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Old 15-03-2010, 16:55   #31
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Was hoping to see you here before seeing you in the paper....Hydrate up...
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Old 15-03-2010, 17:05   #32
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Great to know you both made it safely. Would be very interested to hear more details of the trip.
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Old 16-03-2010, 08:32   #33
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Nic deserves an extra choco shake after that trip. Well done to both of you.

Thank nic for the email report for me as well.
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Old 16-03-2010, 08:42   #34
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I should think that pirates were a minor concern in comparison to running out of beer.

Regardless, we've missed you guys.

Any interesting birds perching on your lifelines this passage? We want pics!

Please extend my heartfelt congrats to your elf.
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Old 17-03-2010, 06:36   #35
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Woohoo! So glad to hear you guys made it! Pity the grand-children years from now when Mark starts in on his "I fought off these blood thirsty pirates....." stories...
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Old 25-03-2010, 11:34   #36
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Hi Folks,

(Any questions and I will clarify )

46 days: 26 days Thailand to Oman; 5 days Convoy; 15 days Red Sea. Red Sea average 65 n miles per day!

We are back from 10 days kicking sand in Egypt around the Pyramids, Luxor and a Sarahara desert oasis called Siwa. (No beer and the chicks covered like Cousin It).

I don't know where to start on the whole pirate thing but at the beginning.

Left Thailand to go direct to Salalah, Oman excluding Maldives.
Wanted to go to Maldives but other things got in the way.
BEWARE of the line from the bottom of Sri Lanka and the IRTC shipping route as there is a spot where it intersects wiht the route from Maldives to Salalah. there has be 3 attacks at this intersecting THIS YEAR, plus others in December last year and earlier 2009.
we had spotted this area and had made sure to pass far east of it.

Salalah is pretty rotten and we would have preferred to miss it but you need to get into a convoy before the IRTC and its the only practical place as Maldives/Thailand is too far to go in convoy. (Although in hindsight I would go to Maldives and get 2 or 3 boats and go direct to Egypt from there.

Anyway, Oman and all other countries up that way charge like bulls so the clearing in fee is about US$240. all in all we spent US$750 and didnt even provision. Beer is $6 per glass etc, fuel US$1 per litre when the locals pay 25 cents.
Convoy: 5 days at 2,500 rpm without slowing down though boats started falling apart. Far too fast but the convoy leader was a Motor Sailor so didnt understand about normal yachts. But the convoy was well done and the guy put his whole heart and effort into it.


Somaila started piracey from the people smuggling trade between Somalia and Yeman so yemen is full of pirate bases and sympathizers.

We were in Yemeni territorial waters which means the coalition warships CAN NOT AND WILL NOT respond if you get into trouble. read that again and you will understand that most cruisers do not believe it but its true. Ask any of the ex-navy people here on this forum and they will tell you getting into territorial waters is not so easy. Soverienty is held in great esteem and Yemen will just not allow some western country to send warships into its water without permission. God only knows how long that permission would take while pirates are busy raping you wife.

Aden is at the red Sea end of the Gulf of Aden but there is still 100 miles to go to the 'safety' of the Red Sea.

We did not call into Aden because we wanted to get clear and away into safe waters.
Sorry to JamesS who not only lives in Aden but was ready to give us a wonderful welcome. I am sorry, James, but I just wanted Nicolle to feel safe again and to get past it all.
Also James was the facilitator of our most treasured item on this whole trip. Several months ago I asked on this forum for someone to lend me a satellite phone as we don't have HF radio and can't afford a satellite phone. James did better that lend us one, he gave us one for our Christmas present!!
Like the Amex card ad: Don't leave home without yout Sat Phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HF may work sometimes if anyone is listening; Email works OK if somone is not websurfing, but a Sat Phone call direct to the Navy control room where you talk live and instantly... after only 3 or 4 rings.. not long and you are talking to a Duty Officer. (You will read later when we had to use it!)
So Thanks James!!!!! Your kind gift has mean so much to us on this trip! Being able to SMS my sister in Australia to update weather and SMS daily position reports to UKMTO was the greatest comfort we have had sailing But yes, I know I still owe you a beer!

OK the convoy was very well organised by another yacht. He understood what formation flying was about from the air force but didn't realise who tight a sailing formation needs to be to keep the skiffs out.
On a number of occasions they raced in and we were unprotected if they had turned out to be pirates.

We didn't have a gun on board and if you see my previous posts about guns on boats you will know I don't like them. However............................... ........... however................. if I could have a gun on this specific trip - I am army trained - then I would. the admin hassels would be huge but peace of mind would be worth it.
that being said, if you are with a convoy you just need to be more impregnable than the clowns of the convoy, and that aint hard!
All of the 'passive' defences you can think of set off in good time will show the pirates that the idiot of the convoy is the easier target.

