To say we touched the shores of five different countries on three continents during the 2009 cruising season sounds like a lot, but while we were underway, it just felt like we were slowly island hopping our way from Italy to Turkey. What was impressive is that this year’s cruising grounds happened to take us through the crossroads of the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean Sea and across the cultural divide between Europe and Africa, and Christianity and Islam.
We arrived in Tunisia today after a 118-mile overnight passage across the Strait of Sicily.
Our arrival in Tunisia was a bit bizarre. After handing our docklines to the marina attendant and securing Gyatso between a smaller Swedish-flagged sailboat and an abandoned boat, a Health Department inspector appeared at the bow and stuck a thermometer onto each of our foreheads. Dripping with sweat in the 90°+ midday sun, we were amused to learn that we passed the inspection. He handed us a brochure about the H1N1 virus and instructed us to report to his office if we became ill during our stay. We were very surprised by his professionalism and by the contrast with our nine month experience in Italy, where we never saw anyone who cared anything about the global flu pandemic underway.