil's, and upstairs, is a reasonable restaurant where you can eat English or Chinese food at low cost.

CANAL FEES

Again these were arranged by Felix.  A measurer arrived onboard and measured the boat, asked a few questions and filled in the forms.  It's a crazy system, the details of which you will find in the Red Sea Pilot book.    Now if you were a mechanic, would you go on a job without spanners?  Would you go fishing without any gear?  Would you go to measure a boat without a tape measure?   Well, here they expect you to provide everything - and then demand their 'present' for doing so!

BAKSHEESH

It's a way of life in Egypt, so the sooner you get used to it, the easier it will become for you.  Translated, it means 'present' and is expected of you (the rich, yacht owning, lazy skipper) from the Muslim community with whom you will be dealing.  For everything that is done for you, baksheesh is expected, including door opening, directions, having your photo taken, taking a photo with a local, pilot boats, pilots, measurers,......the lot!

ISMAILIA

Fuel available but the police on the gate only allow 100 litres per boat generally.  You will need to go to the garage with jerry cans and fill your cans - it's cheap!  Beer is again hard to come by, but walk out of the club, up the road and over the bridge, then turn right and walk past the military barracks to the next major junction.  Turn left and about 50 metres up, on the right hand side, is George's Bar.  You can also eat there.  Sakara Beer is 27 LE.  On the same side of the road, another 150 metres up is Metro Supermarket which has a good stock of supplies.  There is also an ATM outside Metro and another across the road.  If you want a taxi, I can recommend a local guy by the name of Mohamed Imbaby - photo on right.  Contact him at bebo-sky2001@yahoo.com or phone him on 0020 121 538185.  He speaks English and is trustworthy, honest and reliable.  He will take you to Cairo, or to get fuel - or anything else that you require and he was a great help to us in locating everything we needed.  

PILOTS

Are a requirement of your canal passage.  You will need two, one for the first day from Port Said to Ismailia and another for the second day to Port Suez.  Some are qualified but generally they are not - mostly they work on the canal boats as deckhands and are just pulled off there to accompany you down the canal and to justify the charges levied by the Suez Canal Authority.  Keep a close watch on them!  In my experience, they cannot steer a straight line, they will take your boat into shallow water at the edges of the canal and they want to go faster all the time - don't let them touch the throttle!  You must specify the speed, but you are required to maintain 5 knots within the canal.   The pilot is not responsible for any accident or collision or grounding - that remains the skipper's responsibility, so like I said - keep an eye on what they are doing.    They will ask to use the toilet at some point and it's only courteous to allow them to do so, most are honest, but don't leave valuables lying around.  Like the measurer, they come onboard with no equipment for the job they are paid to do - no sunglasses, no hat to keep the head cool, no jacket for the chill of morning or evening and no lunch!  YOU are expected to provide it all.  At the end of their job, the mandatory baksheesh is cheekily asked for - we in the rally all agreed beforehand to tip them US$ 10, sealed in an envelope and only given to them as they left the boat.  The general consensus was that they are greedy and ungrateful and everyone was glad to get  them off the boat.  Some demand to keep whatever you have loaned them, some want more money plus cigarettes, coca cola and designer clothes.  If they continue to whinge and whine at what you have given, ask for it back and tell them to clear off - they will mutter at you, but they will then take what was given and leave.

COSTS

For my boat, though berthing seems to apply to anything between 10 and 20 metres LOA

Felix Agency Fee:               No charge.  This was waived as a concession to Vasco da Gama yachts.

Port Fouad berthing fees:  US$ 21 per day

Ismailia berthing fees:          US$ 21 per day

Port Suez berthing fees:      US$ 21 per day

Doctor/Quarantine:              US$ 10

Port Clearance:                    US$ 40

Canal Fee:                            US$ 129.60

Egyptian cruising permit:     US$ 90 (available in Wadi El Dome marina and valid for 3 months)

Visa's (3 months):                US$ 46

Pilots:                                     US$ 10 per pilot, plus lunch and drinks. 

Note:  The pilot boat on which your pilot will arrive alongside also expects baksheesh.  In my opinion, the driver of that boat has done absolutely nothing for you and doesn't deserve anything but they WILL ask (or your pilot will ask on their behalf).  It's up to you whether you pay on not, usually they want a packet of cigarettes or a couple of dollars.

Electricity and water is generally free, but there was no earth cable in any of the ports so I opted not to connect to shore power, also the water is heavily chlorinated and un-drinkable so my water-maker was used to top up the tanks wherever possible .

 

For information on the Vasco da Gama Rally, click HERE

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