OK, now for our real live action:
We left the convoy at the doors of Aden to go off into the Red Sea... so we were on our Pat Malone.... We saw a huge NEW container ship coming up behind us, speeding. Over the VHF we were also listening to some ship asking for Warships to assist him.... but the positions were never given so I could understand them. Finally we realised it was this ship that was, by now, abreast of us. I looked into the binoculars and there.. clear as f'uckin day was a skiff under this huge ships stern about 500 meters - 1nm from us. We turned 180 degrees and sped off into the growing night.

I ordered Nic to make the Sat Phone call to UKMTO as the ships Captain obviously was getting nowhere asking for a warship on VHF. the Sat Phone conected so quickly after 3 or 4 rings. they rang the ship and it turned out the pirates had spilt after they had probed the new ships defences. The went off towards the Yemini coast so they would have gone right over the top of us if we hadent done a reverse course.

So that Sat Phone works better than the VHF.

OK so the sum up is: If you want to go up Pirate alley then you can safely if you have your wits about you. And I realllllly mean that: You witts about you! If you want to think it can't happen to you, or yachts don't get taken off the Yemini coast etc then your brains should be used as trainer meat for vultures.

It really is a serious undertaking and the most full on 46 days sailing in 2 legs we have ever done.

And then we had the sailing up the Red Sea thing to do....! 25 kts on the nose for 1 week and the other 10 days sucked too! LOL OK they didnt suck, just a bit of a challenging sail


Mark
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Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 25-03-2010, 12:09   #37
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Wow...well damn glad to have you back.
Since the phone helped save your bacon you owe me two beers.
Whats next?
Are you going to make it to Leb this summer..I'll be here half of June and most of July and August...note. they have cheaper beer here!
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Old 25-03-2010, 12:21   #38
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Are you going to make it to Leb this summer..I'll be here half of June and most of July and August...note. they have cheaper beer here!
I don't think so. Nic said we can go anywhere as long as the words included are: "Riviera".
I looked that one up on the chart plotter and I'm buggered if I can find it.

So we will head to Turkey and then Greece and battle the visa situation before going to the Caribbean at the end of the year.

How about coming to Turkey or Greece for Retsina and Folk dancing?

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Old 25-03-2010, 12:29   #39
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How about coming to Turkey or Greece for Retsina and Folk dancing?

Maybe...let me know when you'll be there.
But I'm tell-in ya man,,,Leb is unique....and it doesn't get any better than our hospitality!
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Old 25-03-2010, 13:05   #40
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Well Mark they used to call the Beirut area the Riviera of the Eastern Med. Though Turkey & Greece are on the top of my list if I ever get out to that area.
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Old 25-03-2010, 21:47   #41
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We met a number of US boats that told us Lebanon was the best of the med for them, as strange as it might sound. Riviera? I can't afford it and I wonder any CF member can...

Put Croatia & Turkey higher on the list than Greece!

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 25-03-2010, 22:25   #42
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Congratulations on making it through Pirate Alley unscathed. That was a lot of hard sailing. We stopped every night on the western islands of the Red Sea and so we had a much more leisurely trip. But any trip up the Red Sea without pirates or breakage of gear is a good trip.

Good on you mates.
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Old 25-03-2010, 22:31   #43
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what, you did not rush to the aid of the ship under attack? JK glad you made it safe, now just stay safe on land too.
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Old 26-03-2010, 02:33   #44
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hello from lebanon

mark, I am glad you made it safely across bab el mandeb to egypt
I crossed my fingers when I heard about your itinerary, beleive me it's not a joke.. I myself prefered to sell my previous boat when I was working in Dubai rather than attempt to sail her back to Lebanon across the red sea .
and yes as James already told you , Lebanon is worth the detour, especially for Nicole .
the lebanese speak french fluently it's their second language and they are very hospitable
we are very much attached to France and it's culture and I beleive we still are the switzirland of the middle east despite all the wars and hardship we've gone through, we managed to keep our heads above the surge and made the most of many a bad situation
on the other hand the story about James doesn't surprise me a bit!!I met with james Stone last summer when he was working on Arctic lady in Dbayeh Marina and confirm that he is a very nice chap... generous and easy going , he offered to give me lots of used stuff he was keeping in his warehouse that I could use on my boat, unfortunately we didn't have this beer together as he had to go back to Yemen a couple of days later... James if you read this, I will be seing you in june hopefully.
So; mark and Nicole si jamais vous decidez de faire un detour au Liban,avant vous serez les bienvenus chez nous en attendant je vous souhaite bon vent et un agreable sejour en egypte
georges
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Old 26-03-2010, 03:30   #45
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while in Egypt

Well we missed you this time around!
If there is anything you need, Im reachable by phone till the 5th of April.
If not, see you in Turkey.

Fair winds

Marwan
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