Gladlee of Guernsey
27th-30th May - Lattakia, Syria
Another 80 odd miles for this passage. Most people started out in the early afternoon to get clear of the harbour and out to the required 10 miles whilst it was still daylight. A fairly uneventful passage and we even managed to sail for most of it during the night. The wind was quite fresh when we arrived at the harbour in the early morning. We arrived first as usual to start organising the berthing as the other yachts arrived. We were again dismayed to find the harbour authorities were not ready for us, they obviously did not believe that 100 boats were going to arrive! We managed to tie up on the fishing quay but there were no cleats, water connections or electricity points at 07.00 in the morning. However once they realised we were actually coming, within two hours they had installed everything.
The boats trickled in during the morning and berthed with their groups in allotted spaces. As always there were some problems with lack of space, some very shallow patches and one boat picked up a large mooring line around his propeller at the same time as having engine problems (turned out they were out of fuel). Shortly after everybody arrived it was time for our first tour to Ugarit, a short coach drive away where the very first alphabet was discovered. A very pleasant easy wander around the ruins, perfect as we were all pretty tired.
Hasan had plans for the committee and a few guests to go out to dinner with the local marina management, so taxis were organised to take us to a restaurant. The local food was ordered and was excellent washed down with a few beers finished the day off nicely.
The next morning the whole rally poured onto four busses for a day trip sightseeing. Firstly we headed inland to Saladinís Castle up in the mountains. A real castle from the Crusader days.
And then on to another castle, Krac du Chevalier, also a very interesting trip.
The following day saw us getting on coaches again for a three day trip to Palmyra (a World Heritage site) and Damascus. Palmyra in the southern desert was incredible, a very extensive site with Roman ruins though the day was very hot.
A welcome break at a small shop and restaurant in the desert, with an example of an old beehive house and Bedouin tent.
Lunch in a tourist Bedouin tent was fantastic with plenty of local food buffet style and beers to quench the thirst.
And on to Damascus for a night visiting the souk and old mosques.
We returned to the marina quite exhausted. Fortunately we had a virtually free day the next day to recover and then the Rally dinner in the evening. A great success as usual.